The Atmos New Balance 2002R Shibuya Rat is a real mouthful, isn’t it? If you’re not someone who’s really into sneakers, you might be wondering what exactly is even meant by this. Just in case you’re doubting yourself, it is exactly what it sounds like. New Balance, one of the most popular sneaker manufacturers in the world, has teamed up with Atmos to create a brand new shoe that is designed specifically to represent city life in a way that most people would never even dream of concocting. It’s all about the rats. That’s right, the shoe represents those furry little creatures with long tails and pointy noses that squeak and run around city streets at night, scaring you half to death when you round a corner and one runs across your foot. It might seem odd that the very thing that so many people love to hate is now represented in a brand new collaboration with what is arguably one of the most popular shoe manufacturers in existence, but that is precisely what you have here. Since they’ve decided to create it, it must be time to take a closer look.
A Design for the Ages?
Granted, some people might very well consider this a design for the ages. There is little doubt that others are going to stay as far away from it as they possibly can, as even the mere thought of something that is designed to represent rats makes their skin crawl. The good news is that the shoes aren’t made from anything that’s been recycled from such creatures. In other words, there is no mouse hair or anything on them, although the toe of the shoe does have a furry gray design that is meant to fully synthesize the way that mouse hair supposedly feels. That’s something that most people would probably be willing to take the company’s word on. After all, how many people have actually decided to hold a rat in their hands and pet it in order to see whether or not the hair actually feels the way the toe of this shoe does? It’s something that most people are simply willing to take on faith and leave it at that. There are definitely other echoes of rats that seemingly inspired this design throughout the rest of the shoe as well. For example, there is a small mouse design on the upper portion of the shoe and if you look at the inside of the soles, there is an imprint of a rate on each one, something that you get to look at every single day when you put your shoes on and when you take them off. For some people, this fact alone is enough to virtually guarantee that they will never go within 10 feet of a pair of these shoes. However, there are other people who might be just a little freaked out by the idea of rodents in general who will still love these shoes. There are some definite good points about the design and it’s not all about the stuff of nightmares.
Attention to Detail
There is no question about it, there was a great deal of attention to detail paid to the design of this shoe from beginning to end. That’s obvious in the smaller details that you can’t even see until you start to really closely examine the shoes. For example, they’re made from a variety of different shades of gray, something that probably won’t surprise you considering the fact that this is so often the color of rodents. However, there is also some amazing detail in the design on the upper portion of the shoe involving a darker gray suede that has been imprinted with the likeness of a rat’s footprint. Granted, it sounds disgusting when you read it but when you actually look at the shoe, it’s almost inspiring to think that someone would come up with this idea in the first place and then go to the trouble of creating that much detail. As is the case with so many other designs, there are additional elements that come into play here, too. For instance, there is just a hint of light blue that gradually becomes darker running through a very small portion on the sides of the soles. It really sets the shoes off from an aesthetic standpoint, making them look very distinguished. It also serves as representation of the way that rats typically are attracted to city sewer systems. Again, it’s a detail that sounds absolutely disgusting when you read it. However, looking at the shoe gives a different impression. That’s why it’s important to give these shoes a chance, even if you’re turned off by the idea of a design being inspired by rodents.
Style and Function
As is the case with virtually every other shoe designed by New Balance, these are meant for running and they’re designed to take more than their fair share of abuse. They even come complete with insoles that can easily be removed to give you an added level of support, something that you don’t routinely see with a lot of shoes straight out of the box. After all, New Balance does a lot of collaborations in order to create some artistic designs, but they never allow those designs to be compromised from a practical standpoint. That’s one of the truly beautiful things about these shoes. They can be both creative and very functional at the same time. This particular example is certainly no exception. Even if you’re still feeling squeamish about this, you’ll be doing yourself a favor to at least take a look at these shoes before you make a final decision. The truth of the matter is that if you didn’t know they were inspired by rats, you would probably fall in love with them at first sight. If you’re interested, you should probably act quickly because even with a design that makes some people squeamish, it’s one that’s expected to sell out rather quickly. It will drop on May 28th, being available through brick and mortar stores that sell New Balance products in Japan. Of course, the shoe will also be available through the company’s website.