For decades, New Balance has been a force to be reckoned with in the world of running shoes. Originally, it was their premium next level performance models that put them on the map, and while they remain a formidable competitor in the field, a large segment of the brand’s following is rooted in the love of those timeless classics. Throughout the years, several original New Balance silhouettes have endured the test of time and flourished mightily as retro mainstays, but unlike most of their peers, becoming household names in the sneaker world has proved a bit challenging thanks to the brand’s numerical model designations.
By using numbers instead of names for their shoes, more casual consumers can have a tough time remembering and differentiating the numerical model names, relying more on visual cache than name recognition to ingrain them into our memory banks. Obviously, models like the 574, 993, and 1500 have become a bit more recognized than some of their counterparts, but a largportion of the catalog is less than common knowledge. Through noteworthy collaborative endeavors and valiant in-house efforts, the brand’s popularity has been surging within the “sneakerhead” market, and along with it, a growing awareness of additional New Balance Classics models.
Nowadays, the average sneaker enthusiast can probably rattle off more NB model names than ever before, but it can still be difficult to keep them all straight in your head. As a result, we thought we’d put together a basic reference guide to the New Balance numerical naming system, allowing you to learn a little background on each shoe, compare one to the next, and get a basic appreciation for the progression and evolution of the designs. We’ve highlighted twenty New Balance runners that every sneaker aficionado should be familiar with, so take a look through and get a quick and easy crash course on deciphering the finer points of elementary New Balance mathematics.