With so many sneaker options on the market, it can be tricky choosing the right pair for your needs. New Balance has become a leading athletic footwear brand by offering high performance technologies and premium materials across their collections. Whether you need a durable running shoe, supportive training sneaker, or stylish lifestyle kick, New Balance has a model to match.
This guide will highlight the top four New Balance sneakers covering both performance and lifestyle categories. Key factors like intended activity, cushioning, fit, support, and style will help determine the best choice for your feet. Read on to learn about New Balance’s premier sneaker models and how to pick the ideal pair to elevate your athletics, adventures, and everyday excursions.
The Best 4 New Balance Sneakers
New Balance 990v5
The 990v5 remains one of New Balance’s most iconic and popular sneakers, beloved for its uncompromising comfort and reliable stability. Initially designed in 1982, the 990 series became the first ever $100 running shoe, changing market expectations. While technology has evolved, the 990v5 keeps the same steadfast performance and quality that made its predecessors legends.
This running shoe is ideal for mild to moderate overpronators needing cushioning and reinforcement for better motion control. The 990v5 utilizes a dual-density collar that cushions and protects the ankle, while the famous ENCAP PU ring with an EVA core softens impact. Strategically placed ABZORB foam in the heel absorbs shock for smooth transitions. At 12mm drop, it provides a balance of responsiveness and heel cushioning.
- Dual-density collar foam
- ENCAP PU ring with EVA core
- ABZORB cushioning in heel
- 12mm drop
- Extremely comfortable for all-day wear
- Good stability for mild overpronators
- Versatile for both running and casual use
- Durable and well-made with quality materials
- Roomy toe box accommodates wider feet
- Expensive price tag
- Heavy compared to newer performance models
- Not very breathable through the upper
- Road running, especially for heavier runners or those needing stability
- Light trails
- Casual everyday wear
With its flawless fusion of comfort, support, and heritage appeal, the 990v5 remains a legend suitable for just about any activity.
New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2
An ideal pick for faster paced training and race days, the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 boasts an energetic ride courtesy of the resilient FuelCell midsole compound. The FuelCell foam delivers a distinctly soft yet responsive sensation that returns energy with each stride.
Weighing just 7.4 ounces, the Rebel v2 provides a lightweight carriage for achieving swifter turnover and speed. The engineered mesh upper uses ventilation in key areas to maintain air flow and dissipate heat when your pace picks up. A seamless bootie construction enhances the smooth interior fit while the padded HypoKnit ankle collar prevents any rubbing or pressure. With a modern, sleek silhouette the Rebel v2 looks as fast as it feels.
- FuelCell midsole
- Engineered mesh upper
- Bootie construction
- HypoKnit ankle collar
- 8mm drop
- Soft and responsive cushioning
- Smooth and stable heel-to-toe transition
- Breathable upper keeps feet cooler
- Sleek foot-hugging fit
- Ideal for faster training and races
- Runs small, consider sizing up
- Minimal outsole traction
- Uptempo road running
- Track workouts
- Steady pace training
- Races from 5K to half marathon
For runners seeking a lightweight speedster, the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 delivers reactive, propulsive cushioning to achieve new PRs.
New Balance 860v11
The 860v11 is the latest model in New Balance’s long line of stable, supportive trainers built for moderate to severe overpronators. The plush midsole usesACTEVA Lite foam extending from heel to toe for incredibly smooth landings without losing responsiveness. Dual-density medial posting uses a firmer foam along the arch side to prevent excessive rolling of the foot inward.
This support combines with an a wider platform and T-Beam technology for stabilizing torsional forces during transition. An engineered mesh upper reinforced with MetaLock eyelets provides flexible comfort with a glove-like fit. With premium components like a blown rubber outsole and NDurance technology for heightened durability in high-wear areas, the New Balance 860v11 is an intelligent option for overpronators or joint-sensitive runners seeking enhanced control in their daily mileage.
