There are very few things Action Bronson hasn't done — or, at least tried. The Queens-born musician raps, cooks, paints, works out (incessantly), wrestles, blends his own olive oil, hosts his own TV show, writes cookbooks and, now, thanks to New Balance, designs his own sneakers. It's a milestone he said he's anticipated his whole life. And it's only right he shares the moment with New Balance, a brand he says his mother introduced him to.
As for why, well... she valued comfort. "She had a hammer toe," he says.
Bronson discussed the shoes on Complex's Full Size Run, with his usual humorous delivery. Although Bronson is, well, imaginative, he's telling the truth: New Balance sneakers do come in several widths — all the way from X-Narrow to XX-Wide, in fact — making them perfect for folks suffering from podal problems.
While he didn't need the super-wide sizes, Broson was taken back by his mother's commitment to brand. He shared her appreciation for their shoes, wearing them early on in his rap career, long before any sort of partnership was ever official. Now, he has his own sneaker. Here's how he secured the deal.
Action Bronson x New Balance 990v6 'Baklava,' Explained
The New Balance 990v6 is a new sneaker. Debuted in November 2022, it's the latest evolution of the popular 990, of which there are now six generations, with the 990v3 being arguably the best looking. The 990v6 introduces an oversized sole unit, which features New Balance's performance-oriented FuelCell technology, a feature often saved for the higher-end running sneakers.
Bronson is ready to defend the newest gen, though, as a lifestyle sneaker, especially since he's been at the center of several campaigns coinciding with its launch, both for the original all-grey colorway and his own, dubbed 'Baklava,' which references his nickname, Mr. (0r Dr.) Baklava, his social media username (@bambambaklava), his Albanian heritage and one of his most favorite deserts. (Baklava, duh.)
A manic mishmash of colors and textures, the sneaker represents many things, Bronson says, from the colors he uses when painting to the waves he rides when boogie boarding. (He often surfs The American Dream's indoor wave simulator.) But the scheme's been in his head for a long time, he explains, each color taking up space in the scrapbook inside his head.
When does Action Bronson's New Balance collab come out?
Bronson first teased his collaborative sneaker in 2022. Then he debuted it to the world on the AEW stage, where he appeared as a guest wrestler.
The 990v6 'Baklava' officially dropped on March 17th, 2023 via Bronson's personal page, Specializing in Life, but will on New Balance's own online store on March 24th. They've both teased a second colorway, too, called Lapis Lazuli, which is a metamorphic rock known for its vibrant blue hue.
Why does Action Bronson have his own New Balance sneaker?
Bronson speaks of his sneaker as if it's high art (pun intended)... and, well, it is. Famously 420-friendly, Bronson uses his grandiose tone to get things done, all while blurring the line between what's real and what's not. This collab very much is, though, thanks to New Balance Made USA lead, and fellow Queens kid, Teddy Santis, the founder of Aimé Leon Dore, who connected the dots between New Balance's collaborative arm and Action.
New Balance is also using this opportunity to promote its newest silhouette, which has garnered mixed reactions from fans online. Many have called the sole unit too big, while others have complained about the style's shrinking suede percentage. But Bronson's hyper-hued iteration could change the public's perception.
Right now, it seems true sneakerheads are already on board, but whether the general public is ready to pull the trigger on multi-colored New Balance sneakers — a style so polar opposite of what the is brand known for — remains to be seen.
"I've seen online," he admitted on Full Size Run. "It's polarizing, and I love that. Any art that's worth a fucking damn is. And, for me, that's what this is."