Best New Balance Running Shoes Reviewed & Rated
If a pair of running shoes that is both dependable and reasonably priced is what you seek, then look no further than New Balance, a brand started in 1906 on the principle of delivering results to the many athletes that have proudly worn them. Today, their designs are available in a wide variety of styles, from minimalist to motion control and stability, made for runners with specific needs, to durable trail footwear which offers the best possible performance and protection. Their models are lightweight and cushioned, with plenty of focus given to comfort and fit.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
Breathable Mesh Upper
Supportive Suede Overlays
Blown Rubber Outsole
Dual-Density Foam Collar
Breathable Mesh Upper
Supportive Suede Overlays
Blown Rubber Outsole
Dual-Density Foam Collar
The 990v4 is a stability option focused on support and cushioning. It comes in a variety of colors and is proudly manufactured in the USA, ensuring you get a high-quality product for your hard-earned money. It comes with some of the brand's best comfort and support technology, including an Encap and EVA core heel, a blown rubber outsole, and a dual-density foam collar. It isn’t a flashy design and won’t make a loud statement, but it makes up for that with great support and comfort.Read more
Breathability is vital to the health of your feet. The breathable mesh upper of the 990v4 reduces blisters and helps regulate the temperature in the design. The leather and suede overlays provide stability and support to keep you from injury. The outsole on the 990v4 is made of blown rubber which is a material often used in stability footwear. It provides an excellent cushioning feel due to the air which is mixed into the compound, while it is also durable, and suited even for mild off-road trails.
Featuring the latest available technologies in the brand's arsenal, it comes as a surprise to find that the 990v4 is moderately priced, and is even cheaper than some of the brand’s older models. Coupled with the fact that it’s made in the USA, you can easily invest in this model, knowing that you’re getting one of the best options available in the market.
Dual-Density Padded Collar
Poor Arch Support
The 608v4 is a well-rounded design for athletes of all sorts. The textile lining and the EVA cushioned insole will keep your feet comfortable while you train for that marathon, while the dual-density padded collar and padding in the tongue provide additional comfort features that you are bound to appreciate during your next run. The brand designed this sole with its special ABZORB padding for extra shock absorption.Read more
The ABZORB midsole design adds cushion where you need it while also resisting compression while you run. The result is more than adequate shock absorption for your feet and legs, allowing for a smoother and more comfortable ride. The 608v4 uses an EVA footbed on top of the extra cushioning midsole. This provides a great combination of firmness and flexibility. A great addition is the seamless PHANTOM liner which allows for even pressure distribution over the entire foot.
The 608v4 offers all of the comforts of a high-end design, without the downside of costing a small fortune. You will especially love the fact that it is also suitable for everyday wear when you need to be on your feet for prolonged periods of time.
3. Fresh Foam Cruz V1
Breathable Knit Mesh
Fresh Foam Technology
Not Very Durable
Sizes Run Small
These neutral running trainers were made with superior cushioning in mind, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a design that is flexible, lightweight and provides excellent shock absorption. The flexible heel allows you to just slip these on, and the loop will help with an even easier on and off experience. The knitted mesh upper is a well-loved feature as well, seeing that it will adapt better to a wide variety of foot shapes and sizes.Read more
With an outsole made out of gum rubber, you will be getting a pair that is perfect for road runs. These trainers will give you excellent traction, ensuring that you are not just comfortable, but also safe during your daily workout. The Fresh Foam technology gives the user both cushioning and responsiveness, ensuring a superior feeling that provides excellent shock absorption, especially in the heel area, where most runners are likely to strike during their landings.
The Fresh Foam Cruz V1 is an affordable pair that you will be more than happy with if you don’t require too much arch support, and are happy with cushioning that is not too thick in the forefoot area. Coupled with the stylish knit upper, the Cruz is an excellent choice.