- ACTEVA Lite foam
- Engineered mesh upper
- TPU T-Beam shank
- Dual-density medial post
- NDurance rubber outsole
- 10mm drop
- Supremely plush underfoot feel
- Excellent pronation support
- Durable outsole and foam materials
- Roomy in forefoot for wider feet
- Versatile everyday trainer with stability
- Heavier than newer lightweight models
- Stiffness requires some break-in
- Road running for neutral runners or overpronators
- Heavy runners requiring sturdy cushioning
- Gym workouts
With its tailored support technologies and renowned comfort, the New Balance 860v11 is a stability shoe that can conquer both lengthy mileage and gym training.
New Balance 327
Drawing design inspiration from iconic 70s and 80s runners, the 327 pays homage to vintage NB style with modern lifestyle sensibilities. Premium suede and mesh envelop the upper, accented by plush nylon and reflective elements for head-turning flair. The midsole uses ENCAP technology for firm yet responsive cushioning and support.
The rubber outsole mimics a retro cupsole look while providing traction for all-day wear. With an extensive rainbow of colorways from understated to bold, the 327 sneaker can match any vibe. Both smart and stylish, the 327 makes an easy transition from caffeinated morning meetings to afternoon errands thanks to its elevated comfort and heritage dimensions.
- ENCAP midsole
- Rubber cupsole
- Padded collar and tongue
- Suede and mesh upper mix
- Retro design details
- Extremely comfortable for long wear
- Stylish and trendy in a variety of colorways
- Premium leather and suede upper materials
- Supportive fit for walking and standing
- Great value for the price
- Limited performance features
- Runs narrow, especially in toe box
- Not the best traction
- All day wear for work or play
- Style-conscious individuals
- New Balance heritage lovers
Blending vintage appeal with modern construction and comfort, the New Balance 327 is the perfect laid-back, lifestyle sneaker.
How to Choose New Balance Sneakers
New Balance makes athletic, casual, trail, and specialized sneakers to match nearly any need. With varied performance attributes even within categories, picking the ideal sneaker involves an evaluation of several factors. Use this methodical buying guide when browsing NBs massive sneaker selection.
Consider Intended Use and Activity
Determining your primary activity, whether running, training, walking, or casual wear, helps narrow suitable sneaker choices. Shoes designed for the specific motions and terrain of that activity will optimize comfort and performance.
Running shoes differ by the amount of cushioning, stability mechanisms, weight and flexibility in order to accommodate different foot strikes, speeds, and distances. Minimalist designs contrast maximally-cushioned models. Determine your running needs through aspects like foot type, weekly mileage, and race intentions.
Training shoes prioritize lateral support and stability for stop-and-go motions, lifting, and gym workouts rather than straight running efficiency. Casual walking and lifestyle shoes emphasize versatile, all-day wear instead of sport-specific attributes. Clarify how you plan to use the shoe most when selecting a category and model.
The terrain or surface you use the shoe on also influences options. Road running shoes need proper shock absorption for hard asphalt and concrete. Trail or hiking shoes require deep lug patterns for traction on dirt, mud, and uneven ground. Consider gym shoes for indoor fitness classes on studio and weight room floors. Match the sneaker’s construction and features to the environment it will see the most action in.
Get the Proper Size and Fit
Dialing in the right size ensures your shoes support and move with your feet rather than constricting natural motion. Follow these tips when trying on New Balance sneakers:
- Try shoes on later in the day when your feet are slightly larger after being on them all day
- Wear the socks you plan to use for that sneaker’s sport or activity
- Have around a thumbs width of space between your longest toe and the sneaker toe box
- Your heel should feel secure with no lifting or slipping
Consider New Balance’s width sizing options too – they make sneakers in narrow, standard, wide, and extra wide widths. Using a Brannock device or tape measure to determine your feet’s exact length and width helps find the best size match.
