New Balance 311v1 Review

9.0 score
[Editors rating (9.0)] = (WalkJogRun) score (9.0)/10

Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
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Step into comfort and style with the New Balance 311v1 athletic sneakers and forget about sore feet forever. Featuring excellent cushioning in the form of an EVA midsole and a Comfort Cushioning Insert, as well as bringing back the vintage style with its suede upper, the New Balance 311v1 will be a great addition to anyone's wardrobe. If that was not enough, this retro sneaker is also very affordable, without compromising its quality.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Non-marking rubber outsole

EVA midsole

Suede and mesh paneled upper

Comfort Cushioning Insert

Padded tongue and collar

Great shock-absorption

Trendy retro design


Narrow fit

Needs a break-in period


The New Balance 311 has a durable non-marking, non-slip rubber outsole, that offers excellent traction on many different surfaces, from roads and pavement to gym floors. The unique tread pattern, which consists of multiple zigzag lugs all over the outsole, grips to the ground very effectively and helps give the wearer a firm footing on both dry and wet surfaces. Additionally, the New Balance 311’s non-marking outsole is excellent for gym workouts and wearing on wooden surfaces, as it will not leave scuff marks on the floor. This athletic sneaker is very versatile when it comes to how or where it can be worn, as it is great for active wear, when you go to the gym or jogging in the park, and it also doubles as casual wear for walking around, running errands or going out with friends. Thanks to its lightweight and flexible nature, the New Balance 311 will keep the wearer on their feet and comfortable all day long, without soreness or fatigue, which many reviewers confirmed, saying, that these sneakers have kept them active and comfortable for 10+ hours.


For their midsole, New Balance chose a lightweight and flexible EVA foam, a common material for athletic wear, as it delivers a cushioned and comfortable ride. It has excellent shock absorbing properties, and great energy return, that the wearer can use to propel themselves into their next step with ease. As it is also very lightweight, it will not weigh down the feet or cause fatigue, delivering a springy and natural stride, which makes them great for both working out and everyday wear. Reviewers, who use their New Balance 311 in the gym or jogging/walking, all praise the comfort and support they get from these sneakers, while those who wear them for their day-to-day activities love the long-lasting comfort and how lightweight they are. One reviewer wore her New Balance 311 to work where she has to stand for long hours, and experienced no foot pain whatsoever, while another reviewer loves to wear them for her everyday walks.


New Balance made the upper of the 311 out of suede and mesh panels, that have been stitched together for added durability and abrasion-resistance. While the suede adds a touch of luxury to this athletic sneaker, the mesh panels, together with some perforations in the forefoot region, make sure that the feet are well-ventilated at all times. The upper comes with a traditional lace-up closure, which allows the wearer to adjust the snugness of the sneakers to fit their preference, as well as a padded tongue and collar for added comfort and stability. Inside the sneaker, New Balance included a soft, textile-lined Comfort Cushioning Insert for enhanced support and cushioning, that lasts all day. Furthermore, the lining of the 311 is also made of soft textile, which adds to the overall breathability and moisture-wicking properties of this sneaker, and creates a healthy in-shoe environment. Although this sneaker is on the narrow side, the suede has some stretch to it, and given some time, it will conform to the wearer’s foot shape.


The upper of the New Balance 311 consists of suede and mesh panels, that have been stitched together, as well as perforations in the forefoot area. This ensures proper air flow in and out of the foot chamber, which is very important for the overall health of the feet. This sneaker also features a soft and breathable textile lining and a textile covered Comfort Cushioning Insert, that help wick away any excess moisture and keep the feet cool and dry no matter the activity. You can go about your day without worrying about overheating or sweat building up inside the sneakers.


One of the features of the New Balance 311, that has received the most praise, is its high comfort level. This is due to the careful selection of the materials, as well as the sneaker’s construction. Namely, the lightweight and flexible rubber outsole paired with the equally lightweight EVA midsole work together perfectly to create a cushioned and energized ride, without weighing the feet down or causing soreness. The sole is also flexible enough to allow the natural bending of the feet, making it very easy to move in, whether in the gym working out, running or walking in the park. The upper’s suede and mesh combination is the perfect blend of durability and breathability, that will keep the feet nice and dry throughout the day. Additionally, New Balance included a soft textile lining, as well as a textile-lined Comfort Cushioning Insert inside the sneaker, for enhanced breathability, moisture-absorption and cushioning that lasts all day long. Furthermore, the tongue and collar are lightly padded, for a comfortable,yet secure fit around the ankles. While most reviewers loved the New Balance 311 for its high comfort level, a few complained about the sneakers being a little stiff at first, and said, that they needed a break-in period before they became comfortable.


