Born in 1906 in Boston, USA, the New Balance Arch Support Company began manufacturing
a flexible arch support.
It later began making footwear and today is one of the leading running shoe manufacturers in the world.
New Balance is now specializing in athletic footwear including running shoes as well as a wide range of other sports footwear and apparel.
In recent years the running division of the company has grown massively and the running
shoes developed to compete with the market leaders.
With a wide range of running-specific models, New Balance caters for all types of runners
from beginners to experienced marathon runners and world-class athletes.
With shoes for road, track, and trails, all featuring innovative technology, here we take a look
at the best New Balance running shoes for a range of runners and surfaces.
The Best New Balance Running Shoes
1. Best supportive daily trainer: New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13
2. Best neutral cushioned daily trainer: New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13
3. Best value all-round training shoe: New Balance FuelCell Propel v4
4. Best cushioned shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13
5. Best tempo, faster training shoe: New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer V2
6. Best racing shoe: New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite V3
7. Best trail shoe (for faster running): New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trail
8. Best trail shoe (for everyday trail running): New Balance FreshFoam X More Trail v3
Note: New Balance quote “stack height measurements are approximate”
#1. Best supportive daily trainer:
New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v13
Weight: Men 309g / 10.9oz Women: 243g / 8.6oz; Stack Height, Approx: 27mm heel / 17mm forefoot – 10mm drop
A long-established favorite with runners requiring control for overpronation, the 860 remains one of the best control shoes on the market.
I’ve worn many different versions of this shoe over the years and as you would expect this version is the best yet.
It’s not always the case that the latest model of a running shoe is the best, but with the use of Fresh Foam cushioning and a refined upper, the thirteenth version of the 860 is the best to date.
While Fresh Foam is the brand’s umbrella term for its proprietary midsole cushioning material, it can vary depending on the shoe it’s used in.
Here the cushioning is a little firmer than the neutral version of this shoe, the 880, but it still provides a feel that’s soft enough to cope with daily training, while being very stable.
A medial post provides the controlling element of the shoe and while some brands have moved away from this style of control, it remains a very effective way in which to reduce the rate of overpronation.
The posting is unintrusive and while runners may be aware of the control being provided, most don’t feel any specific intrusion under the arch of the foot. In this respect it’s an ideal solution, it controls overpronation but wearers are virtually unaware of its presence.
The upper construction, while fairly typical of many of the competitors in this category, is plush and well-made.
The outsole provides almost full-length coverage, so there’s very little exposed midsole meaning durability is excellent.
Ultimately, the New Balance 860v13 provides a great combination of cushioning and control and for overpronators, it’s an excellent choice for daily training.
#2. Best neutral cushioned daily trainer:
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13
Weight: Men 300g/ 10.6oz Women: 238g / 8.4oz; Stack Height, Approx: 11mm heel / 11mm forefoot – 10mm drop
A very close sibling of the 860, the 880v13 is essentially the neutral version.
The shoe could be mistaken easily with the 860 as it shares a very close resemblance in terms of upper, midsole, and sole construction.
Ultimately the 880 is a neutral cushioned model and does not feature a medial post.
The shoe uses the Fresh Foam X midsole material and here it feels just a little softer and energised than in the more supportive model.
The 880 is a very straightforward shoe. It provides great, versatile cushioning in a durable, yet comfortable package for everyday miles. If you don’t require any stability, it’s a great choice.
#3. Best value all-round training shoe:
New Balance FuelCell Propel v4
Weight: Men 302g / 10.7oz Women: 229g / 8.1oz; Stack Height, Approx: 31mm heel / 25mm forefoot – 6mm drop.
For beginners or runners who simply want a single pair of shoes, the Propel provides all the staples of a great running shoe in a good value package.
This shoe adds a TPU plate to its midsole to give it some of the added energy return feel found in shoes that cost twice its price.
With a FuelCell midsole, New Balance has used a cushioning material found on some of their most expensive models.
