Drafting off of the colorful Rue Cremieux, the new look will launch online tomorrow. Here’s what you need to know about the Bulls star’s latest New Balance pair.
When Chicago Bulls All-Star scorer Zach LaVine signed on with New Balance last spring, he was looking forward to days like today.
Joining just a handful of NBA athletes on the New Balance roster, LaVine knew he’d have the opportunity to headline and debut some of the category’s newest innovations and launches in due time, and during the NBA’s latest Global Games showcase between the Bulls and Pistons on Thursday in Paris – the 119th international game for l’Association since 1984 – LaVine debuted a first look at the New Balance Fresh Foam BB.
The mid-cut silhouette is the latest basketball sneaker from New Balance’s resurgent hoops category that only just re-launched in 2018.
“I have been working with the New Balance design team on this launch since I first joined the brand,” LaVine said on the occasion, “so I’m really excited to be able to talk about it and wear it on-court.”
Seen on the Accor Arena court first in a vibrant light blue upper with purple and yellow accents along the toe and heel, LaVine’s No. 8 can also be seen atop the tongue label. The hues drew inspiration from the painted row homes found along the popular Rue Cremieux in Paris’s 12th arrondissement.
Before the game, LaVine appeared at the Paris Foot Locker store, where he posed with the new Fresh Foam BB and also unveiled a hoodie inspired by local Parisian art styles.
The Bulls were scheduled to wear their traditional red “Icon” uniforms, meaning LaVine would yet again be happily clashing with his team’s colors. For the fifth season in a row, the league has ditched its color rules for footwear, that were in place for decades before.
“We’re in an age now where if you’re wearing red and you’re a blue team, it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “It’s individualized and it lets you stick out and be who you are. All of these different colors and flavors, I think it helps everybody.”
Long before the color direction was decided, however, LaVine was already behind the curtain.
“As soon as Zach joined New Balance, we set up time to meet with him and take him through the Fresh Foam BB,” said Trent Casper, New Balance GM for Performance Basketball. “He did significant wear testing for us and provided insights that went into the design and performance of the shoe.”
A complement to the current low-top Two Wxy series, the New Balance Fresh Foam model ushers in a more responsive full-length foam.
“We wanted to provide athletes with a more cushioned and comfortable ride, by using the plush Fresh Foam technology underfoot,” Casper said. “The design intent was to keep players fresh in the fourth [quarter].”
As LaVine found early on in his visits with the footwear team, there was a tier of resources and extra attention that impressed right away.
“They’re really able to customize it to my foot, with them being able to go in and scan,” the veteran guard said. “It’s pretty high-level.”
Part of the appeal in signing with New Balance to begin with was all that potential hands-on experience with the product team and the opportunity to help grow the category alongside just a select group of players.
“That was a big reason why. I’m not scared to do something different,” LaVine said just after originally signing last spring. “For the guys that they already had on the roster, it aligned with the right culture. Kawhi [Leonard] obviously being the lead guy here, Dejounte [Murray], Jamal [Muray], myself, and Darius [Garland], it’s been really really cool to start to understand that this is a really close-knit group and they really care about their players.”
Just last week, the brand also added 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey, rounding out an impressive roster of rising talent to complement a three-time NBA champion in Leonard.
Kawhi has continued to lead his own signature series, and the rest of the group will eventually shift into the Fresh Foam BB for the second half of the season. But for now, it’s LaVine who has taken the lead on launching the brand’s newest silhouette.
“We also worked with Zach on the colors and stories that consumers will see on future colors of the Fresh Foam BB,” Casper said.
The Fresh Foam BB’s limited “Paris” edition will be available exclusively at NewBalance.com beginning Friday, Jan. 20 for a retail price of $130. The global launch colorway — a more Bulls-friendly look — is nicknamed “Virtual” and is scheduled to drop on Feb. 3.
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