by Abe Schwadron / @abe_squad
The New Balance 574 is one of the most classic silhouettes in sneaker history. If you don’t own a pair, well, you’re sleeping. And, if you live in the New York area, you have a chance to right that wrong. Last week, SLAM got the first up-close and personal test drive of any media outlet of the New Balance customization kiosk at Foot Locker in Times Square.
Sure, customizing kicks in your own stylized colorway is nothing new—matter fact, you’re probably thinking, “I’ve been doing this online for years.” But you’ve never entered a Foot Locker, walked up to a touch-screen display and been able to touch and feel materials, colors, fabrics and styles as you move them around on a 3-D shoe. No way.
The kiosk offers customers—any customer with a shipping address in the United States, no appointment necessary—the chance to create their own 574 colorway. And you might be there a while, since in all there are 48,000 billion possible color combinations. Start with a pre-existing theme, build your own 574 from scratch, or (and this is pretty cool) peep the latest designs from other users who have designed their own shoes at the store. Just don’t be a copycat.
You can customize everything from the laces to the logos, in suede or leather. For final touches, New Balance lets you add a custom phrase, number or name to the back heel. That includes hashtags, @ signs and any other character on your keyboard—yes, we asked.
Having the materials and exact colors right in front of you, and available to touch, feel and interact with on-site, makes it a lot easier to imagine your real-life shoe than it does staring at a computer screen. And, unlike many other online customizing services, New Balance ships your kicks in 6-10 business days, not weeks or months, and you can immediately upload your personalized design to Facebook or Twitter directly from the kiosk.