On this first official Fresh Look for 2011, we kick it off by diving into the New Balance x J.Crew M1400G. The “Made In USA” shoes are a special collaboration for the J.Crew stores and their web store. It’s a pack of five shoes which include the solid colors of Navy, Classic Pine, Black, Raw Steel and Rusted Orange :). Since they have been released to stores, I decided to grab the Raw Steel pair for this review. Unfortunately, I did not keep them because my heart is set on the Rusted Orange pair which is scheduled for an April release. Though, it was very hard to let these beauties go…
[Click To View All Images Larger]
The state of this shoe is brought to us from New Balance and the “Made In USA” side from Skowhegan, Maine. It’s a special presentation and collaboration for J.Crew stores. There are five colors in the set with the returning Navy and Classic Pine color-ways from last years set included. The idea behind the shoe and now classic partnership was the fact that Frank Muytjens, the head of Men’s design for J.Crew, saw the model in Japan and thought it would look great with what J.Crew offers.
There are five color-ways in total and the Classic Pine make-up was specifically chosen as the steerer of this partnership. All shoes are in one solid hue with a contrast colored N logo and subtle White and Grey accents. The Navy and Classic Pine are the only two pairs with White contrast stitching. This one comes in the dubbed Raw Steel hue with a Black N logo over another N logo in White. There are tonal Grey accents throughout the shoe and a stitched white NB emblem at the achilles notch. A very clean and casual look for everyday wear.
*As of this writing four colors are available to order online or pick up at a store. The Rusted Orange is delayed until 4.04.2011. I ordered my pair today and 4.04.2011 came up for me as the shipping date on my order.
The premium materials on these are just that, PREMIUM. The buttery suede from the heel to the toe-box is so fine and smooth. You be hard pressed to say anything different. The double layered leather N’s on the side wall are your average quality NB N’s. Yes, there is no 3m scotch-brite under it. That’s left for the achilles notch area alone. No other 3M is on the shoe. The ankle liner is a soft cotton on this pair and the tongue is a thin and soft-like synthetic leather or rubber. Whatever it is, it’s nice. Also, there is no branding on the shoe anywhere.
Once again New Balance USA comes through with a really well put together product. No paneling is off and the cuts are very precise. The stitching is almost flawless on this pair. There was one slight area where it moved a little, but nothing to fuss about. Definitely no waves anywhere. Actually, if you look at the above image, you can see that near the N logo the stitching veers off a little. It’s not much, but there are picky people out there that pay attention to small details. Nothing to disappoint anyone here, even the purists.
The shoes were quite comfortable and fit really well; Unfortunately, I didn’t get enough time with them to see how comfy they would be throughout a daily wear. You can tell the shape is on point because of the way the shoe sat on your feet and how they fit into them. Once put on, you could see and feel the panels mold over each foot and therefore completing what a shoe should look like. In this case, what a New Balance 1400 should look like. That is when you compare them to some older 1400’s, specifically the DDC Lab collab which look down right nasty. Look at the toe-box that mimics a China NB 574. These don’t look anything like that pair. Shape there looks very boxy. Anyone with shape concerns should not be worried in the fit or look department.
*Warning! The above are very large files.
This is one of those shoes that was really hard to find anything wrong with them (click the above four box image to take a look at areas I look at when searching for bad glue stains). There were no glues stains anywhere on the pairs leather or underling that meets the mid-sole. There was only glue on the plastic caps near the rim, but thats a common thing and really shouldn’t be a point taker. There was one crack on the left side shoe in the 3M scotch-brite. Seems like NB is using a lower quality material and that will happen often, but should only be there after they are walked on. Again, my shoes should be Fresh Out The Box once I open them and wrinkles or bends should be there because of the wearer. Other than that, this M1400 pair is pretty damn fine.
Never owning the New Balance M1400 model because of the weird look and boxy silhouette, this J.Crew exclusivity is heaven sent. Though I really don’t see this as a collaboration, more or so of a specialty item for J.Crew, I’m very happy it happened. With a much nicer shape, premium materials, awesome craftsmanship, simple hues to choose from and a look for everyday wear, it’s a straight winner. I think I want all of them…
This shoe comes HIGHLY recommended and anyone interested in it shouldn’t think twice about it. This pair reminds me of the amazing New Balance 574 CLIPS and the quality shoe they are. For those sneaker addicts itching for the next best thing to come out of New Balance, especially with the dwindling 1500 model, you can start your year with this pair. Let my pictures do all the talking and convincing if you need any…
SCORE = 8
Quality – 9
Craftsmanship – 9
Shape – 9
Color-Way/s – 7
Collaboration – 7
Condition Of Shoe As Of Photos – Dead Stock
Color-way – Raw Steel
Style Number – M1400G
Year – 2011
Size – 10 1/2
Made in USA
Box Price – $130 – Free Shipping
[Click Images To View Larger / *None of the captures are cropped]
Photography and Artwork by Angel Gonzalez/Vagrant Sneaker© 2011. All Rights Reserved.
DDC Lab 1400 image courtesy of Classickicks