327 New Balance: 70s Style for a Modern Lifestyle

27 New Balance: 70s Style for a Modern Lifestyle

The 327 New Balance weaves New Balance’s classic style with modern day influences. Marketed as the ultimate leisure shoe, the 327 New Balance offers a 1970s inspired silhouette with fresh fabrics and unique colorways. The 327 provides everyday comfort and is stylish enough to enhance any outfit. 

The 327 New Balance debuted in April 2020. The sneaker retails for 100 USD, although certain special editions and collaborations like the STAUD 327 run for 150 USD. Inspiration for the 327 New Balance comes from three vintage 1970s New Balance sneakers: The New Balance 320, New Balance 355, and New Balance Supercomp

The 327 takes certain elements from these shoes to create a modern lifestyle adaptation of the brand’s running-inspired history. 

New Balance started as a company whose cornerstone market was runners. Over its lifespan, the company has expanded its roots with forays into basketball shoes and the lifestyle sneaker space. 

With the 327, New Balance once again reinvents itself. The 327 successfully combines running, lifestyle, and high fashion to create a shoe that functions and stands out on the runways (especially whenever New Balance collaborates with fashion brands) just as well as it does in everyday life.  

Source: Goat.com

The 327 New Balance Design

The 327 New Balance was designed by footwear designer, Charlotte Lee, who started working at New Balance in 2014 as an intern. Lee started working on the 327 New Balance in December of 2018, meaning the 327 took approximately 15 months to come to fruition. 

The 327 New Balance silhouette features pigskin suede overlays on top of a lightweight nylon base upper, an oversized N logo only on the lateral side of the foot, and a studded rubber outsole that runs up the heel. 

Lee looked to the past New Balance sneakers to guide her when designing the 327, especially the asymmetrical midsole, the fang-shape toe box, and the wrap-around, studded outsole. The expansive N logo is a nod to the New Balance 320, which was the first shoe to use the now-iconic New Balance N. The studded outsole is a nod to the New Balance 355, which was originally designed in 1977 to provide runners with better stability on trails. The lightweight nylon upper is similar to the upper on the Supercomp, as well as other various New Balance running shoes

“When I was looking through our archives, I was looking for things that were iconic and things that stood out to me as being different. Layering those elements together, created a shoe that felt relatively recognizable to the consumer, but at the same time it was a little bit like, ‘Oh, I’ve not seen that before.’”

Lee knew she had a wealth of iconic 1970s New Balance designs to choose from. However, since many of those shoes are still being produced by New Balance, she knew she had to make sure the New Balance 327s were different from the models it took inspiration from:

“When creating this shoe, I wanted to make sure I was inspired by the past, but in a completely different way than was done before. I don’t want to create another shoe that looked like it was from the seventies.”

One of the unique elements that was added to the New Balance 327s and not to any of the retro New Balance was the distinct, inflated midsole design. Lee buffed up the midsole, resulting in a unique midsole that shows off the unique design when from the top or bottom. From a side view, though, the 327 looks like a typical midsole:

“By widening the forefoot and heel but buffing the arch area I created this asymmetric shape which when viewed from above was contemporary but when seen on shelf felt very familiar.”

All of Lee’s design choices merge to create a shoe that is lightweight and comfortable with a stylish retro aesthetic. The 327 New Balance is an incredibly functional shoe that can be worn confidently with any outfit, and provides the perfect blend of comfort and style for any occasion – whether that means a fashion show, a casual night out, or working out. You can dress the 327 up or dress it down to meet your needs. There’s a reason this shoe is popular and the go-to shoe for everyday people as well as trendsetting celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Kaite Holmes, Timothee Chalamet, and Kendall Jenner.

As soon as the silhouette was complete, Lee and her team knew the 327 New Balance had to be launched in a unique way. It was a shoe perfect for the runway, and who better to bring a high fashion twist to the New Balance 327s than designer Charaf Tajer and his Casablanca luxury fashion brand:

“As soon as I shared my designs with the team we knew this shoe had to be launched differently. This model looked like it belonged on the runway and who better to launch it with than Casablanca? They loved the model and it worked perfectly with their collection.”  

Casablanca Collaboration 

Charlotte Lee’s 327 New Balance silhouette was officially revealed in April 2020 in collaboration with Charaf Tajer’s Paris fashion label, Casablanca

Casablanca was launched in 2018 by Charaf Tajer as a way to bring his French Moroccan design style to the masses. French Terry athleisure wear and graphic print silk shirts are staples of the Casablanca fashion brand. Charaf Tajer is known for mixing luxury design elements with sports. 

