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How New Balance Became Fashion's No-Risk Source for Sneaker Cred

The Kate Spade-designed New Balance WX811
The Kate Spade-designed New Balance WX811Photograph courtesy New Balance

Kate Spade doesn’t do sporty. The brand knows its way around preppy and colorful put-together looks, a fairly conservative combination that has helped fuel a relatively bonkers growth trajectory. With big expectations from both those who buys its handbags and those who buy its stock, the company now needs to expand—and there’s little in its inventory fitting the hottest trend of the moment: athletic wear.

That’s why Kate called up New Balance. Last week the company told analysts that New Balance is stitching up a special line of its WX711 and the coming WX811 in Spade’s “signature bright colors and graphic prints.” The shoes will start selling in February for $95 at both Kate Spade and New Balance stores.