Which New Balance Shoes Have the Softest Cushioning? [Comfiest Fit]


Recently I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes so I could evaluate them on many things, including comfort. After trying all of those shoes, what is my conclusion? Which New Balance shoes have the most cushioning?

These are my choices for the most comfortable, softest New Balance shoes:

  • New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 (running shoe) – In my opinion, this is the most comfortable, softest New Balance shoe. It has sink-in softness and max cushioning under the foot with a squishy midsole. You can literally see the midsole squish as you walk. This is where you can see how the 1080 responds on my foot.
  • New Balance FuelCell Rebel (running shoe) – This New Balance shoe is the only other option I thought was as soft and “squishy” under the foot as the 1080 above. This shoe was actually the lightest-in-weight out of the 30+ New Balance shoes that I tried. This is where you can see how this shoe responds on my foot.
  • New Balance Fresh Foam 880 (running shoe) – The 880, in my opinion, is just a tiny step down in softness and “squishiness” from the 1080 and Rebel we discussed above. Still, this shoe compresses under the foot with sink-in softness. This is where you can see how this shoe responds on my foot.
  • New Balance Made in USA 993 (athletic casual) – This shoe is more of a lifestyle shoe that you can still use for occasional exercise. Out of all the Made in USA New Balance shoes, I think the 993 offers the most squishiness, especially under the toe pad. This is where you can see how this shoe responds on my foot.
  • New Balance Made in USA 990v5 (athletic casual) – Another very comfortable Made in USA New Balance shoe. Very comfortable under the foot, but I just didn’t think it offered quite as much compression under the foot as the 993 above. This is where you can see how the 990 shoe responds on my foot.
  • New Balance 237 (retro athletic) – The 237 is a retro 70’s running shoe that has a very lightweight, comfortable upper that fits softly around the foot. And I think the 237 provides more comfort under the foot than other types of New Balance retro casual athletic shoes. This is where you can see how this shoe responds on my foot.
  • New Balance 928 (casual/work/walking) – The 928 is built for support and stability. It has New Balance’s ROLLBAR technology which helps prevent improper rearfoot movement. I found it to also have a thicker, more comfortable insole than other options, and it is made with the ABZORB midsole which reduces impact stress under the heel. This is where you can see how the 928 shoe responds on my foot.
  • New Balance W840v3 (athletic walking) – I think the W840v3 provides the most cushioning around the ankle. The padding is thick and soft. It’s also very comfortable under the foot, and has a more athletic build than other walking shoes. It has the ABZORB midsole which reduces impact stress under the heel. This is where you can see how this shoe responds on my foot.

In this article, let’s take a closer look at some of the most comfortable New Balance shoes. I will use photos and videos of the shoes I own to give you a better idea how soft and flexible each of these New Balance shoes are.

Softest New Balance Shoes with Most Cushioning

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is my choice for the softest, most comfortable New Balance shoe. It has that sink-in softness both under the heel and under the toe pad.

When I wear these shoes, I can literally see the Fresh Foam X foam midsole compressing under my weight. It creates a soft, cushioned feeling under my foot as I step.

This is how the 1080v12 New Balance Fresh Foam Shoes respond on my foot:

This shoe is also very flexible and responsive. I can easily bend and twist the midsole.

In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible this shoe is:

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is a neutral road runner with 8mm drop. I found my size 12 men’s shoe to weigh 12.32 ounces per shoe.

The upper is breathable, but it wasn’t the most breathable option (Rebel).

new-balance-fresh-foam-shoes

The 1080 fits within the realm of true-to-size for most people. However, when I compared it to other options with side-by-side sizing photos, I found it to fit just a little bit longer. This is where you can see the sizing photos I took for the 1080.


New Balance FuelCell Rebel

I think the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 is the only other New Balance shoe that I tried that was as soft under the foot as the 1080v12 from above. The Rebel has an ultra-lightweight and breathable design (it is more lightweight and breathable than the 1080).

This is how the New Balance FuelCell Rebel shoes respond on my foot:

This shoe provides max cushioning under both the heel and forefoot. The FuelCell foam midsole is one of the softest midsoles I’ve ever tried.

This shoe was also, in my opinion, the most flexible and responsive. I can almost fully twist the midsole. In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible this shoe is:

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 is a neutral road runner built for comfort and cushioning. I found my size 12 men’s shoe to weigh 8.64 ounces per shoe.

