Recently I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, including the New Balance 2002r shoes, to compare them on comfort and design. The New Balance 2002r surprised me in many ways compared to other New Balance options. Are New Balance 2002r Shoes Comfortable?
Yes, the New Balance 2002r Shoes are comfortable to wear. In my experience, they provide soft support under the foot and also have a flexible design that does not feel stiff. They are also very breathable. When I recently tried 30+ New Balance shoes, these were the shoes (in addition to the 2002r) that I thought were the most comfortable:
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
- New Balance FuelCell Rebel
- New Balance Made in USA 993
- New Balance 327
The New Balance 2002r is created to mimic the design of early 2000’s running shoes. Because of that, it has a retro-athletic design that is very lightweight and flexible, and the vintage style also makes the 2002r a popular “lifestyle” shoe.
This is where you can see how the 2002r compresses under my foot and this is where you can see me testing the flexibility of these shoes. But I did think a few New Balance shoes were more comfortable than the 2002r (show me a list of those shoes).
This shoe that can also be used for exercise. However, if you are a serious runner, it may be best to opt for a more-modern type of New Balance running shoe (like the 1080).
In this article let’s examine how comfortable the New Balance 2002r shoes are. I will show you how they compress under my foot and how flexible they are, and I will also compare the weight and design of these shoes to other comfortable New Balance shoes.
Videos of Me Testing New Balance 2002r Comfort
The New Balance 2002r shoes are comfortable retro-athletic shoes. They are not as squishy under the foot as modern running shoes, but they have a flexible design that also has soft support under the foot.
How the 2002r Feels On My Foot
Below is a video of me wearing my New Balance 2002r shoes to give you a better idea how the shoe compresses under my foot:
You can see the foam midsole compress as my foot moves. This foam midsole helps absorb impact stress under the foot.
One thing I really like about these shoes is they also have New Balance’s ABZORB midsole technology, which helps reduce impact stress under the heel. The construction of this shoe creates a lightweight, soft comfort under my foot.
However, it is also worth noting that New Balance has many other options that are much more “squishy” and soft under the foot. Most of these options are modern running shoes.
For example, one type of New Balance running shoe that is very squishy under the foot is the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080. It provides that “squishy” comfort under the foot. And even though the 2002r is comfortable, it does not have a thick, “squishy” midsole like the New Balance 1080.
For comparison, here is how the 1080 responds on my foot:
You can see the thick foam midsole of the 1080 squish under my weight as I move. When I recently tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, I thought the 1080 was the most comfortable.
Ultimately, I do think the 2002r has a comfortable feeling under the foot compared to other types of athletic “lifestyle” shoes. But I did think a few New Balance shoes were more comfortable, even a couple types of casual shoes. This is where you can see the full list of New Balance shoes I think are more comfortable than the 2002r.
New Balance 2002r Flexibility
Flexibility can play a large role in the fit and comfort of a shoe.
The New Balance 2002r shoes have a flexible design that feels responsive on my foot. The upper material is very lightweight, which adds to the flexibility of the shoe.
In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible these shoes are:
The 2002r does not feel stiff on my foot, even when I first wore it. It has a very quick break-in period.
New Balance 2002r Padding
I really like the padding around the collar and tongue of the 2002r. Not only does this shoe have plenty of padding around the collar, but the tongue itself also has plenty of soft padding.
Here’s a look at mine:
When I recently tried of 30 types of New Balance shoes, the 2002r was one of the most comfortable around the collar area. But I thought the New Balance shoe that had the most padding in this area was the W840v3 (offered in both a men’s and women’s version).
Here’s what my W840v3 looks like at the collar:
Again, I thought the 2002r was one of the most comfortable options around the collar and tongue. This shoe provides soft padding and a comfortable fit.
New Balance 2002r Lightweight Comfort
Yes, the New Balance 2002r are lightweight to wear. A size 12 men’s New Balance 2002r shoes weigh 0.82 pounds per shoe.
After trying over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, below is a weight chart comparing the New Balance 2002r weight to all the other New Balance shoes that I tried:
*Weights below are based off of one size 12 men’s shoe.
Are New Balance 2002r Comfortable in Hot Weather?
What about summer hot weather? How breathable are the New Balance 2002r shoes?
I found the 2002r to be one of the most breathable types of New Balance shoes. The throwback style has cutout segments on the upper that is reminiscent of early 2000’s running shoes. These cutout sections create panels of lightweight mesh fabric.
