The Top 10 New Balance Shoes Ever

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Saying that New Balance is “having a moment” at this point would be an understatement; the Boston-based company is undoubtedly here to stay. The privately held company has established itself as a significant participant in the sports footwear market over the last few years as a result of a never-ending stream of “it” collaborators.

Although the brand had been gaining momentum for some time, the “No Emotions Are Emotions” initiative for All-Star Weekend 2020 with Chicago designer Joe Freshgoods dramatically increased New Balance’s excitement in the sneaker community. The Joe Freshgoods 992s launched a wave of initiatives that have steadily increased the brand’s name value, with lines around the block for the shoes rivalling those for debuts from major companies like Jordan and Adidas. There were the vibrant, frequently avant-garde designs of Salehe Bembury. Thanks to JJJJound, simple has beauty. In addition, Teddy Santis, who founded Aimé Leon Dore and was appointed creative director of New Balance’s Made in USA line in 2021, is now an essential part of any discussion of the company.

1. New Balance 990v3


New Balance 990v3

The 574, a style that can be found in almost all shoe stores in America, would be New Balance’s answer to the omnipresent Nike Air Force 1, but the 990v3 comes close. The 990v3, which was first introduced in 2012 to commemorate the 990’s 20th anniversary, was a significant change in the 990 series that continues to influence its appearance in the most recent iteration, the 990v6.

Andrew Nyssen, a designer who joined New Balance in 2003 and has been active in the performance running sector since 2010, developed the 990v3. He produced precisely that in 2012: a contemporary runner designed for logging miles rather than setting off fits. However, the 990v3 quickly expanded into something more thanks in large part to the support of communities in Maryland and Washington, D.C. The shoe’s signature grey colourway was displayed there in the exact opposite manner from how Nyssen had intended. The laces weren’t tightened for lockdown; instead, they were worn freely, frequently left untied and dangling at the top eyelet. The 990v3 was co-opted for lazing over sweating and worn with jeans and Helly Hansen jackets instead of running shorts.

2. New Balance 992


New Balance 992

If something wasn’t worn by Steve Jobs or Adam Sandler, it’s difficult to call it a premium New Balance model. These two legends both wore the New Balance 992. In 2006, the 992 was introduced to mark the brand’s 100th birthday. After four years on the market, the shoe was phased out in favour of the 993 in 2010. The ratio of chunky to sporty is ideal. The midsole appears to be significantly thicker than the 993. The heel has always reminded me of a horse’s foot, in my opinion. When New Balance was re-released in 2020, this was one of the trainers that helped expose the brand to a new clientele.

3. New Balance 993


New Balance 993

In 2008, the New Balance 993 was made available. It has Abzorb DTS technology in the midsole, an enhancement from what was provided with the 992 from 2006, which stands for dynamic transitioning system. It has a smoother toe-down design and is a little bit sleeker and slimmer than the 992. Like many New Balance sneakers, it doesn’t come in many eye-catching colours and looks best in its original grey suede and mesh combo. Peak New Balance, shoe is an inconspicuous, cosy runner that might look understated on one person and smart on another. It lacks the extensive selection of partnerships and limited editions that previously supported the 992, but it is still a superb example of NB design. Brent Dunne

 4. New Balance 991


New Balance 991

Depending on who you ask, the New Balance 991 may be the best New Balance shoe ever. The sneaker has a special position in the history of the company since I’ve heard a lot of people, whose opinions I respect about New Balance, mention so in the past. It serves as the ideal conduit between the brand’s past and present. The 991 was first introduced in 2001, following the 990v2 from 1998 and preceding the 992 from 2006. It has the hefty sole that would become popular in the later 900 series shoes, but the Abzorb bubble on the midsole is clearly apparent across the heel and on the forefoot. The upper is slightly different from the 992, yet similar.

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5. New Balance 990v4

The 990v4, while not quite as praised as the 990v3, is still nothing to laugh at. This is partially due to the pairs’ nearly identical designs—if something is working, leave it alone. The 990v4 was an ideal contribution to the 990 series’ history when it made its debut in 2016. A slightly larger “N” logo, fresh branding on the tongue, and minor changes to the positioning of the pig skin suede overlays were all subtle changes. The 990v4 did not retain the carbon fibre shank from the v3 but did retain the Encap midsole and EVA cushioning, possibly as a means of saving money.

6. New Balance 997

Steven Smith, a seasoned footwear designer, has worked with labels like Reebok and Yeezy, but the 997 was his most significant—and ironically, final—contribution to New Balance. The sneaker’s polyurethane Encap midsole with EVA padding was first introduced by the company in 1991. The shoe’s initial advertisements praised its adaptability to diverse foot widths, claiming that it “won’t punish you if your feet happen to be a little wider or narrower than others.” Like most models at the time, New Balance produced it for a few years before ceasing manufacture and moving on to the following model.

7. New Balance 1500

It’s possible that at one point this was ranked as the best New Balance shoe ever. The 1500 became the company’s most sought-after sneaker in the middle of the 2000s amid the early stages of its budding cooperation industry. The original collaboration on the shoe actually took place in 1995 as a unique makeup for the shop Just For Feet. While it can be difficult to pinpoint the early ’90s collab scene, many New Balance fans believe that the Just For Feet 1500 represents the company’s first-ever time of partnership. 1500, created by dad shoe guru Steven Smith in 1993, immediately rose to prominence as one of the most well-known running shoes on the market as a result of being President Bill Clinton’s go-to pair of shoes.

8. New Balance 998

The New Balance 998, which was recently relaunched this year, was first introduced in 1993 and eventually turned into one of the company’s most well-liked vintage styles in the 2010s. Long before Instagram mood boards were a thing, collaborations like 2013’s Concepts “C-Note” and “Tannery,” coupled with a few well-liked J.Crew exclusives, made the model trendy.

9. New Balance MT580

In terms of provenance, the New Balance MT580 is one of the more ambiguous New Balance models. As a more affordable alternative to the M585 developed in America, New Balance Japan created the shoe and first made it available in 1996. It differs from the 1992 release of the New Balance M580, another shoe made in the US. What distinguishes the MT580 from those shoes?

10. New Balance 574/576

Perhaps the most contentious rating and blurb on the list is this one. For many folks, the 574 was their first pair of New Balance shoes. And for a spell, it might have been their only pair of New Balance shoes. And it was planned that way. Thanks to merchants like Foot Locker, who offered two pairs of shoes for $89, the footwear enjoyed a successful run in the 2000s. It was a reasonably priced sneaker that went with anything. However, the 574 was avoided by ardent brand collectors not just because it was inexpensive (both in terms of price and materials), but also because it was a takedown of the 576, a running shoe created by Steven Smith in 1988.

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