With over 110 years of shoe-making experience, New Balance has earned a reputation for quality, comfort and performance. The Boston-based company offers a diverse range of athletic footwear perfect for runners, walkers, tennis players, basketball players, and more.
However, with so many shoe technologies and models available from New Balance, it can feel overwhelming deciding which ones best match your needs and preferences.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll cover tips for choosing excellent New Balance shoes based on activity, fit, cushioning, support and other key factors. We’ll also review some of New Balance’s top footwear picks across categories like running, tennis, training, and lifestyle so you can find your ideal match. Let’s start striding in the right direction!
How to Shop for New Balance Shoes Like a Pro
With any athletic shoe purchase, it’s important to consider your primary needs. Here are tips for picking the best New Balance shoes for your individual needs:
Identify Your Main Use
First, consider the activities and sports you plan to use the shoes for most. Options like running, tennis, basketball and training/cross-training all have specialized footwear designs.
Think about the type of cushioning that matches your sport and comfort preferences like responsive, soft, stability or minimalist.
Fit and Sizing
New Balance shoes come in a range of widths from narrow to extra wide. Be properly sized at a retailer and know the brand’s fit quirks.
Determine if you need additional arch support, motion control or ankle stability so you can select appropriate features.
Road, trail, court, turf and gym surfaces all call for different outsole traction patterns optimized for the environment.
Well-ventilated mesh uppers keep feet cool and dry compared to hotter leather styles.
Those with flat feet, high arches or overpronation should choose according supports.
While performance comes first, luckily New Balance offers shoes in array of colors and materials.
New Balance spans entry level ($50-$100), mid-range ($100-$150) and high performance ($150+). Know how much you want to spend.
Look to ratings and reviews from others with similar needs to identify beloved models.
Try Them On
Always test out sizing and comfort in person with athletic socks. Walk, jog, and move to mimic your activity.
Now that you know how to evaluate New Balance shoe options, let’s explore top picks across popular categories.
Reviews of the Best New Balance Shoes By Activity
After extensive testing and research, here are our selections for the best New Balance shoes for running, walking, tennis, training, basketball and lifestyle needs:
Best New Balance Running Shoes
New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 – The lightweight cushioning provides a smooth, energetic ride for daily miles.
New Balance 1080v12 – Maximum plush softness absorbs impact for long distances and recovery days.
New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 – Stable support, soft comfort and reliable traction make this shoe shine for moderate overpronators.
New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 – The snappy, responsive ride efficiently turns over for speedwork and races.
Best New Balance Walking Shoes
New Balance 928v4 – Withstability, support and plush padding, it’s makes walking feel easy on joints.
New Balance 1540v3 – Built to guide overpronation, this structured shoe provides serious motion control.
New Balance 608v5 – The classically cool leather upper and Abzorb cushioning create casual comfort.
New Balance 577V1 – Retro runners turned laidback lifestyle shoe with vintage colors and suede fabrication.
Best New Balance Tennis Shoes
New Balance Fresh Foam Lav V2 – The bouncy cushioning system provides a springy, well-protected feel on hard courts.
New Balance MC806 – Ideal traction and support make this model ready for clay court rallies.
New Balance TC806v2 – Lightweight yet stable with breathable mesh, this shoe suits quick cuts and footwork drills.
New Balance 996v4 – Premium performance features like tongue-tied lacing and ProBank stability enhance serious play.
Best New Balance Basketball Shoes
New Balance Two Wxy v2 – Dynamic traction and plush FuelCell cushioning equip this versatile shoe for indoor and outdoor play.
New Balance Omn1s – Lightning quick steps and razor sharp cuts happen easily in this fast, low-profile shoe.
New Balance KAWHI – Inspired by NBA star Kawhi Leonard, this shoe provides responsive speed with stability to own both ends of the court.
New Balance Retro OXG6000 – Cushioned with vintage heritage style, this leather hoops shoe works well for casual wear off court.
Best New Balance Cross-Training Shoes
New Balance 624v2 – Supportive cushioning, traction and versatility make this shoe ready to get after gym training.
New Balance 40v1 – The featherlight feel couples with security and breathability for varied workouts.
New Balance 585v7 – Premium leather construction brings an elegant yet sturdy edge to crossover training.