Again, FuelCell, like Fresh Foam is an umbrella term for this particular type of cushioning. It does have a soft, responsive ride and at this price point, it represents great value for money.
The stack of cushioning is also a good depth too. New Balance hasn’t skimped here!
The plate adds both additional cushioning and a propulsive feel to the ride. Okay, it’s not in super-shoe territory, but the energy return is noticeable and makes for a nice overall running experience.
The upper of the shoe is a relatively simple affair, but it’s well-made and durable and does a perfectly adequate job.
Likewise, the sole rubber proves to be durable and covers the majority of the sole making for a long-lasting ride.
#4. Best cushioned shoe:
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13
Weight: Men 260g / 9.2oz Women: 207g/7.3oz; Stack Height, Approx: 38mm heel / 32mm forefoot – 6mm drop
The 1080 has long been New Balances premium, neutral cushioned shoe. Always offering a deep stack of soft, plush cushioning, I felt the ‘V12’ was a great shoe.
Recently released, the thirteenth version of the 1080 is simply stunning. From the moment I pulled the shoe on the soft, welcoming feeling of the Fresh Foam X cushioning felt like a shoe I could run mile after mile in.
The Fresh Foam X in this model feels both softer and more responsive than that in the model below it in the brand’s line-up, the 880. That said, it doesn’t have a level of energy return like that of a competition shoe, but it doesn’t need it.
What it does manage to do is remain soft and cushioned without bottoming out and simply offer a little bit of return to add a touch of ‘energized toe-off’ to the ride. It’s what I feel the ASICS Nimbus 25 should have felt like.
The New Balance manages this combination of long-distance comfort with a somewhat energized feel and at a better price than the ASICS range-topping model.
The upper of the 1080 v13 also sees an update, which again transforms the fit and feel of the shoe. I feel is a similar update that the Saucony Triumph received from the version 20 to 21 earlier this year.
It’s now a more premium, engineered mesh construction that’s more structured and just fits around the whole foot better. There’s also more padding in the tongue and heel tab, again providing a more premium fit.
I got the 1080v13 a few days before taking a few day’s holiday, so decided they’d be my shoe of choice for the mini-break.
They proved to be a perfect choice and handled both easy runs and more up-tempo efforts with ease. I even managed a relatively swift 5-minute 30-second mile in the shoes without them feeling at all cumbersome.
The 1080 v13 is a great update and a great shoe for those wanting the plushest, most cushioned ride in a shoe for daily training.
#5. Best tempo, faster training shoe:
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer V2
Weight: Men 282g/ 8.1oz Women: 225g / 8oz; Stack Height, Approx: 40mm heel / 34mm forefoot – 6mm drop
In the aftermath of the rise of ‘super shoes’ (carbon-plated racing shoes), a new category of model has emerged, the super-trainer.
Super-trainers are similar somewhat to racer-trainers but now feature carbon plates like their race day counterparts.
In many ways, the SuperComp Trainer is similar to the SuperComp Elite. It’s just a little heavier, although not that noticeable, and still feels fast on the foot.
The Trainer uses a similar midsole to the Elite but with a slightly higher drop, perhaps catering for a more heel-to-midfoot strike rather than a mid-to-forefoot in the Elite.
FuelCell cushioning provides a soft and highly energized feel with a welcome level of energy return that’s enhanced by the carbon Energy Arc plate. This plate is contoured both across its width and length for a stable and controlled feel of propulsion.
One of the features of the Energy Arc is that the midsole is cut away beneath it to allow a little deformation and allow itself to ‘load’ some energy into the spring-like construction.
In this model, this cutaway section is a little smaller than in the Elite and this contributes to both enhanced stability and durability.
It’s good to see plenty of outsole rubber coverage in this shoe, an area often neglected by some brands, which can lead to premature wear to the exposed midsole.
The upper is relatively simple in its design, but it fits well and does a perfectly acceptable job.
I’ve covered plenty of miles in these shoes, in fact, I used them for every single interval and tempo session in my 16-week build-up to the Berlin marathon this year.
