I reviewed the New Balance 490v2s alongside three other budget shoes: the Asics Gel Contend 3s, the Adidas Duramo 7s and the Saucony Cohesion 8s.
The 490v2s performed very well in the group, and ended up being my second favorite pair, just behind the Saucony Cohesion 8s.
The New Balance 490v2s were not as light as the Adidas shoes, or have the same kind of support provided by the Asics.
The New Balance shoes as a whole seemed to give you more than what you payed for, and did so in a design that makes the shoe look pretty nice.
New Balance M490 V2 General Info
The New Balance M490 V2 is a budget shoe. It’s not bringing anything new to the market, or offering any advanced technology. It’s just a budget shoe for neutral runners in a package that looks somewhat flashy.
A few of my friends were surprised when I told them this shoe was not over $100 and was purchased for $33 (MSRP $60).
First time trying on these shoes and I thought they were too small. The toe box felt a tad tighter than what I was used to in New Balance shoes.
It turns out I just was not tying the shoes tight enough to keep my heel properly placed in the heel cup. The heel cup in this shoe is pretty firm and forgiving, so don’t be afraid to tighten everything up.
I also noticed this shoe has light to moderate arch support, and somewhat stiff padding under the forefoot.
The build quality for this shoe is surprisingly good for the price, but you can tell it’s a reach for New Balance to make this shoe at the low price.
Some components are switched out for lower-cost and quality components, and I found a few manufacturing defects on the shoe. However, the shoe felt pretty good to run in.
New Balance M490 V2 Sole Unit
When it comes to soles, the 490 V2 is relatively basic. No dual materials in the foam, no plastic arches in the midfoot, and hardly any marketing buzzwords plastered on the sole.
All you have is a continuous piece of New Balance’s XLT Footbed foam. The foam is pretty responsive and moderately comfortable, but it falls behind the quality of the New Balance’s Fresh Foam found in the Zantes or Boracays.
The pattern of the foam has a few groves in it near high-flexing points in the foot which keeps the shoe from feeling stiff during a run.
New Balance also has a shallow depression in the foam underneath the heel running to midsole, which helps increase cushioning under the heel.
The sides of the sole have a few aesthetically pleasing patterns, just not as cool as the geometric hex design on the New Balance 980s.
The bottom of the shoe has a very even layer of rubber marked in a diamond pattern. You can tell New Balance saved in design costs with this shoe by only using two pieces of rubber for the bottom.
This adds a slight amount of extra weight to the shoe, but I doubt anyone looking into this budget shoe will mind.
New Balance M490 V2 Upper Info
The upper on the 490 V2s is adequate. The mesh is breathable and does not get in the way, the overlays are tasteful and seem to provide adequate support.
The lacing system does the job and does not introduce any pressure points. The only real unique part to the upper is the leather used in some of the overlays. I was surprised to see a non-synthetic material make it onto such a low cost shoe!
Some of the leather overlays were rough around the edges, as in they were literally cut with a blade that wasn’t sharp enough which made an uneven edge.
The rough edges does not affect your run, it just reminds you that the shoe you have was not designed to be the best.
New Balance M490 V2 Conclusions
You get a bit more than what you pay for with these shoes. The ride is responsive, the fit is snug, the sole is durable, and the price is low!
I would not recommend these shoes to any experienced runner, but I would totally recommend them to someone who is just starting to run and is hesitant to spend much on shoes.
As long as you are aware these shoes are designed to be basic on a budget and if you can overlook a few blemishes, you’ll enjoy the ride and the extra cash in your wallet.
We purchased these shoes at our own cost.
New Balance M490 V2 Price Comparison
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