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We purchase all the shoes we review at retail with our own money, then we run in them for at least 50 miles. We don't receive free samples from companies and provide only expert, unbiased opinions.

We have seen this trend now: since a couple of years, most brands started shying away from the usual neutral > support > motion control way of classifying their running shoes. We have seen this with Nike and Brooks.

New Balance is also moving in that direction, splitting their collection in 3 big buckets:

  1. Fresh Foam Collection: Focus on a soft and smooth ride
  2. FuelCell Collection: Focus on lightweight and responsiveness, for speed
  3. NBx Collection: Focus on high mileage

Let’s now look at the shoes in each bucket, what technologies they adopt and let’s try and make sense on who should be wearing what.

New Balance Fresh Foam Collection

The Fresh Foam collection takes its name from NB's new foam material. These shoes have been engineered with the analysis of data from thousands of athletes.

Fresh Foam midsoles are laser engraved to reduce weight and provide different kinds of cushion and support on different part of the shoe, based on the athelete's need. The results are extremely versatile shoes that can take you from easy runs to races and anything in between.

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v2 - Lateral Side
The Fresh Foam Beacon v2 is a great option in the lightweight cushioning category but there are alternatives available if you prefer a softer ride.

Fans of the previous version will be pleased that this version uses the same foam material as last year. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Secure Upper
  • Responsiveness

Cons

  • Softer foam options available in category
New Balance 1080v9 - Lateral Side
The New Balance 1080v9 is a high cushioned trainer that offers a lot technologies. You'll pay for them, but this cushioned shoe will also let you up the pace and get going in your training and racing. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lots of cushion
  • Very responsive
  • Upturned toebox helps stride transition
  • Upper is supremely comfortable
  • Breathable upper without openings for dirt

Cons

  • Heel a little loose
  • Foam firms up in cold weather
New Balance Zante Pursuit - Pair
The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit is the successor of the very popular Zante v4. Like its predecessor, it is a low weight trainer with a 6mm drop and Fresh Foam midsole. Its versatility is what sets it apart from many other shoes of similar specs. Read full review »

Pros

  • Outstanding Upper
  • Fresh Foam Cushioning
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • None
New Balance Zante Solas - Pair
The Zante Solas is the lightest, most flexible and bounciest of the whole Fresh Foam Collection. Immediately recognizable by its sock-like knitted upper, it is meant for tempo workouts and possibly short distance racing. Read full review »

Pros

  • Paper-like lightweight construction
  • Simple bootie upper
  • Good price point

Cons

  • Outsole gets damaged easily
  • Foam feels stiff for the amount you get
  • Lack of support in the upper can feel too roomy
New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v4- lateralpair
The New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v4 hits a precise balance between comfort and hold, avoiding shoe string issues that show up with thin tongues by utilizing traditional width laces with a touch of stretch.

The Vongo's unique combination of low drop, high cushion, and varus wedge angled midsole make it stand out as it's own niche of mild stability offering. Read full review »

Pros

  • Cushion for long runs
  • Flexible yet Secure upper - very comfortable
  • Heel cup liner locks in heel
  • Bootie construct eliminates movable tongue
  • Stylin' modern look for runs and casual use

Cons

  • Thick sole is too squishy and heavy for fast movements
  • Outsole catches rocks
New Balance Fresh Foam More - Lateral Side
The New Balance Fresh Foam More is a maximal trainer that still has a pep in its step. Cushion for the long run, but an aggressive design that will let you push the pace, it's a fun ride. Read full review »

Pros

  • Tons of cushion
  • You don't sink into the cushion
  • Upturned toebox rolls you forward
  • Roomy toebox
  • Decent grip

Cons

  • Upper lets in a lot of water, shoe is not great at getting the water out
  • Price tag -- it will set you back
  • Outsole shows wear quickly

New Balance NBx Collection

NBx includes all the "traditional" running shoes from New Balance that didn't really fit into one or the other category, but that are true and tested milestones from New Balance that have hundreds of thousands of loyal fans.

The focus of the shoes in this category is to be trustworthy workhorses that are reliable for high mileage training or for racing.

