History of New Balance 550


The iconic New Balance 550 shoe has a history that spans over 30 years. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest moments for the New Balance 550 basketball shoe over the last three decadeswhich have helped make it a cult favorite sneaker among celebrities, including the origin of the shoe and its revival after nearly three decades of obscurity.

Selling for $45 a pair, the New Balance 550 started as a budget-conscious sneaker for basketball lovers in the late 80s. Designer Steven Smith created the sneaker as a low-top alternative to the New Balance 650. Surprisingly, the shoe lacked initial interest and, up against a lot of serious competition in the marketplace from big basketball shoe brands like Nike, Reebok, and Converse, the shoe went into hibernation — becoming just another obscure shoe in the history of New Balance footwear

Evolution of the New Balance 550 shoe

The footwear had all been forgotten until Aimé Leon Dore (ALD) founder Teddy Santis stumbled upon the throwback design while thumbing through a vintage Japanese magazine. As Santis set sites on the simple and retro design, a brand collaboration formed. If being retro and obscure wasn’t enough of a baited hook for social media influencers and celebrities, a brand collaboration set the shoes’ fate as one of the hottest shoes to come out of 2020.

Re-release of the New Balance 550

ALD and New Balance officially re-released the New Balance 550 in November 2020 with a colorful splash. The first release featured two sleek and retro color block designs in white and red and white and blue, and, in true trendsetter fashion, they flew off the shelves.

Since the initial launch, the New Balance 550 has seen several follow-up launches featuring a variety of new color combinations and collaborations, including collegiate colorways and collaborations with AURALEE and Comme des Garçons Homme. The newest drop of colorways features a navy and mustard color blocking pattern. Since the shoes are featured on some of the most famous feet, including Kendall Jenner, Rhianna, Justin Bieber, and Bella Hadid, they may not be the easiest shoes to shop, but once they drop at Finish Line you will want to be first in line!

Grab Your Next Pair of New Balance Shoes

Even though the New Balance 550 shoe was forgotten for nearly three decades, the revival of this classic shoe proves that the right timing, collaborations, and celebrity buy-in can catapult a shoe into a new fan favorite. Whether it’s a pair of 550s or another style, you can shop all New Balance shoes at Finish Line today!