While I was busy with Boktober and only wearing Reeboks for a month, I did grab a few pairs from other brands. One of those was the Ronnie Fieg x New Balance 997.5 Mykonos Archipelago. I’m a big fan of the 997 (much more than the 998) so I was curious to see how I’d like this hybrid I’d never had the opportunity to see or try before.A mostly navy colorway with two different shades of teal was very appealing to me. Some complained that it was just another Salmon Sole makeup (which many call a ripoff of the Norse Projects New Balance 670) but that didn’t really bother me very much. The price point was a little high ($240 US), however the fact that these were Made in the USA and the more limited availability helped me justify grabbing a pair.
My first reaction when opening the cool custom box was “ashy”. The #kithfilter had struck again. The lighter shades of suede were somewhat visible in the promo pics, but it was much more prominent in hand and the first thing I noticed. The two different teals on the “N” logos are nice and vibrant and probably my favorite details, although I would have preferred that they were symmetrical with the color placement on each shoe rather than alternating. Inconsistency in the suede texture (smooth vs shaggy) is muted some by the monochromatic colors of the shoe but still noticeable from panel to panel. Navy leather lining on the collar and inside of the tongue provide a more premium feel. The printing on the insole was a nice touch, as were the three additional pairs of laces (even though I stuck with the black pair that came pre-laced out of the box).
As far as fit and comfort go, I found that going with my standard 9.5 provided a nice fit without being too snug or loose. That leather lining often can make it uncomfortable to wear for too long with no-show socks but that isn’t unique to this pair. I didn’t notice a lot of difference in having the 998 midsole compared to the 997.
Overall I’d say this is a decent shoe. Hardly worth the price tag and in-line with standard 997 and 998 releases from New Balance, the difference is those regular releases go on sale eventually. The suede inconsistency is not exclusive to this release and is indicative of what I’m seeing from New Balance and other brands. In retrospect, the Cyclades release that accompanied these is probably more in my wheelhouse with its orange and teal composition, however I didn’t see myself wearing those as often. Judging by sold prices on eBay, these aren’t going for much over retail.
Please note that all of these pics are taken with an iPhone 6 and only have some minor editing for cropping and lighting. No #kithfilter over here.