Are New Balance 327 Good for Running?

The New Balance 327 sneaker has become an incredibly popular lifestyle shoe over the last couple years. Its retro-inspired design and comfortable fit has attracted casual wearers and athletes alike.

But are the New Balance 327 actually a good option specifically for running? In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore if the NB 327 can hold up to pounding the pavement mile after mile.

New Balance 327 Overview

First, let’s take a quick look at what exactly the New Balance 327 is. This shoe was originally introduced in the 1970s as a running shoe, but was brought back in 2021 by New Balance with some updates to make it more of a lifestyle/casual sneaker. Some key features and specs:

  • Retro-inspired design combines modern style with 70s New Balance heritage
  • Available in many colorways from understated to bold
  • Suede and mesh upper provides flexibility and breathability
  • EVA midsole and heel give cushioning and support
  • Rubber outsole suitable for both indoor and outdoor wear
  • Relative affordable at around $85 USD retail price point

So while the 327 takes inspiration from vintage runners, it’s not specifically performance focused like some other New Balance models. But could its well-cushioned midsole and grippy tread still work for logging miles on roads or trails? Let’s dig in.

Are NB 327 Good for Road Running?

When evaluating any running shoe, some key factors to consider are:

  • Cushioning – is there enough softness to absorb impact?
  • Stability – does the shoe properly support and guide foot motion?
  • Traction – can the outsole grip surfaces well without too much sliding?
  • Breathability – does the upper allow airflow to the foot?

Taking each area into account:


The NB 327’s EVA foam midsole and heel insert do supply adequate cushioning for shorter road runs of 3-5 miles. The soft foam absorbs shock decently and provides a smooth feel underfoot over pavement.

However, there are more advanced midsole foams on performance running shoes that offer increased energy return and long mileage durability. After many miles, the 327’s cushioning breaks down faster than shoes with fresh next-gen materials.


The 327 is a relatively neutral shoe, with its flexible upper and simple single density midsole foam. This allows for natural foot motion but doesn’t prevent overpronation as strongly as stability or motion control running shoes.

So some runners, especially heavier ones or severe overpronators, might feel their feet and legs getting more fatigued over longer distances without better arch support.


One strength of the 327 is its rubber outsole traction. The tight lug pattern grips pavement well, allowing confident foot plants and push offs. Wet or dry conditions outdoors don’t overly hamper the shoe’s road holding abilities. Traction should satisfy most runners’ needs for straightforward road training without advanced traction features like carbon rubber or blown rubber lugs.


The suede and mesh upper combination allows for decent airflow to the top of the foot. Better than an all-leather vintage runner. But thick modern knit uppers or engineered mesh found on performance road shoes permits even more ventilation and cooling during hot outdoor miles. After a summer 10K race, your feet stay drier in shoes with maximum breathability built in.

Overall, while the 327 is reasonably capable as a road running shoe for beginner runners, racers looking to set new PRs or experienced runners logging 20+ miles weekly would likely want to choose a more performance-focused shoe better suited to intense training demands. The 327 leans more lifestyle, but can still pinch hit for shorter road mileage days.

How Do 327 Handle Trail or Off-Road Running?

In general, you’ll want even more cushioning and traction taking running shoes off-road versus pavement. Does the retro-styled 327 have enough versatility to transition from sidewalks to trails?

When evaluating trail running shoes, a few extra considerations beyond road aspects include:

  • Lug depth/aggressiveness – can outsole grip loose dirt, grass, etc?
  • Rock plate – is foot protected from feeling sharp rocks or roots underfoot?
  • Durability – can upper and outsole withstand abrasive elements over miles?

For the 327, while the outsole rubber supplies sufficient wet/dry traction and flexibility for mild dirt paths, it lacks deep multi-directional lugs that bite into loose granular trails.

The absence of a protective rock plate also means your feet feel more ground feedback from irregular surfaces. And the suede/mesh upper, while reasonably sturdy, is more prone to scuffs, tears or debris infiltration compared to rugged trail shoe synthetics and tightly woven mesh.

Conclusion: While the NB 327 can handle very smooth packed dirt trails for short distances, prolonged off-road miles or highly uneven terrain will make the shoe’s modest trail running performance deficits apparent. You’ll be better turning to purpose-built trail/off-road shoes with enhanced traction, protection and durability.

What Runs Are the 327 Best Suited For?

Given the 327’s well-cushioned but not overly performance-oriented design, here are the best running uses where it makes sense reaching for this stylish shoe:

  • Short to mid-range road runs (3-6 miles)
  • Treadmill miles
  • Smooth dirt pathways or very tame trails
  • Supplemental training shoe to pair with faster competition shoe
  • Recovery run days giving your feet a break

The New Balance 327 can be a reliable choice as a do-it-all shoe for runners not yet needing serious performance specs. Its cushioning forgives aging runners’ knees while the retro styling turns heads at the end of 5K races.

Novices just starting a running kick can rack up easy base mileage in the versatile 327 before working up to racing flats. Ultimately it occupies a middle ground between casual fashion and hardcore running grind.

FAQs – Common Questions About Running in the 327

Do the 327 run big, small or true to size compared to other running shoes?

The 327 fits slightly long but normal in width. Most runners are fine going true to size, but dropping a half or full size may produce a nimbler fit for some with narrower feet. Trying on in store usually reveals best personal sizing.

Are the NB 327 good for marathon training?

Marathoners need highly cushioned shoes proven over hundreds of miles. The 327 lacks the plush foam and mileage durability for such extended distances. It’s fine for short runs incorporated into marathon plans, but core long run days should use a more cushioned workhorse.

How do 327 compare against Nike Air Pegasus or Adidas UltraBoost?

The Air Pegasus and UltraBoost provide more advanced performance features for committed training compared to the more casual 327. Their engineered mesh uppers, high-rebound midsoles and continental rubber make them suitable logging heavy weekly miles. The 327 sits in the tier below for pure performance.

Can I use my 327 just for walking instead of running?

Definitely! While created originally as a running shoe, the NB 327’s cushioned comfort works great simply wearing around as a lifestyle sneaker or taking on long walks. No need to start jogging miles unless you want to!

In Closing

The retro-styled New Balance 327 sneaker has its roots in 70s running but has been revived with casual wearers in mind. While adequate for short road runs or very smooth trails, lack of high performance specs mean hard training miles are best tackled in premium running shoes.

But its cushioned feel and head-turning style slot the 327 in nicely for lifestyle wear, walking, or supplementary training days. Just temper expectations if your main goal is chasing new PRs or marathon distances rather than having a stylish kick.

Hopefully this guide has given you a comprehensive overview answering “are New Balance 327 good for running?” If you have any other 327-related questions, feel free to ask!

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