The 327 New Balance and the New Balance x Casablanca collaboration, made their world debut during Casablanca’s Fall/Winter presentation at Paris Fashion Week in 2020. The collaboration was the first time Casablanca partnered with another brand. Announced days before the world had caught a glimpse of the 327, the New Balance x Casablanca collaboration created a sizable amount of anticipation to see what the two were cooking up. 

Casablanca created two unique 327 colorways, using hints of Moroccan orange and vintage green tennis uniforms. Tajer also added a perforated white upper for increased breathability and a more sporty look. 

The 327 New Balance Casablanca Green colorway features a perforated white leather upper with a forest green suede overlays on the heel and toes. The studded rubber outsole is green, and the giant N logo is white with a green outline. 

The 327 New Balance Casablanca Orange colorway features a perforated white leather upper with orange suede overlays on the heel and toes. The studded rubber outsole is green, and the giant N logo is orange with a green outline. 

During an interview with Complex, Charaf Tajer said the inspiration behind his colorways for the New Balance 327s were 1970s Italian sports and vintage Italian sports cars: 

“So the idea and the inspiration behind this shoe is Italian sport of the ‘70s, and also a little bit of ‘70s automobiles, things like the vintage Italian sports cars from the ‘70s. For me, we wanted to go as far as possible from modern sports, and the modern way of designing sneakers, and we wanted to do something that is pretty timeless. I would say this is the grandpa style, it’s the grandpa shoe, like the cool Italian grandad shoe. I like the idea of how the Italians in the ‘70s were having their own designs for sports, so I wanted to apply that vision to this pair.”

Tajer and Casablanca wanted to create colorways that would go with any outfit: 

“We tried it with everything and, really, to be honest, this pair goes with everything. Shorts, denim, suits, tracksuits, it goes with everything. I mean, just try it yourself to see. It’s so easy to wear, it’s crazy. It’s like just everything works with it. It’s really exciting to have a pair like this. It’s really elegant. It’s a sneaker, but it’s really elegant, and that’s why I love it. It’s comfortable, too.” 

Source: Stockx.com

Casablanca and New Balance: A Continued Collaboration 

The New Balance x Casablanca collaboration was a massive success for both brands. Casablanca’s 1970s influence perfectly complemented the 70s-inspired silhouette. New Balance limited the supply of the 327 at releases, and the shoe sold out quickly and was in high demand. 

Since their first collaboration was such a success, towards the end of 2020, New Balance and Casablanca teamed up again to release two new 327 colorways. This time around Charaf Tajer opted for subtler colorways with Grey Pink and Cream Green variations. 

The Cream Green colorway features a perforated white leather upper with cream suede overlays. The studded rubber outsole is also cream as well as the giant N. There are green pops of color outlining the New Balance N logo as well as the stitching on the heel.  

The Grey Pink colorway features a perforated white leather upper with grey suede overlays. The studded rubber outsole is black and so is the giant N logo and stitching on the heel. The New Balance N logo is outlined in white. The shoe’s tongue is colored pastel pink giving the mostly subdue shoe a flash of color. 

In 2021, the New Balance x Casablanca 327 collaboration returned with two more colorways: The Red Monogram and a munsell white/holly green.

The Red Monogram colorway features a perforated white leather upper with a red and green Casablanca monogram pattern and grey suede on the overlays. The studded rubber outsole is green. The giant N logo is made of red leather and outlined in green, complementing the hues found in the monogram pattern. While the rest of the Casablanca x New Balance collaboration shoes sold for 150 USD, the Red Monogram retailed for 190 USD. 

The munsell white/holy green colorway features a perforated white leather upper with textile overlays covered in a green and pink version of Casablanca’s Jacques monogram. The studded rubber outsole is green, and the giant New Balance N logo is made of beige leather and outlined in soft pink. 

Source: Goat.com

The Casablanca x New Balance XC-72

Casablanca and New Balance continue to collaborate and have expanded beyond the 327 silhouette. In 2021, Casablanca and New Balance once again partnered up to launch another shoe: The XC-72.

There are many similarities between the 327 and XC-72. Like the 327, the XC-72 was designed by Charlotte Lee. The XC-72 is another heavily textured sneaker that was inspired by a 1970s aesthetic. The same giant New Balance N logo makes its way onto the XC-72, only this time it’s on both sides. 

