Lonely Planet Writer

America's National Parks are the inspiration for these limited edition sneakers

When it comes to shoes, functionality and fashion are no longer the only deciding factors in the design process. In recent years, a number of unique creations have been released with innovative features, such as Adidas’ new runners that come complete with an annual travel ticket for Berlin’s underground sewn into the tongue, or the company’s beer-proof sneakers inspired by Oktoberfest. And now, two of America’s largest clothing brands, New Balance and J. Crew, are the latest companies to announce a distinctive concept; a range of shoes inspired by the country’s national parks.

The Crater Lake National Park-inspired New Balance sneakers.
The limited edition Crater Lake National Park-inspired New Balance sneakers. Image by Bryan Daugherty

The collaboration is called New Balance for J. Crew 998 National Park sneakers, and sees limited edition designs being released that were inspired by Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and Death Valley National Park in eastern California. The colouring of both pairs of shoes reflect each of the destinations, with the Crater Lake sneakers being finished in shades of rich blue, calling to mind the crystal waters and snowy surroundings of America’s deepest lake, while the Death Valley pair evoke the desert landscape with brown and tan tones.

The limited edition Death Valley-inspired New Balance sneakers.
The limited edition Death Valley-inspired New Balance sneakers. Image by Caleb Diaz

Retailing for $180 (€145) for every pair of sneakers sold, $10 will be donated to the National Park Foundation. “This fun and very stylish collaboration with J. Crew and New Balance inspires conversations about our country’s incredible National Park System and what we can all do to help support it,” Stefanie Mathew, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at the National Park Foundation told Lonely Planet Travel News.

$10 from the retail price of every sale will go to the National Park System.
$10 from the retail price of every sale will go to the National Park System. Image by Bryan Daugherty

In order to ensure the product images were as unique as the designs themselves, New Balance and J. Crew sent photographers Bryan Daugherty and Caleb Diaz to Crater Lake and Death Valley respectively, where they added their personal styles to the process, capturing the sneakers in the environments that inspired them.

Photographers Caleb Diaz and Bryan Daugherty were enlisted to help capture the products on location.
Photographers Caleb Diaz and Bryan Daugherty were enlisted to help capture the products on location. Image by Caleb Diaz

The limited edition sneakers are available online at jcrew.com and from selected stores.