4. Fresh Foam Roav
Fresh Foam Cushioning
Ultra Heel Technology
Snug Bootie Construction
Rubber NDurance Outsole
Sleek and Stylish
No, we didn’t accidentally include the Adidas Ultraboost in this guide. What you are looking at is the Fresh Foam Roav, a design that is every bit as powerful as it is stylish. Created for those who are always on the go, it comes with Fresh Foam cushioning and Ultra Heel technology, as well as a smart outsole. The Roav is nothing short of stunning both in appearance and performance, and you would do well to try it out.Read more
This option has a bootie construction that hugs your foot just right, made from a mesh and synthetic leather combo. Fresh Foam technology means that the cushioning is super cloud-like and super lightweight, while the Ultra Heel is there to keep you locked in and secure no matter what surface you’re training on. The outsole of the Roav is built for comfort and longevity, made from durable rubber.
The Fresh Foam Roav is something different, something rather unexpected from a brand which has mostly dealt in solid footwear that looks a little bit like what your grandpa would wear. In contrast, the Roav is fierce, equipped with advanced features, and it will not let you down on your next run.
5. Minimus 10v1
Midfoot Wrap for Security
Flexible Vibram Outsole
May Cause Blisters
Size Runs Small
For all of those who are fans of minimalist footwear, of that barefoot feel, the Minimus 10v1 is here to brighten your day. It is a design built for off-road training, with a flexible upper and a Vibram outsole, as well as a 4mm drop to keep you closer to the ground. With this option, you will experience better posture, less pain in your legs and joints, and an overall increase in your energy and performance levels.Read more
The Minimus 10v1 has an upper that is a combination of synthetic and mesh, with a special wrap around the middle to keep you secure and locked-in. It comes with antimicrobial treatment inside, to reduce foul odors, as well as a layer of foam for cushioning and support. The outsole on the Minimus 10v1 is from Vibram, meaning that it is extremely durable and with flex grooves that keep you sure-footed even on challenging terrain.
If you’re the type who loves nature, who is all about exploring new trails and admiring the scenery, then the Minimus 10v1 is the right option for you. With its minimal drop, it is a great stepping stone towards zero drop footwear, and with it, you will have no problems making the most out of your next outdoor adventure!
Roll Bar Support System
Soft Fabric Lining
Motion Control Design
Dual Layer Padding
Designed for those who have a severe tendency towards overpronation, the 1540v2 is a motion control design that focuses on providing you with all the necessary help to achieve your personal best. The motion control system is spearheaded by a dual layer of padding in the midsole and the roll bar support system in the heel. The no-sew design along with the breathable mesh upper and the padded tongue and collar will keep your feet from ever wanting for comfort. These trainers may even be eligible for Medicare reimbursement.Read more
Specially designed to reduce the movement of the rear of your foot while you run, this is a perfect option for someone who is just starting out or someone who needs a little help with their form. While a little pronation is natural, if your ankle rolls too far you can seriously hurt yourself. Do you have a problem with overpronation? Not anymore you don't. The 1540v2 is designed to help prevent your feet from rolling too far while you're exercising.
Paying a little more for footwear that can help prevent shin splints or plantar fasciitis will save you both literal pain and money in the long run. It is well worth paying the extra money up front.
Dual Density Cushioning
Blown Rubber Outsole
Upper Color Stains Socks
Poor Heel Control
Let’s take a moment to admire the sleek, almost elegant aesthetic of the 860v9. This brand is not famous for its stylistic appeal, but the 860v9 is definitely a sight for sore eyes. Along with the streamlined look, it comes with a TruFuse midsole and dual-density cushioning for comfort that will effortlessly keep up with you.Read more
The 860v9 has an upper that is a combination of synthetic leather and mesh. Thanks to its no-sew construction, this trainer has no pesky seams that would be digging into your skin. In terms of comfort, it comes with a medial post for support, and the TruFuse midsole which consists of two layers of responsive foam. Additionally, the 860v9 has a 10mm drop, meaning that it’s not a minimalist option, and a blown rubber outsole for even more energy rebound.
If you’re determined to look cool on the track, the 860v9 definitely doesn’t lack any style points. It is also more than stable, with its lateral support and extensive cushioning, and it will definitely make for a wonderful addition in your sports footwear collection.