Run and move dynamically when trying on sneakers rather than just standing still. Walk, jog in place, squat down. The sneaker should flex smoothly with your foot without pinching or pressing into the sides. Toe and heel fit should remain stable when in motion. Ensure the fit feels secure yet comfortable before purchasing.
Factor In Arch Type and Pronation
Those with flat feet tend to overpronate, rolling the foot dramatically inward with each step. High arches are more rigid and underpronate, with minimal natural shock absorption. Normal arches demonstrate more neutral pronation without imbalance. Knowing your arch type helps select appropriate support features.
Many New Balance stability shoes like the 860v11 or 1340v3 use structural elements like medial posts or dual-density midsoles foams to control excessive inward roll during pronation. These help realign flat feet for smoother gait mechanics.
Neutral cushioned shoes that lack pronation guidance mechanisms work well for normal arches that require just shock absorption without correction. Models like the Fresh Foam More v3 or 1080v11 offer plush landings.
Underpronators can seek out neutral minimalist designs that allow the foot to move and flex more naturally like the 247v2 or Minimus Prevail. Evaluate arch height and choose features or lack thereof accordingly.
Evaluate Cushioning and Responsiveness
The amount of cushioning material in the midsole determines the plushness and shock absorbing properties of a shoe, but also affects ground feel and weight. Finding the right balance depends on your needs and preferences.
Maximalist shoes with thicker midsole foam provide ultra-soft landings that can improve comfort over long distances. But dense cushioning tends to dampen sensation and feedback from the ground while adding weight.
Performance trainers use lighter, slightly firmer compounds in the midsole to provide a more responsive sensation when toeing off. But the reduction of foam may not absorb impact as effectively.
Cushioning material type also affects softness, bounce, and compression properties. Pocketed air pods compress differently than bouncy FuelCell foam. Testing out models with the various midsole materials can help identify which feels ideal for your biomechanics.
Those wanting plush comfort may favor extra foam, while runners desiring speed lean towards more responsive densities. Identify your cushioning priorities – pillowy softness versus a snappy sensation – when choosing.
Assess Weight and Flexibility
An ounce here or there makes a surprising difference in perceived shoe weight when moving. Lighter models under 10 ounces enhance running economy and feel almost unnoticeable on feet, while heavier shoes can feel more cumbersome and fatiguing over time. Consider athletic demands and fitness levels when deciding acceptable shoe weight.
Shoes intended for speedworkouts and race day need streamlined builds and minimal bulk that disappear when toe meets road. Beefier trainers with stability mechanisms and durable cushioning may tip scales slightly but provide essential support or offsets impacts during high mileage. Determine ideal balance of weight savings versus support elements based on running plans.
Flex grooves carved into outsoles provide adaptive flexibility that allows feet to move naturally when toeing off, bending through the gait cycle, and going up on forefoot. Deep flex notches in shoes also allow a more relaxed toe bend when just standing or walking. Compare outsole designs and try bending the shoes yourself to assess relative flexibility.
However, training shoes limit flexibility in midfoot and heel in order to provide lateral support and a stable base for stop-start motions. The locked-in feel makes lifting and agility drills safer but reduces freedom of movement. Analyze shoe descriptions to understand where models fall on the flexibility scale.
Analyze Traction and Durability
Grip keeps you grounded on various surfaces while quality materials stand up to logging serious miles. Traction and durability considerations make both short and long term difference.
Lug patterns with multi-directional grooves, air pockets, and rubber compounds provide grip tuned for a specific sport or environment. Road runners need just enough traction to grip minor road debris and slick spots but not so much that lug edges impede the foot rolling forward efficiently. Trail runners require aggressive lugs that can penetrate dirt and mud.
Analyze the outsole rubber’s thickness, strategic placement, and density. Look for solid rubber coverage and extra reinforcement in high-wear areas like the heel. Lack of outsole rubber exposes softer foam to break down faster. Dense rubber also grips better and lasts longer than softer compounds.