Here is a close-up look at the material on my 2002r shoes:
These mesh panels are very breathable and allow air to flow easily through my shoes.
To better illustrate how breathable these New Balance 2002r shoes are, below is a photo of me holding my shoes up to the light. You can actually see light passing through those cutout segments of mesh paneling:
If you are looking for a breathable athletic shoe, this is a great option.
New Balance 2002r Insole Comfort
I found the New Balance 2002r insoles to be very similar to other types of New Balance insoles. They are removable, so if you prefer a thicker insole, they can be swapped.
The thickness of my New Balance 2002r insoles was very standard compared to other types of New Balance shoes. Here I am measure my insoles:
It’s a foam insole that provide adequate cushioning, but there are certainly better insoles on the market today. In fact, there were certain New Balance shoes I found to have thicker, softer insoles.
For example, the here is the removable insole on my New Balance 840:
It uses a thicker, dual-layer insole. The top layer is foam, but there is also a gel-like bottom layer that adds extra cushioning to the shoe. The New Balance 2002r insole measures at about 1/6th of an inch thick, but this 840 insole measures over a quarter inch thick:
The main takeaway is I found the New Balance 2002r insole to be quite average compared to other New Balance shoes. But the insole is removable in case you want to swap in a thicker insole that you prefer.
Are New Balance 2002r Shoes Comfortable for Wide Feet?
In my experience, New Balance 2002r do not fit too wide or too narrow. These shoes have a very regular amount of width.
If you have wide feet, the good news is the upper material is very lightweight, and forms easy to the shape of my foot. Still, if you have wide feet, there may be better options (the 574 shoes have a wide design).
Overall, the toe box area has what I would describe as average width. For comparison, here are the New Balance 2002r compared to the sizing of my Nike Air Max Excee shoes:
As you can see, the 2002r shoe has a width that is very similar to Nike Air Max shoes. The width is very regular (but it definitely isn’t wide fit).
To get a better idea of how wide these shoes are, below is the width of my New Balance 2002r shoes (in standard width) compared to the Nike Air Monarch 4E (which is a popular extra wide shoe):
For sizing help, I would suggest you visit my New Balance 2002r Sizing Guide where I use sizing comparison photos to compare the sizing of the New Balance 2002r shoes to other popular brands.
Comfortable New Balance 2002r Alternatives
New Balance 99X
The New Balance 99X is a series of retro athletic shoes that are inspired by 90’s athletic shoes. Many of these New Balance 99X shoes are made in the USA. Perhaps the most popular is the New Balance 990, and if you want to see how it compared to the 2002r, visit my article that compares the 990 to the 2002r.
I personally think the New Balance 993 is the most comfortable shoe in the series. Compared to the 2002r, I think the 993 offers softer compression under the toe pad. The 993 is also made in the USA and the 2002r is not.
Here’s a look at my 993 compared to my 2002r (2002r on right):
Again, I thought the New Balance 993 was the most comfortable New Balance Made in USA shoe, and one of the most comfortable casual shoes that New Balance offers. Here is how the New Balance 993 responds on my foot:
To read more, visit my article that compares the New Balance 993 to the 2002r.
New Balance 327
The New Balance 327 is another retro athletic shoe. The 327 is actually inspired by 1970’s athletic shoes. Overall, I think the comfort of the 327 is very similar under the foot when compared to the 2002r. However, I think the 327 is a bit more flexible than the 2002r (but the 2002r has more padding around the collar and tongue).
Here is a look at my New Balance 327 compared to my New Balance 2002r (2002r on right):
Overall, I think the cushioning under the foot is very similar between the 2002r and the 327. This is how the 327 responds on a foot:
New Balance FuelCell Rebel
Earlier in the article I mentioned the fact that when I recently tried over 30 types of New Balance shoes that the New Balance 1080 was my choice for most comfortable (learn more about the 1080). But I also want to mention the New Balance FuelCell Rebel, because it was the only running shoe I though was almost as comfortable as the 1080.
The New Balance Rebel is a modern running shoe with an ultra-lightweight, breathable design. It was the most lightweight New Balance shoe out of all the shoes I tried. It has a very breathable upper that allows air to flow. Here I am holding my New Balance Rebel up to the light:
The New Balance 2002r functions more as a athletic “lifestyle” shoe, and this New Balance Rebel is a true running shoe. But if you are looking for a comfortable running shoe, I think the Rebel is one of the best options.
This is how the New Balance Rebel responds on my foot: