Shoes are your primary contact with the ground, and they also help support your weight. The kind of shoes you choose goes a long way in your overall experience and determines how many benefits you reap from the exercise.
Brooks and New Balance are some of the top running shoe brands. Choosing which brand to buy your running shoes from can be challenging. Even if you are looking to transition to a new brand, you are likely to be facing the tough question of; between Brooks and New Balance, who makes the best running shoes?
Well, we are here to make your decision easier. This article will look at how these two top brands compare in terms of features such as upper, outsoles, midsoles, durability, and even pricing. But first, a little background on Brooks and New Balance.
Far from the running shoe brand it is today; Brooks began operations in 1914 as an ice skates and bathing shoes company. They have since evolved, and in 1993, they produced the Brooks Beast, which delivers stability and motion control. Their shoe widths are available in narrow, medium, and wide widths.
Best Brooks Running Shoes Compared:
About New Balance
New Balance started operations in 1906 as a small arch supports the company. It has since evolved into the running shoe brand it is today.
This brand is well known for having shoes that are available in a wider variety of widths than Brooks. Their shoes are available from A – E widths. New Balance’s turnaround shoe was the New Balance 990, having been developed in 1982. It presented a balance in terms of flexibility, stability, and cushioning.
Best New Balance Running Shoes Compared:
Features That Make the Best Running Shoe: Brooks Vs. New Balance Comparison
Brooks uppers feature an engineered mesh that has a reputation for being quite comfortable. It delivers superior protection, ideal lockdown, and breathability. However, it can be bulky.
In addition, Brooks shoes have a relatively wide toe box, but you will need to order half a size up from your ordinary shoes. Otherwise, with your ordinary fit, your feet are likely to be pushed against the running shoes’ upper, making them swell. Brooks shoes have a relatively roomy toe box.
New Balance running shoes have very flexible and breathable uppers. Most of their shoes come in a knitted upper, which gives you a cozy sock-like feel. New Balance shoes also have a wide toe box; theirs are wider than Brooks. The brand caters for size A to size E widths which are quite impressive.
However, New Balance’s lockdown is not very good, especially when you are taking turns or when pacing up.
If you tend to have fit problems, then the size of the toe box is a vital consideration. Also, if you have bunions, hammertoes, or wide feet, New Balance would be a better choice than Brooks. New Balance is the winner in terms of upper construction because they have a wider variety of toe box widths than Brooks.
This is the layer in a shoe located between its outsole and insole. Different brands use different materials for this part of the shoe; this is where the difference comes in.
Brooks uses BioMoGo DNA, DNA Loft, and DNA AMP midsole technologies. DNA Loft cushioning provides a super soft blend of air, rubber, and foam. It delivers the softest running experience compared to the others. When it comes to DNA AMP, this midsole cushioning delivers the highest energy return keeping you moving forward.
Brook’s BioMoGo DNA gives a great balance between responsiveness and softness. Further, BioMoGo biodegrades a lot faster than EVA foam commonly used in most shoes. It also provides great support and cushioning throughout the shoe’s sole.
New Balance uses Absorb technology in their running shoes. It lasts longer than the traditional EVA. In addition, this brand also uses Rollbar tech that provides stability to the shoe’s heel, which makes them ideal for runners who overpronate.
Fresh Foam is another material that is used in some of New Balance’s shoes. It makes them lighter, soft and gives a springy, bouncy feel. However, Fresh Foam is not as durable as it flattens faster than other shoes. Recently, this brand introduced LAZR technology which is laser-cut Fresh Foam thus reducing wastage and giving a more precise fit.
A shoe’s outsole comes into contact with the running surface. As such, it needs to be durable and provide ideal traction.
As with almost all running shoe brands, Brooks’ running shoes are made of rubber. They use pure rubber and also add rock shields in their trail shoes for additional protection and traction.
As expected, New Balance also features rubber on their outsoles. They use split-blown rubber in the forefoot to make the shoes more comfortable and give them a soft feel.
