Year Released: 1984

I caught onto New Balance kind of all of a sudden. I guess there wasn't a whole lot of distribution where I lived outside of running models, which I wasn't really checking for until maybe 1987. Then all of a sudden, New Balance court product started to pop up on the street. In retrospect, these were very conservative shoes, and I don't really do white on white. During this period, New Balance really was "endorsed by no one." This was before the Worthys, and there was no hook, no gimmicks and practically no color. But in 1985, New Balance was not Nike, Adidas or Puma, so it was something different. The New Balance CT550 was a tank. There was a mid as well called the P540 that I owned, but I think that may have been a basketball shoe. I bought them at Pearson's Sporting Goods (which also sold Viewmaster reels and had crazy Star Wars toys). These were great shoes. The reason they are on this list is because I wasn't trying to blow through shoes each week. If you came up on New Balance court shoes from the 1980's this week, you could put them on and wear them right now. At some point, someone told me what the letters stood for (CT550, P540, etc.), but I don't remember. New Balance generally went up to size 17EE, but if you wear a size 17 and your feet are wider than they are long, you are probably not playing tennis.