New Balance vs Skechers: Which Is Better?

As someone who loves comfortable shoes that also look stylish, I often find myself debating between New Balance and Skechers when shoe shopping. Both brands offer quality footwear with great features, but they also have some key differences.

In this article, we’ll compare New Balance and Skechers across factors like comfort, performance, style, target audience, and more. Whether you’re looking for running shoes or casual sneakers, read on to help decide if New Balance or Skechers is a better fit for your needs and preferences.

Comparison Table

CategoryNew BalanceSkechers
Founded In19061992
Comfort and FitExceptional comfort and support, wide range of sizes and widthsRenowned for plush cushioning and comfort technologies like Memory Foam
Color OptionsWide range of color optionsVaried color selections
DurabilityDurable, well-constructed shoesFairly durable, quality materials
PerformanceMade for athletes, performance featuresPerformance line for athletic shoes, other lines more lifestyle-focused
Design and StyleClassic and sporty stylesTrendy and stylish designs
PopularityEstablished brand, less buzz than trendier brandsGained immense popularity in the 90s, still fairly popular
Best Selling Model880v11Skechers Go Walk

New Balance Overview

Founded in 1906 by William J. Riley, New Balance began by making arch supports and prescription shoes for people with foot issues.

Based in Boston, the brand gained popularity for technical innovations like ripple soles and heel counters to stabilize and customize fit.

While New Balance makes athletic shoes across sports, they remain deeply rooted in running due to their origins in correcting overpronated feet.

Core neutral shoes like the 880 use injected EVA midsoles for soft landings and Ortholite insoles for support.

Iconic models like the 990 integrate dual-density midsoles and Abzorb foams to combine cushioning with compression resistance for smooth transitions.

New Balance leans into retros styles while also incorporating new 3D printed midsoles and engineered mesh uppers. With masterful attention to fit adjustments for all foot shapes and biomechanical needs, New Balance delivers versatile performance and classic appeal across running categories.

Skechers Overview

Founded in Manhattan Beach, California in 1992 by Robert Greenberg, Skechers has grown into a leading global footwear brand.

Robert Greenberg

Skechers designs comfortable, supportive, and stylish shoes for walking, running, training, and casual wear.

They incorporate innovations like high-rebound cushioning, Memory Foam insoles, Relaxed Fit designs and slip-resistant outsoles to provide versatility across active lifestyles.

Their Pressure Map technology uses real-time testing data to optimize comfort and support.

Skechers offers on-trend athletic and casual looks in various colors to appeal to diverse tastes. With affordably priced options for men and women, Skechers remains popular for their wear-anywhere comfort and style.

Their lightweight GOwalk shoes are a top choice for all-day wear. For athletic performance with mainstream appeal, Skechers delivers.

Major Differences between these Brands

Comfort and Fit

Both New Balance and Skechers are known for comfort. However, New Balance tends to offer better arch support and stability features. Their shoes cater to narrower and wider foot types with multiple width options.

Skechers provides amazing cushioning but their standard shoes are more suited for average/medium foot widths. For those needing pronation control, New Balance would be the better choice. However, Skechers neutral cushioned shoes may provide plush comfort out of the box to some wearers.

Durability and Performance

When it comes to durability and performance, New Balance edges out Skechers as its shoes are built for athletic activities like running and training. The outsoles, midsoles, and materials are designed to be long-lasting and provide proper support through repetitive motions.

Skechers lifestyle and casual designs are decently durable for daily wear but lack the performance focus that New Balance integrates into shoes meant for fitness. The New Balance Performance line utilizes foams, traction patterns, stability elements, and breathability where needed for the intended sport or training. Skechers performance line does have athletic shoes but their other styles may not withstand high intensity training.


New Balance shoes are typically priced a bit higher than Skechers. Their average prices range from $100 – $200 for running shoes and $75 – $160 for walking and training shoes. However, New Balance also offers sale prices quite frequently.