The New Balance 311 comes in standard or medium width, from size 5-13, putting them in the narrow shoe category. Although some reviewers said, that they fit true to size, most advised on sizing up at least half a size, as they are quite narrow, especially in the heel area, while the toe box is relatively spacious, allowing for a natural toe splay. The fit can also easily be adjusted with the standard lace-up closure the shoe comes with, to fit as snug or as loose as the wearer needs. As with all shoes, it is best to try them on first in a retail store, before buying online, as the employees can help pick out the best fit for your foot shape. However, once the correct size is found, the New Balance 311 will fit any foot shape, narrow or wide and deliver comfort, that lasts all day long.


The New Balance 311 comes equipped with a lightweight and flexible EVA midsole, as well as an EVA foam Cushioning Comfort Insert, that help mimic the natural bending of the feet and move together with them for a non-restricted, natural ride. The outsole’s tread pattern also adds to the overall flexibility of this sneaker, as the lugs are placed in such a way, that promotes the natural flexing of the feet, while keeping the wearer firmly on the ground. Once the sneakers are laced up, they conform to the shape of the feet, making it very easy to move in them. While all of these features contribute greatly to the overall flexibility of these sneakers, a few reviewers noticed, that they felt rather stiff at first and required some breaking in, until they became comfortable and flexible enough to use in the gym or jogging/walking.


This athletic sneaker certainly does not lack in style, as New Balance brought back the retro vibes in the form of the 311, a sneaker inspired by vintage running shoes. The attractive design consists of quality suede and mesh panels, that are stitched together, adding to the overall good looks, as well as enhancing durability. New Balance’s signature logo can be found stitched on either side of the upper, as well as on the heel and tongue, adding a subtle touch to the design. It is available in both men’s and women’s sizes, and comes in a wide variety of attractive color ways to suit anybody’s taste. Thanks to its versatile nature, it can be worn for workouts, as well as casual, everyday wear, since it easily blends into anyone’s wardrobe. The New Balance 311 looks great with leggings, jeans, shorts, skirts or dresses, you name it. It will make any outfit stand out, and is easily turned from daytime wear to a night out with friends. Some reviewers even wore their New Balance 311s to the office and got plenty of compliments, not to mention comfort.


Although not specifically a supportive shoe, the New Balance 311 has a decent amount of support to offer to its wearers. To start off, the lightweight EVA midsole offers excellent shock-absorption, that will cushion each footfall, turning the shock of impact into energy, that the wearer can use to propel themselves forward into their next step with ease and add a bounce to their stride. Additionally, New Balance also included a Comfort Cushioning Insert, that enhances the sneaker’s overall comfort levels and adds additional support for the underfoot. This makes the New Balance 311 comfortable and supportive enough to wear for long hours, as well as long distance walking or jogging. However, if you need more support, you can easily switch out the insert with some custom orthotics. The suede and mesh paneled upper provides a good lockdown, when it is laced up, keeping the feet nice and secure in their position. Furthermore, the tongue and collar feature some lightweight, but very effective padding, that wraps around the ankles comfortably and keeps them supported and safe from injuries throughout use, while not limiting motion. Be it in the gym, running or just for everyday use, the New Balance 311 will keep your feet comfortable and supported.


The New Balance 311 is quite the lightweight sneaker, thanks to its materials. Namely, the lightweight rubber outsole combined with the EVA midsole, which is lightweight by nature, and the suede and mesh paneled upper are responsible for keeping this athletic shoe light on the feet. The 311 comes with a Comfort Cushioning Insert and its tongue and collar do feature padding, however, it is not going to weigh your feet down, quite the opposite. The padding, together with the insert and outer construction of the sneaker, allow the wearer to be comfortable and secure on their feet even for prolonged periods of time, without experiencing any soreness or fatigue. This is great news for anyone who struggles with foot pain or tired feet, as this will no longer be an issue with the New Balance 311. Exercising will also be a breeze with these sneakers and they will make switching between workouts smooth and easy.

Bottom Line

This retro inspired New Balance sneaker is packed full of great features, from its non-marking rubber outsole with excellent traction to its lightweight EVA midsole and suede upper with mesh panels. This athletic sneaker is not only lightweight and has excellent shock-absorption, but it breathes very well and has tons of cushioning to make your every step as comfortable as possible. It also features a Comfort Cushioning Insert for additional support and cushioning, as well as a breathable and soft textile lining for a great in-shoe environment. The tongue and collar come with additional padding and the upper has a standard lace-up closure for a custom snug fit. The New Balance 311 is great for working out in the gym or running/ walking, as it will keep your feet supported and protected from overheating, and it doubles as an excellent everyday shoe as well. It features the ever so popular retro design and is available in many attractive color combinations. That being said, the fit is on the narrow side, so sizing up at least half a size, especially if you have wide feet, is recommended. Overall, the New Balance 311 is a very stylish sneaker with excellent quality and support, and it comes at a fraction of the price of some other sneakers.