When you talk about New Balance these days, the most-mentioned sneakers will most likely be the 550, 2002R, or any of the 990s regardless of version. In New Balance’s recent resurgence, they have come up with a couple of “new” silhouettes like the 327, the RC30, and the XC-72.
The XC-72 has been getting some love thanks to New Balance’s We Got Now campaign, and is worn by singer-songwriter IU in one of their campaigns. Also a 70s-inspired sneaker (and initially a Casablanca collab) like the 327, the XC-72 brings retro styling to the modern age with its clean and streamlined looks.
We got our hands on one of the latest XC-72 colorways in this “Sea Salt” iteration, and we give our thoughts on New Balance’s 70s-inspired sneaker.
The XC-72 is positioned as a follow-up to the 327, which explains why both sneakers do look similar. Both sneakers started off as a collab with Casablanca, and both are inspired by New Balance’s sneakers from the 70s. One of the key differences between the two sneakers is that the XC-72 has a more streamlined design that’s likened to a sports car, along with an outsole that has two different traction patterns on the lateral and medial side.
With how the outsole is designed, the XC-72 has a symmetrical toebox design, where you have a strip of nylon separating the hairy suede panels. You also get an oversized N branding on both the lateral and medial side, a rubber heel clip, and wedge cuts on the end of its midsole.
The XC-72 branding on the insoles gives it a proper retro look, while the placement of the New Balance logo on the tongue (which has an exposed foam design) completes the 70s vibe of the sneaker.
How Do We Feel About Them?
While these are not as tech-heavy as the brand’s more popular sneakers, the XC-72 is clearly seen as more of a lifestyle sneaker despite its runner origins. True to New Balance fashion, the brand did not scrimp on the materials used on the XC-72. With the “Sea Salt” colorway, you get generous hairy suede overlays on the canvas upper, along with a padded sock liner that’s made from cotton.
New Balance also cares about the environment; this particular XC-72 colorway uses at least 50% recycled material and ethically-sourced leather for the upper, along with at least 5% recycled (or 3% bio-based) content on the midsole. It’s an approach that’s similar to what we saw with Vans’ Circle Vee, and we love the effort these brands are doing with their sneakers nowadays.
The streamlined, wedge design of the XC-72 could make it pass for a sneaker from luxury brands, and New Balance’s selection of materials for its upper–especially the type of suede used–makes them look more expensive than they actually are.
Fit and Sizing
Just like New Balance’s more modern running sneakers like the 990 and 2002R, the XC-72 is quite roomy and is great for wide and flat-footed people. While they are generally true to size, you can afford to go half a size down if you want a more snug (but still comfortable) fit.
Despite looking rather chunky on the outside, the XC-72 feels relatively light. The midsole has no fancy tech–70s sneakers don’t really have them–but they are comfortable on the feet. It’s not as soft as New Balance’s modern cushioning tech like N-Ergy, Fresh Foam, or ABZORB, but the XC-72’s utilitarian midsole is fine even for long walks. That’s just fine, considering there are other forms of modern cushioning tech that are not as comfortable as what the XC-72 has to offer.
Where to Buy
The XC-72 is priced at Php 6,495, and can be purchased at any New Balance retail store nationwide, along with online retailers like Zalora, Lazada, and Shopee. Unlike New Balance’s more expensive (and more hyped) modern runners, its easy to get the XC-72; it all boils down to what colorway that you like. The “Sea Salt” colorway appears to be exclusive to physical New Balance stores, though the colorways being sold online are pretty good too.
New Balance XC-72 “Sea Salt” Verdict
If you want a New Balance pair to add to your collection that’s fairly easy to get and not too expensive (those MADE 990s cost upwards of Php 12k, while runners like the 2002R would cost you Php 8k), the XC-72 is a good option to add to your rotation. While it does not offer any fancy cushioning tech, the XC-72’s streamlined wedge design gives it a nice, avant-garde look, and is a great lifestyle sneaker overall.