Sneakers to Call My Own

Sneakers to Call My Own

New Balance has always been an easy choice when it comes to quality, comfortable sneakers (my grandfather claims they solved his knee problems). But now, the brand’s retro 574 running shoe makes decision-making a whole lot harder—in the best of ways. Step into New York City’s New Balance store (or log on to the website) to personalize every aspect of your 574s from heel to toe at the new customization station. Start by choosing from 25 base colors, then take your time finding the perfect palette for the rest of the shoe, including the saddle, heel tab and even the tongue label. The final touch is an eight-character message of your choosing embroidered to the back of the heel. Once you’re finished, the shoes handmade in one of New Balance’s factories in the United States within 6-10 days and shipped right to your door.

One thing I loved about visiting the customization station in person was checking out the samples of laces, colors and fabrics beneath the monitor. It gave me a true sense of what the final design would look like in a way that digital technology can’t always provide. Since I already have purple Pumas, I went with a palette of earthy greens, chocolate brown and off-white for my 574s. Slapped on the back is “J-Cakes,” a shortened version of my nickname “Joni-cakes.” From start to finish, the process took about 20 minutes, and a helpful sales clerk stood nearby to give me a much-needed second opinion. Seven days later, they arrived at my office. The anticipation was over, but the dread soon set in: I have no more excuses to avoid the gym now that I have a pair of stylish, comfortable sneakers on my feet. 

>>New Balance, 150 Fifth Ave., at E. 20th St., 212.727.2520