The upper is ultra lightweight, and the most breathable option I tried.

new-balance-rebel-on-foot

To illustrate how breathable this shoe is, when I hold mine up to the light, you can see light passing through the shoe:

new-balance-rebel-breathable

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel fits true to size for more people. I ordered my normal sizing and it fit comfortably. This is where you can see the side-by-side comparison sizing photos I took for the New Balance FuelCell Rebel.


New Balance Fresh Foam 880

The New Balance Fresh Foam 880 is another soft New Balance shoe with cushioning under the foot. Like the 1080 and Rebel above, the 880 has that sink-in softness.

This is how the 880v12 New Balance Fresh Foam shoes respond on my foot:

This shoe provides max cushioning under both the heel and forefoot. Although it is very comfortable, I thought the 1080 provided just a little bit more cushioning (880 has larger drop).

This shoe is very flexible and responsive. In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible this shoe is:

New Balance Fresh Foam 880 is a neutral road runner with 10mm drop. I found my size 12 men’s shoe to weigh 12.48 ounces per shoe.

The upper is breathable, but it wasn’t as breathable as the New Balance FuelCell Rebel from above.

new-balance-880-on-foot

The 880 fits true to size for more people. I ordered my normal sizing and it fit comfortably. This is where you can see the side-by-side comparison sizing photos I took for the New Balance 880.


New Balance Made in USA 993

The New Balance 993 is part of New Balance’s Made in USA line. It has a retro 90’s-style design and is a very popular option due to the combination of comfort and support it provides.

The first three options we discussed were running shoes. This is more of a casual athletic “lifestyle” shoe that you can wear to the gym or easily pair it with jeans and a t-shirt.

I personally thought it was the comfiest New Balance shoe in their Made in USA collection. It is very soft under the toe pad area. This is how the New Balance 993 shoes respond on my foot:

This shoe provides a soft comfort under the toe pad and has more stability than the running shoes we discussed first. Still, if you prefer max cushioning, I’d recommend the New Balance 1080 which will be a bit “squishier” under the foot than this shoe.

The 993 is very flexible and responsive compared to other casual shoes on the market. In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible this shoe is:

Again, think of this New Balance 993 shoe as a casual athletic shoe that you can use for occasional exercise or simply wear it with jeans and a t-shirt.

I has a comfortable fit that I thought was a little bit wider than the running shoes we discussed earlier in the article. Here’s a look at mine on foot:

new-balance-993-on-foot

If you like the New Balance Made in USA collection, another good option is the 990v5. I personally think this New Balance 993 was softer under the foot, but they are both comfortable. To read more, visit my article that compares the New Balance 993 to the New Balance 990v5.

The 993 fits true to size for more people. I ordered my normal sizing and it fit comfortably. This is where you can see the side-by-side comparison sizing photos I took for the New Balance 993.


New Balance 237

The New Balance 237 was originally designed in the 1970’s to be a running shoe. Present day, it serves as a lightweight, versatile casual shoe that can also be used for exercise.

Because it was originally designed to be a running shoe, it has a very lightweight, comfortable feel on the foot. I personally thought it was the comfiest New Balance retro shoe. This is how the New Balance 237 shoes respond on my foot:

As you can see above, it has a thick midsole under the foot to provide soft cushioning. The upper is very lightweight and easy to wear (this is one of the most lightweight shoes on this list).

Still, if you prefer max cushioning, I’d recommend the New Balance 1080 because it is “squishier” under the foot than this retro runner.

The 237 is very flexible, but you may notice in the videos below that it is not quite as “twistable” as some of the other options on this list:

Again, think of this New Balance 237 shoe as another casual athletic shoe that you can use for occasional exercise or simply wear it with jeans and a t-shirt.

I has a lightweight design and the retro exposed-foam tongue feels very soft against my foot. Here’s a look at mine:

new-balance-237-on-foot

The 237 fits true to size for more people. I ordered my normal sizing and it fit comfortably. This is where you can see the side-by-side comparison sizing photos I took for the New Balance 237.


New Balance 928

The New Balance 928 is a leather New Balance walking shoe that prioritizes stability and support. No, this shoe won’t be as soft and squishy under the foot as some of the other New Balance shoes on this list. But this shoe will be a great option for those who need extra support in combination with comfort.

The 928 is made using New Balance’s ROLLBAR technology, which is a medial post in the heel of the shoe to help prevent improper rearfoot movement. The leather upper is heavier than other options on this list, but it is also more supportive and more durable.

To provide comfort, this shoe is made with a thicker, softer insole, and also features New Balance’s ABZORB midsole, which is designed to reduce impact stress under the heel. This is how the New Balance 928 shoes respond on my foot:

As you can see above, it isn’t as squishy as some of the running shoes on this list. But, again, this shoe is designed to find a sort of middle ground between comfort and support.

