Best New Balance Running Shoes 2021
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
New Balance running shoes pair stylish looks with premium performance—and they make it look effortless.
The best New Balance running shoes rival kicks from every other brand on the market today. From cushioned and comfortable everyday trainers to light and fast racers, there are New Balance running shoes for every run and every runner.
Some of the most popular New Balance shoes have carried runners for a decade or more, while innovative technologies allow the Boston-based brand to push the industry forward.
These are the best New Balance shoes for most runners:
- Best for Stability: New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11
- Best for Everyday Training: New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11
- Best for Cushion: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
- Best for Road Racing: New Balance FuelCell RC Elite
- Best for Speedwork: New Balance FuelCell TC
- Best for Trails: New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail
- Best for Lightweight Stability: New Balance FuelCell Prism
- Best on a Budget: New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo
- Best Specialty Shoes: New Balance FuelCell 5280
[Updated March 12, 2021. This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2021. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
Best New Balance Running Shoes for Stability
New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11
The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 is one of the best New Balance running shoes because it delivers reliable stability, mile after mile, year after year.
The latest entry to the family, the 860v11 adds New Balance's premier training foam to the midsole. Fresh Foam is a proven performer—it already powers the Fresh Foam 880v10 and Fresh Foam 1080v10—that provides soft landings and energetic takeoffs.
To make the 860 a stability shoe, designers engineered it with a durable medial post. The firmer piece of foam inserted beneath the arch helps mitigate the effects of overpronation, so you get a stable ride throughout the life of the shoe.
In the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 review, Fleet Feet runners praised the shoe for its accommodating fit and lightweight feel.
Wrapped in a breathable engineered mesh upper and styled with a flared heel collar, the updated New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 is a consistent performer that can handle as many miles as you can.
Best New Balance Running Shoes for Everyday Training
New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11
Whether you're a new runner or working toward a marathon PR, New Balance built the Fresh Foam 880v11 to handle the bulk of your miles.
The 880v11 sports a Fresh Foam midsole that cushions your steps and provides a bouncy response, while a generous blown rubber outsole delivers excellent traction and improves the shoe's durability.
A smooth mesh upper maintains the 880's lightweight feel, and it breathes easily to keep you comfortable in warm weather. In the New Balance 880v11 review, testers said they loved the new upper for how it hugs their foot but allows a natural toe splay.
With an accommodating fit that works for a variety of foot shapes, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 is one of the best running shoes for neutral runners of all levels.
Best New Balance Running Shoes for Cushion
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
Lightweight cushioning takes center stage in the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11.
New Balance loaded the newest 1080 with a full bed of its Fresh Foam cushioning. The pillowy midsole provides a soft landing on pavement and buttery transition from heel to toe.
But it's not just soft. The foam's bouncy response creates a fun, engaging ride that's suitable for fast paces, too.
Designers created the Hypoknit upper for seamless zones of stretch and structure. The toe box uses stretchy fabric to fit a wide variety of foot shapes, while the midfoot remains static to give you a secure fit.
In the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 review, Fleet Feet testers said they love the latest 1080 for its comfort and versatility. Whether you're doing speedwork on the track or logging the longest runs of your training cycle, the 1080v11 can keep up.
Best New Balance Running Shoes for Road Racing
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite
New Balance engineered the FuelCell RC Elite for a faster marathon.
The RC Elite sports a stack of New Balance's premier FuelCell foam composition, which gives the shoe lightweight cushion and top-notch energy return. The bouncy foam works in tandem with a full-length carbon-fiber plate for even more propulsion.
New Balance draped the RC Elite in a streamlined synthetic upper that keeps the shoe's weight down and lets your feet breathe. Designers also studded the bottom in a Dynaride rubber outsole for confident traction without adding unnecessary ounces.
Packed with New Balance's top technology, the FuelCell RC Elite primes you for your fastest half or full marathon time yet.
Best New Balance Shoes for Speedwork
New Balance FuelCell TC
The New Balance FuelCell TC brings everyday durability to a carbon-fiber plated shoe to prime you for race day.
