Karhu Vs New Balance: Which Is Better For You?

Everyone wants a pair of shoes that cater for all needs and preferences, so finding the right brand is a demanding task to maintain overall comfort and well-being. 

Karhu and New Balance focus on the quality, colors and durability of all products as well as the latest trends that excel in each season and time. 

Let’s dive into more details of both brands. 

Comparison Table Between Karhu and New Balance:

KarhuNew Balance
Minimalist and sleekRobust and supportive
Eco-friendly Sustainable
Sneakers, running shoes, training shoes and lifestyle shoes Casual, sportswear and athletic shoes
Suitable for running, training and casual wear Good for everyday wear, running, walking and training
Run slightly smallTrue to size
Limited arch support Offer more arch support due to the use of Rollbar technology
Don’t have much widthAvailable in more widths
Lightweight Slightly heavy-weight
More breathable Less breathable
Expensive Slightly affordable but some models are costly 
3-years warranty 6-month NDurance rubber outsole limited warranty

Overview of Karhu:

In 1916, the most notorious Finnish sports equipment company was established as “Oy Urheilutarpeita” in Finland which was then named as Karhu (meaning bear) in 1920. 

Karhu’s product lines not only revolve around jackets, t-shirts and other sportswear while the brand also produces sneakers, running shoes and track spikes

Karhu vended “Three Strips” trademark to Adidas in 1952. While after the 1960s, the brand started using the “M logo” on all products. Then in 2008, Karhu was shifted to investors of “Karhu Holding B.V.”

In 1920, Karhu was featured in the Antwerp Olympic Games because Finnish athletes were seen using Karhu Javelins. After four years in 1924, Paavo Normi was seen wearing white Karhu running spikes and won five gold medals in the Summer Olympics. 

Karhu has manufactured a shoe, “Trampas”, with two versions, such as for trainers and casual wear, which was worn by Arthur Lydiard, who called them “the top training shoe around the world.”

In 1980, Karhu collaborated with the University of Jyväskylä for the incorporation of “Fulcrum Technology”, which is now used in all running shoes and the strong model was awarded as “Top Debut” by Runner Word Magazine.

Karhu has also partnered with Fleet Feet to use the data of the 3D foot scans to manufacture shoes with custom-like fit. 

With so many footwear products offered by Karhu, the best-selling product of this time is “Karhu Fusion 2.0” because of its dynamic texture and the fusion of legacy plus modernism along with its unmistakable look and incorporation of Fulcrum technology. 

Overview of New Balance:

In 1906, New Balance Arch Support multinational Company was founded by William J. Riley in Boston. 


William was inspired by how chickens balanced their body on three divided feet, so he decided to manufacture his first footwear product called “flexible arch support” with three support points to enhance the balance and comfort of shoes. 

The brand is different from other brands because of the adaptation of technical features such as a heel counter, a wide range of sizes and a blended gel insert, which make New Balance shoes slightly more expensive than other companies. 

New Balance sponsors sports teams, leagues, New York Road Runners, the Basketball Association and the Boston Red Sox. Besides, the company has collaborated with Aimé Dore, Norse Projects, NBA star Leonard and Paul Smith.

Regardless of many other world-renowned brands such as Adidas and Nike, New Balance kept itself as the best brand that has been working for almost 100 years in the manufacturing of quality and exceptional sneakers and shoes with utmost comfort for athletes.  

New Balance manufactured the globe’s first running shoe with a ragged sole named Trackster in various widths and styles. Mostly, New Balance used the term ‘Dad shoe” to describe highly performing models. 

New Balance mainly manufactures shoes in the US, while some famous models, such as 990, are manufactured in the UK. Some other countries where these shoes are manufactured:

  • Vietnam
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • China
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia

New Balance has introduced many sneakers and shoes that are famous among many customers but the best seller product is the New Balance 990V5 Core with classic outlines and premium leather that make shoes ideal for an active lifestyle because they offer cushioning and support. 

Differences Between The Brands

Whether Karhu or New Balance both offer products with almost similar categories, but these are slightly different in some aspects, such as:

1) Comfort

With the use of Fulcrum technology and Finnish craftsmanship, Karhu shoes feel like walking in a cloud kissed forest and let your feet feel a warm embrace in the cocoon of the forest, which makes them the best choice for athletes as well as casual wearers

The soft and cushioned midsole keeps the feet supportive and comfortable while absorbing shock and reducing impact in the long run. 

The use of a Fulcrum minimizes vertical swinging and balance side movement to ensure smooth running with balanced cushioning and enhanced support.

