Boston-based New Balance announced today that the first collection of the Super Team 33 2008 project has been designed by the New Balance USA team and will feature a theme inspired by luggage. The Luggage 998 shoes will debut at 33 select retailers worldwide in early March 2008 and retail for $200.00.
Available in three exclusive designs, this new limited-edition collection celebrates the trend shift from multi-colored, patchwork designs to richer, more understated design. Luggage was selected as a collection theme to support this trend evolution. The first of three shoe designs honors the rich and subtle nature of sophisticated high-end Italian luggage. The second design was inspired by limited edition vintage traveling trunks while the third shoe’s design pays homage to modern Swiss Army luggage.
“This collection was inspired by three separate personalities. Each shoe is representative of the type of luggage each of these three personalities would carry for travel,” said Jonathan Grondin, Luggage collection designer at New Balance USA.
The first shoe design is evocative of a person who emits a sophisticated sense of style, hence the use of luxurious materials and brown contrast stitching on the crocodile-embossed high fashion shoe. The materials used show off the changes in the animal skin in both size and depth. The second shoe, inspired by vintage traveling trunks, features glove soft worn leathers. All colors and textures of the materials used represent the many layers of a high-end trunk (i.e. protective corners, the trunk’s wrap, edges, handles). The third shoe, representative of Victorinox Swiss Army luggage, is built to appear high-tech. Using mostly black coloring and ballistic mesh, the shoe features a balance of nubuck and patent leathers to represent the balance of high polish and sandblasted components of the Victorinox luggage.
Luggage collection details include elaborate designs on the tongue of each shoe, the sole insert and the outsole. A specialty shoebox, inspired by cigar, chocolate, and jewelry boxes, is velvet-lined to give added sophistication to each pair of ST33 Luggage shoes it contains.
All of the shoes in the ST33 collection are built on the classic 998 style shoe. The New Balance brand team polled New Balance fans in Japan, Europe and the US to find out which shoe silhouette they would most like to see reintroduced. The resounding majority was for the high 990 series style and the 998 was selected for reproduction. Today, the 998 has been reintroduced in an exclusive version with new material and design applications for this season’s ST33 Luggage collection.
Super Team 33 (ST33) is a global line of shoes within the New Balance lifestyle collection that was named after the Skowhegan, Maine manufacturing team that actually creates the shoes by hand. A 28 member value stream team engineers the shoes domestically, completing cut through pack in one day, and ships the shoes directly to customers from the fifth floor of the Skowhegan plant. A new ST33 collection launches three times per year and is designed by a different sector of the globe. This first 2008 collection was designed by the USA team. In line with the collection’s name, the shoes are sold at only 33 retail doors globally. Only 24 pairs of each of the three Luggage designs will be available in each retail location.