Aside from churning out some of the best-looking running shoes on the market, New Balance innovates alongside heavy hitters like Nike and Adidas. It hasn't shied away from implementing the latest tech, like ultra-light foams and carbon plates, while maintaining its heritage comfort and throwback vibe.
And what makes New Balance so widely appealing is the fact that it makes great shoes for every runner. Whether you are an elite marathoner or someone who jogs a few miles per week, the brand doesn't feel exclusionary or niche. Its everyday trainers are versatile and durable—and its racers are comfortable, accessible, and lightning quick.
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Best Overall New Balance Running Shoe: FuelCell SuperComp Rebel v4
FuelCell SuperComp Rebel v4
The latest New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Rebel v4 is my early pick for best running shoe of the year. While previous versions of this shoe have varied in quality, the v4 nestles perfectly into the daily trainer category.
While some folks want niche offerings and multiple shoes for different efforts, I’m a big fan of versatility and value. That’s where the Rebel v4 shines. The shoe is peppy but not at the sacrifice of comfort. It’s nimble but doesn’t forgo stability. It’s fast and light but doesn’t cost a fortune. I took the Rebel v4 out on an easy 10K that ended with some interval speed work. I re-laced them once early on, then they stayed snug and felt great, even late in the effort. When I turned on the jets for some faster running, the extreme lightness of these shoes was really noticeable. Late into high intensity workouts, I notice things like energy return, smoothness of transition, and weight, and the Rebel v4 performed as hoped.
One of the shoe’s most direct competitors, the Asics vaBlast 4, can't quite match the pep or the lightness of the Rebel v4, and while I also love that shoe, I think this New Balance offering narrowly beats it. And for $140 this shoe offers more performance and more comfort than competitors. If you're looking for a racing and training combo, the Rebel v4 and Elite v4 pair perfectly.
- Capable and versatile for a great price.
- One of the lightest and most fun daily trainers I’ve tested.
- Updated PBA x EVA foam blend balances cushion, durability, and bounce.
- High stack height and sole width creates smooth, stable ride.
- Soft and comfortable FantomFit upper.
- Durable outsole rubber.
- Foot slips out of shoe, despite gusseted tongue.
- t the beefiest heel counter for a daily trainer.
Weight: 7.1 ounces (size 9)
Heel-Toe Drop: 6 mm
The New Balance Rebel v4 launches on March 1, 2024.
Best New Balance Running Shoe for Daily Training: Fresh Foam X 1080v13
Fresh Foam X 1080v13
The Men’s Journal test team has been loving the latest 1080 for nearly a year. New Balance claims if it only made a single shoe, this would be the one—and it’s not hard to see why. It packs a ton of versatility and performance into a sleek, lightweight package.
The 1080v13 utilizes New Balance’s latest Fresh Foam X, which our team found to be super soft underfoot. It excels as an everyday trainer, so if you can only buy one running shoe at a time, the 1080 is an excellent option.
The 1080v13 was one of my go-to shoes for easy miles, recovery runs, and threshold efforts. A member of our test team said it moved ahead of the SC Trainer v2 (mentioned below) as his favorite New Balance trainer.
- Midsole, upper, and lacing all fit and feel great.
- Lightweight for the amount of cushion.
- Outsole performs well on wet terrain and light trails.
- Looks good
- t quite as responsive as the previous version.
- Plushness isn’t for everyone.
Weight: 9.2 ounces
Heel-Toe Drop: 6 mm
Best New Balance Marathon Racing Shoe: FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4
FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4
Just as exciting as the competition to break the marathon records is the race for the best super shoe among major companies. The team at New Balance had an excellent, accommodating racer in the FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3, but they elevated to a new level with v4.
The foam used for these shoes feels softer out of the box than competitors. There's a meaningful squish in the Elite v4, and the bounce back is superb. Speeding up was effortless, but going slow feels good too. While other super-shoes cut weight at the expense of utility and comfort, the upper on this New Balance FC SC Elite v4 is really comfortable—although slightly warmer than competitors. I also love the fit, as the shoe didn't take long to break-in.
