Best New Balance Running Shoes Compared 2021

Last updated: October 12, 2021

Running Shoes / Best New Balance Running Shoes Compared 2021

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Starting out in 1906 as a small arch supports company, New Balance has evolved into a massive supplier of shoes and apparel.

Finding the right running shoe can take time and patience, so you should take the time to find the right one.

We’ve compared some of the best running shoes by New Balance as rated by popularity by other runners. We’ve compared them against features, durability, fit and more. Take a look and see if one might be suitable for you.

Best New Balance Running Shoes Compared And Reviewed

Best Overall
Fresh Foam 880v11
Fresh Foam 880v11
Lightweight
Fresh Foam Beacon v3
Fresh Foam Beacon v3
Best Cushioning
Fresh Foam Hierro v6
Fresh Foam Hierro v6 Trail Shoes
Best Stability
FuelCell Prism v2
FuelCell Prism v2
For High Arches
Fresh Foam 1080 v11
Fresh Foam 1080 v11

1. Fresh Foam 880v11

Key Features

  • Men’s and women’s variants
  • 13 color variations
  • Narrow, standard, wide, and x-wide variants
  • Weight: 298 g (10.5 oz)
  • Drop: 10mm

Reasons to buy

  • Perfect for everyday running
  • Great heel support
  • Sturdy and lightweight upper
  • Incredibly comfortable midsole

Reasons to avoid

  • Minimal arch support

Everyday running shoes aren’t just your run-of-the-mill shoes. They have to be flexible and versatile, able to take on whatever challenges you throw at them every day. In addition to taking multiple roles, they should also perform well so that you can stay confident 

In this regard, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 checks all of the boxes. It’s certainly an everyday running shoe that you can wear for a long time. This is also a great choice for beginners.

Firstly, this model was built to last. The upper is made of double jacquard mesh, a durable synthetic fabric that provides adequate protection while still being breathable and lightweight. As a result, the shoe weighs almost nothing on your feet, perfect for whatever kind of running you want to do.

Its highlight is the Fresh Foam midsole, which is precision-engineered to provide the best support, especially to the heel area. However, for some, the cushioning towards the metatarsal area might be inadequate, especially when compared to the well-supported heel.

The Fresh Foam 880 v11’s insole has a very little arch to it and is set at an approximately 10mm drop. This means that although it could be great for overpronators, supinators and neutral runners might find everyday use uncomfortable because of the lack of arch support.

It may not have a single specialty, but that’s the best part about it. Overall, the Fresh Foam 880v11 is a plush, durable, and functional New Balance shoe that everyone can use every day.

2. Fresh Foam Beacon v3

Key Features

  • Men’s and women’s variants
  • Standard and wide foot width
  • 10 color variations on Amazon
  • Weight: 194 g (6.8 oz)
  • Drop: 6mm

Reasons to buy

  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Sleek aesthetics
  • Ultra-comfortable cushioning
  • Revamped upper mesh for a better fit

Reasons to avoid

  • Only available in 2 widths
  • Wears and tears easily

With its chunky aesthetics and sleek, futuristic cut, New Balance‘s Fresh Foam Beacon v3 is a great option for those who want great performance without sacrificing looks.

Versatility is a characteristic on its own, which the Fresh Foam Beacon v3 has in spades. For one, its engineered midsole is designed so that you’re well protected no matter the trail, length, or frequencies of your run.

More than that, it’s also lightweight. Compared to the previous Beacon v2, the v3’s upper mesh has been revamped to improve the fit and the weight. As a result, it’s much lighter than the many other pairs, including the Fresh Foam 880v11. With this kind of cushioning and weight, the Beacon v3 is a reliable pick, regardless if you want to do marathons or speed runs.

That said, its durability seems compromised by the build. Its airy, weight-conscious construction leads to its outsole easily wearing out even with just regular use – more so on off-trails and rough roads. If you’re going for this option, it’s probably best that you wear it in rotation with your other running shoes so as not to hasten wear and tear.

Also, the sizing is somewhat restrictive as it’s only available in standard and wide foot widths, unlike the Fresh Foam 880v11.

All in all, if you’re looking for a versatile pair that you want to add to your daily rotation of running shoes, the Fresh Foam Beacon v3 is a solid choice.

