New Balance Vs. Brooks – Complete Comparison

Having wore both New Balance and Brooks for many training runs and races, they are some of the most popular running shoe brands available but have distinct differences. 

Here are the major differences: New Balance has a wider toe box and is a lighter shoe, Brooks is durable and will last for more significantly more miles than New Balance.

Sure, both companies are widely known as some of the most reliable shoe companies on the market that satisfy the needs of elite athletes and weekend joggers alike. 

Both brands offer some similar features, but they each present themselves in different ways, which could be deal breakers for some of you.

We conducted some extensive and detailed research for New Balance vs Brooks running shoes.

In case you are wondering which shoe brand you will want to settle for, here are some quality features you should refer to while selecting.


New Balance vs Brooks Running Shoes: The Biggest Differences:

When comparing pretty much any brand against each other, there are some obvious differences in midsole foam quality, upper mesh, and shoe width. With this in mind let’s take a dive into those qualities and see what we have here.

New Balance is well known for featuring its Fresh Foam midsole in many of its shoes. This foam is known for its soft, bouncy, and lightweight feeling as it cradles your foot for greater comfort.

However, something to note is that Fresh Foam is not known for its durability, as it is often exposed on the bottom of the shoe and just turns flat faster than other brand’s signature midsoles.

The Brook’s DNA Loft midsole foam is a newly updated version of Brook’s standard DNA foam. This is what they are featuring in many of its shoes nowadays. It is revamped to provide a feeling of “just right” softness as your daily trainer, but it is also well known to be a little responsive and plenty durable in the long run.

Although both New Balance and Brooks implement engineered upper mesh materials to hold your foot down, they definitely perform differently in terms of comfort, weight and lockdown.

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Beacon V3 Running Shoe, Black/White, 7

New Balance features an engineered upper mesh that feels more like a knit upper when you feel how it performs.

It is very breathable and lightweight, but the lockdown is not too great when you are trying to take tight turns or stay locked-in while picking up the pace.

Brooks engineered upper mesh is known to be very comfortable over the top of your foot and in the heel collar area. It provides ample protection, breathability, and lockdown.

However, the upper mesh is not well known for being lightweight, so that is something to consider if thats where you draw a line.

Brooks Ghost 13 Blue/Coral/White 5 B (M)

The heel-to-toe drop, or slope, of these shoe brands are generally a little different as well.

For some of you this may not be a big deal, but if you are particular about the drop of your shoe then its wise to consider that New Balance usually has about a 6mm to 8mm drop and Brooks features a 10mm to 12mm drop.

If you have been known to have calf or achilles problems, then you might consider going with the higher drop.

For many of you the width of the shoe can make a big difference as well. New Balance usually makes a nice and wide toe box to accommodate for wider feet, while Brooks tends to have a bit of a narrower toe box.

This is something to consider if you often have fit problems in the front of your shoes.


Durability

When deciding upon a show brand, the durability reputation definitely matters when you want something that is providing reliability and value for the dollars you are spending. Thankfully, both brands have a good reputation when it comes to durability.

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Beacon V3 Running Shoe, Black/White, 7

However, lately New Balance has been underperforming in this section, as its Fresh Foam midsole has been known to wear down earlier that most runners would like.

It loses its bounce faster than most Brooks shoes and because the midsole is often exposed on the bottom it gets scrapped up early on in the shoes lifespan.

That being said, not all New Balance shoes have this issue so just make sure to take a look at the kind you’re getting before investing in a pair you are unsure about.

Brooks Ghost 13 Alloy/Oyster/White 5 B (M)

Like we covered a little earlier, Brooks is well known for its durability and very well may offer the best on the market today.

This has a lot to do with the liberal amount of outsole rubber placed on the bottom of the shoe and the long lasting DNA Loft foam protecting your feet.

Bottom line is that both brands can offer some reliable durability, but for New Balance you will want to choose more carefully to find the right model, while Brooks can pretty much guarantee a long lasting pair of shoes for any model.


Comfort

When it comes to picking out a daily trainer, for most comfort can be the most important feature. If you are going to spend a lot of time in these shoes then they should very well be comfortable on and round your feet!

