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New Balance’s New Sneaker Says Basketball’s a Lifestyle, Not Just a Sport

New Balance is mashing together its old-school basketball roots with high fashion style to launch a new futuristic streetwear silhouette “made for life between shootarounds.”

On April 1, the first round of colorways for the BB9000 basketball sneaker were made available on New Balance’s recently overhauled e-commerce site, as well as across Foot Locker’s family of brands, which includes Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Eastbay and Footaction. Offered in the two color ways of white with royal blue or red, the BB9000 shoes retail for $140, with additional color ways launching throughout the year.

“With the BB9000, we wanted to create something that stayed true to our roots but wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries,” says Samuel Pearce, creative design manager at New Balance in a statement. “We wanted to tell the story of our past but merge it with current hoops streetstyle, allowing consumers to take it from the court to the streets. We feel like the shoe we’ve created pushes basketball shoes into a new space and witnesses our performance innovation through a new lifestyle lens.”

In launching BB9000, the athleticwear and footwear brand envisioned creating a “retro-to-future” crossover blending elements from the brand’s performance models with premium materials found in its top lifestyle shoes into a new kind of basketball modernism. New Balance has come a long way since late 2018, when the brand first teamed with NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, and with that growing basketball presence, the company now can be more creative in what kind of shoes it can produce for lovers of the game.

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The original 480 and 550 serve as the inspiration for the retro look and help tell the story of New Balance history in the hoops category. While the midsole and outsole feature the same FuelCell technology found in top New Balance performance basketball shoes such as the OMN1S, TWO WXY and the KAWHI, the BB9000 is envisioned as more as a lifestyle shoe than a sneaker to wear for performance on the court.

Consumers will find elements of classic New Balance branding pulled from the 1300 and 574 lifestyle silhouettes.

The BB9000 profile also draws inspiration from formal fashion footwear, with details such as a two-part “welted” cupsole visual, full grain leathers and nubuck suedes typically found in New Balance’s premium lifestyle models.

The shoe further merges lifestyle and performance details by including a translucent vis-tech outsole which gives prominence to New Balance’s signature FuelCell midsole, which is designed to bring performance-level comfort to the wearer. Additionally, the fashion-hoops hybrid silhouette combines a throwback tongue with oversized laces with wax-dipped aglets taken straight from the runway.