Brooks has more cushioned running shoes. Their BioMoGo DNA, DNA Loft, and DNA AMP midsoles provide a smooth landing and toe take-off. The additional stack height that comes with most of their shoes plays a significant role, especially if you have running-related issues.
On the other hand, New Balance delivers an ideal balance between softness and bounce effect. Their Fresh Foam midsole is lightweight while providing the required cushioning. One of the most cushioned New Balance running shoes is the Fresh Foam Beacon V3.
This refers to the difference between a shoe’s forefoot and heel height. It is an important consideration, especially if you have bunions, flat feet, suffer from arch pain, or other foot deformities.
Brooks is known to feature a 10 mm – 12 mm drop in their shoes. This makes them an ideal choice for heel-first strikers, those with Achilles tendon or calf problems.
New Balance running shoes often have a 6 mm – 8 mm drop. Because of the low drop, most shoes by this brand are a good choice for front or middle-foot strikers. They do not need the additional height at the heel, which would, in addition, makes the shoe heavier.
Ultimately a choice between the two brands in terms of drop height should be determined by your requirements regarding the amount of heel cushioning you need.
A shoe’s durability is determined by the number of miles you can cover before it wears out. The miles covered may vary if one runs on soft terrains such as the treadmill and the other runs on rough terrain such as rocky, uneven surfaces.
Brooks, as a running shoe brand, stands out partly because of the durability of its shoes. They place a generous amount of rubber in their outsoles, making their shoes long-lasting. In addition, some of their pairs feature the DNA Loaf foam, which besides providing protection, also makes the shoes quite durable.
Brooks’ running shoes deliver between 300 and 500 miles depending on the kind of terrain you run on.
New Balance is also not left behind in terms of durability. Just like Brooks, their shoes give between 300 and 500 miles coverage, and it all depends on the roughness of your running surface. On the lower side, as mentioned previously, New Balance’s running shoes with a Fresh Foam midsole tends to wear out faster as it loses the bounce effect.
Both Brooks’ and New Balance’ deliver durable shoes. However, if you opt for New Balance, you would need to pay more attention to the midsole before buying.
Durability goes hand in hand with cost. The common assumption is that cheaper items are not durable. While this holds some truth, you are likely to find running shoes with comparable features priced very differently. Always research and establish if you are getting value for money.
Brooks shoes cost $120 on average. They may not be the most affordable, but they aren’t the most expensive either. The good thing is that for 300-500 miles coverage, you get good value for the money.
New Balance shoes aren’t priced significantly different from Brooks’. On average, they cost $125. Although slightly more expensive on average, the minimal price difference between the two brands does not make us say that one brand is superior to the other in terms of pricing.
Type of Shoes
There are certain shoes designed for certain kinds of feet. They include those for combating supination or overpronation. Let’s look at what Brooks and New Balance have to offer.
Supination: If you are looking for shoes to combat supination, Brooks Glycerin is a great choice. New Balance’s 890 will also be a great choice. Brooks Ghost is also a good model if you are keen on a lightweight version.
Overpronators: Overpronation puts one at a higher risk of arch pain. You will not go wrong with New Balance 860 for women or 1260 for men. If you lean more towards Brooks’, then Adrenaline GTS will deliver what you need. Both models are stability shoes, and they provide a perfect balance between cushioning, durability, and stability.
It is evident that both Brooks and New Balance are putting in the effort to remain among the top running shoe brands in the industry. Both have spent resources to understand what works and what doesn’t. This can be seen in the improvements in their midsoles’ materials, among other areas.
The winner between Brooks Vs. New Balance is not outright. Each brand has an area it seems to excel in, while the two brands tie in other areas. For instance, while Brooks delivers more durable outsoles, New Balance provides a much wider variety of the width of the shoes, which accommodates people with wide feet.
We recommend that you outline your priority features. With that, this article will help you know the superior brand in terms of your priorities.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.