Image by Yu Fujiwara
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DESIGN

Tokyobike + New Balance C-Series Collection

An exclusive first look at the design collaboration resulting in three new shoe designs and two new bicycle colorways

by Graham Hiemstra
on 19 January 2015
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Established in 2012 to develop new concepts and designs inspired by various lifestyles, New Balance's Tokyo Design Studio is often responsible for the Boston-based brand's more limited, buzz worthy introductions. With cycling recently put in their crosshairs, three new models (CM600C, CT700C and 996C) were developed under the helm of Design Manager Shugo Moritani, specifically for the urban commuter that rides daily, though with a casual approach. To help launch the collection (which officially hits stores 1 February 2015), Moritani teamed up with Tokyobike, maker of high-design urban bicycles. The result is two exclusive colorways of the 600C, made to match two Tokyobike CS model bicycles also designed for this very collaboration.

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"I knew of Tokyobike as making bicycles designed to enjoy and ride around a city, not for performance. I was impressed by their concept and felt that their concept was similar to our goal for C-Series," explains Moritani. "I thought that working closely with Tokyobike would enhance our design, create excitement and communicate our concept for the collection." Though New Balance has been teasing detail shots for the past couple of weeks, we're excited to be the first to introduce the new C-Series collection in full, along with the Tokyobike offerings as well.

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"We had a clear goal to achieve in designing the C-Series, which was to create a new footwear collection that suited daily fashion and lifestyle while also being a functional urban cycling shoe," explains Moritani. "It is a deviation from the classic New Balance lifestyle silhouette, but one that was needed to offer our lifestyle consumer a solution for their daily needs. Our hope is that a consumer chooses a C-Series model based on their type of bicycle and fashion style." The CT700C, which sports an ankle strap for keeping pant legs away from the bike chain, and the reflective 996C will be available exclusively in black and gray colorways and in Europe and Asia, the CM600C will be introduced online and in North America in four colorways, including the two Tokyobike editions.

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The CM600C is based on the New Balance 620 silhouette, which was released as a lightweight, durable running shoe in 1980. A slimmer profile distinguishes it from the pack, with a "bootie construction" that was singled out by Moritani as an unconventional decision for New Balance, but ultimately a natural one. The neoprene tongue and ankle area make for a snug, secure fit while also making it extremely easy to take on and off. Cork footbeds absorb moisture and a hidden pocket on the tongue safely secures laces to keep them away from the front chain ring. Each detail on the CM600C and its two counterparts has been carefully considered. NB-TB-collab-600c-yellow.jpg

Though this isn't the first time Tokyobike has collaborated on a pair of cycling-influenced shoes—in 2013 they collaborated with London-based women’s shoe designer Tracey Neuls—it might very well be the most high profile. For a closer look at the Tokyobike collaboration bikes and the entire C-Series collection see the slideshow. And go to New Balance for the C-Series ($120), and Tokyobike online for further details.

Tokyobike images by Yu Fujiwara, all others courtesy of New Balance

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