Breathable Mesh Upper
FantomFit Supportive Cage
Lightweight REVlite Bottom
For Competitive Races
Size Runs Small
The 1400v6 is designed to withstand practically anything - from 5k runs to those ultramarathons. It is meant to add speed thanks to its REVlite outsole, to provide support with a FantomFit cage, as well as solid breathability with the mesh parts of its upper. The 1400v6 did not come here to play, and if you’re serious about the sport, you need serious footwear such as this to match.Read more
The 1400v6 has a flexible upper for lightness and breeziness, but it also comes with a FantomFit cage in the midfoot area that supports your foot and doesn’t let it slide where it shouldn’t. The REVlite outsole on the design is incredibly lightweight and makes you feel like you are flying down the track. Finally, the 1400v6 has a tongue that is streamlined so as to not cause you any problems when you’re focused on the track.
This option is definitely not for a casual runner. It is built for competition, for those who are looking to best their opponents and come out the top. If you’re someone who thrives on the unbeatable feeling of a gold medal, of a first place, then definitely consider investing in these fierce trainers.
AT Tread Outsole
Synthetic Overlays for Security
Narrow Toe Box
Another pair of trail sneakers that are versatile enough for both on and off-road, the latest edition of the 410 provides plenty of features that will make you want to wear them on all your runs. With a comfortable mesh upper that has a seamless design, the synthetic overlays that add stability, and the toe protector that improves their durability, the 410v5 is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-quality pair of trail footwear.Read more
The midsole found in the 410v5 is made out of compressed ACTIEVA material which provides stable cushioning that’s 24% lighter than standard compressed EVA midsoles. This means that with the 410v5 you’re getting a lightweight option that won’t cause too much fatigue during your jogs. On top of the breathable and flexible mesh which makes the upper, are synthetic overlays that provide lateral stability and protect you from suffering injuries such as rolled ankles.
The 410v5 is a great choice for users who are just getting started with the sport. If you want a design that will work well on all surfaces, and that provides good support and cushioning, then the 410v5 is a great option for you.
10. Gobi Trail V2
AT Tread Outsole
Durable Rubber Sole
Sturdy Trail Option
Sizes Run Small
Poor Arch Support
The Gobi Trail V2 is the upgraded version of last year’s model, made for those who need a design that will perform both on trail runs as well as on everyday walks. It’s lightweight and breathable and is best suited for those who need neutral cushioning, seeing that it does not feature any pronounced arch support. The seamless no-sew upper is especially comfortable since there are no seams that could compromise the comfortable fit of this trail option.Read more
When out in nature, it’s important to consider the state of the trail so that you are adequately prepared for what awaits you. The Gobi Trail V2 has a gusseted tongue which is an excellent protective feature that prevents any debris from getting into your trainer and lowering the level of comfort you feel as you conquer mile after mile. The outsole on the Gobi Trail V2 features a rugged and durable tread that allows you to run both on trails (in dry and wet conditions alike) as well as on roads - giving you a design that is versatile and that adapts easily to your needs.
The cost of the Gobi Trail V2 is quite affordable compared to other flagship designs, and the fact that it’s a versatile option adequate for more than just one surface works to its advantage when it comes to value.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the most important things to consider before purchasing a pair of running shoes is the way in which your feet are shaped. Arch and instep height, forefoot width, foot and Achilles strength and flexibility all come into play in ensuring that you run in a way that is comfortable and risk-free.
One such aspect is the way in which your foot moves when you run. Pronation – the side-to-side movement of your foot – can heavily influence your experience. Some people are lucky enough to have neutral pronation, but there are those who have different tendencies.
Over-pronation and under-pronation are indicators that your foot is not moving in an optimal way when landing, and that your arch is not absorbing the shock which happens with each strike of the foot. Furthermore, an unstable landing (one that is leaning towards the inside or the outside of the foot) can lead to serious injury should your ankle roll because of inadequate support.
That’s why the best footwear for you will have the correct stability features which will ensure that you are getting the right amount of firmness in the areas where you need some extra support. Designs from New Balance offer plenty of different technological features which are focused on exactly this – providing you with a model that will ensure a safe and comfortable run. Let's see what these stability features are.