With the lacing system and padded collars, Karhu shoes provide a customized and snug fit according to foot shape and let your feet feel comfortable. 

New Balance brings harmony between support and softness among all shoes and lets your feet feel a cloud-like experience because of the use of Fresh foam that not only enhances plushness but also balances responsiveness. 

With the engineered mesh, Fuel Cell and other innovative technologies, these shoes keep your feet ventilated, support each movement and ensure performance. 

Diabetic patients are commonly curious to know which brand is better for them, so New Balance is the right option because it offers the proper comfort that a diabetic person needs in their footwear. 

2) Flat Feet:

People with flat feet need proper arch support, comfort and stability. In that case, New Balance earned the winning title because these shoes offer support to arches and heels along with roomy toe boxes to reduce friction and risks of bunions. 

Some New Balance shoes perfect for flat feet are:

  • New Balance 990 series
  • New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
  • New Balance 860

On the other hand, Karhu shoes offer limited arch support, which may not be the perfect choice for people with flat feet or who need enough support. 

3) Popularity

With proper arch support and high-quality construction along with comfort, New Balance shoes are popular among marathon runners, athletes and fashion enthusiasts. 

Karhu shoes are elegant and equipped with authentic craftsmanship and legacy, which make them popular among users who understand the importance of heritage. People who love to flow with the fashion trends also like Karhu shoes because of their enduring appeal. 

4) Target Market

Karhu targets users who value legacy, artistry and a strong connection to nature, fashion enthusiasts who prefer understated elegance and those who want quality shoes

In contrast, New Balance targets a diverse athletic market, fashion lovers and comfort seekers. Whether you are a dedicated runner or streetwear fan, this brand is for you because it can overcome the needs of all ages, genders and communities. 

5) Price

Karhu shoes are available for around $150-$170 while New Balance shoes have an average price of $100 while some models can go upto $200. 

6) Design

Karhu shoes reflect Finnish heritage with vibrant and bold colors and patterns that evoke the beauty of Finland’s Landscape. With intricate detailing and innovative features, these shoes enhance your style while wearing.

The use of breathable materials in the upper along with padded collars and a lacing system, makes shoes feel comfortable and ventilated even during long day wear or long-distance runs. 

The Fulcrum technologies used in midsoles not only enhance comfort while pamper the feet with support and a plush feel. 

Crafted with precision, Karhu rubber outsole can tackle your feet on all types of terrains whether you have to move around the street or forest trails. 

In comparison, New Balance shoes show the fusion of classic elements with modern designs along with bold colors and understated looks, which can overcome the needs of a diverse community.

Similar to Karhu, New Balance shoes also use engineered mesh uppers with detailed designs that not only enhance luxury but also keep feet comfortable and dry.

With the use of Fresh Foam and Fuel Cell technologies in the midsole, the shoes ensure responsiveness and plushness at every step you take. 

The rubber outsole with perfect engineering enhances durability and traction and allows the wearer to walk with confidence on different surfaces. 

Customer Reviews:

No comparison between brands can be completed without discussing customer reviews. So, this section is mainly designed for all of you who are still worried about which brand to go for the next adventure. 

New Balance: Most people love comfort, which is true, as the brand says, walking on the clouds along with the spacious toe box and wide fits for all sizes of feet. (Amazon)

Users are also happy with the support and lightweight feel of the shoes, which can make them a perfect choice for running as well as casual wear. (Amazon)

I have seen some reviews on https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/newbalance.com which indicated that people are happy with the durability and comfort of New Balance shoes, but at the same time, some customers gave negative feedback related to size and other factors as well. 

Karhu: According to customers’ reviews from Amazon, I have concluded that Karhu shoes are highly supportive with slightly small sizes such as Karhu Ikonis. However, at the same time, these shoes have a wide toe box and narrow heel, which may fit perfectly for many users. 

Karhu Fusion 2.0 is also comfortable with perfect length at the toe. For more information regarding the size of this product, you can visit https://www.theretroinsider.com/blog/how-does-the-karhu-fusion-2-fit-and-size-guide

However, Reddit rated Karhu as modernized shoes with enough performance, and now the brand is trying to improve its footprint. On Reddit, customers also said that some models are small while most of Karhu’s models run true to size. To learn more about customer reviews at Reddit, visit https://www.reddit.com/r/Sneakers/comments/j5epqm/how_is_the_quality_and_comfort_of_karhu_sneakers/.

Conclusion: Which Is Better For You?

Well! It’s the end of the discussion, and I came to know many new aspects of both brands, which I also have shared with you. Now it is up to you which brand you prefer but I always suggest trying both brands to decide on the right partner

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