With the proliferation of running shoe companies since the turn of the century (some lists show that there are as many as 132 distinct brands!), it can be difficult to know what you are getting when you purchase a pair of shoes.
Are you paying for a first-quality product, or are you getting a second-rate offering from a newfangled company attempting to capitalize on emerging fitness trends?
Well, when it comes to Saucony and New Balance, there is not much to worry about, as both companies have resumes dating back to the earliest days of the running industry itself.
Despite its lengthy track record, Saucony is sort of known as the more innovative, techy running shoe brand, while New Balance is a favorite among those no-nonsense wearers who prioritize a comfortable, supportive shoe above all else.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these two running shoe heavyweights have to offer.
Keep reading for the good, the bad, and the “could be better” of Saucony vs New Balance running shoes!
Saucony At A Glance
Saucony is a leading brand in the running shoe industry, with a history dating back to 1898. The company was founded in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, by four men who shared a passion for running and a desire to create the best possible running shoes. Saucony’s shoes are designed with a focus on comfort, performance, and innovation.
The company’s philosophy is based on the belief that running should be a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone. Saucony’s shoes are designed to help runners of all levels achieve their goals, whether they are training for a marathon or simply running for fun.
Saucony is committed to innovation and is constantly developing new technologies to improve its shoes. The company’s latest innovations include the ISOFIT upper construction, which provides a secure and comfortable fit, and the PWRRUN+ cushioning system, which offers excellent energy return and durability.
New Balance At A Glance
New Balance is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1906 by William J. Riley as an orthopedic shoe company.
New Balance shoes are known for their quality and comfort, and the company has a long history of innovation in shoe design. In the 1960s, New Balance introduced the first running shoe with a ripple sole, which provided added cushioning and support. In the 1970s, the company introduced the 320, which was the first running shoe to feature a removable insole.
Today, New Balance is one of the largest running companies in the world. The company offers a wide range of running shoes for men, women, and children. New Balance shoes are popular with runners of all levels, from beginners to elites.
Saucony vs New Balance Design Comparison
As we continue our analysis of Saucony vs New Balance, let’s delve deep into the standard engineering found in many of the companies’ products.
While both companies use high-quality materials, Saucony is typically seen as having slightly more advanced upper designs. Saucony is known for its use of innovative materials and technologies, such as FlexFilm overlays and FORMFIT seamless uppers, which are designed to provide a customized, comfortable fit.
Saucony shoes are also generally more airy than New Balance shoes. This is due to Saucony’s use of lightweight, breathable materials in the upper construction. This focus on weight and breathability can lead to slightly less durability in the upper of Saucony shoes over time, though.
In contrast, New Balance shoes are known for their durability and comfort. New Balance shoes typically have thicker, more padded uppers than Saucony shoes, which can provide more protection and support, but can also make them feel warmer and less breathable.
New Balance shoes are also typically wider than Saucony shoes, which makes them a good choice for runners with wide feet. To combat potential breathability issues, some New Balance models use Hypoknit material in the upper design. This material helps to wick away excess moisture and promote airflow to the top of the foot.
When it comes to midsole design, Saucony and New Balance have taken different approaches to achieve their respective goals of delivering comfort and support. Saucony’s PWRRUN+ midsole provides an additional layer of cushioning over a standard EVA base, resulting in a plush and comfortable feel underfoot, especially during long runs. Additionally, the Powergrid+ technology, featuring strategically placed holes throughout the midsole, helps in dispersing the impact of foot strikes, further enhancing comfort.
On the other hand, New Balance’s midsole foam offerings are tailored to specific needs. The Fresh Foam midsole is designed based on motion-captured pressure mapping to add more foam in key areas, providing targeted support and comfort. FuelCell Foam, New Balance’s performance midsole foam, seeks to strike a balance between comfort and responsiveness, making it suitable for runners looking for a combination of cushioning and energy return.
Outsole construction in these two brands’ running shoes is a key area of differentiation.
