New Balance has been in the sneaker game for 100 years, but that doesn’t mean they’re above a little feedback. To prove as much, the brand has introduced a new TEST_RUN program, which aims to test the proverbial waters before diving all the way in. Specifically, the program will introduce new, innovative designs, and gauge consumer interest before scaling up. Consider it a downright solid way to bring experimental concepts to market without putting the company’s future on the line. Here’s hoping it works.
Kicking off the TEST_RUN program in style is the PRJ 1.0, which received a stay of execution after generating interest from a range of progressive thinkers. Pairing a 90s aesthetic with modern construction techniques, the sneaker forewent traditional routes when coming to market, and is consequently available in limited supply. Featured on the PRJ 1.0 are a full-length Abzorb midsole with Acteva support rim, bootie construction, an external TPU heel counter, a knit upper, and a lightweight rubber outsole. As a result, the sneaker delivers classic style and contemporary comfort alike.
Will the PRJ 1.0 sink or swim? That’s for the consumers to decide. In other words, the silhouette’s fate is intrinsically correlated to initial public response. Should the participating sneakerheads deem it a winner, then New Balance will scale up accordingly. For all the people out there who think mainstream brands simply don’t take enough risks, here’s your worthy compromise.