20 Years Crafted, 20 Years A Staple, 20 Years Of The 991
Dig out the balloons, light the candles and suspend the bunting because the New Balance 991 is turning 20 this year. For two stellar decades, the shoe has charmed the masses with its perfectly pared-back allure. That humble but fierce combination of grey undertones and ABZORB cushioning has simultaneously propelled the silhouette into a true cult favourite and now the Boston-based brand is celebrating the design with a special commemorative release. The New Balance 991 20th anniversary shoe launches this Friday 26th February 2021 and Aphrodite is a proud stockist.
To mark the upcoming launch, we’re taking a retrospective look back at the iconic 991 while unravelling details over the latest celebratory iteration. Keep reading to find out more.
History of the New Balance 991: 2001
In the same year that hit mockumentary The Office hit UK tv screens, Fast & Furious premiered at the box office and Jamiroquai’s A Funk Odyssey topped the album charts, Boston hailing brand New Balance rolled out the 991 sneaker under its 99x series. The 99x series was first conceptualised in ‘82 when the original 990 trainer began transcending the footwear industry with heaps of innovative tech. In the years leading up to 2001, the line left little to the imagination; toying with ground-breaking cushioning, unheard of proportions and larger-than-life NB credentials – to which the label has become so synonymous.
The arrival of the 991 in the early noughties signified a changing of the guard for the 99x’s lineage. The New Balance 991 was noticeably more streamline, still in its identifiable low-profile look, but with less emphasis at the toebox. It proved to be the contemporary overhaul the dynasty needed and it quickly began stealing the hearts of multiple generations. It was also the first shoe in the brand’s roster to carry ABZORB cushioning in both its front and beneath the heel, leading the shoe, and subsequently the 99x series, to become closely associated with immeasurable comfort.
The New Balance 991 in popular culture: 2001 – 2021
In the years following its inception, the 991 yielded mass appeal. Managing to harmonise performance-primed tech with an understated, athletic aesthetic, the silhouette pulled in the approval of millennials and the globe’s A-List – Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and Kanye West to name just a few of the shoe’s distinguished fans. Most notably, late Apple founder and tech maestro, Steve Jobs, frequently donned the sneakers on the streets and to global conferences, where they quickly helped form his signature look.
Of recent, New Balance has embraced its cross-generational stance, famously attributing the phrase “worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio” to its mission statement. The concept of ‘normcore’ – a trend summarised by the rejection of extravagance – reached its peak in 2018 and enabled the resurgence of the 991 under the ‘Dad Shoe’ umbrella. In fact, New Balance birthed the ‘Dad Shoe’ trend way before it became accepted by the mainstream and designers in their hundreds jumped on the bandwagon.
The New Balance 991 possesses a certain je ne sais quoi that continues to make it a frontrunner of the scene, even twenty years after we first laid eyes on it.
New Balance 991 Anniversary release: 2021
This Friday (26/02/2021) marks the release of the New Balance 991 anniversary special. Mimicking its debut look, the trainer melds a two-tone grey colourway, with pig suede overlays, navy ‘N’ logos and ABZORB cushioning to supply a wardrobe staple that we’re all rightfully familiar with. Crafted proudly in the UK in the brand’s Flimby factory, this one-off model boasts ‘2001’ embroidery at the backbone whilst a 20th anniversary woven patch sits to the inner tongue.
If this simple but sleek lifestyle runner has always ticked boxes for you, you won’t want to miss out on this special edition. Keep your eyes peeled for the New Balance 991 anniversary release in T-minus two days.