First released in 1989, the New Balance 550 was initially introduced as a streamlined basketball shoe that was built to last the test of time. Originally made to rival the likes of the classic Nike Dunk and the popular range of Air Jordan models, the very first 550 featured perforated off-white leather panels and layers of breathable mesh in hopes of becoming a vital hoops icon. However, the New Balance 550 soon faded into the background of sporty sneakers as rivalling retailers gained even more popularity. That is until Teddy Santis, founder of Aimé Leon Dore and creative director of New Balance, reintroduced the 550 in 2020 after seeing the archived design in a vintage catalogue.

Now considered a stylish streetwear staple after the roaring success of the ALD collaboration from 2020, the unisex NB550 is crafted from premium layers of leather and suede as well as an intricate midsole that’s reinforced with modernised cushioning. Whether you already own a pair or are considering the purchase, the outfit ideas that come hand in hand with the New Balance 550 are endless.

The New Balance 550 Offers Unlimited Outfit Ideas

Thanks to New Balance’s range of versatile colourways, the New Balance 550 is the perfect shoe to pair with your most favourite lounge sets. Made to keep your go-to hoodie and jogger combinations casual, the more understated 550s, such as the New Balance 550 White Grey, are ideal for those days where you want to blend in among the crowd. When it comes to the 550 one thing is for sure, it can comfortably replace your Air Force 1 when it comes to the sneaker you reach for most.

Always opt for more simple apparel? The low-top 550 is equally the ideal accompaniment for every clean t-shirt and jeans fit no matter what the season. Thanks to its stylish versatility, you can pair any 550 with your day to day looks for that instant hit of streetwear flair. When it comes to the colourway, simply choose the combination that you’re most drawn to so that the silhouette can do all the talking. When it comes to casual outfits, the NB550 will never fail you.

As well as complementing more relaxed outfits, the New Balance 550 can also elevate more sophisticated looks because of its streamlined shape. You can style your favoured 550 with an oversized blazer for that all-important balance of smart and casual. This New Balance sneaker will also add a hit of retro charm to any minimalist looks, with coveted collaborations like the Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance or Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 550 Conversations Amongst Us offering a more luxury take on the sporty silhouette.

Made to make a sporty statement, you can also rock the New Balance 550 with your best black tie fits to take a touch of streetwear style with you no matter what the occasion. The New Balance 550 White Black Grey is the ideal option for this as it delivers a sleek and sensible take on a shoe that is instantly depicted as an informal choice. Whether you match the 550 with a three piece suit or a monochrome maxi dress, the NB550 will ensure that you’re always the coolest in the room.

Out with the old, in with the New Balance 550

Made even more popular by a variety of well-known influencers, the 550 will continue to be the shoe of the moment for quite some time yet, so why not get your hands on a pair to style in your own way?

Whether you already live in your New Balance 550s or are just about to grab some, also make sure to share your favourite New Balance 550 outfits online so they can be appreciated by sneaker lovers all across the world.

New Balance 550 Top Picks

New Balance 550 Red

The New Balance 550 Red is the perfect balance between understated and bold, making it one of the most essential editions of this ‘80s silhouette. Its white leather base is layered with hits of red New Balance branding as well as contrasting touches of black which adds key depth to the design. Laced with tasteful vibrancy, this NB550 is an essential for any everyday rotation.

New Balance 550 Cream Black

Crafted with vintage-style charm, the New Balance 550 Cream Black offers a more aged aesthetic with its off-white leather base and matching midsole. Signature grey and black New Balance branding features over the shoe which adds understated detail. Made to add a hit of retro charm to almost any outfit, this 550 is not one to be missed.

New Balance 550 Triple Black

Offering a monochrome take on the basketball silhouette, the New Balance 550 Triple Black is a staple for any collection. Made using premium leather overlays, this stealthy sneaker is also engineered with trusted New Balance cushioning to allow you to wear this pair every single day. A bold basic, this all-black iteration of the 550 will never let you down.

How To Look After Your New Balance 550s

To keep your NB550s looking as fresh as possible, for as long as possible, make sure to regularly clean your sneakers in the best suited way to the materials used. A soft bristled brush, like a toothbrush, will gently scuff away any dry mud or dust that dries onto your shoes.

Using a damp cloth or a mild soap will help to wipe away any water marks that may dry onto your 550s when out on a rainy day.

If you wish to put your New Balance 550s in the washing machine, ensure to use a good quality garment bag to preserve the sneakers. Even though they’re safe to put in the washing machine, we suggest that you don’t do this regularly to lower the risk of damage to the shoes. Make sure to never put them into a dryer after a wash.

How Do New Balance 550 Fit?

Much like many other silhouettes, the New Balance 550 is tailored to fit as true to size as possible, so ordering your usual size is the best thing to do. Built with an Ortholite insole, the inside of the shoe is expertly made to mould to the shape of your foot. Because of its sleek exterior, the toe of the sneaker is slightly more snug than more roomy Air Max or Jordan models.

However, some sources do suggest opting for half a size up just to be on the safe side as well as allowing room for thick socks if that’s the way you’re wanting to style your pair.

Due to the 550’s narrow shape, going down half a size isn’t recommended as this often leads to them feeling too tight, which is why they are most commonly labelled as true to size.