1 on 1 with Burn Rubber’s Rick Williams

Over the years, we have witnessed a ton of special New Balance MT580 releases whether it be a collaboration or a general release of a timeless colorway. However, only a few have had a great impact on the sneaker culture like the recently released Burn Rubber x New Balance MT580.

This collaborative effort, between New Balance and Metro Detroit’s leading sneaker resource Burn Rubber, sold out at almost every retailer worldwide and is considered one of, if not the best New Balance release of the year.

We recently talked with Burn Rubber owner Rick Williams about his groundbreaking design and how it came about. In this in-depth interview, Williams discusses the design process of the Burn Rubber x New Balance MT580, the significance of each design cue and what this joint effort means to the Detroit Metro area. View 1 on 1 with Burn Rubber’s Rick Williams below.

Burn Rubber x New Balance MT580

Nice Kicks: We read, recently, that, upon getting the call from New Balance, you were so eager to work on the design that you started on a makeup before you received the template. Did you already know what model you wanted to collaborate on prior to any details given by New Balance?

Rick Williams: Yes. New Balance has basically been one of my favorite sneakers forever. I recently posted some pictures of my MT580 Collection on my website, so I’ve been collecting that shoe for a long time. I’ve always said, when the day comes where I’m able to do a collaboration with New Balance, I’m doing the MT580 first. So when the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to do the 580. When we got the ok to do the collab, it took them awhile to get us the template, so I created one from scratch and posted it on my website. I took a picture of one of my shoes and created my own template. They ended up using my creations instead of the one they made.

Nice Kicks: How long did it take to design the primary sample? What did the primary sample lack that the finished product has?

Rick Williams: The only difference between the final product and the first sample is the placement of the New Balance logo. The design didn’t take that long though. The templates took awhile, but Ro (Rick Williams’ business partner) and I sat down and went through a couple of designs. We probably did that in about a day.

Nice Kicks: Why was the New Balance MT580 selected as the base for this collaboration? Why is it such a special sneaker in your eyes?

Rick Williams: It’s just my favorite shoe. I kind of just fell in love with that shoe. I love all of the colorways from back in the day. I’m a fan of Mita Sneakers. I’m a fan of the joints they did with Stussy and UNDFTD. It’s just basically my favorite shoe. The design, how the tongue is and the midsole are some of my favorite qualities of the shoe.

Nice Kicks: So, what is your favorite New Balance MT580 release ever? Obviously, besides the one you just created.

Rick Williams: UNFDTD did a collaboration with Stussy, Hectic and New Balance called the “3 the Hard Way” Collection, and my favorite one was called the “Jimmie”. That’s my favorite. Around the time those released, my grandfather died and that was his name.

“I’ve always said, when the day comes where I’m able to do a collaboration with New Balance, I’m doing the MT580 first. So when the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to do the 580.”

– Rick Williams

Hectic? x UNDFTD x Stussy x New Balance MT580 "3 the Hard Way"

Nice Kicks: Your New Balance MT580 features a predominant, subtle color scheme of grey, black and white; yet, the orange hints play a big part in its appeal. What is the significance of this particular color scheme?

Rick Williams: Well, those are kind of the colors on our website: shades of black, grey, white and all of the accents are orange. Those are kind of our corporate colors sort of like McDonald’s has red and yellow. So, that is why we went with those colors. Even in our store, we have a lot of grey, white and black.

To read page 2 of the interview click here.

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