Overall, New Balance fits true to size but certain models, like the 550, have narrow toe boxes. If you’re shoe-shopping, it is difficult to know how each shoe fits by looking at its size, product description, and photographs on the brand’s website.
Hence, we picked New Balance’s most iconic shoes, the 550, MX608V5, and the 2002r, and compared them with Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.
Scroll down to get a detailed answer to your question, “Do New Balance run big or small?”
Table of Contents
- New Balance Sizing vs. Competitors
- Size Charts
- Tips to Buy New Balance Shoes
- Frequently Asked Questions
New Balance Sizing vs. Competitors
In the comparison, we used New Balance men’s sneakers size 9 and contrast them against Adidas 2k Boost, Air Max Excee, and Under Armour HOVR of the same men’s US size.
|Brand||New Balance||Adidas||Nike||Under Armour|
|US Size 9||27 cm||26.7 cm||26.2 cm||27 cm|
The table above shows varying measurements for size 9. We can see that New Balance and Under Armour are the same, while Adidas is smaller by 3 mm. Nike, on the other hand, is almost one size down. If your feet are 27 cm long, you need to get size 10.
But as we said, even New Balance has a few models that aren’t true to size, especially when measured against Under Armour and Adidas. Here are our findings:
1. New Balance 550
“Does New Balance 550 run small?” you ask. As the brand’s most iconic footwear, the 550 is a lifestyle shoe available in adult unisex and children’s sizes.
Either way, it is true to size length-wise, but it does not come in wide or extra-wide options. By design, its standard width narrows around the toebox, so those with wider feet may need to order the next half or full size.
Next to Adidas 2k Boost and Under Armour HOVR, these sneakers from New Balance run small. But if you look at it side-by-side with Nike Air Max Excee from the top, their toe boxes have near-identical shapes.
Note that these are unisex shoes. For the ladies, we recommend getting the women’s conversion on the New Balance men’s size chart instead of using the women’s size chart. But with children, you can check the kid’s size chart.
2. New Balance 2002r
Originally designed for running in 2010, the 2002r is now touted as a lifestyle shoe. Like the 550, it is available in men’s and children’s sizes. If you’re a woman, you can opt for the unisex version.
Most users, including us, agree that the 2002r shoes are consistent with the size charts regardless of the age or gender they are made for.
Placing Under Armour HOVR, Adidas 2k Boost, and 2002r next to each other, we see that their toebox widths are more or less the same. But 2002r’s heel area only looks chunkier because of the shoe material. In comparison with Nike Air Max Excee, the 2002r is visibly wider.
3. New Balance MX608V5
Compared to Adidas 2k Boost and Under Armour, we don’t see a massive difference in terms of the shoes’ silhouette—they are as wide as the MX608V5. Against Nike, the MX608V5 is broader.
Shelved under training shoes, the MX608V5 offers designs specifically for men and women. Whereas the unisex shoes are only available in standard width, the MX608V5 provides versions with wider toe boxes.
The good news is that the MX608V5 conforms to the New Balance shoes sizing in both length and width. Therefore, you can select your true size and prefer width, which is available in 6 choices, ranging from 2A to 6E.
|Length in CM||US Women’s Conversion||US Men||UK||EU|
|X Narrow||Narrow||Standard||Wide||X Wide||XX Wide|
|Length in CM||US Women||US Men’s Conversion||UK||EU|
|X Narrow||Narrow||Standard||Wide||X Wide||XX Wide|
3. 0-4 years old
|Length in CM||US||UK||EU|
4. 4-12 years old
|Length in CM||US||UK||EU||US Women’s Conversion||US Men’s Conversion|
Tips to Buy New Balance Shoes
Tip 1: Use new Balance’s size and measuring tool
Fortunately, the brand provides a comprehensive 3-page size guide and printable measuring tool for men, women, and kids that you can download from its website.
Just make sure that you follow the printing instructions, ensuring that the size of your credit card fits within the box with the label “Match Credit Card Size Here” on top. This way, the ruler on the template can reflect accurate measurements in CM for both the length and width of your feet.
Once you have determined your feet’s measurements, you can get the corresponding shoe size on the third page of the document.
Tip 2: Take measurements during the afternoon
The human feet expand the more you move throughout the day. Hence, it’s best to go shoe shopping and measure your feet when they are at their biggest.
That said, don’t forget to factor in the socks you intend to wear with the shoes to ensure they fit comfortably. Alternatively, put on your thickest socks whenever you go out shopping for shoes.
Tip 3: When in doubt, ignore the numbers
This may sound counterintuitive, but it is best to buy a pair of shoes that feel comfortable even if they are not your actual size. Besides, no two shoe companies follow a standard sizing convention.
This, of course, only applies if you go to the actual store instead of buying online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does New Balance run bigger or smaller than Nike?
Going back to the table under the New Balance Sizing vs. Competitors section of this article, we see that Nike is smaller than the three other brands we examined.
Moreover, most New balance shoe width is noticeably wider compared to Nike, according to several customer feedback on e-commerce websites and Reddit forums.
How are New Balance shoes supposed to fit?
Here are the ways to determine whether your New Balance shoes fit your feet perfectly:
- The toe area provides ample room for your toes to spread evenly and naturally.
- The shoes do not feel too tight around the bottom and top of your feet.
- Your heels do not slip or wiggle inside the footwear.
- You don’t get cramps, blisters, or calluses when you walk or run in your shoes.
Most of us go online when we can’t find the specific model or size in local shoe stores. However, this requires you to know the answers to questions like “Do New Balance run big or small?” or “Are New balance true to size?”
Although most New Balance shoes are consistent with the size charts, be aware that not all models come with wider options. So while your feet may fit length-wise, it’ll be an entirely different story when it comes to width. That said, most New Balance shoes conform to the average feet width.
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.