Salehe Bembury’s debut collaboration with Boston-based New Balance certainly took the sneakersphere by surprise. But then again, Salehe has been surprising people since his days at Payless, working his way up to Cole Haan, to YEEZY, to Versace. Last October’s “Peace Be the Journey” 2002R was a consistent feature amongst annual top ten lists, and arguably pushing him over the edge to nab the Footwear News Designer of the Year. Though Bembury has now left Versace to establish his own footwear lineage, he still has a handful of projects with both ANTA and New Balance in the works, the next of which was teased by the man himself on social media this week.
Again Bembry finds himself tinkering with the New Balance 2002R, this time adding a water theme to the silhouette — inspired by Arizona’s Havasu Falls. Construction-wise, it appears that not much will change between his Antelope Canyon-colored “Peace Be The Journey” collaboration, instead opting for color and tone tweaks to fit his waterborne inspiration. What we can certain from the teaser is that uppers will arrive in a teal green hue, while accents of striking neon green work with aqua and teal throughout. Interestingly, the midsole’s orange fleck remains, where one would think a blue-green hue would reside.
While we don’t have much to go on, we’ve whipped up a ballpark mock-up of the colorway to give you a greater appreciation for the color palette, though you can expect the actual release to differ in ways. A release date has not yet been set, but we’ve been told from a handful of sources that it’s not expected for some time.
Update 05.29.21 // Salehe has finally given us a full look at his New Balance 2002R “Water Be The Guide”, and it does differ significantly from the first round of speculative mock-ups. Here we see the previously-teased teal suede overlays, vibrant green accents, and flecked white midsoles, but a left-field inclusion of tan-beige mesh uppers and traditional tan leathers at the ankle, vamp, and tongue gives an earthy finish to the otherwise water-based release.
Update 06.05.21 // It has been revealed that the Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R “Water Be The Guide” will release on June 25th, 2021. Store/raffle lists will be sure to follow over the coming weeks, so be sure to check back in closer to the date for up-to-the-minute info.
Update 06.09.21 // Your best look yet at the Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R “Water Be The Guide” has landed courtesy of @arab_lincoln
Release Date: June 25th, 2021
Where to Buy:
New Balance Check Site
Official launch //
Speculative Mock-Up + First Look //