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Recently I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, including the New Balance 327 shoes, to compare them on comfort and design. The New Balance 327 surprised me in many ways compared to other New Balance options. Are New Balance 327 Shoes Comfortable?
Yes, the New Balance 327 Shoes are comfortable to wear. In my experience, the 327 provides nice support under the foot and also has a lightweight, flexible design that does not feel stiff. When I recently tried 30+ New Balance shoes, these were the shoes (in addition to the 327) that I thought were the most comfortable:
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 (click here to view)
- New Balance FuelCell Rebel (click here to view)
- New Balance Made in USA 993 (click here to view)
- New Balance 237 (click here to view)
The New Balance 327 is designed to be a versatile shoe. It has a retro-athletic design, which makes it easy to pair with jeans and a t-shirt, but the comfortable, flexible design also makes it useful for occasional exercise.
This is where you can see how the 327 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 327 (show me a list of those shoes).
One thing that makes this shoe unique is it has a studded outsole that gives it a bit more traction than other types of casual shoes, which means it can handle a wider range of surfaces. This is a shoe you can wear casually, but also wear to the gym or for other types of light exercise, like a walk or an easy hike.
In this article let’s examine how comfortable the New Balance 327 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 popular New Balance shoes.
Videos of Me Testing New Balance 327 Comfort
The New Balance 327 shoes are comfortable casual 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 327 Feels On My Foot
Below is a video of me wearing the New Balance 327 shoes to give you a better idea how the shoe compresses under the foot:
You can see the foam midsole compress as my foot moves. This foam midsole helps absorb impact stress under the 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 running shoes, so they might not fit exactly what you are looking for.
For example, when I recently tried over 30 types of New Balance shoes, I thought the 1080v12 provided the most comfort and softness under the foot. It provides that “squishy” feeling and even though the 327 is comfortable, it does not have a thick, “squishy” midsole like the 1080v12.
For comparison, here is how the 1080v12 responds on my foot:
You can see the thick foam midsole of the 1080 squish under my weight as I move. The 327 does not provide this level of comfort, but again, the 1080 is used first and foremost as a running shoe, so it has more cushioning on purpose.
And I do think the 327 has a comfortable feeling under the foot compared to other types of casual 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 327.
How Flexible is the New Balance 327?
Flexibility can play a large role in the fit and comfort of a shoe.
The New Balance 327 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:
As you can see above, the 327 is very easy to bend and twist. This is not a shoe that will feel stiff on your foot. In my opinion, this is one of the most flexible casual athletic shoes on the market today.
I did, however, find a pretty significant difference regarding the insole of the 327 compared to other options. This is where you can read more about the comfort of the 327 insole.
How Much Padding Does the 327 Have?
This is probably the one area of the shoe that I felt was below average compared to many other shoes on the market today. Yes, there is padding around the collar, but not as much as other shoes.
As you can see below, the padding around the sides is sort of tucked underneath the rim of the collar to give the shoe a sleeker appearance. Also, the retro nylon tongue does not offer a lot of padding.
Here’s a look at mine:
I would not say the 327 is uncomfortable around the collar, but I do think New Balance has other shoes that offer much more comfort in this area.
For example, 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 the W840v3 looks like at the collar:
I also thought the popular New Balance Made in USA 990v5 casual athletic shoes had a bit more padding around the collar than the 327:
Even the 237, which is often compared to the 327, offered more cushioning in the collar and tongue area. Here is my 237 shoe:
The main takeaway regarding comfort around the collar and tongue is although the 327 does have padding in this area, there are several types of New Balance shoes that offer more comfort in this area.
Are New Balance 327 Shoes Lightweight?
Yes, the New Balance 327 are lightweight to wear. A size 12 men’s New Balance 327 shoes weigh 0.77 pounds per shoe.
A size 7 women’s New Balance 327 shoe weighs 0.57 pounds per shoe:
After trying over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, below is a weight chart comparing the New Balance 327 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 327 Comfortable to Wear in Hot Weather?
