I recently put my hands on over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, including both the New Balance 2002r and the New Balance 992. When I compared the New Balance 2002r vs 992, I found significant differences. This is where you can read a quick summary about the most important differences between these two shoes.
New Balance 2002r vs 992 Explained
Both the New Balance 2002r and the New Balance 992 are retro athletic “lifestyle” shoes. Although these are athletic shoes, they are most commonly worn as casual shoes.
The New Balance 992 has a retro-90’s style and the New Balance 2002r is inspired by early 2000’s athletic shoes.
In my experience, the New Balance 992 is the bulkier, chunkier shoe. When I recently tried over 30 types of New Balance shoes, the New Balance 992 was the bulkiest shoe out of all of them.
The New Balance 992 (which was made famous by Steve Jobs) is part of New Balance’s Made in USA collection (the 2002r is not made in the USA).
Even though both of these shoes are casual athletic shoes, the 2002r has the much more lightweight, breathable design. The 992 is a sturdier shoe, built with thicker materials.
Both shoes provide nice cushioning under the foot. In my opinion, the 992 provides more cushioning under the toe pad and the 2002r provides more cushioning under the heel. Both of these shoes use New Balance’s ABZORB midsole, which helps reduce impact shock under the heel.
In the videos below, I tried to capture how much compression these shoes have under my feet.
Even though both of these shoes have an athletic design, the 2002r is much more flexible and “twistable” than the 992. The New Balance 992 will be the better option if you prefer a sturdier fit.
Here I am testing the flexibility of these shoes:
Yes, both the New Balance 992 and the New Balance 2002r have removable insoles. When I compared the measurements of these insoles, I found them to be very similar. In my opinion, there was no noticeable comfort difference between these two insoles.
Here is the insole of my 992:
And here is the insole of my New Balance 2002r:
The thickness of these insoles is very comparable to most other types of New Balance shoes that I tried.
When comparing the breathability of the New Balance 2002r vs 992, although both shoes are breathable, the 2002r has the more lightweight, breathable upper. Here is the material on mine (992 first):
To better illustrate how breathable the New Balance 2002r is, when I hold my shoe up to the light, you can see light passing through the shoe:
New Balance 2002r vs 992 Details
As I have mentioned throughout, when I tried these shoes I found the 992 to be bigger than the 2002r. It was both taller and longer.
Here is a look at the height of my shoes (992 first):
Because the New Balance 992 is the bulkier shoe, I found it to weigh much more than the 2002r. The 992 provides a sturdier, more casual design with thicker materials. Although this can be a good thing, it does add weight to the shoe.
My size 12 New Balance 992 weighs 1.27 pounds per shoe and my size 12 New Balance 2002r weighs 0.82 pounds per shoe. Here is a look at mine:
New Balance 992 vs 2002r Sizing
In my experience, the New Balance 992 fits a little bit bigger than the New Balance 2002r. I think the New Balance 2002r fits true to size and the New Balance 992 runs about a half size bigger than my normal shoe sizing.
In the photo below I tried to capture the sizing difference in the New Balance 992 vs 2002r. Please note that the 2002r is pulled away from the wall to better align the heel of these shoes:
Here’s a look at these shoes on my foot (992 on left):
I thought the 992 also had a slightly wider, roomier fit than the 2002r.
I would suggest you visit my sizing guides linked below, where I use side-by-side comparison photos to compare the sizing of these shoes to other popular brands:
The main takeaway is both of these shoes are built to be worn as casual athletic “lifestyle” shoes, but the New Balance 992 is the much sturdier, bulkier shoe. If you prefer a lightweight shoe, the 2002r will be the better option