New Balance 520 Vs 680: Which Is Better For You?

Are you new to New Balance shoes, and it is hard to decide between 520 and 680? Well! Both models are highly performing, but these are different in many aspects, which will be discussed in this article. 

Both models are also different for running as well as lifestyle needs. To help you decide more easily between the two models, I will show you some differences and comparisons. 

Comparison Table Between New Balance 520 and 680:

PropertiesNew Balance 520New Balance 680
FeaturesVersatile and coolSustainable and minimalist
TerrainRoads, sidewalks and trailsPaved roads and wet, dry and flat surfaces
SupportNeutralFlexible support
Forefoot stack height22 mm24 mm
MidsoleFresh foam and EVAFresh foam, acteva and abzorb
Upper soleLeather, mesh and suedeEngineered mesh and synthetic
CushioningAmple cushioningHigh-quality cushioning
SpeedModerate and fastSlow
WorkoutWalking, running short distances, training and everyday useRunning on short to medium distances, cross training, gym activities and regular running

New Balance 520 Vs. 680: Good, Bad and The Worst:

To know more about both models in detail, dive into this section because I have covered everything you need to know:

1) Comfort

New Balance 520 shoes have a no-sew two, layered mesh upper with breathable and perforated features, as well as a soft inner lining that keeps the shoes comfortable. Due to the flexibility of the upper, these shoes allow the feet to move naturally and comfortably while running or performing other activities.

Due to the incorporation of EVA along with Fresh Foam X, the shoes are not only cushioned and softer while these also enhance responsiveness and balance stiffness.  

With low heel drop and stack height, the shoes ensure enough contact with the ground and provide plenty of cushioning while running and walking to the short distance at medium speeds.

The cushioned insole of 520 shoes makes them comfortable as well as supportive, minimizing the risk of discomfort and injury to feet. 

New Balance 680 is made with a 90% engineered mesh foam upper that offers a ventilated room with enough fresh air to pass across the shoes and keep your feet refreshing all day.

The ventilation on the toe box and lateral sides are placed strategically to enhance coolness and keep feet dry and locked during the running and walking experience. 

With 3D printed overlays on the upper, the shoes offer enough support and the padded collar offers cushioning even during long or small runs. 


New Balance 680 is famous for its cushioning and stability, making it an ideal choice for all level runners, especially for those who need enough support while running short distances to avoid injuries and overpronation. The shoes have earned almost a 4.7 customer rating and a 4.5 Instagram rating. 

New Balance 520 are versatile shoes that are highly famous among runners, walkers and casual wearers. Due to enough comfort and support, the shoes have earned fame among customers with a rating of almost 4.6 while an Instagram rating of 520 is 4.3.

3) Running 

Both 520 and 680 shoes have a less strong sole that may not offer enough support and impact absorbance due to running, so they are not an ideal option for long-distance and high-speed running.

New Balance 520 V8 TOP VIEW
NB 520 v8 TOP VIEW

New Balance 680 V7 TOP VIEW
NB 680 v7 TOP VIEW

However, if you consider shoes for small and normal runs with better support, then 680 is the better option because it minimizes the risk of injuries and overpronation. 

4) Walking

For walking purposes, both models are perfect because of their cushioned soles that enhance comfort at each step and never let your feet feel tired even after a long day. However, the versatility of 520 makes it perfect for feet and allows you to walk and stand for a long time. 

5) Flat feet

New Balance has many shoes especially designed with enough cushioning and support that make flat feet feel refreshed and relaxed even after a long day. 

However, when we talk about 520 and 680, both shoes don’t offer enough arch support that better resonates with flat feet needs. So it is always better to find another pair of shoes for flat feet. 

6) Design

New Balance 520 are stylish as well as versatile shoes with a sleek and modern look and wide availability of colors that attract the attention of many people who want to elevate their style as well as perform better. 

Due to versatility, the shoes are perfect for athletic activities and casual wear, so whether you have to go to the gym or for any outing, 520 is for you. 

Due to the mesh upper, 520 shoes enhance breathability and ventilation across your feet and keep them cool and dry and minimize the risk of bad odour production.

Plus, the lace closure makes the shoes secure and fit to avoid any injury or discomfort during wear. However, the padded collar and tongue make the shoes cushioned and supportive around the ankles, as well as minimize friction and irritation. 

The New Balance 680 has a sleek and dynamic design that is a better fusion of form and performance. With mesh upper and supportive 3D printed overlays, the shoes ensure comfort and a secure fit. However, overlays protect the mesh upper from scratches during activities. 

The integration of ABZORB technology in the heel and forefoot not only keeps your feet cushioned but minimizes the risk of shock. 

With EVA-injected midsole, the shoes are lightweight and offer an underfoot cushioned and smooth ride. Plus, the ACTEVA used in the midsole offers enough cushioning and flexibility to wide feet. 

However, the blown rubber constructed outsole with a multi-directional tread pattern makes the shoes reliable and enhances traction on different surfaces, either wet or dry. 

Other than this, the wide lugs around the midfoot are also beneficial for enhanced traction. The decoupled heel drop makes the shoes softer during runs. 

At each 680 shoes, an “N” logo is present with the commitment to authenticity and performance that make shoes perfect for athletes and fitness lovers.

What do customers think?

New Balance 520: Viewers consider these shoes as super comfortable and fresh because of the rubber outsole, which feels like a gentle embrace for their feet while running, walking and morning jogs.

However, few people consider the aesthetic of shoes an attractive thing that makes them versatile for activities and casual wear and says that New Balance keeps the balance between the appeal and functioning of shoes. 

On the side, people say though shoes are machine washable, they lose longevity after many washes and need maintenance, and the laces need enough tweaks during long runs. 

For size, people consider 520 a little snug at the toe, which makes them perfect for walking but not for long runs and increases the need for orthotics. However, people with heel spurs consider the 520 an ideal shoe. 

New Balance 680: People with plantar fasciitis and Achilles Tendinitis consider these shoes supportive and comfortable at a reasonable price.

Most viewers like the light and airy feel of 680 shoes as well as the shock absorption feature, comfort and extra width. However, the snug fit makes them super for daily and weekly walks. 

The shoes are better for running with low stack height that keeps them rolling forward and balancing firmness and cushioning, as well as providing a bouncy feel on fast and medium runs. However, some people consider these shoes less stable. 

With enough arch support and less sweat production, the shoes feel comfortable and dry, which allows you to wear them for many hours. 

Conclusion: Which Is Better?

It is concluded that NB 520 offers enough support and a snug fit that makes them perfect for neutral runners to wear on all types of surfaces. Plus, less need for maintenance for 520 makes them an ideal choice. 

Other than this, the amazing features and casual design can overcome the needs of many people who want to elevate their style. 

While NB 680 shoes are available in stylish design and are perfect for runners who have just started their running journey. 

Which shoe fits you perfectly and comfortably and appeals to your style must be your choice. 

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