There is no two ways about it. Brooks nails it when it comes to comfort. Between a secure and comfortable upper and a soft yet responsive midsole you should pretty much be in heaven wearing a good paid of brooks trainers.

One of the most popular shoes from the Brooks lineup in the Ghost, which is known for being a great value for all of the comfort, durability and traction you’re getting for your hard earned money.

Brooks Ghost 13 Alloy/Oyster/White 8 B (M)
2,022 Reviews
Brooks Ghost 13 Alloy/Oyster/White 8 B (M)
  • THIS SHOE IS FOR: The Ghost 13 is for runners looking for a reliable shoe that's soft and smooth. The Ghost 13 offers improved transitions for zero distractions so you can focus more on what matters most: your run.
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: The neutral support type provideds high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Ghost 12
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability - yet it feels lighter than ever.

New Balance does offer some very good comfort as well, especially if you have a wider foot and need more spance for your toes. It will give you plenty of breathing room and give your feet some rest.

 As far as a comparison goes, Brooks offers more comfortable shoe on average, but the fit of a shoe depends on individual preferences so make sure to try some on for yourself.

Cushion

We have gone over this just a little bit earlier, but its worth diving into further because of how important cushioning is in a daily trainer.

Brooks offers a comfortable combination of plush and responsive cushioning. The DNA and DNA Loft midsoles provide with a soft landing and a smooth toe off without getting in your way.

The extra stack height offered from Brooks does give you bit of extra forgiveness if your biomechanics aren’t perfect, but it won’t get in your way.

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Beacon V3 Running Shoe, Neo Crimson/Neo Flame, 7

At its best, New Balance offers a comfortable combination of bounce and softness. The Fresh Foam will give you a really solid energy return for a daily trainer and it is pretty lightweight so that will give you a nice option if you’re a runner who enjoyed something a little less cumbersome on your legs.

Over the course of a long run those extra ounces can add up, so its nice to get a cushioning system that won’t hurt you.

A New Balance daily trainer that offers some great cushioning in a lightweight package is the Fresh Faom Beacon, its even pretty durable as far as the Fresh Foam lineups go, so its worth the time to check it out.

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Beacon V3 Running Shoe, Black/White, 7
46 Reviews
New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Beacon V3 Running Shoe, Black/White, 7
  • Ground Contact Fresh Foam Midsole delivers a cushioned, lightweight ride and the outsole has strategically placed rubber outsole pods for durability where needed
  • Engineered mesh upper for a barely-there feel
  • Breathable textile material keeps your foot cool

New Balance and Brooks give you some valuable cushioning. Brooks can be considered as a more reliable cushioning system, but when New Balance gets it right then you’ll find ample comfort from a pair of those trainers.


Conclusion

Brooks and New Balance are some of the post popular brands on the market, and thats for good reason. They both bring a lot when it comes to reliability and comfort. It is really hard to go wrong when picking between these two brands, but there are some small differences to review.

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Beacon V3 Running Shoe, Light Cyclone/Rogue Wave, 7
46 Reviews
New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Beacon V3 Running Shoe, Light Cyclone/Rogue Wave, 7
  • Ground Contact Fresh Foam Midsole delivers a cushioned, lightweight ride and the outsole has strategically placed rubber outsole pods for durability where needed
  • Engineered mesh upper for a barely-there feel
  • Breathable textile material keeps your foot cool

Brooks will offer a super comfortable upper and a plush yet responsive midsole foam. The drop on the shoe (10mm-12mm) will accommodate those who have problems with calves and achilles tightness and if you have a standard or narrow foot then Brooks will fit great.

New Balance will provide a lightweight upper, but may sacrifice some lockdown. The midsole foam will be bouncy and comfortable for as long as it lasts and the drop (6mm-8mm) will give you a little extra stretch on your calves and achilles of you want to work on your mobility without risking too much in the way of injury.

If you have a wider foot, New Balance is definitely worth taking a look at because they accommodate for those who need some extra room.

As always, it really does depend on personal preference and your individual gait cycle. You could really find comfort with either New Balance or Brooks because there is a lot of upside for both brands when it comes to comfort and support.

If you want something with a really great combination of comfort and support, then go for Brooks. If you have a winder foot and are seeking a more lightweight and bouncy running experience, then opt for a pair of New Balance.

Last update on 2020-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API