New Balance 2002r vs 993 Shoes Compared [What’s the Difference?]


I recently tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, including both the New Balance 2002r and the New Balance 993. When I compared the New Balance 2002r vs 993, 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 993 Explained

Both the New Balance 2002r and the New Balance 993 are retro athletic “lifestyle” shoes. Another New Balance shoe that is very similar to these shoes is the 990, so you will probably want to compare it also.

Although these are athletic shoes, they are most commonly worn as casual shoes. The New Balance 993 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 993 is the bulkier, chunkier shoe. Even though both of these shoes are casual athletic shoes, the 2002r has the much more lightweight, breathable design. The 993 is a sturdier shoe, built with thicker materials.

The New Balance 993 is part of New Balance’s Made in USA collection (the 2002r is not made in the USA). I thought the New Balance 993 was the most comfortable shoe out of all the shoes in New Balance’s Made in USA collection.


Both shoes provide nice cushioning under the foot. In my opinion, the 993 provides more cushioning under the toe pad than the 2002r. In fact, out of all the 30+ New Balance shoes that I tried, I thought the New Balance 993 was one of the most comfortable under the foot.

The cushioning under the heel of these shoes is similar (I might even give the slight edge to the 2002r). 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.


When I tested the flexibility and “twistability” of these shoes, I was a bit surprised at what I found. Despite being the bulkier, heavier shoe, the 993 is surprisingly flexible, and was just as flexible as the New Balance 2002r.

Here I am testing the flexibility of these shoes:


Yes, both the New Balance 993 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 993:


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 993, although both shoes are breathable, the 2002r has the more lightweight, breathable upper. Here is the material on mine (993 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 993 Design


As I have mentioned throughout, when I tried these shoes I found the 993 to be bigger than the 2002r. It was a little bit taller and a little bit longer.

Here is a look at the height of my shoes (993 first):



Because the New Balance 993 is the bulkier shoe, I found it to weigh more than the 2002r. The 993 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 993 weighs 1.06 pounds per shoe and my size 12 New Balance 2002r weighs 0.82 pounds per shoe. Here is a look at mine:


New Balance 993 vs 2002r Sizing

After trying both of these shoes, I think it is fair to describe both as fitting true-to-size. That said, the 993 does fit just a little bit longer than the 2002r. If you made me choose, I’d say that the 2002r fits true to size, and the 993 fits just a little bit longer than my normal shoe sizing (but it wasn’t enough for me to change sizes).

In the photo below I tried to capture the sizing difference in the New Balance 993 vs 2002r:


Here’s a look at these shoes on my foot (2002r on right):


I thought the 993 also had a slightly wider, roomier fit than the 2002r. The 993 has a wider collar opening than many other types of New Balance shoes (how wide are New Balance shoes).

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:

New Balance 993 sizing

New Balance 2002r sizing

The main takeaway is both of these shoes are built to be worn as casual athletic “lifestyle” shoes, but the New Balance 2002r is the more lightweight, breathable option. That said, I thought the 993 offered more cushioning under the foot, and was also surprisingly flexible.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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