11 Best New Balance Overall Running Shoes for 2018

11 Best New Balance Overall Running Shoes for 2018

Some running shoes are like Leatherman multi-tools. They have a special place in your closet because of their versatility (if you ever bother putting them away in the first place). You can wear them for your recovery runs, long runs, faster workouts, and that tune-up 5K race next weekend, not to mention your marathon two weeks after that. With more than 110 years of shoe-making experience, some of the best New Balance running shoes excel in versatility. Then there are those shoes that are like the microplane lemon zester you use once a year for baking a lemon meringue pie. You only pull shoes like that out of the closet for special occasions: a key workout, a competitive race, or an all-out attack on a new PR. You could zest a lemon with your Leatherman tool if you had to, but using exactly the right tool makes life easier. (Do not try to zest a lemon with your running shoes under any circumstances; results of that experiment were highly unsatisfactory.) Keep reading for the full list of top New Balance models as determined by a survey of over 11,000 runners.

Number 11

New Balance 860 v8

New Balance 860 v8

The New Balance 860 v8 gains its spot among the best New Balance running shoes by appealing to traditionalists. It’s a support trainer for daily running with outstanding stability. The 860 follows through on its support for overpronation with a classic running-shoe feel, as the flexible sole transitions from moderate cushion in the heel to firm responsiveness up front on toe-off.

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Number 10

New Balance FuelCore Rush v3

New Balance FuelCore Rush v3

If the model number and traditional appeal of the 860 is classic New Balance, the FuelCore Rush v3 is the new New Balance. The company is slowly shifting to model names and product lines that match your running style, not just your footstrike. The FuelCore line includes models designed for responsive cushioning and a fast feel, and the Rush delivers with its springy Revlite sole and ambitious 6 mm offset. Even for one of the most recently updated models from New Balance, “best running shoes” doesn’t have to mean “expensive running shoes”; the FuelCore Rush is a serious neutral trainer for daily running or faster efforts that’s priced like other companies’ budget models.

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Number 9

New Balance 1500 v4

New Balance 1500 v4

The New Balance 1500 v4 is versatile in its own way, but only within a certain range: fast, faster, and flying toward the finish line. As a racing shoe, it weighs in at 8.1 ounces in a men’s size 9, just enough to provide moderate stability, making it the best New Balance running shoe for runners who prefer lightweight support for races from 5K on up. If you want to pamper your feet on an easy run, look elsewhere: the 1500’s transition from moderate heel cushion to a firm forefoot is designed to keep you focused above all else on reaching the finish line at top speed.

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Number 8

New Balance Vazee Prism v2

New Balance Vazee Prism v2

The New Balance Vazee line is in the midst of some rebranding, as last year’s Vazee Rush v2 is now the FuleCore Rush v3. The Vazee Prism is still making its way into the FuleCore lineup, but it shares the firm and responsive Revlite soles of the Rush, but with support features for overpronators rather than the neutral runners targeted by the Rush. Runners looking for additional stability and who prefer a firm and flexible sole might find the Vazee Prism the New Balance best shoes for running.

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Number 7

New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v2

New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v2

Along with the classic numbered models like the 860 and the FuelCore/Vazee models, the Fresh Foam product line forms the third main component of New Balance running shoes. Where the Revlite of FuelCore provides a firm and responsive ride, the goal of Fresh Foam is to offer soft cushioning and smooth transitions. In the Fresh Foam line, the Vongo v2 is a support trainer with a difference: its minimal 4 mm offset between heel and forefoot is reminiscent of upstarts like Newton and Hoka One One. With its combination of stability features and generous cushion, the Vongos are among the best New Balance shoes for flat feet running as well.

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Number 6

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3

If the Vongo’s minimal heel-toe drop sounds like just your style but you prefer a neutral shoe, the Boracay v3 deserves your consideration. It’s not just a neutral Vongo, though—despite the same Fresh Foam in the midsole, the Boracay rides firm in the forefoot and heel and is an ounce and a half lighter. That moves the Boracay into the range of an uptempo/daily trainer crossover, and its combination of responsiveness and cushioning has earned it a place among the top 10 New Balance running shoes.

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Number 5

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v4

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v4

Since the Zante’s recent introduction, runners have been voting with their dollars and their feet: shoe companies, make more shoes like the Zante! Fresh Foam cushion combines in a lightweight format—at just 8.5 ounces, the Zante is just slightly heavier than the 1500 racing shoe—with the aggressive 6 mm offset to create a springy, cushioning, responsive ride that has quickly become legendary. The Zante’s heel cushion also makes it one of the best New Balance running shoes for plantar fasciitis, plus it beats the price that other shoe companies ask for their non-descript budget models. For all these reasons and more, you’ll find the Zante zipping through workouts, racing every distance from the 5K to the marathon, and covering the miles at every pace from easy to all-out.

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Number 4

New Balance 990 v4

New Balance 990 v4

Following the three Fresh Foam models are three more from the traditionally numbered family. The 990 v4 is the top of the line New Balance running shoe, combining moderate stability with generous quantities of luxurious cushioning for ultimate comfort. All that cushion adds ounces to the 990’s weight and pushes its price into the ultra-premium range, but the 990 is ready to meet the needs of runners who demand comfort at any price.

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Number 3

New Balance 1260 v7

New Balance 1260 v7

The 1260 v7 is a classic New Balance model for when high stability is required and premium comfort is sufficient. If support, smooth transitions from footstrike to toe-off, and an impact-absorbing sole sounds like what you’re looking for, you’ll probably find the 1260 v7 to be the best New Balance for daily mileage and long runs.

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Number 2

New Balance 1400 v6

New Balance 1400 v6

If you don’t need the support features of the 1500’s, the New Balance 1400 v6’s are the top New Balance running shoes for all-out race efforts. They drop their weight to a svelte 7.1 ounces, but keep a 10 mm offset between forefoot and heel, so there’s plenty of room for the impact-absorbing cushion you need in longer races, while the cushioned heel transitions to a firm and snappy toe-off.

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Number 1

New Balance Minimus 10 v1

New Balance Minimus 10 v1

You might guess from its name that the Minimus 10 v1 is light and flexible with a low heel-toe offset, and you’d be right: at just 7.5 ounces and with only a 4 mm height differential, the Minimus keeps you close to the ground. What might come as a surprise, though, is the kind of ground the Minimus wants you to get close to: dirt, gravel, sand, foliage, mud, and everything else you might find on the trail. With their firm and responsive sole, these top rated New Balance shoes are begging to be used for trail racing. (If you get lost along the way, though, having a Leatherman multi-tool rather than a microplane lemon zester stowed in your back pocket might be more useful.)

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