While both companies produce a wide range of high-quality running shoes for runners of all ability levels and training styles, there are differences between New Balance vs Brooks running shoes.
In this article, we look at Brooks vs New Balance running shoes to see how the running shoes from these two popular companies compare.
The Main Differences New Balance vs Brooks
Both New Balance and Brooks offer a wide range of running shoes for runners of all levels (beginners to high-mileage runners), foot types (flat foot, high arches), training preferences (road, trail running, racing), and shoe style needs and preferences (minimalist, neutral, cushioned, maximalist, stability, motion control).
In general, New Balance running shoes are known to offer a wide range of wide sizes of running shoes, including extra-wide widths in many models, making the brand a great option for runners with wide feet.
Additionally, if you have a bunion, there will almost always be at least one type of New Balance running shoe that can accommodate your feet.
Many of the New Balance running shoes also feature a thicker midsole, which can provide more stability. To this end, the brand has quite a few stability and motion-control running shoes in their lineup for runners who overpronate and need extra support.
One of the primary differences between Brooks vs New Balance as companies is that New Balance makes a wide range of shoes, extending well beyond running shoes into shoes for other sports and many casual “athleisure” shoes, whereas Brooks exclusively designs running shoes.
This isn’t to say that one is necessarily better than the other, but the sole focus that Brooks places on designing running shoes is reflected in the heavy emphasis on research and design that goes into making and updating every single running shoe in the brand’s lineup.
Brooks uses a large sample group of wear testers to help guide design modifications and updates to their running shoes, and the brand reports that the running shoes are designed to accommodate rather than correct gait.
Brooks running shoes also feature a wider toe box than many competitors such as Asics and Nike running shoes.
Let’s get into the finer details of the differences between Brooks vs New Balance running shoes:
Brooks vs New Balance Running Shoes: Durability
The durability of any running shoes depends on the dynamic interplay of numerous factors specific to your body and your training.
These factors include your body weight and size, how often you run, the terrain you run on, your gait and foot strike pattern, the climate and weather you run in, and whether you rotate your shoes because doing so gives the material more time to rebound between uses.
Then, in addition to factors regarding your body, biomechanics, and training, there are qualities of the running shoe itself that influence its durability, namely the materials used and the quality of construction.
The durability of Brooks vs New Balance running shoes is pretty much the same when you compare the same type of running shoe across both brands.
Like many running shoe companies, both Brooks and New Balance recommend replacing their running shoes after 300 to 500 miles (500-800 km) of use (where you fall in that range will depend largely on the training and factors mentioned).
Brooks vs New Balance Running Shoes: Cushioning
The main difference in the cushioning with New Balance vs Brooks running shoes is a matter of how much cushioning the shoes provide. Both brands offer a range of thicknesses in cushioning, from minimalist to a more cushioned shoe.
With that said, New Balance has a few more options for maximalist running shoes for runners looking for the thickest midsole for a super plush ride.
Brooks shoes use one of several different foam materials for the midsole based on the primary purpose of the running shoes (e.g., racing flat versus cushioned trainer).
DNA LOFT, which is made from a blend of EVA foam, rubber, and air, is the softest cushioning used, so it’s found in cushioned and maximalist running shoe styles.
DNA AMP is the cushioning designed to optimize energy return because it is super springy and much stiffer than DNA LOFT. Therefore, it is mostly used in performance running shoes such as lightweight trainers and speed shoes where you want to optimize forward propulsion.
BioMoGo DNA, is the “Goldilocks” in that it lands in the middle of DNA LOFT and DNA AMP. This cushioning blend is said to adapt to and accommodate your gait to provide the right support and cushion.
Lastly, DNA Flash provides very little cushioning, so it’s used in racing shoes.
New Balance provides a range of running shoes in terms of the amount of cushioning provided. In general, cushioning materials include light foams like Fresh Foam or FuelCell to provide softness without much weight.
Brooks vs New Balance Running Shoes: Stability
In general, if you are looking for stability or motion-control running shoes to correct overpronation, New Balance will be better than Brooks running shoes.
New Balance has quite a few stability and motion control running shoes that implement a variety of fairly aggressive supportive materials and design elements to control pronation at heel strike and prevent overpronation.
On the other hand, Brooks running shoes are designed to accommodate your running gait rather than correct it, so even the stability running shoe models will provide less correction and prevention of overpronation than you’d find in a New Balance stability or motion control shoe.
With that said, if you do not need a ton of support and overpronation control, Brooks running shoes can provide just the right amount of stability to optimize your running gait.
Most models in the Brooks lineup have both a neutral and support/stability version. The stability models are distinguished by the “GTS” in the product name, which stands for “Go-To-Support.”
New Balance stability and motion control shoes tend to be stiffer and have a wider base for more support, a heel flare for pronation control, and a gentle S shape to the shoe to provide lateral stability through the heel-to-toe transition.
Brooks vs New Balance Running Shoes: Fit and Feel
Probably the most significant difference between Brooks and New Balance running shoes is the general fit of the shoe.
Brooks running shoes are designed to be responsive and light.
They are known to have a wider toe box to accommodate natural foot splay when you run. This makes them an especially good option for runners with wide feet, bunions, metatarsalgia, or a more squared forefoot rather than a tapered one.
Some shoes come in wide widths, but the majority do not. However, if you have a fairly narrow foot but a structural issue such as a bunion or wide forefoot, the fit of Brooks shoes can be ideal.
In general, New Balance is better than Brooks in terms of offering a wider range of widths for their shoes, as well as larger sizes overall.
Many of the New Balance running shoes come in the standard width (B for women, D for men) as well as wide (D for women, E for men).
Moreover, the brand offers extra-wide and narrow, with some shoes in 2A, EE, and more on quite a few models.
Therefore, especially if you have wide feet or abnormally-narrow feet, you are likely to find a better fit with New Balance vs Brooks running shoes.
One additional user-friendly aspect of New Balance is that models are named according to shoe type in that the final two digits of the shoe model correspond to the type of shoe that it is.
For example, models that end on 40, such as the 840 and 1540, are “optimal control” shoes that are designed to enhance control, support, and stability for runners who overpronate or have flat feet.
New Balance vs Brooks Running Shoes: Price
Both Brooks and New Balance running shoes can be costly, but they are competitively and reasonably priced for the quality of the products.
The average price of each is about $110-160, with some models falling above and below that range. You can usually find sales on last season’s models for much less.
Overall, both Brooks and New Balance make fantastic running shoes.
Choosing the best brand is a matter of determining which fit and sizing are best for you. If your feet are fairly normal, Brooks running shoes are likely better than New Balance, but if you need extended sizes or extra pronation control, look into some of the New Balance running shoes.
Check out some of our other running shoe comparisons here: