New Balance Running Shoes the Definitive Guide 2017

From the moment I started writing these guides to running shoe brands lineups (dont forget to check out ourNikeAsicsandBrooksguides), the brand that was requested constantly was

Because New Balance insisted for decades using a number system that was confusing for anybody who was not already in the know and when finally people started to wrap their heads around it New Balance changed it (but not all) again.

I do believe this new naming system works but NB is still keeping some models on the old system and some on the new system probably to avoid losing customers who have been wearing numbers for the past few years worrying they would not know what to buy next.

Lets have a look at New Balance legacy numbering system.

Most of you will be familiar with NBs 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.

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

The first two letters identify the gender and the sport activity. M is for MEN, W for WOMEN. R is for

. WW will be Womens Walking, MX will be Mens Cross-Training and so on.

60 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.

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:

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.

We have seen this trend now: since a couple of years, most brands started shying away from the usualneutral>


motion controlway of classifying their running shoes. We have seen this withNikeandBrooks.

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

I need to admit I am NOT a fan of the names chosen (adapt/unleash/commit) but I do like the direction NB is taking and I believe it will get better in the next couple of years.

Lets now look at the shoes in each bucket, what technologies they adopt and lets try and make sense on who should be wearing what.

The Adapt collection features running shoes that deliver soft cushioning and a smooth ride. Fresh Foam is the name of NBs softest midsole foam material and all the shoes in this collection use Fresh Foam.

Inside the Adapt collection we find all kind of shoes: from cushioning to stability, trail and road-to-trail. Here are the main models:

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$150 – The 1080 has been for many years the pinnacle of New Balance cushioning running shoes. After version 5, the 1080 has adopted Fresh Foam midsole material and changed its name to Fresh Foam 1080. This shoe is the softest of the shoes in the ADAPT category, even though some consistant feedback seems to be that the previous 1080 was softer.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$130 – Vongo is the first stability shoe in the Adapt collection. It is designed to provide the same level of soft cushioning of the 1080, paired with light stability and support for over-pronators thanks to a particular configuration of the midsole and a perforated midfoot wrap.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$100 – The Zante (named after an island in the Mediterranean sea) is possibly the first big hit in the Fresh Foam collection, having received great praise from many runners. Characterized by a midfoot-friendly 6mm drop, low weigth, bootie construction and very competitive price, the Zante is meant for neutral runners looking for a everyday cushioned shoe that rides soft, but welcomes faster pace and racing.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$115 – The Hierro is New Balances premium trail shoe, unofficial successor of the very popular NB980 trail. Meant for tough terraing thanks to multi-directional outsole pattern and debree-free upper.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$95 – Last in the Fresh Foam (or Adapt) line is the Gobi – newly introduced in Fall 2016. It is a road-to-trail shoe with 6mm drop, less than 10 oz. of weight and a sub $100 price. The Fresh Foam Gobi is an ideal first step towards trail running.

Dont ask me where NB got the VAZEE name from, as I have no idea.

What we know is that Vazee/Unleash are the shoes meant for your faster training days, for your races as an age-grouper and for runners who prefer a responsive feeling during their runs.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$150 – The Vazee 2090 is new for Fall 2016 and its New Balance premium neutral shoe for the responsive category. It uses premium execution across the upper and a combination of REVlite and N2 cushioning for the midsole. We envision this shoe becoming a popular marathon racing shoe for the age-groupers.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$110 – Vazee Pace was one of the best received new shoes of 2015. Meant as an everyday trainer for faster runs (or runners) with a distinctive responsive feeling – the second version improves on last year thanks to more blown rubber coverage in the forefoot and a new, seamless bootie constructed upper.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$90 – The Rush is – unless somebody explains to me why not – a takedown version of the Vazee Pace. While sporting a similar bootie construction on the upper and a midsole with a very similar shape, the Rush utilizes a new midsole material from NB called Rapid Rebound. At $90 MSRP is a very very interesting shoe.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$100 – Vazee Prism is, currently, the only stability shoe in the Vazee collection. While managing to stay under 10 oz. of weight, the Prism delivers decent stability thanks to a dual density medial post. Responsiveness is ensured by the use of REVlite foam like in most of the Vazee collection.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$100 – Last in the Vazee collection is the Summit. Ready for running on challenging terrains thanks to very aggressive lug pattern and a 3/4 rock plate, the Summit sports a no-sew upper that is quite flexible and quite low weigth. Couple all this with a $100 price-point and we can see this shoe be very successful for NB going forward.