The only issue I experienced with these shoes is that the tongue and laces loosened up over the course of my run. I retied them three times over a 10 mile run. Obviously that would be an issue in a race, but I plan to make this my racing shoe this year anyway. I was able to keep them snug using a tight surgeon’s knot at the top (looping your initial single knot an extra time or two), and if you had enough laces, a runner’s loop would likely work too.
- More comfortable and approachable out of the box than other elite racing shoes
- Incredible energy return.
- Stable and tacky for a high-stack racing shoe.
- Laces and tongue loosen while running, leading to some heel slippage.
- Soft outsole doesn’t seem very durable.
- Upper is a bit warmer than competitors.
Weight: 8.4 ounces
Heel-Toe Drop: 4 mm
More New Balance Running Shoes We Love
Best Long-Distance New Balance Running Shoe: FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2
The SuperComp Trainer v2 was one of my favorite shoes last summer. They are peppy, comfortable, and look great. Whenever I had a Sunday long run or fartlek, these were one of my top choices. The combination of soft cushioning and propulsive plate felt comfortable and fast over big miles.
If you want to race in shoes that you can also frequently train in, give the SuperComp Trainer v2 a serious look. At $180 they are somewhat pricey for a trainer, but the ability to train speed and distance as well as race provides excellent value. Plus, for those not keen on carbon plates, the Trainer v2’s plate feels approachable and not as stiff as others. I also found the upper and laces to provide a secure fit.
Unfortunately for folks living on gravel roads, there is a large void in the center of the outsole that exposes the plate, and this gap picks up rocks, which then make a grating noise against the plate. Additionally, the outsole didn’t hold up as well as we would’ve liked, and I recommend keeping this on pretty smooth tarmac—avoid even light gravel. That said, the performance and comfort are excellent in the Trainer v2, and it is another great shoe in the FuelCell lineup.
- Fun and fast.
- Versatile, can be used for training and racing.
- More stable than other long-distance trainers.
- Outsole wears relatively fast.
- Exposed carbon plate void picks up rocks.
Weight: 9.7 ounces
Heel-Toe Drop: 6 mm
Best Budget New Balance Shoe: Fresh Foam Arishi v4
While there is nothing particularly inspiring about the Fresh Foam Arishi v4, for $70 you get a perfectly capable and solid looking shoe. It makes an excellent walking shoe or travel shoe, as the simple lines and lightweight comfort are solid for all-day wear.
However, I didn’t love running more than three miles in the Arishi. The laces don’t come up very high on the shoe, so I didn't feel secure. However, I wore these all day around town for a weekend and like them for walking and as a pair of casual shoes, as they're easy to slip on and off. While I wouldn’t recommend these to a serious runner, I do think they make a versatile pair of travel shoes, especially if you want to go on a couple runs when you're on the go.
- Comfortable to walk in and run short distances.
- Durable, grippy outsole.
- Poor lacing system doesn't lock your foot in.
- Cushioning doesn’t hold up to longer distances
Weight: 9.5 ounces
Heel-Toe Drop: 6 mm
Best Max-Cushion New Balance Running Shoe: Fresh Foam X More v4
If you like soft cushioning, then the Fresh Foam X More v4 should be in your shoe rotation. I’ve never run in shoes as soft and squishy. That’s not for everyone, but for easy efforts, the considerable shock absorption make for a total comfort ride.
When you run, you exert a huge amount of force on your body. That isn’t always comfortable, especially if you’re heavier. A well-cushioned shoe that doesn’t feel clunky or heavy is hard to come by, so New Balance has made a compelling max cushion shoe with the latest FFX More v4.
- Soft underfoot.
- Surprisingly lightweight.
- Super stable, great for heavier runners.
- Tacky and durable outsole.
- Struggled to lock in fit with loose, stretchy material.
- Zaps energy return, especially on dead legs.
- t versatile.
