Boston-based New Balance Athletics, Inc. and California-based Stance join forces for their first release in an ongoing series of collaborations in 2017. This first release, entitled ‘First of All’, includes two unique kits that each pay homage to the respective brand hometowns – Boston and San Clemente. Together, they tell the story of how two distinctly different companies, from opposite US coasts, have come together to celebrate the art of the kit.

The Boston kit features the iconic New Balance 997 in copper rose and tan, celebrating the city’s famed brownstone architecture. In addition to the colour palette, a cobblestone patterned deboss is featured on the leather accents, while a teal reflective underlay represents the patina copper often found on the brownstones. The 997 is paired with a Stance 144 Needle crew silhouette in premium cotton that sports a classic, understated design to compliment the rich tradition of New Balance’s 997 shoe. Boston-based artist Matthew Zaremba illustrated imagery for the kit’s social and retail marketing creative to convey Boston’s bright future and standing as one of America’s most historic cities.

To represent Stance and the Californian aesthetic, the newly introduced New Balance 1978 silhouette in slate blue and tan pig suede is paired with a Stance 144 Needle crew sock with athletic stripes to evoke the famed beaches and surf breaks of San Clemente where Stance came to life only seven years ago. The kit is as clean and easy going as the place where Stance reimagined and reignited a category once left for dead. Orange County-based artist, surfer and skater, Mark Oblow, showcases San Clemente through social and retail marketing illustrations that speak to the rare and beautiful lifestyle that’s lived in this California enclave.

While each company has a distinctly different history and lifestyle, both New Balance and Stance share pride for their hometown, a love of art, and a passion for quality craftsmanship. Touches such as sole inserts featuring an East Coast map graphic on the 997 and a West Coast graphic on the 1978, highlight each brand’s headquarter coordinates and emphasise the collaboration between the two brands. These coordinates are also found in the welt cuff of the socks. The shoes and socks are sold together with the socks housed in a special compartment inside the shoebox. All of the shoes and socks in the ‘First of All’ kits are Made in the USA.

 “We wanted to collaborate with an innovative brand that has brought fresh perspective and quality design to the market, to demonstrate how the sock and shoe can truly work together,” said Chris Davis, Vice President of Global Marketing at New Balance. “It has been exciting to unite our two worlds in a way that highlights our shared values and brings authentic, premium products to our consumers.”

“This is our first major collaboration with a footwear brand and it’s been an honour for us to work with a company that we have such deep respect for,” said John Wilson, President of Stance. “To see our culture captured like this with a heritage American brand is a proud moment for Stance.”

The execution of the products and also the creative of the shoot is on the money. For me it’s all about the 997’s on this release; I’m hoping that future releases see renditions of the 998’s and 1500’s. Both the ‘First of All’ kits are available June 10.