By: Jeremy Neisser
New Balance and Saucony are some of the most popular running shoe brands on the market today. Both companies provide a soft and stable ride in most of the shoes they construct that will suit the professional runners, age groupers, weekend runners, and everyone in between.
New Balance offers a wider toe box and are slightly less breathable compared to Saucony. Saucony offers a supremely plush cushioning around the tongue and heel collar for enhanced comfort.
When it comes to shoe preferences, both New Balance and Saucony will have a shoe model for you.
New Balance vs Saucony - Let's Dig In to Help YOU Decide
The Saucony PWRRUN midsole foam offers more support than the New Balance Fresh Foam midsole. Saucony running shoes tend to last slightly longer than New Balance. Both shoes should last upwards of 300-350 miles.
With so many similarities, it’s no wonder that so many people want to understand the differences between these two brands, and there are definitely some differences.
New Balance vs Saucony 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, durability, and overall ride. With this in mind let’s dive into those qualities from each brand and see the differences that surface.
New Balance makes a quality neutral shoe as they are well known for featuring its Fresh Foam midsole in many of its shoes. This Fresh Foam is known for its soft, bouncy, and lightweight feeling as it cradles your foot for greater comfort. However, it is not well known for its durability.
It will often turn flat faster than other shoe models out there, so be sure you enjoy the ride of the shoe over the desire for durability.
Saucony’s PWRRUN midsole on the other hand is well known for its durability and springy energy return. Similar to the Adidas Boost midsole material, The little foam pellets that make up this midsole are tightly packed to provide some good shock absorption on impact and then solid energy return on toe-off.
This foam is well known for its durability, but not quite as well known for any plush cushioning.
Although both New Balance and Saucony shoes implement engineered upper mesh materials to hold your foot down, Saucony often combines its mesh upper with 3D printed overlays for a fit that accommodates a wide range of foot shapes. This combination is known as Saucony’s FORMFIT.
Saucony’s FORMFIT mesh upper is known to be accommodating, smooth, and secure. It will lock down your midfoot well and work well for either high or low volume feet.
Saucony’s forefoot areas are not known to be extra wide, but they will get the job done for most regular and narrow feet. If you do have wide feet, then think about looking at some width options that are available.
The tongue and heel collar regions are padded comfortably on many models and offer ample lockdown. There shouldn’t be any heel irritation unless the lockdown is not suitable.
New Balance features an engineered upper mesh that feels more like a knit upper when you feel how it performs. It is very 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.
Furthermore, the breathability on some models can feel a little lackluster. It’s not that the breathability is bad, but that there are just so many other comparable shoes brands that offer better breathability than New Balance generally. Something to think about while you are making your running shoe selection.
The heel-to-toe drop, or slope, of these shoe brands, are generally similar. For some of you, this may not be a big deal, but if you are particular about the drop of your shoe then it's wise to consider that both New Balance and Saucony usually have about a 6mm to 8mm drop.
Stack heights will vary, but each brand offers a good mix of maximum and minimum stack heights depending on your preference.
For many of you, the width of the shoe can make a big difference as well. The New Balance running shoe usually makes a nice and wide toe box to accommodate for wider feet, while Saucony does not really have a particularly narrow or wide toe box.
It can accommodate a range of foot widths, but if you have a wide foot it s best to seek out a greater width if you choose Saucony.
When deciding upon a running shoes 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 generally have a good reputation when it comes to durability.
However, lately, New Balance shoes have been underperforming in this section, as its Fresh Foam midsole has been known to wear down earlier than most runners would like. Saucony on the other hand provides some really solid durability for the price you pay. That PWRRUN lasts for miles and miles.
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.
Bottom line is that both brands can offer some reliable durability, but be aware when selecting a pair of New Balance shoes because they can sometimes fall flat far earlier than other brands.
When it comes to picking out a daily trainer with a level of responsiveness, comfort can be the most important feature for many runners because it is most noticeable on every step. If you are going to be spending a lot of time in these shoes then they should very well be comfortable on and around your feet!
In my opinion, I would say the winner in this competition is obvious. Saucony gets the nod in this one for its forgiving and soft upper mesh material and solid underfoot cushioning.
One of the standard and still very comfortable daily trainers from Saucony is the Ride or Kinvara running shoes which both provide an excellent mix of cushioning, responsiveness, and support over the course of its lifespan.
To top it off the upper is sleek, breathable, and hugs your foot just right.
New Balance does offer some very good comfort as well, especially if you have a wider foot and need more space for your toes. It will give you plenty of breathing room and give your feet some rest.
The cushioning is kind to your feet, but it just does not last very long compared to most pairs of Saucony including the Kinvara running shoes.
I have been touching on this a lot throughout the review, but the final big difference between these running shoes lies in the ride of its cushioning.
The New Balance Fresh Foam cushion offers a particularly snappy ride that encourages you to roll forward and lean into your stride, even on easy days. It will offer enough cushion, but it is by no means plush.A great example of this is the New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3 running shoe which is a snappy daily trainer that will get you moving on tempo and easy days alike. It also has just enough cushioning to get you up to about 80 minutes of solid running without too much fatigue.
New Balance and Saucony give you some valuable cushioning. Saucony can be considered as a more reliable and durable cushioning system, but when New Balance gets it right then you’ll find ample comfort and snap from a pair of those trainers.
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New Balance Vs Saucony Wrap-Up:
Personally, I would choose New Balance. I like the stability and comfort more than Saucony. The cushioned runnings shoes of New Balance makes my feet feel secure and snug.
New Balance and Saucony are some of the most popular running shoes on the market, and that's for good reason. They both bring a lot to the table in reliability and comfort. It’s hard to go wrong when picking between these two brands, but there are some small differences to review.
- New PWRRUN cushioning protects from impact with a soft, yet responsive feel underfoot
- TRIFLEX outsole optimizes flexibility
- FORMFIT surrounds the foot in 3D comfort, enhanced by 3D-Print overlays
Both brands may have a short break-in period, so don't let the first run be a key indicator of overall performance, and make sure to give it a couple of runs before feeling the difference.
- For a Lighter, Softer Feel: Fresh Foam Beacon v3 lightweight running shoes have a soft and springy design that’s ideal for runners who want to move in all-around plush comfort
- Plush, Natural Ride: These running shoes are built for runners with Fresh Foam midsole cushioning that is precision-engineered to deliver an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride with every stride
- Breathable Comfort: The engineered mesh on the uppers of these lightweight and breathable performance running shoes helps to provide cool comfort as your workouts heat up
In the end, it really depends on your personal preference and running gait cycle, so it's recommended that you try some pairs on before buying to see how they interact with your foot and running stride. Both New Balance and Saucony will provide you with worthwhile running shoes.
If you want a snappy ride that encourages you to lean forward then opt for New Balance. If you want running shoes that gets you a great value across a range of features, then give Saucony a go.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Jeremy.
I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods
Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API