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This sneakerhead has over 600 pairs of New Balances—here are his favorites

These are the must-have NBs, according to a superfan.

Massive collection of New Balance sneakers by sneakerhead Richie Roxas, who has been collecting sneakers since 1994. Credit: Reviewed / Richie Roxas

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As Reviewed’s style editor and resident hypebeast sneaker buyer, it’s safe to say that I’m a New Balance fan, but I can’t quite call myself a collector. Sure, I’ve spent this year kicking around a few NBs: the 993s (my favorites), the 327s (my summer staple), and the 2002rs (my shoe of choice on the rare Floridian occasion that calls for wearing pants). But I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a New Balance diehard.

Richie Roxas, on the other hand, may be the NB king. As a collector of New Balance sneakers since 1994, he has one of the largest amalgamations of NB sneakers in the world—more than 600 pairs and counting. He documents his brand loyalty on his aptly named Instagram account, @newbalance365, where his collection of ephemera can be admired by all, including vintage T-shirts, branded promo items (an NB-branded set of director’s chairs, for one) and, of course, sneakers.

Roxas has extensive knowledge of the brand’s sneakers and currently works as a general manager at a New Balance store in Philadelphia (a job he got after his obsession began). So who better to recommend the absolute must-have shoes at New Balance than a man who's religiously followed the company since the 1990s? After three decades of collecting, here’s what Roxas recommends wearing from the shoe company “endorsed by no one.”

For the flagship: New Balance 990v5

Grey pair of New Balance 990v5 sneakers.
Credit: New Balance

The 990v5 is a sporty and fashionable staple.

Roxas’ first pick feels like a no-brainer. It’s a shoe that many recognize as New Balance’s star player: the 990v5. The sneaker is popular with celebrities, like Rita Ora and Kourtney Kardashian, as much as with fashion pundits who go for a casual sporty look. Equipped with New Balance’s Encap technology in its sole—which promises to be both firm and supportive—and soft Ortholite insoles, the 990v5 has been advertised as a running shoe, though you’ll have trouble finding serious runners who prefer this hefty kick these days. Instead, the shoe has been co-opted by streetwear culture and fashionistas who prefer an athletic appearance in their lifestyle shoe.

“The 990v5 is super popular here in Philly,” Roxas says. “It’s for young people, it’s for millennials, an older crowd—it’s for everybody.” He claims it holds up well in harsh weather and has superb arch and heel support. The variety of muted colors coordinates with virtually any outfit you assemble, which also makes it versatile as a go-to travel shoe. “Gray is the most popular color and it’s my personal favorite,” he adds. “If I’m feeling lazy or if I’m running out the door, I reach for these.”

But it’s also not cheap. The 990v5 costs about $185, as 70% of its construction is made in America. “That price scares a lot of people away,” Roxas says. “But the people that invest in a pair usually come back for another because they realize that the shoe can last between three to four years. You definitely get your money’s worth.”

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You’ll also likely get your perfect fit, as the 990v5 comes in women’s sizes 5 to 13 in narrow, standard, wide, and X-wide widths, and in men’s sizes 7 to 16, in all aforementioned widths as well as X-narrow and XX-wide. The shoes are sold in black, navy, and gray.

For the gateway sneaker: New Balance 574

Pair of New Balance 574 sneakers.
Credit: New Balance

The 574 is the quintessential New Balance sneaker, according to Roxas.

If you’re looking for the quintessential NB style and don’t want to spend as much, Roxas recommends the 574 as a “gateway model” into the brand at large. “[The 574] is the shoe you think of when you think of New Balance,” he says.

The 574 has been a mainstay at New Balance since 1988, defined by its retro running shoe silhouette and its large “N” logo on both sides. Roxas says that you’d be hard-pressed to find a 574 that isn’t available in a color combo you like; the company releases special editions of the shoe each season and sometimes stocks up to 40 colors at once. He believes the biggest reasons to grab a pair are its $79.99 price tag and reliability as a beater—that’s shoes you can don’t mind scuffing up. As Roxas likes to say, “the 574 is your workhorse.” Treat them that way.

The 574 is available in women’s sizes 5 to 13 in standard and wide widths, and men’s sizes 4 to 20 in standard, wide, and X-wide widths.

For a modern casual look: New Balance 327 and New Balance XC-72

Orange pair of New Balance 327s, colorful green pair of XC-72 New Balances.
Credit: New Balance

The 327 and XC-72 are two of New Balances' newer models. Both pairs hinge on exaggeration.

If you’re looking for solid NBs outside of the classic 574 and 990v5, Roxas recommends checking out two contemporary models that have their own unique flavors: the 327 and XC-72. Yes, these are technically two different shoes, but the NB king assures that they’re similar enough in comfort, style, and fit that choosing between them is a matter of style preference.

Both shoes were introduced in the past year and carry overstated outsoles, asymmetrical silhouettes, and jagged-looking features. The 327 has an oversized “N” logo on its sides, an exaggerated nubbed outsole that wraps around the front and back of the shoe, and is inspired by some of the company’s own running shoes from the ‘70s. The XC-72, meanwhile, pulls from that same retro bag but mashes the styling of a lifestyle sneaker and a rugged outdoorsy shoe into a single model. It also has an outsole that wraps around the sides of the forefoot and features three visually distinct types of treading. “For me, the key to both shoes is that they’re insanely comfortable,” Roxas says. “In the summer, I wear the 327s almost every day with shorts. They’re comfy enough to walk in all day.”