Saucony uses a lightweight design approach, typically with large amounts of exposed EVA outsole foam. While this provides an additional layer of comfort on unforgiving surfaces, it does sacrifice some durability. To help add some toughness and traction to the outsole, the company incorporates XT-900 carbon rubber at strategic points in the heel and forefoot.
In contrast, New Balance outsoles feature a high concentration of blown rubber for enhanced durability and slip resistance. This makes New Balance shoes a good option for runners who prioritize durability and protection over a lightweight feel. New Balance’s outsole construction may also appeal to less serious, more leisurely runners who prefer a safe, dependable design.
New Balance vs Saucony Feature Comparison
Now that you know how Saucony and New Balance shoes are generally designed, let’s take a look at how they stack up along key performance features.
When it comes to durability, New Balance running shoes are generally more durable than Saucony. This is due to their more solid rubber outsoles, which hold up better against sharp objects and uneven surfaces than Saucony’s exposed outsole foam.
While Saucony shoes are not flimsy, they do have a higher percentage of exposed outsole foam, which can lead to them breaking down faster than New Balance products. The XT-900 carbon rubber found in Saucony products provides decent durability, but it is not quite present at the same level as New Balance’s outsole rubber. Saucony also uses FlexFilm overlays to prevent toes from breaking through the breathable mesh uppers.
Overall, expect to get at least 400 miles out of a pair of Saucony shoes, while New Balance products frequently break the 500 mile threshold that many runners consider the standard for highly durable shoes.
Saucony shoes are generally more narrow than New Balance shoes. They will be preferable for people with standard width or narrow feet who value a more snug fit in their running shoes.
New Balance shoes are generally more roomy than Saucony shoes. They will be a better option for people with wide feet who prefer a softer, freer sensation.
Both brands are known to run true to size, although it is usually a good idea to size up .5 sizes anytime you are considering a running shoe brand you aren’t familiar with.
When it comes to cushioning, Saucony and New Balance are two of the most popular brands on the market. Both companies offer a wide range of running shoes with different levels of cushioning.
Saucony uses PWRRUN+ technology in its running shoes. This technology is designed to provide a comfortable landing experience by keeping the cushioning close to the foot. Some runners find that Saucony shoes feel more comfortable for long runs, as this midsole design is said to reduce discomfort during extended sessions.
New Balance shoes are also highly cushioned. They feature ample midsole stacks using either standard Fresh Foam or performance-minded FuelCell Foam. Fresh Foam is a lightweight and responsive material that provides good cushioning and support. FuelCell Foam is a newer material that is even lighter and more responsive than Fresh Foam. It is designed to provide a fast and springy ride.
Stability & Support
Saucony and New Balance both offer stability running shoes, but they take different approaches to achieve stability.
Saucony uses a combination of cutting-edge midsole geometry and a proprietary HOLLOW-FIT guidance frame to cradle the foot and reduce the risk of overpronation.
New Balance, on the other hand, uses a wider platform that allows for more toe splaying, which can reduce pronation issues for runners who tend to have an inward roll to their gait. Additionally, some New Balance shoes feature a unique S-curve that helps promote side-to-side stability in the foot.
Both Saucony and New Balance offer running shoes to appeal to all budgets. They have many introductory shoes starting for as little as $50, with more premium models approaching $200 per pair.
Saucony vs New Balance Popular Shoe Comparison
To get a better idea if Saucony or New Balance is the better brand for you, let’s do an apples-to-apples comparison of some of their shoes designed for popular running niches.
Everyday Trainer: Saucony Ride 16 vs New Balance Fresh Foam 880v13
The MVP of most running companies’ catalog is their everyday trainer, and this appears to be the case for Saucony and New Balance as well. Both the Saucony Ride 16 and New Balance Fresh Foam 880v13 offer numerous features that will appeal to daily runners, cross-training athletes, and gym-goers alike.
