The 550 is a basketball sneaker from New Balance that originally released in 1989 as a low-top counterpart to the 650. In 2020, the brand began producing retros again as casual sneakers.
The NB 550’s sizing is slightly long and narrow across the bridge of the foot at true to size. A half size down will be tight widthwise, so true to size is still recommended.
The New Balance 550 are an overall comfortable sneaker, albeit snug across the bridge of the foot, even when laced loosely. Despite being a retro hoop shoe, these feel surprisingly light on feet. The Ortholite insole feels comfortable, not very cushy but definitely noticeable. Fit and comfort of course will vary for you depending on how your foot is shaped.
Quality on the 550 is decent overall but varies depending on the material composition of each colorway. The model is not part of New Balance’s Made lines and generally has average quality materials. The shoe is solidly constructed however.
‘All the pros back then were wearing high-cuts for ankle protection. The 550 was performance-geared but looking at it now, it does seem like a chilling shoe in the making.’ The 550 shows the variety of what New Balance was about at that time. They became known as a dad shoe brand, but they had a wide scope of product in the late 80s and 90s.’ -Steven Smith