While Skechers has shoes from $50 – $150, their average list prices are lower than New Balance. This can make them more budget-friendly for some consumers who want comfortable everyday shoes without the premium price tags.

However, others may view New Balance as offering better value for the quality, technology, and performance engineering that goes into their shoes vs. the lower prices of Skechers.

It depends on the individual’s needs and whether they will utilize technical features that warrant a higher price tag from a brand like New Balance. For those wanting just casual comfort, Skechers is likely the more affordable pick.

Design and Style

Skechers shoes have a much trendier, stylish aesthetic compared to New Balance’s classic sporty look. For those wanting shoes that make a fashion statement, Skechers has many sleek and chunky styles in keeping with current trends.

New Balance sticks to heritage designs like their 574 and 993 models. Their colors and material combos provide style options, but the overall look remains retro. Skechers also experiments with more daring looks, like platform soles and iridescent fabrics, rather than New Balance’s traditional approach.

When it comes to collaborations with fashion designers, Skechers has partnered with brands like Missoni and Mark Nason. New Balance collabs tend to stay more in the realm of athleisure. So those wanting shoes to enhance their outfit have more versatility and options with Skechers than New Balance.


While New Balance has maintained steady popularity as an athletic brand, Skechers exploded into the casual footwear scene in the 1990s and gained devoted fans with its chunky sneaker styles. The popularity of their D’Lites shoes helped its rise.

However, New Balance also has an established following that has stayed loyal over decades. Both brands are staples in the footwear world but Skechers likely draws more attention from fashion-focused consumers.

New Balance maintains a niche as a heritage athletic brand. In terms of brand awareness and buzz, Skechers may edge out New Balance. But New Balance has carved its place as a go-to for athletic performance shoes.

It comes down to the target consumer – those wanting athletic footwear may gravitate towards New Balance while casual wearers who want style and comfort may prefer Skechers.

Target Market

The target market differs quite a bit between New Balance and Skechers. New Balance focuses on athletes from weekend warriors to professional runners and training enthusiasts. Their shoes cater to those wanting comfort, support, and durability for fitness pursuits.

Skechers has a broader target market encompassing everyone from pre-teens to working professionals. Their vast selection aims to meet the needs of those simply wanting laidback comfort or trendy statement styles for everyday wear. Skechers flexible comfort appeals to a wider demographic.

New Balance still covers the spectrum with lifestyle shoes but directs most marketing and designs towards serious athletes or devoted sports fashion fans rather than the average consumer. The ideal New Balance customer has specific performance needs for their shoes, while Skechers customers simply want versatile comfort for daily life.

Performance Comparison

For Nurses:

For nurses who are on their feet all day, Skechers may be the better option for comfort. The plush cushioning and support of shoes like the Skechers Premium Nursing Shoes can alleviate foot pain and fatigue.

For those needing a slip-resistant option, New Balance offers the slip-resistant Fresh Foam Cruz V2 for medical professionals. However, the ultra-cushioned insoles and breathable mesh upper of Skechers nursing shoes make long hospital shifts more bearable. New Balance wins for athletic performance but Skechers takes the lead for workplace comfort.

For Walking:

For walking shoes, New Balance provides better stability and motion control which can enhance comfort and support during long walks. Shoes like the New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 utilize FuelCell midsole cushioning and a stability post to guide foot motion.

Skechers GOwalk shoes focus more on lightweight flexibility and Responsible Cushioning for impact absorption. Those needing more control of overpronation may benefit from New Balance walking shoes over Skechers more neutral options. However, Skechers wins for those seeking supreme softness straight out of the box without any break-in period.

For Running:

New Balance running shoes are designed with athletic performance in mind. Technologies like FuelCell, Fresh Foam, and Abzorb in models such as the Fresh Foam More v3 provide energy return, shock absorption, and a natural running gait cycle.

They excel at meeting the technical needs of runners of all levels. Skechers running shoes are cushioned but lack specialized features for pronation control and gait efficiency.

