Sneakerhead Must-Owns: The 8 Best New Balance Sneaker Models For Men

Image Credit: New Balance

In a landscape historically dominated by sneaker behemoths like Nike and Adidas, Bostonian footwear brand New Balance is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Sure, NB has been churning out its trademark comfort-focused lifestyle and running kicks for well over a century, but recently its profits have skyrocketed to $6.5bn annually.

Why? Because these days it’s not Jordan’s or Yeezys that kids are queuing around the block for, it’s the latest pair of Teddy Santis 990s.

New Balance just keeps on delivering hit after footwear hit. It’s responsible for some of the most popular sneakers in recent memory, and as the hype grows, older silhouettes are enjoying renewed interest too.

Haters will say that the label’s signature chunky suede dad shoes are old news, but the numbers speak for themselves. And New Balance continues to push things forward with bold new colourways, exciting collabs and forward-thinking designs that capture the zeitgeist perfectly and keep the brand relevant.

So, what are those new styles? And what are the classics every fanatic should have in their collection? Here we delve into some of the best-selling New Balance models, ranging from all-time heroes like the no-frills 574 to new disrupters like the 1906R.


The New Balance 990 was originally launched in 1982. It set a new benchmark for running shoes in terms of both quality and price tags, coming in at a whopping $100, which was unheard of at the time. But the 990 lived up to its hefty asking price in its materials and construction, quickly becoming a favourite both on and off the track, and something of a status symbol for those with the cash to own a pair.

Fast forward to the present day and the classic NB style is now in its sixth iteration, having settled into its role as the brand’s flagship premium lifestyle sneaker. The 990v6 is the lightest, cushiest, sportiest (and priciest) version yet, featuring New Balance’s FuelCell cushioning, which is usually reserved for its top-flight running shoes.

It’s also the first 990 to be designed in conjunction with new New Balance Made in USA creative director Teddy Santis, perhaps better known as the founder of label of the moment Aimé Leon Dore.


If the 990v6 owes its lineage to NB’s heritage models, the 1906R looks in the opposite direction for its inspiration. Decidedly futuristic, with just a hint of 1990s PE teacher thrown in for good measure, this mesh-and-metallic masterpiece has taken the sneaker world by storm.

There have been some great collaborations, but there is also a wealth of general-release colourways that anyone can get their hands on – not just those who know their way around a raffle.


The original 2002 launched to a somewhat underwhelming reception back in 2010. Customers just weren’t interested, perhaps partly due to the high price tag and partly to it simply not being the right time.

What’s certain is that it didn’t have anything to do with the shoe’s design, because when it relaunched as the more accessibly priced 2002R in 2020, it quickly became one of the hottest shoes on the market. The ‘Protection Pack’ release of this shoe proved particularly popular, featuring a deconstructed, dishevelled look, marked by the jagged overlaid panels and uneven, asymmetric lines throughout.

We think it’s a great option for anyone looking for an off-kilter alternative to classic NB styles like the 990, 991 or 992. It has hints of all three but at a much more affordable price point.


This low-top silhouette is a relic from New Balance’s first foray into the world of basketball. While it wasn’t exactly a slam dunk on the court in 1989, it has since found a new audience on Instagram explore pages and #fashiontok feeds.

Popularised by a sell-out collab with Aimé Leon Dore, this low-profile leather sneaker features retro branding, a flat rubber sole and contrasting colour accents throughout.

It quickly became the ‘It’ shoe for a certain breed of urban fashionisto when it was re-released in 2021, with the hype around it fuelled by its seemingly inescapable social-media presence.


The 99X series is the evolution of New Balance’s 990 line. The shoes in it share some common features with the 990, but all are obvious departures in their own unique ways. The 991 was the first of the bunch, originally launched in 2001 and crafted in the brand’s UK factory to this day.

It was the first sneaker to have NB’s Abzorb tech running through the entirety of the sole, as well as the brand’s Ndurance rubber compound, which greatly increased its durability.

Still as popular as ever, the 991 has now been joined by an updated 991v2, which keeps the same core DNA but with a few new twists including a more streamlined profile and FuelCell cushioning in the midsole.


Released in 2012, the 990v3 marked the third chapter in the 990’s lineage. It features several obvious changes from the previous version, including more modern materials, reduced weight and improved comfort.

But the silhouette really enjoyed a resurgence when Teddy Santis took the reins of the brand’s Made in USA line, relaunching the shoe in a series of exclusive colourways.


If you mention New Balance to someone with only a basic knowledge of the sneaker world, the 574 is probably the model they’ll think of first. It’s an all-time classic that sums up everything the brand is about: comfort, functionality and quality.

Is it the most exciting sneaker in the world? Far from it, but it’s not supposed to be. Instead, it’s a no-frills workhorse of a shoe that offers a route into the NB universe for a relatively low price.


In terms of sheer mainstream appeal, the 327 is one of the hottest silhouettes for New Balance right now.

Popularised by a high-profile collaboration with Parisian label Casablanca, the sneaker pays homage to NB’s running heritage, taking its design cues from the track-and-field shoes of yesteryear and incorporating modern touches like an oversized logo and exaggerated lugs to the sole.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.