New Balance struck gold with the reintroduction of the 550, and now, thanks to its huge mainstream popularity, it's undergoing the Nike Dunk treatment. Lots and lots of colorways.

Originally released in 1989, the 550 came to market at the peak of the Nike Dunk High's success. Given the Dunk's enormous popularity and proximity to basketball and skate culture, it's unsurprising that the 550 struggled to level it, exacerbated further with the arrival of the Dunk Low by way of Nike SB.

Naturally, the 550 somewhat faded into obscurity; before its rebirth at the hands of Aimé Leon Dore and Teddy Santis in 2020.

Arriving at a time in which the Dunk Low was about to flood the market with releases, the 550 was propelled into the spotlight, finally going toe-to-toe with its Swoosh counterpart.

What separated the two was the exclusivity of the 550 and its vintage-inspired colorways rendered by the likes of AURALEE, ALD, CDG, and size?

Unsurprisingly, the sneaker's desirable lifestyle aesthetic and on-trend colorings ensured the inevitable – eventually, it would undergo the same treatment as the Dunk Low throughout 2021 (and into 2022).

As the Dunk is declared basic online as the Gen-Z replacement for Air Force 1s, perhaps the 550's intensified frequency of releases will be seen as a lowkey alternative, inevitably leading to it becoming just as "played out."

At the end of the day, New Balance's 550 is a beautifully simplistic sneaker that has been masterfully executed under the creative direction of Teddy Santis, and if that means more opportunities to secure a pair, who am I to complain?

There's plenty to come in 2022, so we'll be sure to keep you updated on the biggest and best

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