What about hot weather? How breathable are the New Balance 327 shoes?
I found the 327 to be moderately breathable. No, they won’t be the most breathable New Balance options, but they do have a lightweight suede/nylon upper that offers breathability.
Here is a close-up look at the material on my 327 shoes:
Which New Balance shoes are more breathable? Well, as you would expect, many of New Balance’s dedicated running shoes are much more breathable than the 327. For example, when I hold my New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 running shoes up to the light, you can actually see light passing through the material:
But if you are looking for more of a casual athletic shoe, there was one New Balance option that I found to be more breathable than the 327. It was the New Balance 2002r.
When I hold my New Balance 2002r up to the light, you can also see light passing through it:
How Comfortable are the New Balance 327 Insoles?
I found the New Balance 327 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.
I measured the insoles on my New Balance 327 shoes to be approximately 1/6th of an inch thick. This was very similar to other New Balance shoes I tried:
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 327 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 327 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 your prefer.
Are New Balance 327 Shoes Comfortable for Wide Feet?
In my experience, New Balance 327 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 example, here are the New Balance 327 compared to Nike Air Max shoes:
For those with wide feet: To get a better idea of how wide these shoes are, below is the width of my New Balance 327 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 327 Size Guide where I use sizing comparison photos to compare the sizing of the New Balance 327 shoes to other popular brands. This is where you can view the New Balance 327 men’s sizing photos, and this is where you can view the New Balance 327 women’s sizing photos.
Comfortable New Balance 327 Alternatives
New Balance 993
The New Balance 993, much like the 327, has a retro-athletic style. The 993 is a shoe you can easily pair with jeans and a t-shirt, but also wear for occasional exercise. The 993 is popular due to its comfort, and due to the fact that it is made in the USA (the 327 is not made in the USA).
I thought the 993 was the most comfortable New Balance Made in USA shoe, and one of the most comfortable casual shoes that New Balance offers. In my opinion, it has a softer compression under the toe pad than the New Balance 327 (and also has more padding around the collar).
Here is how the New Balance 993 responds on my foot:
New Balance 237
The New Balance 237 is often compared to the 327. Both have retro designs inspired by 1970’s athletic shoes. Overall, I think the comfort is very similar under the foot. But I do think the 237 has more comfort and padding around the tongue and collar. For example, the 237 has a retro foam tongue and the 327 has the (unpadded) retro nylon tongue.
Here is a look at my New Balance 237 compared to my New Balance 327 (327 on right):
Overall, I think the cushioning under the foot is very similar between the 237 and the 327. This is how the 237 responds on a foot:
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
I’d be remiss to not mention my favorite New Balance shoe. When I recently tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, the 1080 was the most comfortable. It provides sink-in, squishy softness under the foot.
Below is a comparison of the 1080 vs 327 (327 on right):
It is a modern running shoe, and because of that, it has a sleeker design than the 327. If you are looking for soft, ultra-lightweight athletic shoes, the 1080 will be a better option than the 327.
This is how the 1080 responds on a foot:
New Balance XC-72
The New Balance XC-72 is another popular New Balance retro athletic shoe. It is often compared to the 327. The cool thing about the XC-72 is it combines a retro design with some futuristic details that make it stand out a bit. For example, it has the aggressive edge outsole that wraps around the side of the shoe, and has an extended midsole that pushes out the back of the shoe.
Overall, I found the comfort of the New Balance 327 to be very similar to the comfort of the XC-72. But I wanted to mention this shoe in case you wanted to explore other design options. It is worth noting that these extra “futuristic” design details on the XC-72 adds weight to the shoe, and causes it to weigh a bit more than the 327.
Here are mine (327 on right):
Overall, the foam cushioning under the foot on the XC-72 is very similar to the cushioning of the 327. This is how the XC-72 responds on my foot: