For the fall 2010 season, New Balance Lifestyle is reintroducing the popular heritage running 320 silhouette for the first time since the 1970s. Originally released in 1976 for men and in 1978 for women, the 320 was revolutionary for its time and changed the course of New Balance history.
Running for fitness was becoming an increasingly popular trend, and the 1976 Olympics in Montreal got millions of Americans excited about athletics. The 320 catapulted the brand to the forefront of modern athletic shoe design and was the first New Balance silhouette to sport the “N” logo.
In October 1976, the New Balance 320 was rated the #1 running shoe by Runner’s World magazine, citing its highly stable flared heel, forefoot cushioning and width sizing. The #1 rating from Runner’s World drove sales through the roof and telephone calls and telegrams poured in. Everyone wanted the New Balance 320 and in 1976 the suggested retail price of the 320 was $32.00, laying the groundwork for the New Balance naming system (i.e. model numbers of the shoes were the original prices).
In 1978, NB created a specific women’s last for the 320 and in addition to being named #1 by Runner’s World, the 320 quickly became notable in the industry as the first running shoe that was designed exclusively for women. The creation of separate men’s and women’s lasts allowed for a snugger and more natural fit which allowed for the deconstructed and soft material used in today’s reissues.
More pics after the jump