When Richie Roxas bought his first pair of New Balance sneakers in 1994, he had no idea he was 20 years early to a trend.
While his sneakerhead friends were busy chasing the latest Nike release, Roxas decided to forge his own path.
“I found New Balances to be the most comfortable,” he tells CNBC Make It. “They were sort of like this underdog brand. And I gravitated towards them because not a lot of people were wearing them.”
Now 43, the shoe collector owns over 600 pairs of sneakers from the Boston-based brand. As his floor-to-ceiling collection has grown, so has New Balance.
What was once commonly viewed as a favorite of dads across America — occasionally mocked for its “ugly,” chunky aesthetic — has over the past decade evolved into a fashion-forward brand in its own right.