New Balance 880v8 - Pair
The New Balance 880v8 is a traditional workhorse neutral running shoe meant for daily training and long mileage. The sole unit is made of NBs TruFuse foam which is a combination of two different foam materials in order to provide soft cushioning and responsiveness at the same time. Read full review »

Pros

  • Soft Comfortable Upper
  • Durable
  • Cushioned Feeling

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Loose Mid-foot
New Balance 890v7 - Lateral Side
This sleek featherweight shoe is designed for responsive comfort that provides just enough protection without losing connection to the ground.

Its minimal weight and immediate reaction to picking up the pace coupled with a clean transition will make it a go-to shoe for daily training. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight feel
  • Contoured fit
  • Very breathable
  • Responsive ride

Cons

  • Durability
  • Weak heel counter
New Balance 1260v7 - Pair
The New Balance 1260v7 is the trainer that is there for the long haul. High amount of support paired with a lower drop make this the go to premium stability shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • High amount of cushioning. Delivers stability that sits above the rest.
  • Lower 8mm drop allows shoe to perform fast but not sacrifice comfort.
  • Impressive amount of reflective details.

Cons

  • Shoe is a little bulky.
  • Price.
New Balance 860v9 - Medial Side
The New Balance 860v9 is a workhorse stability shoe meant for high mileage and daily training. The sole of the 860v9 is made of New Balance TruFuse foam, which is a mix of two different foams in order to provide both cushioning and some degree of responsiveness. Read full review »

Pros

  • Stable
  • New visual design (colorway and materials)
  • Durable

Cons

  • Narrow in places
  • Lack of energy return
  • Too breathable for winter months
New Balance 1400v6 - Pair
The 1400 v6 continues to deliver the same peppy solid execution runners expect from a go-to racing flat. The 1400 v6 is a solid choice for the road runner serious about performance. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight and nimble.
  • Revlite midsole foam provides a responsive smooth ride.
  • Newly constructed upper is highly breathable and comfortable.
  • Simple and effective traction
  • Great price point.

Cons

  • Not available in wider widths.
New Balance Rubix v1 - Lateral
The New Balance Rubix v1 combines exceptional support with a light step, utilizing key design features to get the best of both traditionally opposed fields. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Solid base
  • Forefoot cushion
  • Secure upper
  • Comfortable cushion with strategic support throughout sole unit

Cons

  • Forefoot upper may not hold up for toe-lifters
New Balance 1500v6 - Pair
The New Balance 1500 v6 is great shoe for someone who wants something fast with subtle amounts of stability support. It is as sleek as it is fast and continues to be a favorite of this reviewer. Read full review »

Pros

  • Fast ride with a hint of support.
  • Redone upper. Looks and feels great.
  • Outsole pattern gives great traction and control.

Cons

  • Heel can cause blistering.
New Balance 870v5 - Lateral Side
The New Balance 870v5 is a straightforward lightweight stability trainer. The no frills approach may not be for everyone but ideal for those who yearn for simpler consistent lightweight stability trainer built to handle any speed or distance. Read full review »

Pros

  • Durable
  • Visual Design
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Longer break in time
  • Heel Slippage

New Balance FuelCell Collection

Shoes in the FuelCell collection are lightweight, responsive and engineered for speed.

