New Balance has been around for more than a hundred years (not kidding), which means the company has released more silhouettes than you can count—even if they weren’t always a shoe company. As opposed to other brands who name their shoes with proper nouns such as "Air Boosts" that are fairly easy to remember among a sea of other just-probably-as-easy names from the same brands, New Balance is the outlier. When talking about the NB brand, silhouettes are named by number: 990, 574, 888... the list goes on. A conversation about NB shoes might sound like two people exchanging IP addresses.
So we’re here, to the rescue once again, providing you with the quintessential primer on these numbered babies so you don’t have to get lost in the numbers like we did while coming up with this list.
The OG Pair - 990
The 990 has been iterated for the fourth time so far in its lifetime, and it isn’t for no reason. The 990v4 is arguably the frontliner for New Balance. If there were ever any four pillars for NB, the 990 should be one of them and it has lasted this long because it always combined timeless style with the brand's latest tech. As NB puts it, the 990 is for, “legends who walk their own path.” And maybe for those who actually use them for running, they're legendary. The 990 was originally desinged for running, just like its younger siblings 991 to 993, which is why this is also colloquially known as the 99x series.
The Bang For Your Buck Model - 220
It would cost you, give or take, the same retail price of a pair of Cortez’s or Stan Smith’s to rock these go-to beaters and for that price point you get to enjoy the signature New Balance arch support design. It’s a cool revival of the classic—like its counterparts we’ve mentioned, the 220 was also initially released as an athletic shoe in the '70s.
The Poster Child - 574
New Balance describes the 574 as having serious style, a shoe that utilizes a pop of color. The 574 hasy become synonymous with the brand and it's what you often see your bro-ey friends wearing with shorts or folded pants. And it’s with those reasons that the 574 is a silhouette that has evolved through the years. It's had both basic and wild colors, materials ranging from suede to mesh, and it’s even a pair that's been part of numerous collabs.
The Dad Shoe - 624
We picked these as the dad pair not because of the new trend of wild dad shoes, but because it is the dad shoe. As in your father probably rocked these and still does. He wears these to jog in the morning and doesn't change out of them for his inuman sesh with your titos. And we can’t blame him. Your dad has taste. They’re comfy as all NB pairs are: versatile and unironically stylish.
The New Kid on the Block - 274
The athleisure trend continues to surge, and these are New Balance's contenders in that style space. Expect these to be comfortable and stylish as hell, and perfect for almost all your casual outfits. They just updated the 274 with the new Tritium pack too, so you might want head over to your nearest NB seller for a close-up of those highlighter heels.