Cushioning is an important aspect of any design, especially that intended for running. Each time you land on your foot, there is a certain amount of shock that generates from the impact. While some of it is absorbed by your arch, there’s still a considerable amount that goes up your leg and to your hips and back.
Although you may not feel the consequences of these landings now, after some time spent running, you are bound to start feeling fatigued, sore or even experience injuries.
Luckily, a good pair of shoes can prevent a lot of these. Proper cushioning will act as a shock absorbing barrier that will work with each landing to lower the amount of stress you put on your joints and muscles.
Having spent over 50 years making footwear of this kind, New Balance has some effective technologies that work to provide you with the protection you need – not just from the surface underfoot, but from the negative effects you may be experiencing from a hard upper as well.
- Ortholite Lining: The brand offers a built-in sockliner from Ortholite in their footwear. This lining protects your feet from any abrasive seams in the upper, but it also provides a soft layer to hug your feet.
- EVA Footbed: The EVA footbed is exactly what it sounds like: an insole made of EVA foam. Most of the time, EVA is used in midsole technology, but the EVA footbed is another common use in footwear from this brand. It’s soft and springy to give you the most cushioning and rebound as you run.
- XLT Performance Footbed: Another type of foam insole, the XLT Performance footbed is a continuous strip of foam which is a blend of different materials aimed at providing a customized cushioning experience. The footbed bears some grooves in areas which need the most flexibility and there’s a dip in the foam from the heel to the arch of the foot for support.
- CUSH+: This is a foam insole built to be lightweight and soft for the best cushioning. The CUSH+ foam is meant to be responsive, so it depresses easily when you step on it and returns to its original shape when you step off of it. It’s more durable and lightweight than many insoles.
Aside from cushioning, two more important aspects when it comes to this type of footwear are the midsole and the outsole, and here we will talk a bit more about the systems that New Balance puts in place for both of these features.
- ABZORB:ABZORB is a special foam cushioning compound that reduces the shock of running on your feet by dispersing it through the rest of your foot and to your ankle and leg.
- Fresh Foam: Fresh Foam is a plush cushioning foam technology built into the midsole to give you a smooth, painless run.
- ENCAP: This material is a heel midsole piece which is made with EVA foam and a firm polyurethane rim. Together, these two materials create a stabilizing, cushioned effect. The materials are extra durable, too.
- ACTEVA: A midsole foam built with DuPont Engage, which is designed to be 12% lighter than most midsole foams.
- ACTEVA Lite: Like ACTEVA, ACTEVA Lite is built with DuPont Engage, but it also includes DuPont Elvaloy. It’s a lighter combination of materials, which is meant to be 24% lighter than most midsole foams, but it also has better compression properties than most.
- ACTEVA Ultra Lite: This midsole is built with DuPont Elvaloy and is meant to be 32% lighter than most midsole foams. It has the best compression properties.
- C-CAP: This midsole is made with EVA which has been compression-molded to give it maximum levels of cushioning. This material is also extra flexible.
- N2: N2 is a thinner midsole material, but it’s just as good at cushioning as the others. It’s built to be responsive to each footfall and it’s extra durable.
- NERGY: The NERGY midsole is designed to offer cushioning and support, but it can be molded and shaped to go in different parts of the midsole area to suit your needs. It’s designed to be very responsive and to absorb a lot of shock.
- Rapid Rebound: Rapid Rebound midsole foam is built with a focus on energizing each of your steps with exceptional rebound capabilities.
- REV Lite: The REV Lite midsole foam is lightweight, with the same cushioning capabilities as heavier midsole foams. It doesn’t sacrifice cushioning and protection for a lighter weight, either.
Most outsoles from this brand are made of different kinds of rubber. Vibram is one of the most commonly used rubber outsoles. The rubber and other synthetic outsoles are designed to decrease the shock from each foot strike and to protect your feet from any rocks or other debris which may injure your feet.