The Ride 16 offers a reliable, everyday training experience with lightweight, plush PWRRUN cushioning that’s firm enough to feel responsive and provide a secure, supportive feel. It has a breathable upper that provides excellent midfoot lockdown and a cozy, locked-in fit. Runners love the soft upper, plush heel collar and padded tongue, making the Ride 16 a comfortable, versatile performer that can tackle any workout.
The Fresh Foam 880v13 also has its share of benefits as an everyday trainer. It has a dual density midsole with soft Fresh Foam X under the heel and a denser foam in the forefoot providing a snappy ride. A generous blown rubber outsole provides excellent traction and improves the shoe’s durability. The modernized mesh upper maintains the 880’s lightweight, breathable feel, keeping you comfortable in warm weather. With the accommodating fit, the Fresh Foam 880v13 is one of the best running shoes to help neutral runners of all levels log their daily miles.
Winner: Saucony Ride 16
Max Cushioning: Saucony Triumph 20 vs New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12
The Saucony Triumph 20 and New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 are two of the most popular high-cushion running shoes on the market. Both shoes excel at providing a soft, comfortable ride, but they do have some subtle differences worth noting.
The Triumph 20 features a PWRRUN+ midsole foam that is designed to provide a responsive and cushioned ride. The shoe also has a rocker profile that helps to smooth out transitions and reduce exertion during runs. The upper of the Triumph 20 is lightweight and supportive, and it features a snug fit that keeps the foot in place.
The Fresh Foam 1080v12 also provides a soft and cushioned ride, thanks to its Fresh Foam midsole. The shoe also has a pillowy landing that makes it ideal for runners who are recovering from injury or who have logged a lot of miles on their joints. The upper of the 1080v12 is made from Hypoknit technology, which is a breathable and soft material that enhances the comfort of the shoe.
Winner: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12
Stability: Saucony Guide 16 vs New Balance Fresh Foam 860v13
Despite a never-ending output of new running shoes labeled as “stability” products, two of the most trusted options on the market are the Saucony Guide 16 and the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v13, both of which deliver careful engineering to help runners with overpronation issues. The Saucony Guide 16 boasts a lightweight, comfortable, and springy ride with smooth transitions. The HOLLOW-FIT guidance frame and PWRRUN foam offer stability and durability tailored for overpronators.
On the other hand, the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v13 features a firm and durable midsole post, new midsole geometry, and a structured upper that aids in controlling overpronation. The high-performance Fresh Foam X midsole ensures soft landings and energetic takeoffs.
Whether you prefer the Guide 16’s smoother transitions or the 860v13’s more cushioned ride, both stability running shoes are reliable options that provide comfort, support, and keep your feet moving along a safe path, mile after mile.
Winner: Saucony Guide 16
Performance: Saucony Kinvara 13 vs New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3
The Saucony Kinvara 13 is a lightweight, responsive shoe designed for speed workouts and racing. It features a streamlined upper that reduces weight and a PWRRUN+ midsole that provides a good balance of cushioning and responsiveness. The Kinvara 13 is a good choice for runners who want a fast, lightweight shoe for training and racing.
The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 is another lightweight, responsive shoe designed for those runners looking to bring the speed. It features a breathable mesh upper and a FuelCell midsole that provides excellent energy return. The Rebel v3 is a good choice for runners who want a cushioned, responsive shoe for training and racing.
Both the Kinvara 13 and the FuelCell Rebel v3 are excellent choices for runners looking for a fast, lightweight shoe for training and racing. The Kinvara 13 is a more traditional racing flat, while the FuelCell Rebel v3 is a more cushioned, responsive shoe.
Winner: New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3
Final Thoughts: Saucony vs New Balance
There it is: the complete breakdown of Saucony vs New Balance running shoes.
Although it is hard to go wrong with either company, the Saucony will be the better option for runners who want lighter, slightly “techier” shoes, while New Balance will be the go-to for runners who prioritize comfort, support, and durability.
Whatever your needs, explore the catalogs of these two running shoe giants and get moving today!