Way back in 1906, the New Balance Arch Support Company was founded by William J. Riley – an Irishman who relocated to Boston to kick-start a new life. Fast forward to over a century later and New Balance is one of the most iconic footwear brands in the world, with industry-leading collaborations, collections and technology under its belt. Originally designed to cater to the needs of workers who would be on their feet all day – like police officers, firefighters and retail workers – New Balance extended their range to create their first running shoe in 1939. This marked the start of a brand-new era for the brand, which pushed their product line even further in 1941 to include tennis, boxing and baseball shoes, then again in 1960 to deliver the New Balance Trackster – the world’s first running shoe to come in different widths.
As the years have passed, the world has been graced with now-iconic New Balance silhouettes like the 550, 990, 991 and 327 (to name a few). Influential figures from Steve Jobs and Bill Clinton to Zoe Kravitz and Rihanna have added NB to their rotations, and the brand has quickly transitioned from Dad-shoe go-to to streetwear staple thanks to the Boston brand’s penchant for building comfortable, reliable, long-lasting sneakers. Each and every silhouette from New Balance is meticulously designed to fit like a dream, but with foot sizes varying from person to person, we know you’re probably asking yourself “how do New Balance sneakers fit?” because who wants to go through the fuss of returning and exchanging a too-small pair? That’s why we’re taking a deep dive into New Balance’s most popular silhouettes to let you in on how each one fits and what size you should get.
How Does The New Balance 550 Fit?
Originally designed to be an on-court basketball shoe, the 550 recently experienced a resurgence in demand thanks to the retro-inspired Aimé Leon Dore collab. A capsule collection with vintage appeal, this silhouette bridges the gap between fashion and function, securing itself as a shoe that deserves a place in your wardrobe.
If there’s one thing New Balance never sacrifices, it’s quality. The brand uses only the most premium materials and designers are meticulous when it comes to measurements, inclusivity and craftsmanship. The New Balance 550 is specifically designed to fit true to size and, because they’re dedicated to the perfect fit, the shoe comes in half sizes so you can effortlessly get your hands on your preference. If you have wider feet, the best thing to do is order half a size up so you can wear them straight away, but if your size isn’t in stock, grab your true-to-size fit and just wear them in! The leather will shape to your foot, resulting in a glove-like fit that’s oh-so comfortable.
One of the easiest New Balance silhouettes to style, the NB550 is versatile enough to wear with everything from jeans to joggers. Staying true to that vintage aesthetic, the sidewalls are detailed with the Boston brand’s signature ’N’ logo, while the toe proudly displays the style’s 550 code. Arguably the most in-demand NB collab of all time, the Aime Leon Dore x New Balance 550 capsule collection elevates the silhouette to luxury status, cementing itself as an instant favourite among sneakerheads and fashion insiders alike.
How Does The New Balance 327 Fit?
One of New Balance’s more modern silhouettes, the New Balance 327 is more streamlined than other chunkier NB styles, making it perfect for new-school styling. Boasting collabs with the likes of Casablanca, this sneaker leaves all the jargon, fuss and technicalities to one side to deliver fans a shoe that’s functional, looks good and does the job. But does the New Balance 327 run big? Does the New Balance 327 run small? Oh, and of course, “how should I style the New Balance 327?”
Much like the 550, the NB327 is specifically designed to fit perfectly with little-to-no breaking in time. However, the toe on this silhouette is a little thinner than other styles from New Balance, so if you have wide feet or if you like to wear thicker socks, we recommend going half a size up for good measure. If you size up and find that there’s a little more room than you’d like, you can add an insole or tighten the laces to create a fit that feels practically customised. As for how to style the NB327, that’s up to you! This streamlined shoe is so versatile, it’ll literally go with anything and everything. Whether you love a good pair of jeans or you’re more of a tracksuit kind of person, this sporty sneaker promises to pair with every fit you can think of.
How Does The New Balance 990 Fit?
Dubbed one of New Balance’s most comfortable silhouettes, the 990 paved the way for some seriously coveted styles to follow – like the 991, 990v2 and 990v3. In fact, the 991 is famed for being the go-to sneaker of Apple tech genius, Steve Jobs. A Dad shoe with endless styling appeal, this sneaker is now world-renowned for being a daily stepper that’ll see you through country walks, evening runs and dinner with friends. If you haven’t been able to get your hands on your very own pair yet, we bet you’re wondering how the New Balance 990 fits. Well, as one of the brand’s OG styles, the 990 has had years to perfect its sizing range and attention to detail when it comes to fit.
Of all the NB silhouettes, it’s safe to say that the New Balance 990 reliably fits true to size. Available in half sizes to you can get your closest and most perfect fit, it’s designed to hug the foot like a glove, but the premium materials are flexible enough to give a little when they’re worn in. Following suit, the 990v2, 990v3 and 991 silhouettes also fit true to size, and they’re specially designed to require little-to-no breaking in.
How Does The New Balance 574 Fit?
Originally designed in 1978 as a performance shoe that combines the needs of road and trail running, the New Balance 574 is a streamlined, durable sneaker that’s as functional as it is wearable. One of the Boston brand’s more affordable styles, the 574 offers the wearer all the comfort, support and performance the brand is renowned for, but with a price tag that’s more accessible to the masses. Marking NB’s first step into the world of lifestyle sneakers, this silhouette remains to this day an everyday staple. But, if you’re just about to get your hands on your very first pair, we know you’re wondering if the New Balance 574 runs small, big or true to size.
At this point, you’ll probably have realised that most New Balance silhouettes fit true to size – and the 574 is no different. The same rule applies here. The toe is a little narrower than some of the other New Balance silhouettes, so if you have particularly wide feet, there’s no harm in going up by half a size. But, as a general rule, you can feel pretty confident getting true-to-size fit and knowing they’ll be comfy.
New Balance: The FAQs
Do New Balance trainers run big?
Generally, no. New Balance sneakers are designed by a team of experts that get the fit bang on each time. But, of course, everyone’s different! No one knows your feet like you do, so trust your gut and size up or down by half if you need – but you should never need to go up or down a full size.
Are New Balance trainers expensive?
The great thing about New Balance is that there’s a sneaker for every budget. As a general rule, the more technical the shoe or the more premium the fabrics used, the higher the price point. But, the brand also utilises more affordable fabrics and you can get some pairs for as low as £50! Plus, if you’re watching your pennies, the brand usually runs a few sales a year – so keep an eye out and you could bag an absolute bargain.
Are New Balance trainers comfortable?
New Balance sneakers are fitted with cushioning that the brand has spent over 100 years perfecting. Not only that, each and every style is designed for function first and fashion second, ensuring they’re comfortable enough to wear all day without any rubbing or burning in the forefoot. Much like Phil Knight’s Nike, New Balance’s history is in crafting highly functional running shoes that provide support, stability and grip – so it doesn’t really get much comfier than this!