While most sneakerheads might first think of New Balance because of their Made In The USA and Made In England lines that both have a near cult-like following, the Boston-based retailer has had a long-running tradition of Made In Japan sneakers as well. Quality is often the gold standard for footwear for New Balance’s legacy retro product but the Made In The Japan series in which they partner with M Lab Japan, takes things to an entirely new level.
Only a handful of silhouettes have been created under this partnership, but the hand-made and limited edition nature of the M Lab made New Balance has an impressively dedicated fan base. M Lab, founded by Hitoshi Mimura, was responsible for the incredibly rare 35th Anniversary New Balance 1300 that retailed for ¥70,000 JPY (approximately $673 USD at the time). What makes the Made In Japan line so special, is not just the hand-made quality, but the fact that you rarely will find these designs on any resale sites because those that can get their hands on the Japanese exclusives almost never let them go.
For the latest M Lab x New Balance release, Mimura and team have reworked a more modern style, the New Balance 327. As one of the most popular sneakers in the New Balance line up at the moment, the 327 has been a favorite in the United States. The M Lab x New Balance 327 is next level compared to any other release thanks to the use of Tochigi leather. Tochigi is a tannery that focuses on premium vegetable tanned leather and they’ve been making some of the finest leather in the world since 1937. For this Made In Japan New Balance 327, the entire upper is constructed of brown Tochigi leather and its price reflects its quality.
You can enter the raffle on the New Balance Japan website to get a pair and the retail price will set you back about $500.