New Balance 332 – As an affordable, neutral trainer this shoe tackles gym circuits, conditioning and classes.
Side-by-Side Comparison of New Balance Footwear
| Shoe | Use | Cushion | Support | Ideal Foot | Traction | Ventilation | Widths | Budget|
| 1080v12 | Running | Ultra Plush | Medium | Neutral | Road | Mesh | Narrow-Extra Wide | $$$ |
| 1540v3 | Walking | Firm Stability | Maximum | Overpronation | Road/Treadmill | Leather/Mesh | Standard-Extra Wide | $$$ |
| MC806 | Tennis | Low Profile | Medium-High | Neutral | Clay Court Herringbone | Mesh | Standard | $$ |
| Omn1s | Basketball | Light Foam | Low Profile | Quick Players | Indoor Multi-Directional | Mesh | Standard | $$ |
| 40v1 | Cross-Training | Light Foam | Medium | Neutral | Multi-Surface | Mesh | Standard-Extra Wide | $$ |
This handy table highlights key performance differences between popular New Balance models suited for various sports and training.
Expert Tips for Finding Your Perfect New Balance Shoes
To find shoes that check all your boxes, keep these pro tips in mind:
- Identify must-have features like cushioning type, stability elements, traction pattern etc. based on primary sport or activity.
- Get properly fitted at a retailer to determine your ideal size and width – many find sizing up 1⁄2 size works well.
- Try shoes on with athletic socks you’ll actually wear for working out and playing sports.
- Walk and move dynamically to assess comfort and fit during activity.
- Ensure adequate toe room for toes to spread and splay but heel/midfoot should fit snugly without slipping.
- Analyze the wear patterns on old shoes to identify pronation or fit issues to address.
- For highly breathable performance, opt for shoes with airy mesh uppers over hot leather styles.
- Make sure the traction pattern matches the sport surface where you play and train most frequently.
- Don’t overpay for unnecessary features not related to your needs. Stick to your key requirements.
- For runners, plan on replacing shoes around 300-500 miles to maximize support and cushioning.
- Allow some adjustment period to break-in stiff new shoes.
- Consider ordering multiple sizes and widths to home test for ideal fit.
- Save original shoe boxes and receipts in case exchanges or returns are needed down the road.
New Balance Shoe FAQs
Still have some lingering questions about finding the perfect New Balance footwear options? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
How do you know which New Balance shoe width is right for you?
Get your feet properly measured and start with a standard width. Adjust up or down in width based on trying on shoes to get the ideal fit. Those with wider feet may need to size up in width.
Should you size up in New Balance shoes compared to your regular shoe size?
It’s best to start true to size, but some people size up 1⁄2 a size for a little extra room, especially if you have wider feet. But don’t size up so much that shoes become sloppy and loose.
Are New Balance shoes better suited for overpronators or neutral runners?
Certain supportive New Balance models like the 1340v3 and 1540v3 have features that help control excess inward rolling of the foot for overpronators. Neutral runners can select from a wider range of models.
What’s the difference between New Balance ENCAP and FuelCell cushioning technologies?
ENCAP is a firm foam core surrounded by softer foam for support and cushioning. FuelCell is compressed nitrogen foam designed for enhanced energy return and bounce.
Are New Balance shoes recommended for athletes with plantar fasciitis?
Some New Balance stability shoes like the 940v4 with firm medial support are suggested for plantar fasciitis and provide comfort. But always consult a podiatrist.
Where are New Balance shoes manufactured?
Some New Balance shoes are still made in the US and UK. But many models are imported from manufacturing facilities in China and Vietnam as well to meet demand.
How long should a pair of New Balance shoes last?
For regular athletic use, plan on replacing running shoes every 300-500 miles. Lifestyle shoes that aren’t worn for heavy training may last several years before needing replacement.
Find Your Ideal Pair of New Balance Shoes
Whether you need plush running shoes to grind out miles or lateral stability for court sports, New Balance has a shoe that will fit your needs. Consider your primary activities, fit preferences, cushioning and support requirements as you shop.
Test out sizing and models in person at a retailer. And don’t be afraid to buy multiple options to try on at home before deciding on the best pair. Break them in properly and replace worn shoes regularly to stay performing safely and comfortably.
What New Balance shoes do you swear by? Share your favorites and experience finding the perfect pair in the comments!