Designers loaded the TC with a FuelCell midsole for impressive rebound that will maintain its lively feel through your entire training cycle. Layered inside the foam is a full-length carbon-fiber plate that helps create a more propulsive, more engaging ride.
On top, New Balance used a lightweight, breathable upper for improved comfort in all conditions. Underneath, the TC has a durable rubber outsole under the forefoot for better traction and durability.
In the New Balance FuelCell TC review, Fleet Feet runners said the shoe feels bouncy and encourages a quick turnover—and it comes alive at high speed.
Best New Balance Trail Running Shoes
New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1
New Balance shoes are known for their performance on pavement and the track, but the New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1 gives you a soft, smooth ride when you head off road, too.
Designers loaded the new trail running shoe with the thickest Fresh Foam midsole yet. In the New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail review, Fleet Feet runners say the midsole doesn't feel as soft as some of New Balance's road shoe, but it delivers an easy, protective ride on dirt, rocks and anything else the trail can throw at you.
Beneath the foam is burly rubber outsole studded with lugs. The outsole provides solid traction on messy trails and slippery rocks.
When you need more cushion for more miles, the New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1 gives you everything you need.
Best New Balance Shoes for Lightweight Stability
New Balance FuelCell Prism
The New Balance FuelCell Prism gives you a fast-day feel with a hint of stability to smooth out your stride.
New Balance powered the Prism with a FuelCell foam midsole. Like its speedier cousins, the FuelCell TC and FuelCell RC Elite, the Prism benefits from the foam's light weight and bouncy response.
Tucked into the foam is a classic medial post for added stability. The firmer wedge of foam compresses less under your weight to keep the shoe stable throughout its entire lifespan.
Fleet Feet runners said in the New Balance FuelCell Prism review that the shoe is perfect for track days and tempo runs, while the generous cushioning can stand up to long runs, too.
Best New Balance Running Shoes on a Budget
New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo
The New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo provides performance and style on a budget.
New Balance created the Tempo for upbeat runs without breaking the bank. A full-length Fresh Foam midsole creates a soft and smooth ride, and the low-profile mesh upper offers a comfortable fit and lightweight feel.
*Note: The Fresh Foam Tempo runs short. We suggest sizing up half a size from your normal shoe size.
Best Specialty New Balance Running Shoes
New Balance FuelCell 5280
The new Balance FuelCell 5280 isn’t for everybody, but it is a powerful race-day weapon for those who need it.
New Balance designed the FuelCell 5280 with the road mile in mind. It’s built like a track spike but optimized for pavement thanks to a carbon-fiber plate and layer of FuelCell foam. The plate makes the shoe stiff and springy, and the FuelCell foam gives you an ultra-responsive ride.
While it isn’t built for long distances or heavy training, the New Balance FuelCell 5280 excels at its job.
New Balance Running Shoes Terms Glossary
New Balance shoes use a host of unique, cutting-edge technology to create one-of-a-kind experiences. Designers collect hoards of data from real runners to inform the innovative technology that drives you forward, faster.
Here are the New Balance names and terms you need to know:
- Fresh Foam. New Balance’s Fresh Foam is their premier running shoe cushioning that’s packed into shoes like the Fresh Foam 1080v10 and Fresh Foam 880v10. The foam is soft, responsive and light, giving each shoe an easy ride and smooth transition.
- Hypoknit. Hypoknit is an upper used in several New Balance running shoes. The manufacturing process creates different areas of support and stretch in one seamless upper.
- Ultra Heel. A snug, supportive heel cup that provides a snug fit and locked-in feel.
- FuelCell foam. New Balance’s highest rebound foam, FuelCell provides a light and responsive ride
How We Picked the Best New Balance Running Shoes
We chose the best New Balance running shoes by poring over the details of each model. Through wear testing, interviews with shoe designers and professional athletes, and our own fit id® data, we chose the New Balance shoes we think will work best for most runners in most situations.
You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping and returns on all running shoes, and you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.
Best Running Shoe Brands
New Balance makes some of the best running shoes in the business, but there are plenty of excellent shoes from other brands. See the best running shoe brands 2021 for more great shoes.
Best Running Shoe Brands