Another thing I really like is that they use a thicker insole on this shoe. Most New Balance insoles are just a layer of foam material. This shoe actually uses a dual-layer, thicker insole that has a layer of foam, but also has a layer of gel-like material for extra cushioning.

I found most New Balance insoles to measure about 1/6th of an inch thick. This insole measures over a 1/4 of an inch thick. Here’s a look at the insole on my New Balance 928 shoes:

new-balance-928-insole-measurement
new-balance-928-insole

But because the 928 is built for support and stability, it isn’t as flexible as other options on this list. In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible and responsive these shoes are:

Again, think of this New Balance 928 shoe as a combination of support and comfort. Although it’s a walking shoe, it also functions nicely as a casual shoe or work shoe.

Here’s a look at mine on my foot:

new-balance-928-on-foot

My version obviously has laces, but you can buy this shoe in a hook and loop strap version (New Balance shoes with straps).

The 928 fits true to size for more people. It is built using the SL-2 last, which is designed to create a wider forefoot and deeper toe box. To learn more about how this shoe fits compared to other options, visit my New Balance 928 sizing guide.


New Balance W840v3

The New Balance W840v3 is a New Balance walking shoe that has a more athletic design than other types of New Balance walking shoes. It is sort of a combination of a running shoe and a walking shoe. It is available in a men’s version (MW840v3) and a women’s version (WW840v3).

Like other walking shoes, don’t expect this New Balance shoe to be as soft and squishy under the foot as running shoes. But this shoe find a nice balance between comfort and support. It does have New Balance’s ABZORB midsole to help reduce impact stress under the heel.

This is how the New Balance W840v3 shoes respond on my foot:

As you can see above, it isn’t as squishy as some of the running shoes on this list. But, again, this shoe is designed to find a sort of middle ground between comfort and support. Many people like this shoe due to the “Coach” style or “Dad” shoe style it has.

As I mentioned earlier, I recently tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes. In my opinion, this shoe was the softest and most comfortable around the ankle out of all the New Balance shoes I tried.

It has thick cushioning that feels soft and snug around my ankle. Here’s a look at the cushioning collar on my W840v3 shoes:

new-balance-840-padded-collar

Despite this shoe being a walking shoe, it is much more athletic than other types of leather New Balance walking shoes. Again, I think of it as a sort of combination between a walking shoe and a running shoe.

In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible and responsive these shoes are:

This shoe will be a nice option for those who prefer a leather casual shoe, but want something that still feels flexible and athletic on the foot.

Here’s a look at my W840v3 on my foot:

new-balance-mw840-on-foot

The 840 is also offered in a running-shoe version. The running-shoe version will be a nice option for those looking for a more supportive running shoe. It has a thick, dual-layer insole. This is where you can read more about the 840 running shoe.

I found this W840v3 walking shoe to fit true to size. It is built using the SL-2 last, which is designed to create a wider forefoot and deeper toe box. To learn more about how this shoe fits compared to other options, visit my New Balance W840v3 sizing guide.


Frequently Asked Question About Comfortable New Balance Shoes

Comfiest New Balance Shoes by Purpose

These would be my choices for the most comfortable, softest New Balance shoes depending on purpose:

  • Neutral Runner – New Balance 1080 or New Balance FuelCell Rebel
  • Supportive Runner – New Balance 860 or New Balance 840
  • Leather Walking Shoe – New Balance 928 or New Balance W840v3
  • Casual Shoe – New Balance 237 or New Balance 993
  • Trail ShoeNew Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v7

Are New Balance Shoes Wide or Narrow?

Although many New Balance shoes fit true to size and have a regular width, they also have a large selection of shoes designed to have a roomier, wider fit.

On this page, both the New Balance 928 and New Balance W840v3 are designed to have a roomier fit. To learn more, visit my New Balance Width Guide.

Which Type of New Balance Shoe is the Most Comfortable?

The New Balance Fresh Foam series of shoes is very comfortable, especially the 1080 and 880 (which we discussed on this page). I also think the New Balance FuelCell shoes are very soft and comfortable under the foot.

I also really like the types of New Balance shoes that use the thicker, dual-layer insole. In my experience, the New Balance 928, New Balance 840, and New Balance 847 all use this thicker insole.

Click here to see a full list of different types of New Balance shoes.

My Verdict: After trying over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 was my choice for the softest, most comfortable New Balance shoe.

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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