Classic New Balance Sneakers Are Back…But Which Style To Choose?


I think my best friend, Amanda, has had a pair of gray New Balance sneakers for as long as I’ve known her (since we were 18… OK, OK, she was 17, and I was 18 — she would want me to be correct).

New Balance sneakers always remind me of her, and I was so stoked when I noticed them coming back in style over the past year or two. They definitely have a certain vibe to them, so you may not get what all of the hype is if you’re not currently 18 or nostalgic about them.

But I’m nothing if not down with the latest sneaker styles, friends (I TRY to keep up as best I can, haha), and for as much of a comfort-shoe-dad-sneaker as they are, I love New Balances all over again.

The Ultimate New Balance Sneakers Try-On + Review: Which Dad Shoes Win?

Which style to choose? Do I stick with the classic gray? Do I try out the platform pair I’ve been eyeing on Shana? Do I get a darker color? A lighter color? All of these questions meant it was time for a little try-on sesh.

New Balance Sneakers: Breaking Down The Styles & Numbers

So, here we are! But first…let’s break down the styles and numbers. I think I’ve finally gotten it in my head which New Balance sneakers are which, so I wrote it down for us to reference. (Mostly for when I forget again… Have no fear, though, I still remember my first phone number.)

I find in general that I need to size up half a size in New Balance sneakers (otherwise, I'm a pretty solid US 8). Many styles offer wide widths too!

From left to right: 574+ | 237 | 997 | 574 Unisex

A Quick Breakdown Of The New Balance Sneakers I Tried:

  • New Balance 574+: Stacked platform sneakers
  • New Balance 237: The newest style to my knowledge. They have the bigger N on the sides and a bit thicker sole, but they don’t have the split-sole/notched shape of the next pair.
  • New Balance 997: Similar to 996s but with a more substantial sole. (997s are the final pair I feature in this try-on.)
  • New Balance 574 Core: These are the classics we’ve seen for years — the epitome of the dad shoe but cool. Well, at least to me. My dad wore these back in the ’80s and ’90s, and he’s got great style.

Other New Balance Sneakers Worth Noting:

  • New Balance 327: I didn’t try on any of this style this time, but I have an all-black pair from last year. These have more tread and a narrower sole through the middle of the foot than the 237.
  • New Balance 996: I’ve linked one pair of these in the shopping widget below. They’re overall the smallest profile of all the sneakers here. They aren’t my faves because I like more of a hefty shoe, but they come in a lot of pretty colors! They seem more like a spring shoe to me, though — sizes aren’t stocked much right now.
  • New Balance CT302: Gah, and of course I fell in love with a pair only available in larger sizing. SO freaking cool. If you have a size 11.5 women’s or above foot, you lucky duck rn! They’re really retro and awesome.

These aren’t all the New Balance styles, but they’re quite a few of the top styles I’m seeing right now. The pretty colors are definitely selling fast!

Sizing Note: I find in general that I need to size up half a size in New Balance sneakers (otherwise, I’m a pretty solid US 8). Many styles offer wide widths too!

Where To Buy Them: I’ve indicated where I can currently find most of the styles below. Nordstrom is pretty much completely out of these styles, and our main go-to stores are hit or miss, depending on the colors. But, alas, there are still a lot of options below (Urban Outfitters, J.Crew & Zappos all came through with some well-stocked finds!), so I hope you can find a style and color combo you like!

The Pair I Liked Best: New Balance 574+ Platform Sneakers

Where to buy: at Urban Outfitters | at New Balance | at Foot Locker

As much as I tried NOT to settle on the same pair as my friend and fearless leader…gah. There’s a reason she’s good at this, friends. These New Balance 574+ Platform Sneakers are just fab.

These stacked sneakers give this shorty some height, are super-comfy, and help my full-length jeans and wide-leg sweatpants not drag on the ground. SCORE.

They also come in a gorgeous ivory combo that I really like. But sooner or later, I have to stop trying on sneakers. It’s getting out of hand.

The New Balance 574+ platform sneakers give me some much needed height.

sneakers | sweatshirt | blue jeans | black jeans | vest

The Runner-Up Pair: New Balance 574 Core

Where to buy: at J.Crew | at Zappos | at Amazon

It was honestly a close call here, and I think if I didn’t need some height for my pant lengths sometimes, I’d have stuck with these super-classic gray 574 Cores. (These are the nostalgic pair my bestie has, and I love them.)