We understand that all of these technologies may sound overwhelming at first glance. Indeed, you don't have to know the details of any single one to choose the right option for yourself. Simply pick out a design based on your pronation type, on any special needs you perhaps may have, and leave the intricate specs of each system to the engineers developing them in the lab.
What you should know is that we ranked all of the items on our list based on their performance and on how well these features and technologies work in their favor. When you choose an option from our guide, you can rest assured that all of the high-tech qualities are top-notch!
In case you might be wondering why breathability is an important feature when it comes to this type of footwear, we are here to explain it a bit better. Breathable footwear will reduce the retention of heat and moisture so you can have a more comfortable run. Dryer feet will develop fewer blisters and won’t be sticky with sweat, nor will they develop bad odors even after hours of intense workouts.
Additionally, hot, damp environments are excellent for breeding bacteria and fungi; thus, you are more likely to develop some type of infection in less breathable footwear. This is why we have also ranked the designs on our list based on how ventilated they are.
New Balance doesn’t have a lot of technology specifically designed for achieving breathability per se, but many of the systems that we talked about for support and cushioning also help with breathability.
Lightweight, breathable materials are used in the construction and design of many models. Any option with a mesh upper or a mesh-with-leather-overlay upper will be more breathable than traditionally built footwear.
When shopping for footwear of this type, you want to get a pair that will last you more than just a couple of months. The brand that is the focus of our guide is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a durable, high quality make. Additionally, they have plenty of features which are used to prolong the lifespan of their designs, which you are bound to appreciate, seeing that you won’t have to purchase new footwear too often.
Leather Strip Overlay: Many designs come with a leather strip overlay. This overlay usually tops a breathable mesh material to provide more support, but it also provides more durability. Lightweight, breathable meshes can be rather fragile, but the protective leather strip overlay can increase the durability of your footwear, as leather is tougher than the synthetic materials found in meshes.
Fabric and Pigskin Leather Construction: This combination of fabric and pigskin leather is a little different than the above-mentioned leather strip overlay. It’s also a little older and less breathable than more recently created upper materials. However, the sturdier materials will promise a longer lifespan for your footwear.
NDurance Outsole: The NDurance outsole was specially designed by New Balance to be a more durable rubber outsole. It won’t wear down as quickly as other outsoles will and, because it’s rubber, it will have great traction, too!
Removable Insoles: All options from this brand come with removable insoles. Namely, New Balance recognizes two important things about insoles: one, insoles are eventually going to wear out, no matter what the material is and two, not everyone needs the same insole in their footwear. Insoles are not one size fits all. If the brand didn’t have removable insoles in their designs, then once the insole wore out or you discovered that you needed a custom insole, the shoes would be ready for the trash heap.
This also saves you money. If the outsole and upper are in good condition, then you shouldn’t have to go out and buy a whole new pair of trainers when you could just replace the removable insole, which gives your footwear new life.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Running is a great, and simple sport to get into, whether your goal is to compete or race, or just for better health.
When starting out, take a few walk breaks if needed, and increase your mileage slowly week to week. Rule of thumb is that your longest run should only increase by 10% or less each week, to help prevent shin splint or other overuse injury.
Trail running can give a sense of being close to nature, or exhilaration from downhill descents. When hitting the trails however, be conscious to check weather beforehand, as conditions can change quickly!
Other Factors to Consider
With such a wide selection of features available in their designs, you might feel that choosing a pair of New Balance sneakers for your next run is complicated. But, thanks to the high quality make that the brand offers, you can rest assured that you will be more than happy with your purchase. Offering a wide variety of options - from those made for city road runs to those more suited for trail running, you are sure to find the exact features you need.
In order to make the best possible choice, make sure that you are well acquainted with the brand's technologies, as well as that you know your personal preferences regarding cushioning, materials, stability and running surface. With plentiful information regarding these in the Criteria section, you are bound to be able to make a solid choice you will be happy with wearing for quite some time to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What do the numbers and letters used as the design names mean?
The brand used to use numbers and letters in a combination to reflect different properties of each of their designs. Now, they’ve moved away from the numbering system they’ve been using, to three different categories for newer models to be sorted into.
