Comparing New Balance vs ASICS running shoes is another breakdown of proprietary technologies, fit, and feel. Both brands are well loved and used because they make high quality running shoes for various running styles and foot types.
Both brands are known for their quality and offer a variety of models to suit different needs like overpronation, low arches, cushioning, and various styles of running.
I do admit to having a deep love for New Balance as I helped to create their first ever online Wear Test program back in my consulting days!
The Main Differences New Balance vs ASICS
New Balance and ASICS offer similar features and models for all kinds of runners, from the casual runner to extreme marathoner to the flat-footed or high-arched.
I break down the differences in more detail below, but here’s a quick overview:
New Balance Running Shoes
- Offers wider shoes than most brands
- Thicker midsole provides more stability
- Makes more shoes in the US than any other brand
- Also big in the athleisure market
ASICS Running Shoes
- More narrow fit, especially in the heel and midsole
- Famous for its GEL technology, which provides shock absorption
- Designs a variety of shoes for many different sports
I’ve worn both brands and will add some personal thoughts, along with links to detailed reviews.
New Balance vs ASICS Feature Comparison
Both brands have been around for a very long time and are leaders in running shoe design. They both offer various technologies to aid with comfort, support, stability, and cushion.
Where they differ most is in the fit.
The following breaks down each shoe based on the components buyers need to consider when purchasing a running shoe.
It’s gonna get a little TECHY…so you can just skip on down to the specific model comparison if you want, but personally if I’m shelling out $150 for shoes, I kinda want to know why.
The lifespan of shoes from both companies is fairly comparable.
- New Balance shoes have a life expectancy ranging from 300 to 500 miles, or three to six months, depending on your monthly mileage.
- ASICS recommends swapping out for new shoes every 450 to 500 miles.
Determining when to replace running shoes, of course, all depends on your gait, weight, and whether you run mostly on trail or road.
New Balance uses what is called a Hypoknit upper which offers the moisture wicking and breathability you want in your long run shoe.
ASICS Ortholite Lasting material provides a plush underfoot cushion while managing moisture build up from sweat, allowing for maximum breathability.
Across MOST running shoes, the only time you now won’t find them to be breathable is if you get to Gore-Tex shoes that are designed to be water repellent or water resistant.
New Balance is one of the few running shoes that offer wide widths and go up to a lot more sizes. This is one reason they are so popular among workers.
Note, they also offer 2A which is extra narrow. And like most brands, they have a shoe finder to help you decide what might be the best fit.
Additionally, their shoe numbering system actually means something!! The last 2 digits tell you about the type of shoe.
40 (Optimal Control):
Shoes in this category provide superior control, stability, cushioning and support for biomechanical needs, such as pronation or low arches (e.g., 940, 1540).
50 (Fitness Running):
For training on roads or for indoor workouts, the 50 series offers the combination of visual attitude and innovation with the responsiveness and power athletes need.
Designs that offer industry-leading stability to reduce pronation while also providing unparalleled cushioning and comfort (e.g., 860).
70 (Light Stability):
The perfect combination of stability and speed, all in a lighter, sleek profile designed for runners who train at a faster pace (e.g., 770).
For high-mileage runners who require light shoes and the protection of superior cushioning (e.g., 1080).
For faster runners who want every advantage, including a superior ride and fit. The choice styles for professional and nonprofessional speed and distance runners (e.g., 890).
ASICS shoes have a more snug fit, particularly in the heel and midfoot. An external heel clutch delivers targeted fit and support, while the Gel technology allows for foot movement in various directions as the foot transitions, reducing heel strike.
While ASICS also features a shoe fit guide, it takes a little sleuthing to find (you’re welcome).
This is an older, yet still very USEFUL graphic from the Huffington Post.
I forget we may not all know the lingo when talking about different components of the shoe and why they matter.
New Balance utilizes Fresh Foam and FuelCell foam depending upon the shoe. Both are designed to provide a lot of cushion without the weight. FuelCell is a nitrogen infused foam which provides additional softness and responsiveness.
ASICS uses Flytefoam technology that provides bounceback and responsiveness with each step. It gives a bit less energy return than Brooks shoes, but the two technologies are fairly similar.
The company has been using their famous Gel technology for more than 30 years. It works well to absorb the shock with each step.
New Balance utilizes a couple of tools to provide stability. The first is that similar to HOKA all of their shoes have a bigger platform, which naturally means more stability.
Then they have an S Curve to help with that side to side stability and a Ultra Heel that flares away from the ankle for comfort, while keeping your heel firmly in the shoe.
ASICS shoes provide stability through a dual density midsole system called Duomax, which enhances support and stability. That, along with the external heel clutch allow the foot to continue its natural movement while running.