Weight: 8.4 ounces
Heel-Toe Drop: 4 mm
Best New Balance Trail Running Shoe: Fresh Foam X More Trail v3
A trail version of the Fresh Foam X More v4 featured above, the Fresh Foam X More Trail v3 is basically a road shoe with bigger lugs tacked on. I often opt for nimble, light trail runners that are pretty stiff because I value rock protection and quick feet when I’m running trails. The More Trail v3 is neither nimble nor stiff, but it provides excellent long-wearing comfort.
Over the course of testing, this became my go-to trail runner for easy miles. I used the More Trail v3 for runs with my dog, flowy single tracks, and other chill trail runs. While it’s not stiff and has no rock plate, the high amount of stack created a protective feel on trail. It felt a bit wide, even in the standard width, so it's hard to lock in fit. And paired with the soft midsole, I occasionally experienced sloppy transitions going into turns and on uneven terrain. Therefore, this isn’t a shoe to run fast in, as the soft feel can slow momentum. Speaking of soft, the Vibram outsole lugs don’t provide full coverage of the midsole, so the exposed foam eventually gets chewed up on sharp rocks, diminishing long-term durability. That said, if you need a max cushion trail shoe, the New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v3 was surprisingly sweet.
- Plush ride is ideal for long trail runs and recovery days.
- Flexible midsole and grippy Vibram lugs combine to create great traction.
- Available in three widths.
- Super stable on trail, especially less technical efforts.
- Soft cushioning can slow momentum at times, especially uphill.
- t very durable or nimble for a trail shoe.
- Slightly wide, even in standard width.
Weight: 11.4 ounces
Heel-Toe Drop: 4 mm
Best New Balance Stability Shoe: Fresh Foam X 860v13
These days, every running shoe company makes a great stability oriented shoe. New Balance provides overpronators support with their 860 lineup, and the Fresh Foam X 860v13 is a worthwhile iteration of that shoe.
While the More v4 and 1080v13 feel great, they both feature very soft cushioning. For certain runs, especially on varied terrain, I prefer a more solid platform. The 860v13 has a nice balance of stiffness and comfort; it still features the FreshFoam X that makes the 1080 so soft, but also includes some stiffer foam. It fits well right out of the box, with no need for creative lacing. The upper, while a little warm, provides lockdown fit and the stability features felt solid under the inner foot.
- Added rigidity.
- Supportive medial post works as intended to prevent overpronation.
- Upper feels really snug and comfortable.
- Durable and tacky outsole, even on rougher surfaces.
- t particularly performance-driven.
Weight: 10.9 ounces
Heel-Toe Drop: 10 mm
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Why You Should Trust Me
I run in dozens of different running shoes every year. The shoes selected for this roundup by a team of testers and I are the culmination of months of testing. Some of the best New Balance running shoes have been on my feet since early last year, and many of these options are in my full-time, go-to running rotation.
Because I love New Balance so much as a running brand, I have particularly high expectations of its latest shoes and gear. I test all their shoes, especially newer versions of previously-tested models, with a close and critical eye. Their year-over-year improvement is part of why I admire the brand and their shoes as a whole.
I review hundreds of shoes per year, including dozens of pairs of New Balance.
What We Look for When Reviewing Running Shoes
My three go-to questions when testing running shoes are as follows:
- Do I want to wear it again?
- Is it holding up to frequent wear?
- Does it serve its intended purpose?
We here at Men’s Journal seek out durable, comfortable and capable running shoes that perform the job they were designed for. That means a racing shoe should provide speedier transitions, long-wearing comfort and lightweight fit, an everyday trainer should provide durable outsoles, accommodating fit and plenty of support, and a trail running shoe should provide excellent tread and enhanced protection.
In my training and racing efforts, New Balance shoes help me get the most out of my work. I find their shoes fit well, offering a range of widths in many models; they have a soft yet responsive cushioning, especially their FreshFoam X and FuelCell foams; and they look cool, too.
A few of the testers in our team have New Balance shoes in their regular rotation, including former cross-country and track athletes. On tester cited the balance of performance and comfort at a better price than other brands he used to train in. And it’s true, there are a couple shoes in this list that, at their price point, can't be beat by any competitor.
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