Well2Go In Action
See how Well2Go seamlessly wraps comfort and versatility into one stylish package, including a close-up look at the ballet flat's reversible inserts.
July 1, 2013
COMFORT ABOVE ALL
NB's first foray into the ballet flat realm thrives at the intersection of function and fashion
If New Balance's stylish new Well2Go ballet flat could speak, it'd say, "Versatility is a virtue." Which was exactly the intent behind lead designer Christine Hall's decision to make the insert reversible — one side plush foam, the other gentle, massaging pods, both of them ultra-comfortable. Christine was kind enough to give us an inside look at the process of designing a ballet flat that "walks the walk" between function and fashion.
NB: Judging by some of the comments on newbalance.com, people seem to really love this flat. What are the reactions you've gotten so far?
Christine: The best compliments I've received have been from women that I don't even know. The reception has definitely exceeded expectations.
NB: Where did the impetus for designing New Balance's first ballet flat come from?
Christine: To look great doesn't mean you have to sacrifice comfort. Many of today's ballet flats are versatile and fashionable but not very comfortable. We wanted to have both fashion and comfort. We saw an opportunity to leverage our expertise in athletic comfort and style to create a product that would exceed the unmet needs of our fashion-driven consumer.
NB: From where did you draw your design inspiration?
Christine: Early in the research phase we focused on the activities women pursue to take care of themselves. These included yoga, massage, acupuncture, and sometimes a day at the spa. There was an indulgence they felt when they treated themselves and we wanted to bring some of that indulgence to their everyday wear. Through these insights we began to see Well2Go as a spa for your feet.
NB: What differentiates Well2Go from other ballet flats?
Christine: The core difference is the reversible insert. One side delivers a plush experience with soft foam and the other gently invigorates your feet with the massaging pods. The styling was created for versatility. You can wear them with just about anything.
NB: What was behind the decision for making the insert reversible?
Christine: There was tremendous attention given to how the foot bed feels on both sides. We wanted the pods to invigorate but not hurt and the plush side had to feel amazing.
Our development team explored a bunch of foam variations and combinations to create the experience we were looking for. Initially, we set out to create only the bumpy side. But after rounds of wear testing and discussing how broad we wanted the product to reach we decided to make it reversible. In the end, making it reversible made the entire insert cushier.
NB: Did your early designs match the final product? If not what were some of the initial concepts that didn't make it through?
Christine: At the first concept review we considered several designs. There were two upper designs that we explored before deciding on the one you see today. The decision to move forward with the current upper was based on fashion and versatility. The current upper is very close to the original design concept.
NB: What's next for New Balance and ballet flats? What would you like to include in a future iteration?
Christine: We are exploring other silhouettes for this platform and looking to expand the line in the future.