The Unofficial Sneaker
Sneaker of Fall
As autumn weather settles in,
it’s time to change your shoes
Our color palettes shift every fall when we pack away our shorts and T-shirts and unbox the trusted fleeces and hardy layers that keep us warm for the changing season. Bright and bold short-sleeve shirts get replaced by dark, thick sweaters. I don't know about you, but my closet inevitably starts resembling the brochure for an Ivy League admission's office, regardless of how far I am from the nearest hiking trail.
Columbia, Patagonia, L.L.Bean and The North Face have been the pillars of outdoor wear for decades, but a similar U.S.-based clothing company has held its own as one of the most trusted and consistent brands in footwear: New Balance. And few brands, through reputation or design, encapsulate American prep-sport the way the former New Balance Arch Support Company has.
When the brand was conceived in 1906, the White Sox and Cubs were in the World Series, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle had just been published and passionate outdoorsman Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House. But despite the new century, the preppiest sneaker in the game has endured thanks to timeless style, trusted models and our fondness toward vintage American outdoor brands.
As the Boston-bred shoe matured and became more popular it carved out its own place in Americana. In 1982, the 99X series debuted, which 30 years later has barely been tweaked, with its biggest update being the slew of new colorways. Steve Jobs was one of NB's biggest proponents, as displayed in nearly every archived Apple product launch, along with his famous jeans and turtleneck. New Balance's simplicity is so versatile that it blends into its surroundings whether that is a city street or out in nature. The shoes are so flawlessly anti-hype, that they've become a streetwear statement themselves. All while suburban dads across the country laud the brand for their range of wide sizes.
Going into fall, with the trees starting to shed their leaves and the daylight getting shorter it's easier to gravitate towards preppier styles that have lent themselves towards keeping us warm for years: shawl collared sweaters, corduroy pants, and fleeces in every pattern imaginable. And with all this mixing and matching going on, the easiest complement on your foot is a simple and preppy American-made shoe. We've selected our favorite New Balance sneakers for this time of year, including some of the classics as well as modern colorways and styles.
The first New Balance sneaker, the Trackster, was made at home by the founder’s daughter for mail-order customers.
NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.