Guide to New Balance Running Shoes
I wrote the guide to New Balance Running Shoes because, quite frankly, of any brand, they are the most confusing. I’m going to keep this in the neutral category since that is what most runners use.
So are New Balance Running Shoes Good?
Yes! New Balance running shoes are good. New Balance has come a long way since the typical “dad” shoes and now make extremely good running shoes. Like any running shoe, it’s important to find the right one for you. I wrote about that here.
New Balance has its running shoes divided into 3 different cushioning types:
- New Balance Fresh Foam Collection: Focus on a soft and smooth ride
- New Balance FuelCell Collection: Light and responsive, made for speed
- NBC Collection: Durable and focused on training Focus on high mileage. Basically a collection of misfits.
What do all of the numbers in New Balance Running Shoes mean?
Generally, New Balance shoes break down into 4 sections:
- The First Two Letters: M=Men and W=Women
- The First Numbers: The higher the number, the more cushion it has. The 1080 has more cushion than the 880.
- The Second Two Numbers: The amount of stability:
- 60 = stability
- 70 = light stability
- 80 = neutral
- 90 = speed
- V means version, so the model it is. v10 means it’s the 10th version
So in this example:
W1080V10 would mean the shoe is: women’s highly cushioned, neutral version 10.
Guide to New Balance Running Shoes:
In this guide to New Balance Running Shoes, none of the categories are better than the others, but they all serve different purposes…
Fresh Foam Series:
What is fresh foam? Fresh Foam midsoles are laser engraved, which reduces weight and gives different types of foam to different parts of the shoe. The New Balance Fresh Foam shoes are among the most durable.
New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v10:
Weight: 9.9 oz/Drop 10 mm
This is the light but durable flagship shoe from New Balance. It comes in a variety of widths and is great for the new runner or seasoned runner. In my opinion, one of the most versatile shoes from New Balance. It’s slightly stiffer when rolling from heel to toe than many of New Balance’s other models.
Weight: 9.5 oz/Drop 8 mm
With more cushion than the New Balance 880v10, the 1080 is hands down my favorite New Balance Shoe. It’s a high cushion trainer with a socklike upper. It’s designed for high mileage but can go the speed if needed. Most of the weight difference from the 880 to the 1080 comes in the upper since the 1080 v10 has more cushion but is lighter. It’s another extremely versatile but durable shoe from New Balance.
Weight: 7.8 oz/Drop 10 mm
The Beacon is a lighter shoe than both the 880 and 1080. If you are looking for a soft, lightweight shoe, consider the New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon. The Beacon can do long runs or fast runs, and I’ve done plenty of workouts in it. You won’t get the same durability with how lightweight it is, and you’ll be replacing it sooner rather than later.
New Balance 890v8:
Weight: 8.4 oz/Drop 4 mm
I always find the New Balance 890 to get slightly lost in the New Balance collection. It’s a great tempo and workout shoe. It combines both the Fuelcell midsole and Fresh foam to have a firmer ride. It has a lot more traction than the Beacon and, in turn, lasts longer than the Beacon. In my opinion, it’s a better shoe for the price, but it’s never at the top of people’s minds when it comes to running shoes.
Weight: 9.4 oz /Drop 4 mm
As the name suggests, the More has more cushion. It should be called the MOST. This New Balance shoe has the most cushion of any. It’s great for those easy run days or days you want a lot of cushion. It’s not going to be your fast day shoe, but it does its purpose of getting more cushion on those easy days.
Weight: 8.5 oz/Drop 6 mm
This shoe has a lot of competitors, from the Beacon to the 890. The NB Tempo is a good replacement for the beloved and fan favorite, Zante. It’s a lightweight and durable trainer. More durable than the Beacon and softer than the 890. In my opinion, it is the best shoe for the lightweight category. With the rubber at the bottom, you are going to get more mileage out of them. To give you an idea, I got about 120 miles out of the Beacon (yikes) but have gotten well over 250 in the Tempo with a similar ride and price.
Guide to New Balance Running Shoes: Neutral NBx Series
NBx is the collection of misfits. In this guide to New Balance Running Shoes, these are the shoes that have been around New Balance for years, but they don’t have a “category” of foam. They aren’t going anywhere.
Weight: 7.1 oz/Drop 10 mm
Before carbon fiber plates, the New Balance 1400 was a standard marathon racing shoe. It has plenty of cushion but is a lightweight racing flat. If you aren’t a fan of racing flats, the New Balance 1400 is still a great racing shoe. It’s designed for workouts and faster runs. Running too much in this racing flat will probably result in injury.
Weight: 7.6 oz/ Drop
The difference between the 1400 and 1500 is the touch of stability in the 1500. If you are a runner who needs a stable shoe but wants a racing shoe, the New Balance 1500 is one of the best options out there. Like the 1400, it’s designed for fast workouts and races. If you run too many miles, you’ll probably end up injured.
Guide to New Balance Running Shoes: FuelCell Series:
The New Balance Fuelcell Series is the newest collection from New Balance. In this guide to New Balance Running Shoes, they need speed and, for the most part, fast racing shoes. What is Fuelcell? It’s a TPU foam blend and has nitrogen-infused into it, giving the shoes the signature bouncy feel.
New Balance Fuelcell RC Elite:
Weight: 7.3 oz/Drop 10 mm
The cream of the crop and the fastest New Balance racing shoe. It’s designed for racing marathons fast. This is the fastest marathon racing shoe designed to compete with the rest of the carbon fiber plate world. While fast, it isn’t durable, so race in it or do important workouts.
New Balance Fuelcell TC:
Weight: 9 oz/Drop 9 mm
Slightly heavier than the RC Elite and designed to do more workouts and be durable. Ideally, this is the workout partner for the RC Elite. Do workouts in the TC and race in the RC, although you can definitely race in the TC. The Fuelcell TC was my favorite workout shoe of 2020, and I appreciated the responsiveness.
Weight: 6 oz/Drop 6 oz
The 5280 is designed for racing the mile. There are very few, if any, carbon fiber plated shoes that exist to race the mile, but New Balance has it. It’s like a track spike without the spikes. Run any more; you’ll find yourself injured. If your focus is the road mile (which very few of us are), it is the racing shoe for you, and it’s worth the investment.
New Balance Fuelcell Propel:
Weight: 9.3 oz/Drop: 6 mm
If you like the firmness and feel of the Fuelcell material, the Propel is a great shoe for training. It’s a lightweight and semidurable trainer.
Weight: 7.2 oz/Drop 6mm
I forget this shoe has yet to be updated (it’s coming soon). I raced the 2019 New York City Marathon in the New Balance Rebel. It’s a lightweight but durable shoe designed for responsive runs or workouts. If you are looking for a durable running shoe that can handle almost any workout type, the New Balance Rebel is a great trainer. In my opinion, the best trainer in the New Balance line.
As you can see, New Balance had come a long way since when they were most known for all white leather dad shoes. Hopefully, this guide to New Balance Running Shoes helps to break down the running shoes for you to find the best ones. As always, go check out your local running store, which can give the best advice for you and your needs. There is no best running shoe, only the best for you.
So are New Balance Running Shoes Good?
Yes, of course, you could have read the first line for that.
Best New Balance Shoes For Training: The Fresh foam series
Best New Balance Shoes For Workouts and Races: The Fuelcell Series
You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.
Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
What is your favorite running shoe?
Have you run in New Balance?