3. Fresh Foam Hierro v6 Trail Running Shoes

Key Features

  • Vibram and Toe Protect technologies
  • Men’s and women’s variants
  • 5 color variations
  • Standard, wide, and x-wide foot widths
  • Weight: 339.6 g (12 oz)
  • Drop: 8mm

Reasons to buy

  • Great value for the price
  • Rugged yet smart aesthetics
  • Keeps you injury-free with Toe Protect technology
  • Comfortable cushioning
  • More grippy sole without added weight

Reasons to avoid

  • Doesn’t have a rock plate
  • Treads are not adequate for slippery conditions

Are you looking for something that you can rely on even when things get rough? If that’s the case, the Fresh Foam Hierro v6 is equipped to handle all your needs.

For one, the midsole is made with New Balance’s patented Fresh Foam cushioning that can readily absorb impact force even on the roughest trails. It also sports Vibram technology, which gives it a grippy outsole without the added weight. Meanwhile, its Toe Protect technology encases your vulnerable toes in a stiffer enclosure to protect them from potential harm.

Combined with the revamped, laser-perforated, and supportive lace-up upper, you can rest assured that the Hierro v6 can keep your feet secure and comfortable even on the toughest trails.

Plus, the newest v6 revamp of this model makes it look more street smart and casual compared to its previous iterations. It’s trendy enough without being too attention-catching, and its rugged aesthetic tells people that you like treading unbeaten paths.

However, if you want the extra protection that a rock plate affords, then you won’t find it in the Hierro v6. Also although the treads are adequate in most situations, they don’t provide a strong enough grip when in extremely wet or muddy conditions.

It may be a bit more expensive than both the 880v11 or Beacon v3, but the Hierro v6 is still well worth the price. If you’re looking for a reliable pair that will get you through the roughest paths in comfort, protection, and style, the Fresh Foam Hierro v6 is the perfect New Balance shoes for you.

4. FuelCell Prism v2

Key Features

  • Men’s and women’s variants
  • Standard and wide foot widths
  • Lace-up mesh upper
  • Weight: 267 g (9.4 oz)
  • Drop: 6mm

Reasons to buy

  • Trendy street look
  • Responsive FuelCell midsole 
  • Doubles as a mild stability shoe
  • Slightly structured, lightweight lace-up mesh upper
  • Strategically placed cushioning for ground-contact protection

Reasons to avoid

  • Uncomfortable medial post support

Sure, humans can’t fly – but you can come close with the FuelCell Prism v2.

The FuelCell Prism v2 sports a thick midsole made of special FuelCell foam to help give you noticeable feedback every time your foot meets the ground.

More than that, the EVA midsole is strategically placed around ground contact areas to help protect your foot where it counts the most. As a result, you get an extra force out of every step, saving energy and allowing you to run longer and faster while staying protected from wear and tear.

Another one of its standout features is the medial post inside. This additional support ensures that your foot rolls the right way, minimizing overpronation and reducing the chances of injury. Stability shoes aren’t usually made for runners, but the FuelCell Prism v2 is light enough that it can get away with it and still perform admirably.

It also has a slightly structured, lightweight mesh upper that hugs your foot while still offering a touch of the structure. All of these features are encased in an undeniably modern and trendy look that you can wear on the streets.

Nevertheless, be warned: the insole medial post is not attached in place. It has a slippery bottom that can easily get dislodged after several runs, riding up the foot and causing discomfort. If you want to wear it for long runs, it might be best to use something to attach the post in its place first.

Ultimately, the FuelCell Prism v2 is an impressive piece of supportive running shoes that runs at a reasonable price for that small fault. If you want something with mild support and great responsiveness, this one’s for you.

5. Fresh Foam 1080 v11

Key Features

  • Lace-up Hypoknit upper
  • Men’s and women’s variants
  • Narrow, standard, wide, and x-wide foot widths
  • Weight: 229.8 g (8.1 oz)
  • Drop: 8mm

Reasons to buy

  • Modern and trendy look
  • Stretchy upper Hypoknit construction
  • Thick midsole offers plush, comfortable run
  • Comfortable toe box and stable midfoot construction

Reasons to avoid

  • Upper knit can be too tight for some
  • Lack of durability in the midsole can lead to premature wear

Curious what it feels like to run on a cloud? New Balance aims to give you that experience with the maximum cushioning of the Fresh Foam 1080 v11.

With an especially thick cushion made with New Balance’s Fresh Foam technology, the Fresh Foam 1080 v11 gives you an amazingly soft feeling whenever your foot touches the ground. It has an Ultra Heel design that lets the shoes hug the heel part of your foot to protect it from potential injuries. This also results in a comfortable heel-to-toe transition when running.