Midsole and upper material quality also affects sneaker longevity. Test shoe models by bending them gently – does it feel like stiff plastic or supple yet resilient? Quality foams and synthetic blends resist tearing or shearing while natural leathers develop character with age. Compare material construction and resilience when evaluating durability.
Consider Breathability and Water Resistance
Ventilation and construction techniques influence sneaker airflow and moisture control. Well-ventilated models keep feet cooler and drier during sweaty performances while weather-resistant features can protect in wet conditions. Assess your environment.
Mesh uppers allow air penetration and flow to regulate temperature. Strategically placed ventilation zones target high sweat areas. Compare open mesh areas versus solid overlays when examining breathability.
Some models feature water-resistant treatments or coatings to repel external moisture from rainy runs or wet grass. But this weatherproofing reduces air permeability and circulations versus an open mesh upper.
Welded or seamless uppers provide a barrier against water incursion into the shoe’s inner construction. But continuous material buildups often decrease overall breathability. Determine the tradeoffs you need for forecasted conditions.
Know Your Style Preferences
While performance and fit should take priority, personal style weighs in too when selecting everyday sneakers. New Balance encompasses both fashion-forward and retro heritage looks across their lifestyle and running lines.
Vintage inspired models like the 990v5 and 550 feature iconic New Balance sizing, colors, and accents that encapsulate a classic running DNA. Modern performance models flaunt brighter color blocking, engineered mesh, and sleek silhouettes.
For color options, consider monochrome or tonal designs versus vibrant 90s-inspired palettes with bold accents and contrast. Do you like a chunky dad shoe aesthetic or prefer a slimmed down profile? Analyze sneaker shapes and aesthetic features that appeal most to your individual style sensibilities.
While looks are subjective, performance pedigree and quality should not be sacrificed purely for style’s sake. Even lifestyle models can deliver reliable comfort for all day wear. Identify attractive models that still check necessary support and cushioning boxes.
Set a Budget
New Balance running and training sneakers range from $100 to $200 based on technology investments and material quality. Retro inspired lifestyle models fall between $80 to $130. Setting a realistic budget helps filter choices.
Higher price points offer premium cushioning compounds, stability mechanisms, and durability features that assist with certain running needs and extend shoe lifespan. But deals can be found by choosing last year’s colorways or shopping sales.
Sign up for New Balance’s email newsletter for exclusive discounts or keep an eye out for holiday promotions on their website. Consider trying entry level models first if new to the brand. Allocate budget for proper rotation rather than blowing it all on one pair.
Investing in the right sneakers pays dividends through injury prevention, improved performance, and lasting comfort. But restraint and realism keeps choices aligned to actual necessities for your chosen activity.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Balance Sneakers
Q: Are New Balance sneakers good for flat feet?
Yes, many New Balance sneakers offer excellent arch support and pronation control features that provide stability for flat feet. Models like the 860v11, 1500v6, and 840v4 utilize medial posting and proprietary Stability Web and Stabilicore technologies to prevent excessive inward foot rolling. Trying on shoes to ensure a comfortable, well-supported fit is still recommended.
Q: How long do New Balance sneakers last?
With proper rotation and avoidance of over-wear, New Balance running shoes generally last around 500-600 miles before cushioning breaks down. Lifestyle and walking shoes last approximately 1-2 years with regular wear. Premium models with high quality materials often maintain cushioning and support for far longer than standard models.
Q: Where are New Balance sneakers manufactured?
While some New Balance models are imported, select American-made New Balance sneakers are still assembled in Massachusetts and Maine factories. Look for the “Made in USA” label stamped into some midsoles to identify domestic manufacturing. These stateside models support American jobs.
Q: How do I clean my New Balance sneakers?
- Use a soft bristled brush and mild soap to spot clean stains on upper mesh or leather
- Remove insoles and wash separately if very dirty or sweaty
- Machine washing laces helps refresh them
- Never submerge or put entire sneaker into washer or dryer
- Spot treat scuffs on midsole or outsole rubber with warm water and rag
- Air dry