A Closer Look at the New Balance 2002R

The New Balance 2002R is the latest, most modern interpretation of the New Balance 2002, which first hit the shelves in 2010. The shoe maintains the OG design of its predecessor but offers enough new perks to keep the modern show wearer happy. In addition to a stylish look that blends well with any outfit, New Balance has embellished the New Balance 2002R with premium technology and materials to produce a highly comfortable shoe. Let’s take a closer look at this new addition to the New Balance line.

History of the New Balance 2002R

While it was one of the most popular releases for New Balance in 2020, the NB 20002R is not a new concept but a remake of the 2002 sneaker. This original version was marketed as a lifestyle shoe in 2010 and sold for $250. Sold as a ‘Made in the USA’ shoe, its design was that of a luxury running sneaker, complete with the brand’s grey suede color palette. The NB 2002 was a dad shoe – at least an updated version. Its sole was derived from the shoemaker’s world-class running show, the 1906. At a selling price of $250, it sold for $100 more than the Air Jordans that had come out that same year. In 2020, New Balance did a modernized take of the New Balance 2002 to produce the New Balance 2002R. Its recent surge in popularity can be attributed to the brand’s collaboration with Salehe Bembury, who previously worked as a designer with Versace. New Balance also conducted projects with other big names like Invincible and Thisisneverthat.

Overview and Design

The reworked NB 2002R owes its impeccable design to Tetsuya Shono, a New Balance product line manager in Japan that has been with the company for years. According to Joe Grondin, the brand’s director of collaborations, Shono “…knows every detail about every main US shoe that has been released.” This is because he initially worked as a designer before being promoted to manager. In this new model, New Balance replaced the sole unit with a current version derived from another sneaker it revamped in 2019 – the 860v2. The sole unit is now more functional, and the shoe has an overall much sleeker body. Additionally, it retails at $130 – not the $250 of its predecessor – as it is manufactured in Japan rather than the US. The lighter sole means that the 2002R is easier on the eyes and offers improved performance. The flow from heel to toe is also better, making it ideal for anyone on the move. Also, this re-release only has gel on the heel, unlike the original 2010 version, whose sole came with a full-length gel cushioning system.

Distinctive Features

The New Balance 2002R is the first of the brand’s retro-revivals and has already gained a considerable fan base in the two years since its release. This is largely thanks to its chic design. Overall, the NB 2002R is a classic runner’s shoe with the comfort, and design fans have come to expect from New Balance. The upper combines suede and mesh for a classy and functional look: the suede overlays contribute to style and durability, while the mesh makes the sneaker airy and breathable. Additionally, the midsole of the NB 2002R is fitted with ABZORB cushioning technology that provides maximum stability and comfort while adding a springy feel to your step. The lateral side of the heel features N-ergy technology which makes the shoe resemble the Nike Shox and also absorbs shock.

Colorways

The most distinctive feature of the New Balance 2002R is the combination of mesh, suede, and 3M detailing. The heel has a cushioning unit in tan that contrasts well with the cream midsole. To bring it all together, the medial and lateral sides of the shoe are splashed with standardized ‘N’ logos in grey tones. The most notable palette includes three colorways: Rain Cloud, Sea Salt, and Phantom.

New Balance Protection Pack

If you like deconstructed sneakers, you will love the NB 2002R Protective pack. New Balance launched this project in 2021 to promote the NB 2002R and include more collaborations in the line. It is a deconstructed version of the 2002R and has, so far, received a lot of praise from the footwear community. Reviewers are most impressed by the highly inventive and original colorways. The most recent addition to the Protection Pack is a shoe featuring an aged and worn look. Coming out in the Spring/Summer 2022 season, the design comes with several unfinished white overlays on world-class material. The sneaker looks like it has been used, with the overlays being a little smudged. Moreover, the new sneaker blends leather, suede, and mesh to achieve a deconstructed aesthetic. The midsole has ABZORB technology, the N-ergy technology on the outsole is present, and the tongue is open foam. Upon release, it is set to retail at $150.

Pros

  • Chic Design: The runner-inspired body of the shoe makes for a classy, laid-back design that will fit in well in most places, including the office.
  • Comfort: The NB 2002R maintains the perfect balance between softness and stability to give you one of the most comfortable shoes in the market today. It will serve you well in any terrain and remain comfortable even on long walks.
  • Accurate Sizing: This sneaker fits more true to size than other sneakers in the line.
  • Steady Fit: New Balance has incorporated a TPU web under the sneaker for maximum stability and arch support.
  • Lightweight: The improved sole unit makes the NB 2002R a very airy and light shoe.

Cons

  • Some wearers complain that the NB 2002R has a very narrow forefoot and can be too tight.
  • Others complain that the suede gets worn with repeated use.

Conclusion

New Balance almost did not revive the New Balance 2002R. The original – the NB 2002 – was very pricey, and fans were not eager to spend over $200 on a remake. Fortunately, the brand collaborated with some big names to produce the 2002R – an updated, sleeker, more comfortable version of its 2010 predecessor. Overall, this show is the perfect retro sneaker, providing style and all-day comfort. They are not made in the US like the 2002 version, but the craftsmanship is impressive. Even better, they only retail at $130 in most stores.

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