Another standout feature is the upper construction. Although it’s minimally structured to provide adequate support, the Fresh Foam 1080 v11’s lace-up bootie upper is made of lightweight, elastic Hypoknit mesh that stretches in key areas to accommodate multiple shoe sizes and shapes. The toe box is also purposefully designed to fit a wide range of toe width, while the midfoot region remains comfortably stiff for stability.

However, in its quest to lighten and enhance the look of the Fresh Foam 1080 v11, New Balance did seem to have sacrificed a few things. The first is durability. While the shoe is made for “high-mileage durability,” the midsole wears out incredibly fast, often resulting in uneven foam compression.

More than that, some interior structures aren’t well-designed. The toe guard, for instance, is not properly cushioned and can cause abrasions. Also, despite the different foot widths available, the stiff nature of the bootie upper knit can also be too tight for some.

Overall, if you have an average foot size and shape, then you might want to try the comfort and fun that the 1080 v11 affords. However, people with uncommon feet shapes should probably look elsewhere.

6. Fresh Foam X Vongo v5

Key Features

  • Varus wedge technology
  • Lace-up embroidered Hypoknit upper
  • Standard, wide, and x-wide  foot width
  • Weight: 280 g (9.9 oz)
  • Drop: 8mm

Reasons to buy

  • Modern, trendy look
  • Plush ground contact
  • Comfortable heel support
  • Wider medial size for additional stability
  • Integrated varus wedge stability support

Reasons to avoid

  • More structured upper compared to the v4
  • Narrow toe box might be uncomfortable for some

Do you feel like running on clouds, like the 1080 v11, but you require more stability? Don’t worry, the Fresh Foam X Vongo v5 has got you covered.

This model sports the same thick Fresh Foam midsole that the 1080 v11 has but with more support. And by this, we don’t mean the same medial post as the FuelCell Prism v2. The X Vongo v5 sports a newer varus wedge technology that integrates the support to the insole itself, giving it a more solid, structured feel. This means that the insole itself has a supportive arch and a wider medial side to minimize overpronation.

Its standout features include a segmented outsole for tight grip while maintaining flexibility, and a revamped, sleeker look. With all the added benefits of a luxuriously plush footfall, the added stability is for overpronators who want to experience an easy, bouncy, and protective running experience.

At its price, we can say that it’s a sleek, great-looking pair of running shoes. However, be aware that the upper is also noticeably firmer than the previous version, which might not suit those who love the more unstructured v4. Also, the toe box is narrower compared to other models, which might not suit wider-footed people.

Nevertheless, the Fresh Foam X Vongo v5 is a solid choice for those who want all the support, style, and comfort they can get.

How to Choose the Best New Balance Shoes for Runners

New Balance is a well-known shoemaker and designer with a wide variety of products to choose from. They have many product lines for running shoes alone, so it’s normal for the average shoe hunter to encounter some trouble picking which ones are best for them.

If you don’t know which New Balance running shoes to pick, it’s best to decide based on three factors: purpose, comfort, and support. Check out our post on finding the right running shoes for you, if you need a little help.

Purpose

The kind of running that you will mostly be doing matters a lot when choosing any pair of running shoes. Not all running styles are supported by same shoes, so it’s wise to pick a specialized pair for the kind of running you do.

Think about whether you do trail runs, treadmills, track, long or short distance, and speed runs, as well as any combination of all those types. Luckily for you, New Balance has a wide range of choices that can cater to specialized as well as versatile options.

Comfort

New Balance running shoes vary on their levels of comfort. Some are made for neutral running with minimal cushioning. However, others are also made to maximize comfort and bounciness. When choosing a pair of New Balance running shoes, pick what level of comfort you prefer for your runs.

Support

Do you overpronate or supinate? Maybe you’re a neutral runner? New Balance has a variety of choices for all kinds of support, ranging from the neutral soles (no support) to medial poles and versus wedges (for overpronating runners).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is New Balance True to Size?

New Balance shoes are true to size. They are a world-renowned shoemaker company that puts the utmost care into their products to fit just right.

What New Balance Shoes Are Trendy?

Most latest-version New Balance shoes listed in this article sport a modern, trendy look that you can wear casually or on the streets. You can pick any of these and style them with whatever’s trendy right now.

Which New Balance Shoes to Buy?

There are many New Balance running shoes available in the market, but these are the best six that we found to be the most beneficial to a lot of runners around. If you’re still undecided after reading the top six, make sure to choose based on the purpose, comfort, and support you need. For instance, if your priority is comfort, the Beacon v3 and the Hierro v6 are amazing choices.

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