For marathon training or trail running, New Balance has footwear built to log miles and enhance speed. Skechers D’Lites and other fashion sneakers aren’t suitable for serious running. For serious runners or those training for races, New Balance is the clear winner.

For Flat Feet:

For flat feet that overpronate severely, New Balance running shoes and motion control walking shoes provide the best support. Models like the New Balance Fresh Foam 1365v2 have a firm medial post and calf stabilizer to prevent excessive rolling inward.

Skechers walking shoes and slip-resistant work shoes for flat feet have decent shock absorption but less control of pronation. Those with flat feet need solid arch support and stability which New Balance provides through dual density foam midsoles and posts.

Skechers Neutral cushioned options will likely feel more comfortable at first but won’t address overpronation. New Balance takes the lead for promoting foot health for flat feet in the long run.

For Back Pain:

With technology like Encap for support and Hex and Gel Cushioning for shock absorption in shoes like the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5, New Balance can provide back pain relief and comfort for long hours on your feet.

Skechers massage footbeds feel great but may lack thestructure and stability needed for all day back support. For those with specific needs like heel pain or plantar fasciitis, New Balance footwear offers customizable orthotics to address problem areas.

Skechers lightweight flexibility allows natural foot movement which some may prefer for back pain, but New Balance builds shoes tailored for support which is key for back and joint issues.

For Standing All Day:

Cushioning and arch support are vital for standing all day, making Skechers work shoes like the Skechers Work Sure Track Erath the winning choice to combat fatigue. The Skechers Ultra Flex composite toe style also delivers plush comfort and slip resistance safe for industrial workplaces.

New Balance makes quality shoes but their work footwear styles lag behind Skechers selection designed for jobs requiring hours of standing. The thick outsoles and air-cooled insoles of Skechers work shoes keep workers at ease through long shifts on cement floors. Those needing comfort for jobs from waiting tables to stocking warehouses will appreciate the continual comfort Skechers provides.

For High Arches:

Those with high arches require adequate cushioning and support to prevent foot pain and strain. New Balance shoes better accommodate high arches through use of a medial post or higher density foam on the instep to prevent excessive inward rolling.

Skechers neutral cushioned shoes provide pillowy softness but lack targeted arch support. People with high arches need stability and structure New Balance builds into shoes like the Vongo v5 and FuelCell Propel v2 by design.

Skechers you may need to add your own custom orthotic insert whereas New Balance shoes give built-in arch support making them the better pick if you have high arches.

For Hiking:

For hiking terrain, New Balance hiking boots and trail running shoes outshine Skechers. The grippy aggressive outsoles and stability features helpprevent slipping and ankle rolling on uneven ground. Models like the New Balance Summit Unknown use Vibram soles for exceptional traction.

Skechers doesn’t make technical hiking footwear. While Skechers walking shoes work great for city paths, only New Balance has footwear designed to take on more rugged wilderness adventures. Stability, traction, and durability make New Balance the clear choice for hikers needing performance and protection out on the trails.

For Plantar Fasciitis:

Due to advanced cushioning and arch support, New Balance shoes can aid in relieving plantar fasciitis pain. Fresh Foam styles provide soft heel cushioning while medial posts prevent overpronation that worsens inflammation.

While Skechers massage footbeds feel great, they lack the structured arch support needed for plantar fasciitis. Proper balance between flexibility and support in New Balance shoes like the Made in US 990v5 can help reduce heel and arch discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis.

Skechers prioritizes lightweight flexibility which may not address the root cause. For this foot condition, New Balance takes the lead in providing pain relief.

Final Verdict

In the battle of New Balance versus Skechers, there is no single clear winner. Each brand has strengths ideal for different groups and needs. For athletic performance, foot support and technical features, New Balance comes out on top.

But Skechers takes the title for ultra-cushioned pure comfort and on-trend style. New Balance accommodates problem feet better while Skechers has wider appeal. Whichever you choose, both brands make quality shoes with noticeably different focuses. Analyze your priorities to pick which brand’s offerings are the ideal match for you!

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