Using them for intervals from 1-minute efforts to 5km tempo repeats, they handled every single step admirably, and once on the go I simply forgot I had them on my feet!
For up-tempo and faster-paced running, or even perhaps racing for those requiring a little support, the FuelCell SuperComp trainer is a great choice.
#6. Best racing shoe:
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite V3
Weight: Men 229g/ 8.1oz Women: 182g / 6.4oz; Stack Height, Approx: 40mm heel / 36mm forefoot – 4mm drop.
One of the best carbon-plated road racing shoes around, the SuperComp Elite v3 feels fast and aggressive when on the move, but at the same time manages to be welcoming and comfortable at any pace.
Many shoes of this type feel like you need to hit a certain (faster) pace to get the most from them. The Elite v3 actually feels soft and welcoming like a comfortable slipper as soon as you slip them on. Yes, it does feel better at speed, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to go all-out.
The FuelCell is soft and highly responsive and the Energy Arc provides both stability as well as the all-important energized toe-off spring.
This was one of my top-rated racing shoes earlier in the year and remains so after many more brands have launched updated models.
A one-piece upper has a stretch-like fit and does so without any excess fabric.
Outsole rubber provides great sole coverage, so adds to the durability and leaves very little of that soft midsole foam exposed.
For a fast-feeling shoe, regardless of pace, the FuelCell Elite V3 is a great choice.
#7. Best trail shoe (for faster running):
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trail
Weight: Men 272g/ 9.6oz Women: 214g / 7.5oz; Stack Height, Approx: 36mm heel / 26mm forefoot – 10mm drop
When compiling this selection of the best New Balance running shoes for a variety of runners and conditions, it was this shoe that I immediately had in mind for the best trail running shoe.
I’d recently received the SuperComp Trail and enjoyed several adventures out in the shoe. I enjoyed its lightweight feel and energized ride.
Then around ten days later I received the Fresh Foam X More Trail v3 and after a few runs in that shoe, I was rather confused as to which is the best option.
With this dilemma in mind, I decided that I’d make the SuperComp Trail my choice for faster-paced trail running and the More the choice for those longer easier efforts.
Essentially, the SuperComp Trail takes its many design elements from both the SC Elite and SC Trainer.
There’s the FuelCell midsole cushioning and the Energy Arc carbon plate. The overall stack height of the shoe is lower, at 36mm in the heel making it a little closer to the ground and more stable and controlled on the trails.
The 10mm drop into the forefoot promotes a faster ride and this works well with both the midsole and plate.
The shoe feels better at a faster pace and the Vibram Metagrip outsole, which has a tooth-like grip facilitates this on a variety of surfaces including softer wetter ground.
While on the trails the cushioning does feel perfectly adequate for longer distance running or races, and to be honest, it’s only since trying the shoe below, the More, that I’ve made a differentiation between the two models.
For faster-paced off-road running, it’s the SuperComp Trail that takes the crown for me.
#8. Best trail shoe (for everyday trail running):
New Balance FreshFoam X More Trail v3
Weight: Men 322g/ 11.4oz Women: 250g / 8.8oz; Stack Height, Approx: 40mm heel / 36mm forefoot – 4mm drop.
As I mentioned above, the choice of the best off-road running shoe from New Balance was a tricky one. That in itself is a testament to the quality of their range.
Like the 1080v13, the Fresh Foam X More Trail feels great from the moment you step inside. The deep stack of cushioning is so welcoming and provides a great place for the feet to be.
The Vibram outsole has a deep, relatively aggressive pattern and traction on a range of surfaces is great.
This really is an easy shoe to get along with. The cushioning feels soft and yet stable at the same time. It has a broad base so the foot sits ‘within’ its structure, adding to the stability, even on uneven terrain.
I’ll be using the More Trail a lot through the winter. The trails I run on are mainly gravel paths and forest tracks, so it suits the underfoot conditions perfectly and I just can’t fault the level of cushioning.
For everyday miles on the trails and longer off-road adventures, this is a great shoe.