Each product name is comprised of letters and numbers which correlate to the following aspects:
- Gender and Sport/Activity
- Price and Quality
- The Version of the Design
So, the first two letters tell us if the design is for men or women and what the sport or activity is that they are made for. When you’re looking for running shoes, you would want to look for those with M or W (depending on your gender) followed by R for running.
The one or two numbers that follow the gender and sports letters denote how expensive the design is compared to other products from the brand. The bigger the number (for example 1260 versus 860), the more features the model would have and the higher the price would be.
The two numbers that follow the price and quality number tell you how cushioned the design is. The higher the number, the more cushioned it is. 60 and 70 are stability designs while 80 is a neutral cushioned option and 90 would be a minimalist trainer designed for speed rather than cushioning.
The v followed by a number tells you which version it is that you’re looking at. If the design you’re looking at is a v2, then it’s the second version of the original model.
q: When should I buy new running footwear?
It depends on how much you run, how hard you run, and how durable your footwear is. If your trainers are wearing down and the heel looks squished, then it’s time for new ones.
However, if the sole is in good condition and hasn’t worn down to reveal the midsole, you can keep wearing them until they do wear down. If your insole wears down and doesn’t provide enough cushioning, though, you can replace the insole and thus extend the life of your sneaker.
q: How long do these designs tend to last?
That varies by person. The environment you run in, your weight, how you run, how much you run, and how far you run all impact the life of your footwear.
q: How can I extend the life of my footwear?
You can extend the life of your designs by using them only for running. Taking proper care of your footwear and cleaning it correctly can help with that as well. Some options are made with strips of leather and those strips would need to be cleaned with leather-safe cleaning materials.
If the outsole and upper are in good condition, but you have found your insole is wearing down and the cushioning isn’t as effective as it used to be, you can replace the insole with a new one of your choice to extend the life of your trainers.
q: My footwear squeaks. How do I make it stop?
The brand recommends that you try removing the insole (all New Balance insoles are removable, so you won’t be damaging your trainer!) and dropping some baby powder in it and leaving it overnight. In the morning, dump the baby powder out and put the insoles back in. You shouldn’t have the squeaking problem anymore.
Another solution the brand provides is to sand down the sides of the tongue of your trainer with sandpaper so it doesn’t scrape anymore.
q: How tight of a fit should I get?
Your footwear should never hurt when you wear it, so if it’s so tight that it hurts your foot, you should pick a different design. You don’t want it to be too loose, either, because it could slide off or cause blisters from your foot sliding around in it. You want to have ample room in the toe box for your toes to spread out naturally, but you want it to be tight enough so that your heel won’t slide out as you run.
q: How do I wash my footwear?
The brand does not recommend that you put your footwear in the washing machine. Some of the materials should not be submerged in a lot of water. Here are step-by-step instructions for washing your trainers:
q: Can I dry my footwear in the dryer?
You should not be using the dryer. Some of the materials in this type of footwear should not be heated, and drying it in the dryer could cause irreparable damage.
q: Can I use my running shoes to participate in other sports?
Technically you could, but to increase the longevity of your footwear, we would not recommend using them for other sports and activities. Running footwear will last longer if you use it only for that type of sport.
q: How do I prevent odor development in my footwear?
Change your socks at least once a day and wear breathable socks. Cotton socks will soak up all of the sweat and turn your trainers into a swamp, so avoid them when you’re exercising as much as possible.
q: Can I wear these designs to work?
It depends on the workplace, but if you are allowed to wear casual footwear at work, then these may be fine for that purpose. However, you will likely need to choose your color schemes carefully to make sure that your trainers aren’t stealing all of the attention. After all, you want your work to shine at the office, not the footwear you’re wearing.
q: Should I buy a cushioned design or a stability design?
That depends on your preference and foot needs. If you overpronate, then you should go for a stability option, but if the stability design doesn’t provide enough cushioning, you may want to find custom insoles which will give ample support. The good news is that all footwear from this brand comes with removable insoles, so you can replace them with any insole you want.