The XC-72 silhouette pushes the 1970s inspiration into uncharted territory. The shoe has a time-warped design taken from the speculative technological advancements of 70s concept cars. The outsole is the defining characteristic of the XC-72, being split down the middle with one side having the studded rubber, octopus-like design of the 327, and the other having a more jagged texture. The heel wrap also utilizes the same distinct herringbone pattern as the New Balance 620.

The collaboration between Casablanca and New Balance once again results in a unique, stylish shoe. One thing that makes this collaboration work so well is that both companies are interested in retro 1970s and 80s designs with a modern-day update. 

Casablanca’s products are often inspired by, and pay homage to, the 1970s and 1980s, as well as sports, such as racing and tennis. Both the 327 and the XC-72 are modeled after vintage New Balance running shoes, but their sharp features add a modern, almost futuristic spin. 

1970s running shoes are definitely a major inspiration, but the XC-72 also draws heavily from that era’s wedge sports car designs. Wedge cars were concept cars in the late 1970s and early 1980s that had sleek and pronounced lines and edges, and the XC-72 channels that aesthetic. Leaning into their automotive inspirations, the shoe was dubbed a “Sports Car for Your Feet”

When talking about the sports car design elements, Charaf Tajer said:

“From when we first started working on the collaboration, we dubbed it the ‘sports car for your feet’ as it evokes that feeling of when you first saw a luxury car as a child, you knew it was a car… but it was different to any car you’d seen before, it’s a feeling, a sense of wonder, designed to perform, designed to be special.”

The Casablanca x New Balance XC-72 dropped with two vibrant colorways. The Casablanca Orange Green colorway pays homage to the original Casablanca 327 colorway with a white perforated leather upper, a grey suede overlay, a green outsole, and the New Balance N logo in orange suede and outlined in green. 

The Casablanca Red Yellow colorway features a white perforated leather upper, with a striking yellow suede overlay, black tire-like outsole, and a red New Balance N outlined in yellow. With the flashy red and yellow color scheme, it’s easy to see how Ferrari influenced Charaf Tajer and his Casablanca design team.  

Both Casablanca x New Balance XC-72s were sold for 150 USD. The XC-72 typically sells for 120 USD. 

Source: Stockx.com

New Balance 327 and STAUD Collaboration 

Casablanca isn’t the only fashion brand New Balance has teamed up with for a New Balance 327 collaboration

In March 2019, CFDA Fashion Award nominee and founder of LA-based fashion brand STAUD, Sarah Staudinger, teamed up with New Balance for her brand’s first foray into activewear. In 2020 and 2021, STAUD created two colorways of the 327 New Balance

The first STAUD x New Balance 327, the Grey Burgundy colorway, dropped in September of 2020. The shoe was a focal point of the STAUD x New Balance fall collection and was a women’s only shoe. The Grey Burgundy New Balance 327 comes covered in a white premium leather construction with grey suede overlays for a subtle contrast. There’s a burgundy leather “N” logo on the lateral side panel, a white midsole, and a gum rubber outsole finishing off the look. Highlighting the partnership is the phrase New Balance/STAUD on the lateral side of the heel overlay. 

The second 327 collaboration, the STAUD x New Balance Sea Salt Atlantic colorway, dropped in June of 2021. STAUD dresses up the 70s-inspired silhouette in cream and ivory upper, with a powder blue New Balance N logo, and a dark blue heel overlay. The studded rubber outsole is gum, and the phrase New Balance/STAUD is embossed on both sides of the heel overlay to represent the collaboration. This version of the New Balance 327s retailed for 150 USD. 

Source: Goat.com

Where to Buy New Balance 327s and XC-72s

Pairs of the New Balance 327s and the XC-72 can be purchased from any major shoe retailer in a variety of styles and colorways. You can find them at New Balance, Footlocker, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Finishline, Amazon, Hibbet Sports, and Champ Sports.

The 327 New Balance retail for between 100 and 150 USD, depending on the style of the shoe and if it is a part of a collaboration

The New Balance XC-72 retails for between 110 and 150 USD, and the price also depends on the style and if the shoe is a collaboration

Past releases and exclusive colorways and collaborations like the Casablanca x New Balance and STAUD x New Balance can be purchased from popular resale websites like StockX, GOAT, Stadium Goods, and Flight Club

With a plethora of silhouettes from the 70s, 80s, and 90s to choose from, it’s a mystery what retro-inspired shoes New Balance will come up with next, and what other unique collaborations will be made.

Source: Newbalance.com

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