The New Balance FuelCell 5280 is a road racing shoe that Runner’s World calls “a track spike, without the metal pins.” This is because the FuelCell 5280 is designed to help you run fast on the pavement. In fact, the shoes are especially designed for runners who run a mile under five minutes and 30 seconds. The shoes provide the same level of power as a track spike. However, if you have wide feet you may find a problem with the overall fit of the shoes because of how narrow they run.The midsole is made of New Balance’s FuelCell, which is lightweight and bouncy. Carbon fiber plates are made with unidirectional fibers that twist and bend, but are rigid from the toe to the heel. This gives the shoe some flexibility but will also generate more power from a smoother landing.The sole is curved wide on the lateral side that propels you forward as you run. This also helps you keep proper form as well. The lateral edge is beveled at 17 degrees, which science says it the right angle for runners.The upper is lightweight but fits pretty tight. New Balance has engineered zonal areas on this shoe for extra support and a little bit of stretch. However, your feet won’t move around much once you have these shoes on because of how narrow they fit.
The New Balance FuelCell Propel is a versatile shoe that can handle long distance runs and speed work. It is well-cushioned, which makes it an ounce heavier than the Rebel and not as soft as New Balance’s Fresh Foam line.The shoe can handle wet weather and drains well. Initially, the shoe can be a bit stiff once you first purchase it but it breaks in well.In the midsole, you will find FuelCell that runs the entire length of the shoe. This helps to improve your performance by absorbing shock. It is also soft, responsive, and provides a smooth heel to toe transition.The upper is made with open mesh that is lightweight and breathable. A single overlay can limit some expansion in the toe box but many runners don’t notice.The outsole of the FuelCell Propel is NDurance, which is a solid rubber to protect the base of the shoe. Also, on the outsole, are flex grooves to aid you in through the gait cycle. Three lugs on the outsole are on the forefoot, heel, and outer edge for good traction.
New Balance Fuelcell Rebel - Lateral Side
The New Balance FuelCell Rebel is a super-fast racing flat that offers cushion despite the light weight packaging. Although it has a higher price tag, these are easily worth it if you run and race 5k or 10k races. Read full review »

Pros

  • Super light
  • Springy
  • Aggressive design to go fast
  • Lacing system locks in your foot
  • Bootie upper is very comfortable

Cons

  • Will not log the high miles
New Balance FuelCell Impulse - Pair
The New Balance FuelCell Impulse is designed for speed. Ideal for forefoot strikers it is a great option for race day, road tempo runs, and track workouts. Read full review »

Pros

  • Fast feeling; responsive
  • Lightweight
  • Locked down upper

Cons

  • Only suitable for forefoot strikers
New Balance FuelCore Sonic - Lateral Side
The New Balance FuelCore Sonic has all the makings of a solid trainer for logging big miles, a firm responsive midsole, beefy outsole, and durable upper with a great fit.

The Boa lacing might seem a bit gimmicky, but it does a great job of distributing pressure and is wickedly fast to put on and take off, which helps get those sluggish early morning runs going. Read full review »

Pros

  • Responsive Sole
  • Snug Upper
  • Speedy Lacing

Cons

  • Average breathability
  • Mediocre Traction
New Balance FuelCore Coast v4 - Pair
The fourth version of the New Balance Fuelcore Coast features a low-profile, lightweight design that makes it an ideal entry-level trainer for daily use.

This budget-friendly, stylish shoe easily transitions from a workout to casual streetwear. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Soft
  • Responsive
  • Affordable
  • Adequate toe box

Cons

  • Runs one size large
  • Difficult to tighten lacing for a snug fit
  • Smooth outsole is slippery on wet surfaces

New Balance model numbers: what do they mean

Most of you will be familiar with NB’s most popular models of a few years back: MR1080 v4, MR890 v3, WR1260v5… there is a surefire way to exactly understand the kind of shoe by looking at this number – the image below will help you understand.

numberexplanationNB

Basically each model name/code was composed by 4 sections:

  • “MR”: The first two letters identify the gender and the sport activity. “M” is for MEN, “W” for WOMEN. “R” is for Running. “WW” will be Women’s Walking, “MX” will be Men’s Cross-Training and so on.
  • “10”: The “hundreds” number (890, 1260 etc) represents the level of “premium” of the shoe. It used to be symbolic of the pricepoint of the shoe, where 890 would be a shoe around $80, 1080 a shoe around $100 and 1260 a shoe around $120.
    While this is not strictly the case anymore, the concept stays: you can expect the cost (and features) of the shoe to go up when moving from a “8” model to a “10” or a “12”.
  • “80”: The last two digits of the number used to indicate the level of cushioning: a “60” being a stability shoe while a “80” a neutral shoe. This is the actual list:
    • 60 = stability
    • 70 = light stability
    • 80 = neutral/cushioning
    • 90 = speed
  • “v6”: the “V” is the version of this shoe.

These numbers were not exactly customer friendly – but I have to admit that once you know the logic, it actually makes a lot of sense.

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