I do think if I’d kept these, I would’ve swapped the laces for some gray ones, but they’re just great sneakers and a comfy, solid choice.

If I didn't need some height for my pant lengths sometimes, I'd have stuck with these classic gray New Balance 574 Core sneakers.

sneakers | sweatshirt (S) | jeans (28)

The Pair I Want For Spring (Selling Fast): New Balance 237 Moonbeam + Sea Salt

Where to buy: Madewell (limited sizes) | Goat (more sizes here)

OK, I don’t need to keep two pairs of sneakers this time, but if we weren’t headed into muddy season here, it would’ve been an even tricker decision for me.

I LOVE this pair of New Balance 237 sneakers in Moonbeam/Sea Salt. (More sizes here.) They’re SO cute with the all-dark outfits and an ivory bag, right? I’m really hoping this or a similar colorway is in stock in spring. If you’re somewhere less rainy, you might snag them now. (Dang it, as I finished this article, they’re all but gone, but I’ll keep an eye out!) These are selling fast, so I found a good alternative, here. (same color, just a different new balance style.)

If it weren't muddy season here, I would've kept these New Balance 237 sneakers.

sneakers | similar top | blazer | jeans (29)

The Pair I Love…But Don’t Need: New Balance 237 Black + Vintage Rose

Where to buy: at Madewell | at Bloomingdale’s

While I do have a collection of sneakers, I figure I don’t need a whole collection of, like, the same sneakers in different colors. I know, my restraint is astounding…lol.

Gah. Y’all, I don’t mean to inflate the simple act of trying on some freaking New Balance sneakers here, but they’re all just winning IMO. If you need black sneakers, try these New Balance 237s. I love the pale-peach N on the side for a little pretty touch of color and a little less contrast than if it were black and white. Lovely.

These New Balance 237 sneakers in Black/Vintage Rose are winning. If you need black sneakers, try these.
I love the pale-peach N on the side of these New Balance 227 for a pretty touch of color & less contrast than if it were black + white.

sneakers | similar top | jeans

The Pair I Accidentally Bought In A Unisex Size: New Balance 574 In Navy

Where to buy: at J.Crew | at Zappos

OK, and navy is a fun option too! Even if I did accidentally order the unisex size pair (too, too big), here’s a link to them in women’s sizing, in the same navy-gray combo.

These are the super-classic 574s too and double-classic in navy. These would also hold up a little more to weather and wear in this darker color. On these, I do like the contrast of the white laces, but navy laces would be nice to have on hand for a monochromatic look.

These navy New Balance sneakers would hold up better to weather & wear in this darker color.

sneakers (similar in women’s sizes) | sweatshirt | jeans

The Pair I’d Prefer Without a Stripe: New Balance 997 Timberwolf + White

Where to buy: at J.Crew

I honestly thought I would adore this pair of New Balance 997s — and I did online and in the box — but they kinda cut off my legs/body/feet in a weird way. Though, I don’t know if it would have bothered me if they were the only pair I tried…

But having tried all these other pairs that looked great, these just seemed a little odd on my bod. Heh.

These New Balance 997 sneakers cut off my legs/body/feet in a weird way.

sneakers | sweatshirt | jeans | similar trench coat

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Shop More New Balance Sneakers By Color

I mean, I always want everything arranged by color, but I do think that’s probably the main deciding factor here. I did be sure to indicate the different style types and which ones they relate to above as well. There are SO many New Balance options, but some styles are trickier to find well-stocked in all sizes.

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Would y’all like to see the platform style worn with a few different outfits? I think I may whip that up next to follow up. Let me know of any favorite New Balance styles you love that I may have missed!



Want to keep up with everything else I’m into? Pop over to my Instagram @laurajansenstyle where I love talking about food, sharing OOTDs, posting travel pics and chatting everyday mom-life stuff from Portland, Oregon. Oh, and lots of funny memes and pet videos because what is social media without plenty of those? xoxo

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I'm nothing if not down w/ the latest New Balance styles, friends. This dad-sneaker try-on is going deep. Do I love the platforms? Classic, retro gray? Let's get into it.
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