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Looking at the New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz and a Design Element That Makes Simple, Dope

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A lightweight upper meets soft cushioning technology for superior comfort that elevates your everyday look with modern sport style.

Source: Fresh Foam Cruz

This is less a post about the Cruz from New Balance and more about a design element that has become the foundation of growth for adidas and other footwear companies. When the Nike Roshe Run released it was a simple shoe that was perfect in its lack of design. The shape of the shoe, an almost seamless, one piece upper atop a cushioned outsole priced at 75 dollars, caught the attention of the market and became one of the best selling shoes for the Swoosh. The Roshe was based on the Y-3 silhouette from adidas. The style became the launchpad for adidas’ NMD and the rest has been history for the Three Stripes.

Roshe Run Black/Sail

The problem for Nike arrived in the overproduction of the Roshe and an increase in price. The door was opened and when adidas rushed through with BOOST, the midsole/outsole combination shifted the design of shoes. Nike’s round and formless Lunarlon midsole felt old and without any real design elements on the upper of the Roshe, and only changes in graphics and materials, the Roshe was stale. BOOST created lines and angles in the outsole that gave the basic structure of the NMD more design lines. It was a very simple shift. The Three Stripes could have hidden the boost in a TPU casing of some type, but exposing the cushioning (ala exposing air) added a design element that would make outsoles as much about art as the upper itself.


New Balance has introduced a number of shoes in the last year that have garnered serious interest. Not since shoes like SEAL and other retro styles has a New Balance shoe garnered resale value. The 990 and numbered models in the retro line feature premium suede and classic sturdy construction. Those shoes are a far cry from the 247 and the Cruz. The 247 was the first model from New Balance to use the same concept as the NMD/Roshe. The midsole and outsole combined to give a simply constructed shoe more angles and design.

A quick look at this 247 and you can clearly see an NMD influence with a Nike Roshe and NMD upper. What makes the shoe pop is obviously the materials, but there really isn’t a design on the toebox or around the collar, but the forefoot of the midsole has a colorblocking that appears as an allusion to the NMDs midsole blocks. Also in the midsole are angled lines above the REVLITE word and an additional blocking under the heel counter. The CRUZ is a very similar shoe to the 247 in the shape of the upper, but one look at the outsole and there is an obvious reference to the NMD or if you’re old school the honeycomb Hexalite cushioning of Reebok (That tech was visible on The Question).

New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz, Castlerock with Phantom

Design is always an interesting aspect to study in footwear. For a moment in time Nike had nailed the market with the Roshe and it’s solid Lunarfoam outsole. Now Nike has to find a low end cushioning system that gives them the edge in casual athletics. The REACT cushioning in the Hyperdunk will definitely be a tech that finds its way into Nike’s more casual focused releases. It has to… why else would they create a midsole cushioning tech that has lines in the side panel when clearly Nike has never really used this design element. Has Nike had distinctive midsoles? Yes, of course, but React is a direct response to the design element of midsoles on popular casual athletic models.

Use any of the links to pick up the shoes mentioned in the post and use the source link to see more colorways of the Cruz from New Balance.