The 327 comes in women’s sizes 5 to 13 and men’s sizes 4 to 20 in standard widths. The XC-72 is available in unisex sizes, fitting women’s sizes 5.5 to 17.5 and men’s sizes 4 to 16 in standard (men’s D) width. Both pairs are available in a wide variety of colors.

For all-day comfort: New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6

Pair of New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V6s hiking shoes.
Credit: New Balance

Roxas recommends the Fresh Foam Hierro V6s for those long days spent on your feet.

One surprising entry in Roxas’ recommendations: a hiking shoe. The collector says that he prefers wearing the outdoor-ready Fresh Foam Hierro v6s when spends all day on his feet (regardless of the terrain he’s standing on), due to their thick soles and extra cushioning. The proprietary Fresh Foam, which can be described as New Balance’s answer to the Adidas Boost or Nike’s React, is a firm yet cushioning midsole that’s in most of the company’s running and performance shoes.

Despite its trail-ready features, the Hierro's appearance offers a streetwear flavor to New Balance that’s similar to Nike’s ACG (All Conditions Gear) line of sneakers. Its array of colorful designs, along with a sturdy Vibram outsole, gives it a rugged but bold appearance.

“It’s not really hyped and people don’t [typically] wear it for style, but I do,” Roxas says of the Hierro. “I’m not even a hiker or a runner. I think they’re really cool for fall and winter, and the Vibram outsoles are really sturdy. The midsole is also super soft and cushioned.”

The Hierro is available in women’s sizes 5 to 13 in standard and wide widths, and men’s sizes 6 to 20 in standard, wide, and X-wide widths. Grab a pair in one of its three vibrant colors.

For a rare treat: New Balance 1300

A pair of New Balance MS1300V1 sneakers, inspired by the original 1300.
Credit: New Balance

This MS1300V1 is an ode to the original New Balance 1300.

Roxas’ favorite shoe is also one that’s tough to find today: the made-in-America 1300. It’s a sneaker that he describes as “the deluxe version of the 574,” made with higher quality materials and released sparingly—roughly twice a year—by New Balance. Though it’s not a mainstay for the brand, the 1300 has been subject to multiple collaborations within the last year, from Levi’s to ‘90s influenced New York fashion brand Aimé Leon Dore, but otherwise you’ll have to settle for finding a pair through a secondhand retailer like eBay or StockX.

Still, Roxas recommends hunting down a miUSA pair in your size if you’re looking for a unique and casual NB shoe that’s a bit more formal than its other offerings. “It’s a classy shoe,” he says. “You can dress it up a little bit and if you have the right color. They look really good with a pair of rolled-up khakis and a nice sweater.”

While New Balance currently doesn’t sell the miUSA 1300s, it offers a variation on the model with the MS1300V1. This particular model combines the upper of the 1300 with a reworked outsole inspired by the original shoe and made by Vibram for increased traction and a rugged feel.

The MS1300V1 is available in men’s sizes 4 to 20—which equate to 5.5 to 21.5 in women’s—in men's standard D width, so if you find they’re too wide, you may have better luck seeking out miUSA 1300s in women’s sizes on eBay.

Get the MS1300V1 in men’s sizes at New Balance for $149.99

For a super-premium upgrade: New Balance 1500

A pair of colorful New Balance Made in England 1500 sneakers.
Credit: New Balance

Unlike the 990 series of New Balances, the 1500 is made in England rather than America.

Similar to the 990v5, the 1500 is constructed with better quality materials that lends it a premium pricing. Unlike the 990v5, the 1500 is made in England. “They're gonna cost you like $200 to $250,” Roxas explains. “But Made in England shoes are New Balances of the highest quality.”

According to Roxas, who's had a tour of New Balance’s England factory, the company relies on less machinery there than it does domestically. The fabrics and materials are also sourced locally and have higher standards than shoes made in America. “People flip out over the USA-made NBs, but they don't even know the ‘made in England’ line is superior.”

Another reason for its premium pricing: Similar to collaborations, they’re produced in small batches, although the 1500s are a “general release” sneaker so you can get them year-round unless there’s a rush on them between production runs.

If you’re into the idea of putting the best New Balance that money can buy on your feet, you can grab a pair for $229.99 in men’s sizes 7 to 15. J.Crew also carries its own 1500 in men’s sizes 7 to 13 for the same price.

For a ‘90s throwback: New Balance 1010

Pair of grey with black NM1010 New Balance skateboarding sneakers.
Credit: New Balance

Endorsed by pro skateboarder Tiago Lemos, the NM1010 is a throwback to '90s skate shoes.

If you’re looking to hop on the ‘90s trend, let the 1010 be your train. Designed by New Balance-sponsored pro skater Tiago Lemos, the 1010 is a skate shoe with a suede and mesh upper. It also boasts New Balance’s proprietary performance foam, FuelCell, in its midsole, which promises better rebound when skating.

Roxas explains his love for the sneaker, which debuted in 2020: “It’s a really cool shoe! I used to skate and I don't anymore, but I still think it looks cool and feels great. It reminds me of a less chunky DC Skate shoe from the early 2000s.”

The 1010 is available in unisex sizes (read: men's standard width), fitting between a women’s 5.5 to 16.5 and a men’s 4 to 15. It comes in black, white and, in typical NB fashion, two shades of gray.

Get the 1010 in unisex sizes at New Balance for $99.99

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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