Junya Watanabe is a Japanese designer who has been making clothes and shoes since the early 90s. He has become well-known for his unique and bold ideas and workmanship. His shoes and clothing can be found in over 300 stores around the world, ranging from small boutiques to high-end department stores. Interest has grown in his work since Junya was name checked in Kanye West’s music.
Who is Junya Watanabe?
Junya Watanabe is a Japanese fashion innovator and lifelong collaborator with Comme des Garcons designer, Rei Kawakubo. He graduated from Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo in 1984 and began his career as a pattern maker at CDG and was soon promoted to chief designer for the Tricot line, then CDG Homme. In order to launch his own brand, he created the “Junya Watanabe” brand name in 1993 under the umbrella of Comme des Garcons. In addition to his distinctive style, Watanabe’s experiments with cutting-edge fabric technology and unique tailoring techniques continue to be highly sought after by fashion houses worldwide.
Junya Watanabe Sneakers
Junya Watanabe is an expert in designing high-end luxury and street smart items equally.
In the early 2000s, Watanabe launched his first sneaker lines. Since then he has been producing a wide range of different styles and designs. He not only designs the shoes but also coordinates with brands like New Balance to produce them with his designs.
Junya Watanabe sneakers are unlike anything else you will find on the market today; they are one of a kind, truly unique pieces that transcend fashion trends that come and go with every season.
Junya Watanabe Shoes are made from a range of materials including premium leathers, calfskin, suede and nubuck. The Junya Watanabe shoes come with signature details such as embroidered logo patch on the tongue, laces, side zipper and rubber outsole.
Junya Watanabe & New Balance Collaborations
Each year, Japanese designer Junya Watanabe presents an array of collaborations with New Balance. These collaborations offer up refreshing new reinterpretations of NB classic sneakers as an element in each new line.
How Much Are Junya Watanabe New Balance Shoes?
The most popular Junya Watanabe New Balance shoes that are still available at the moment are generally priced between $200 and $300.
Junya Watanabe has collaborated with other brands like Adidas, Nike, and Comme des Garçons to design their own versions of their shoes.
For the Numeric 379 Junya Watanabe MAN teamed up with New Balance to put a spin on a classic New Balance skater shoe. In a low top textured cut, this subtle reinterpretation features a suede upper with a distinctive ‘N’ on the side.
It’s got a round toe and lace up top. The outsole is treated rubber and there is branding on both the tongue and printed insole.
Hit the skatepark in high fashion.
The Junya Watanabe MAN x New Balance AM574 combines the design elements from both the original and retro styles into one sleek sneaker. The mesh and premium suede upper is dressed in tonal beige with white accenting at the tongue, lace, and heel tabs. New Balance brands their shoes using various methods including branding on the tongue tags, heels, insoles, etc., but they use one particular method for each shoe style – which means we get plenty of variation. The white midsole features lightweight Revlite cushioning, which has been covered in a white rubber outsole.
Junya Watanabe New Balance 480
Receiving a lot of attention and praise, this collaboration between Comme des Garçons and New Balance in releasing the black and white version of BB480 shoe on Watanabe’s eYe imprint was a big event for sneaker lovers. The eYe Junya Watanabe x New Balance BB480 released first in Japan at Comme des Garçons shops selling for around $220 (24,000 yen).
The BB480 shoe collaboration was the second in a series by New Balance and Watanabe. September 2020 saw them work together to envision three different silhouettes: The 379, the Pro Court Cup & the legendary 574.
Junya Watanabe New Balance 574 V1 Hiker
574 V1 Hiker reinterprets a heritage classic by placing a focus on durability.
Past capsule collections were often dominated by monochromatic looks, but recent offerings have been far less restrained. All of them basically fall within the same color palette, but bear varying degrees of lightness, ranging from creamy whites through off whites into blacks. Logos like these—which include the N logo along the outside edge of the shoe, the mountain-accented tongue label, and the eYe text printed into the heel tab—do provide some additional visual interest, but they don’t necessarily improve overall design quality.
Also check out section on Junya Watanabe’s Japanese minimalist fashion works here.