CK: 2012 is the 30th anniversary of the 99X line. How much did that play in the conception of the 990v3?
Nyssen: I looked at all the shoes. I’ve been at New Balance around nine years so I’ve kind of absorbed the culture and am really aware of what the brand stands for and what the history of the shoes is. I did pull from the elements of the past. Like the history of the back part calling out the USA. I wanted it on a couple places on the shoe in an appropriate way. The red NB logo on the back. There used to be a woven label on the back. A lot of brands have gone away from reflective so there’s the big reflective tab on the back and on the N, of course. We’re trying to make the shoe look faster. It’s a bit like the Porsche 911. Every year they make it a look a little longer or a little wider, change the rake of the back of the car by two degrees, make it look quicker, change the headlight design. If you look at the 993 compared to the 990, there’s three pieces in the center of the shoe. We combined those into one piece. If you look back to the 990 version 2 from 1998, that shoe has a one-piece saddle. So we’re kind of going back to that.
CK: Looks like you went for an equal balance of future and history.
Nyssen: It’s history and performance as well as casual and modern aesthetics. It’s harder than it seems. It has to be appealing to millions of people at the same time. So when you’re designing you think, what do I want, so you apply some of that. But in time you’re like, a kid in college or whomever, what would he like? So you blend all that.