A Complete Timeline of the Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance Partnership

From 2019's 997 collaboration to 2021's 550 collection, here is a complete timeline of Aimé Leon Dore's collaborative partnership with New Balance.

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance Partnership Timeline
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance Partnership Timeline

Over the course of the past year, New Balance has been experiencing a resurgence. While the Boston-based footwear brand has always had a loyal following supporting its various runners, lifestyle collaborations throughout 2020 with popular designers like Joe Freshgoods, Casablanca, and JJJJound have injected new life into the brand. The same people who once scoffed at owning a New Balance sneaker are now eagerly trying to secure pairs for their rotation.

One of the collaborators who has been at the forefront of New Balance’s surge is New York City’s Aimé Leon Dore. Since releasing its first duo of 997s in September 2019, the brand has cranked out five other projects with New Balance that have all been met with fanfare. One of them even resulted in the NYPD shutting down the in-store lineup to control the commotion on Mulberry Street. Whether ALD is putting its touch on favorites like the 997 or digging up forgotten models from the ‘80s like the 550, the brand’s contributions have certainly helped consumers view NB in a new light. The brand has taken notice, too. ALD founder Teddy Santis will be taking over as the creative director of its Made in USA business at the top of 2022, a sign that whatever he is doing is working. 

Fresh off of the latest project between the two parties earlier this month, we decided to take a look at the evolution of the ALD x NB partnership. The detailed rundown appears below.—Mike DeStefano

New Balance 997

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 997 Collection 4

New Balance 990v2/990v5

aime leon dore new balance 990v2 990v5 life in the balance collection lateral

New Balance 827

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 827

New Balance 550 (International Friendship Through Basketball Pt. 1)

Aime Leon Dore x New Balance P550 Basketball Oxford (Group)

New Balance 1300

Aime Leon Dore x New Balance 1300 'Green'

When: August 2020

ALD decided to take a bit of a different approach to its fifth collaboration with New Balance. With the hype surrounding the brand’s offerings arguably reaching its highest point at the launch of the 550s in Summer 2020, Santis and company made sure that everyone who wanted this collab would be able to own it. Rather than hold a raffle or lineup, Aimé Leon Dore decided to send out a pre-order to all of its newsletter subscribers on Aug. 13, 2020, that allowed for customers to reserve one pair of each colorway in the size of their choosing. The collab consisted of two 1300s. One pair featured a Dusty Pink mesh and hairy suede upper with navy blue detailing, while the other opted for a Botanical Green upper with silver accents. Each featured pre-yellowed tongues and midsoles as well that made them look like a pristinely kept relic from 1984 pulled from someone’s storage bin.

The catch, the shoes wouldn’t actually be delivered until months later. Pairs finally began to touch down to those who reserved them in March 2021. While the initial email suggests that there is still a general release on the way, there has been no indication of a follow-up drop as of right now. A pre-order system like this is certainly something we would love to see implemented more often in sneakers. It makes sure those who actually want the shoes eventually get them. Will it become the norm? Probably not. But we hope at least ALD keeps these types of pre-order drops in play every so often. —Mike DeStefano

Aime Leon Dore x New Balance 1300 'Pink'

When: April 2021

How much does New Balance trust Teddy Santis? Enough to anoint him as the creative director of its Made in USA business, from which come popular retro models like the 1300, 1400, and a number of the 990s. The new position, which the Aimé Leon Dore founder will take over starting in 2022, is new territory for New Balance, a sportswear company that has historically been somewhat hesitant to move like a fashion brand. The announcement came with a full-page ad in The New York Times and a brief comment from Santis on Instagram. “Thank you to the NB team for trusting me with what I believe is the soul of the brand,” he wrote. “I look forward to sharing more behind this campaign and what it represents for our partnership.” —Brendan Dunne

New Balance 550 (International Friendship Through Basketball Pt. 2)

Aime Leon Dore x New Balance P550 Spring 2021