NBx collection New Balance says these are the shoes for long mileage, ready to stand the distance. To be honest I am not really sure what this means especially since I can see many of the shoes in the other two categories being suitable for high mileage and also because it is such a varied collection of shoes.

In my opinion this is the silo where NB is placing their legacy franchise models before eventually renewing them all. But this is just my opinion, nobody at NB either confirmed or denied this to us at the moment of writing.Dont let this discourage you:these shoes are the ones that proved the most successful in NBs collection for many years.. there are great shoes in there!

As you can imagine the shoes in the NBx collection mostly keep their numbering system that we explained further up in this article. Hopefully now you will be able to understand what these shoes are about just by looking at their name/number.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$120 – The 860 has been for years a staple in New Balance stability lineup. A quite traditional stability shoe with 10mm drop and stability post.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$120 – 880 is the little sister of the 1080. Aside from the absence of Fresh Foam, the NB880 delivers very good cushioning and the newly designed, no-sew upper will stay comfortable for many miles.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$150 – Another franchise style for NB, the 1260 is the heavy duty stability shoe in the lineup and it has been for quite a few years. Combining N2 cushioning, ACTEVA lite foam material, a T-Beam for torsional stability and an 8mm drop – the NB1260v6 is one of the big names in high-mileage stability.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$125 – Taking the name from the grueling race, the Leadville is meant for trail running on extreme terrains.

Well it is a fourth bucket. There are quite a few NB racing shoes, but the three we detail here below are the most popular.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$110 – The 1500v3 is a marathon racing shoe that is extremely popular in North America and Europe. It features some ligth stability in the form of a T-Beam to help even neutral runners cope with form degratation over long races. Weighting less than 8 oz. with a 6mm drop it can be a great 10k to half marathon running shoe for many runners and a 26.2 shoe for very fast, efficient ones.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$100 – Now in its 4th incarnation, the 1400 is similar to the 1500 but with a less extreme attitude. It is softer while still incredibly light (closer to 7 oz. than it is to 8) and the 10mm drop is more forgiving than the 6mm of the 1500. We reckon this shoe can be the marathon-race-day weapon for many runners.

New Balance Running Shoes: the Definitive Guide 2017>

$125 – Heres the 5000 – a racing flat so light its incredible (3.6 oz.). It is available in a few version – even with spikes and its recommended for short distance racing (up to 5 or 10k).

There are a few other New Balance running shoes but the selection up here is a very good introduction to their lineup.

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Dont forget to have a look at the other brand guides we wrote this year:

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Ruggero launched Running Shoes Guru in 2009. Originally from the Alps of Italy, he now lives in Amsterdam with his much loved little family. He is a passionate runner and triathlete who has worked many years in the sports footwear industry.

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Is there a equivalent of the asics gt2000 or kayanos?

Vazee is their way of spelling «vas-y!», which in French means «Go ahead!» or «Lets go!»

I always had NB on top of my priority list for running shoes, but NB 870v4 (that was my last purchase) probably got narrowed for size 6. Now I wonder about switching to these Any pros or cons?

I wanted to love the Vongo, but running in them caused pain on the outside of my foot. I think Ill have to try one of the more traditional stability shoes like the 1260v6 for more support. I loved the cushioning of the Vongo though. Thanks for the reviews, Ill keep this in mind while I look for new shoes.

New Balance no longer uses the MR or WR designations for running shoes. The Mens 1080 Fresh Foam is actually M1080v6.

My company does across the market analysis for athletic shoes independent of shoe manufacturers to provide the consumer with unbiased evidence based information necessary in making good choices in athletic footwear.Please view a platform for recommending running shoes using our data at platform data is the result of structural parameter testing for athletic shoes,mathematical modeling and integrating the results with clinical observations and our extensive background in sport medicine.

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