Raheem Sterling, New Balance’s marquee signing, has been spotted boarding a plane for England duty in the first product from the American brand’s collaboration with Stone Island, the RC ELITE v2_SI | NB_1 sneaker.

Following the announcement of an upcoming partnership between the two brands earlier this year, Stone Island and New Balance have now officially unveiled their first joint product, the RC ELITE v2_SI | NB_1. Raheem Sterling was spotted wearing the sneaker as he boarded the plane to Andorra ahead of England’s FIFA World Cup Qualifier match, giving us a first look at it ‘in the wild’. Having signed with New Balance back in May, Sterling is one of the brand’s biggest stars, so it stands to reason that he’d be a prime candidate to help boost the profile of the release.

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The RC ELITE v2_SI | NB_1 represents the first chapter of what has been referred to as a “long-term partnership” between New Balance and Stone Island. It sees the reinterpretation of the innovative RC ELITE v2 racing shoe – an interesting choice given that it’s a performance shoe. But while the performance aspects of the shoe certainly remain at the heart of its construction, aesthetically speaking it’s been given a fresh rework from the outerwear brand that sees the effect of a performance upper bursting through a more heritage-inspired design, making it just as stylish as it is functional.

The highly breathable upper represents the combination of antithetical elements, between distinctive elements of the New Balance heritage aesthetic and cutting-edge materials and techniques, such as the mesh construction and application of the logo, both 3D. The midsole, using the updated lightweight FuelCell technology and a full carbon fibre plate, offers the highest energy return with propulsive transition and 360-degree functionality, designed to allow for faster running.

The RC ELITE v2_SI | NB_1 makes the transition from the track to the street seamless.

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The Stone Island New Balance RC ELITE v2_SI is currently only available exclusively in selected Stone Island flagship stores.

Top imagery from Hypebeast.