The prices between the two brands are fairly comparable. New Balance prices range between $80 to $130, while ASICS start at a slightly higher price at $110 to $160.
The most popular models for both brands are priced toward the higher range. Carbon fiber shoes and often trail shoes will go beyond those rates.
You’ll notice that every brand offers a range and this is indeed due to a difference in technology and where they sell the shoe. They know that the big box store can sell the shoe with less in it, while the local running store needs to be best for dedicated runners.
ASICS Vs New Balance Running Shoe Models
Now that you know more about each brand, let’s look at their top models in each of the main categories. There’s no winner declared here because all are great shoes, it’s just about which one is best for your foot.
Did you notice I even said the brands in reverse order this time…seriously no favorites, I have run in both brands many different times over the years.
Stability Running Shoe
The GEL Kayano is now in its 27th iteration and known as one of the best stability shoes on the market. Great for overpronators seeking stability, the GEL Kayano is an ideal shoe for marathons.
Read my in- depth review of the Kayano!
With their newest Fresh Foam X it makes for a lighter stability shoe, while still offering the motion control and responsiveness you need. When a shoe is too plush, it’s hard to provide the stability in the arch that prevents your foot from falling inward.
It also uses their Ultra Heel for additional locked and loaded feeling in the shoe.
Neutral Running Shoe
This shoe will appeal to most runners looking for a neutral fit. The inclusion of ASICS technologies like the Flytefoam and the GEL offers cushioned support with a responsive fit. Whether you’re a casual runner or a hard core marathoner, this shoe is a great choice.
If you’re looking for similar performance with a lighter environmental footprint, take a look at the GEL Nimbus Lite.
Read my full review of the Nimbus!
While some runners are flocking to carbon plated shoes, we simply don’t want those as our every day trainers. We want something that is solid and dependable like this neutral shoe that also has a great wide toebox, allowing you to get full power out of those feet.
It’s going to have enough cushion for long runs without being overly plush and still providing just a hint of stability with the bigger platform. I can concur from my running in fresh foam that you absolutely notice the cushion, but it’s still a solid shoe.
File this under your great every day trainer.
Cushioned Running Shoe
The generous FlyteFoam provides ample cushion and the shape accommodates a wide array of foot shapes. Additional rubber on the outsole offers extra durability.
Listen, I like a good cushioned shoe and this one fits the bill.
The most recent version 11 of the shoe is getting rave reviews as it is slightly lighter and has the knit upper, which makes the shoe simply feel like it’s hugging your foot a bit more. That’s a feature that drew me to the Nike Epic React which you’ve seen me wear on repeat for years.
Carbon Fiber Plate Shoes
Are they cool new technology, yes. Do they last as long as your other shoes nope.
So if you want to test these out use them for speed work and then race day!
More About New Balance
New Balance actually started in 1906 as an arch support company! But their focus on feet is one of the reasons they do offer more sizes and widths than most other brands.
And that’s exactly what the Boston based company focused on until 1960. Athletes had begun using the arch supports and they decided it was time to venture in to sneakers.
The Trackster was the first shoe with a rippled outsole that provide additional traction. It caught on as a track and cross country shoe regionally.
But in 1976 the company released it’s first shoe with the well known N logo on the side and it was a success. They stuck to their goal of providing shoes for a variety of feet and took advantage of the 80’s running boom.
More About ASICS
Founded in 1949, by Kihachiro Onitsuka in Japan, ASICS is an acronym for the Latin expression “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano” (“healthy mind in a healthy body”).
The company released a basketball shoe in 1950, followed by running shoes in 1953. Among those running shoe products included the Onitsuka Tiger, still a popular shoe today, though mainly used as a casual shoe as opposed to a marathon shoe.
Today, Asics designs a wide variety of shoes including: running, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, and golf.
Fun fact: Nike was founded to sell the Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the US. After visiting Japan in 1963, Phil Knight was impressed by the high quality and reasonable prices and asked the company to represent the brand in the US. Anyone else read his book and find all of this fascinating?!
How to Choose ASICS or New Balance?
ASICS and New Balance are two extremely well known running shoe brands, but more important than brand is the fit of the shoe.
Your gait and feet will change over time and you may need to change shoes.
This is also why I recommend rotating through several pairs of shoes at once.
And remember, just because these are two of the most well known brands on the market, there are still plenty of other shoe brands to select from if neither New Balance nor ASICS has the right shoe for you.
Keep in mind that shoe design can change, even with the same model, so always assess how the shoe fits every time you replace a pair.
For more help selecting the right shoe for you, don’t worry, I’ve got you:
- Best Trail Running Shoes
- Top 5 Marathon Running Shoes
- Asics vs HOKA
- ASICS vs Brooks
- Best Running Shoes
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