New Balance 400

Been a while since I’ve posted some stuff…here’s a little update:

Some NB work from last summer has been released - among some smaller projects, this was the main one that I worked on under the performance running department there. The brief called for an entry-level shoe (main account being JCPenney) that can give the consumer something athletic, stylish, and techy-looking for around $45-$50 retail. With the upper being a slight update from previous models, the main focus was on the new tooling. The design of this tooling is not only focused on giving the consumer that low-priced versatility, but it’s also aimed at giving the company some versatility as well…the logo “pill” on the lateral side is a removable piece that allows the shoe to move up and down in price points. So, for example, the $50 shoe will be stock-fit with the pill at the factory, but later on down the road we’ll probably see a $35-$40 shoe without the pill - just the sidewall sculpting that was strategically designed to visually work without the pill in there.

Overall, the women’s versions came out a bit better in my opinion. By design, the arch piece is popped with color for that perceived value, and furthermore, I had that logo pill popped with the same color to create a visual connection there…almost giving the effect of a wrapping shank piece up through the sidewall. We had also thrown around some cool ideas for the pill execution - one being a NB Love/Hate motion effect like you see on some stickers and what not. However, due to costing, a simple NB print is what went through.

I had some time to dig through my sketches/doodles and put these pages together quickly with some product shots from JCPenney. Last I heard, the shoe is doing very well and has hit the one-million mark…

Questions/comments welcome as always…

nice man… should have put it in the newly released work thread, i was hoping for that to be a running thread like sketch fu that we can post stuff like this for other board members to see.

a future $35-40 version?? :open_mouth: wow, NB is having quite a spread in distribution there, from $35 to $140 for some running models.

Gotta love the numbers retailers like pennys can put up though, 1 million is a beast!


Wish I had seen that thread you mentioned - I knew one like that exists on KicksGuide, but I never saw that one on here until now…

But yea, I’m curious to see what comes out for the pricepoint below this one…I was a bit surprised to see this one under $50…and I actually found it going for $25.99 on another site - now with just a limited quantity of men’s sizes left and none for women.

great stuff, as usual. to you, it’s probably just another of many renders you and every other designer does, but i stared at that midsole rendo for a good 10 minutes. beautiful stuff!

nice stuff. Any chance you’d have a larger pic of the sketches. The linework looks really great and I’d love to see it in more detail.

cool project to have a complete shoe!


Great line work and markers.I love those sketches. They have a really dramatic and clean feel. The mid sole and sole concepts have so much life. Nice work.

Any info or feedback on the outsole design? i dont see the real version pictured (bottom view that is), but i know on these NB trainers its usually a crazy amount of detail, color breaks, etc.

Fantastic work, Chris! Congratulations!


Thanks guys -

I’ll post some more detailed pics (sketches/outsole) soon…

So here are some of the ideation sketches for the sidewall design. Overall, kept them pretty loose and tried to explore some different ideas, even though it was for a lower price point. There was some interest in those last 3 sketches, where the forefoot sculpting would expose some of the lug rubber beneath it, creating a sort of “shelf” effect there.

The outsole isn’t anything outrageous for this consumer…a lot of the sidewall stuff dictated the design to an extent…like wrapping color pops in the arch, etc.

super hot sketchwork. Nice job. I really like how you played with some of the detailing in a very balanced and rational but commercial way. A lot of time I find these kind of basic runners have all sorts of seemingly random lines and shapes on them, and it always drives me crazy…

Thanks for sharing. A very strong portfolio piece.


Thanks R! I appreciate the feedback.

Nice Chris!!!