A Review Of The New Balance 2002R Sneakers

The New Balance 2002R is a very capable shoe that will transfer a feeling of confidence to you the moment you put them on. You can easily sprint at a moment's notice with them and don't have to worry about your footwear not being up to the challenge.

A Review Of The New Balance 2002R Sneakers
© Nicklaus Walter

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Running shoes are generally pretty ugly, right? I mean, yes to each their own when it comes to personal visual preferences. But by and large, running shoes have always heavily prioritized performance over fashion. The name of the game with sneakers intended for running is an emphasis on comfort, impact absorption, and being as lightweight as possible so that the shoe itself is the last thing that's holding you back from your fitness goals. Almost across the board, style and high performance are mutually exclusive aspirations when it comes to running shoes, despite numerous valiant attempts from many of the well known footwear brands.

Yet, if there's one shoe company that can tackle the incredibly difficult challenge of making a compelling offering which satisfies both requirements, it's New Balance. From the beloved 580 to the dad friendly 530, New Balance seems to have mastered technical ability while wrapping the technology in bold silhouettes that sneakerheads helplessly gravitate towards. With the release of the original 2002 model back in 2010, the Boston based company set its sights on designing a first of its kind luxury lifestyle running shoe. Something aesthetically superior that CEOs would pair with their supercars and investment timepieces. Along with a premium design however, came a price point that was out of reach for most rational consumers. Consequently, the original New Balance 2002 was discontinued shortly after it arrived.

© Nicklaus Walter

That's not the end of the story though. In 2020, New Balance reissued the shoe in the form of the 2002R. They updated its sole unit to share the same excellent one as the 860v2 model, and brought the price point down considerably in the process. After searching for the best looking running shoe I could get my hands on, I recently picked up a pair of the New Balance 2002Rs to find out what they're like up close. Let's get into the finer details, shall we?

Like all of New Balance's offerings, the 2002R feels exceptionally comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time. This shoe features the company's ABZORB technology which translates into more heal cushioning and compression resistance than I've ever experienced to date with other sneakers. Additionally, the New Balance 2002R includes the N-ergy outsole which provides advanced shock absorption. I also instantly noticed the added arch support courtesy of the shoe's Stability Web outsole. These are welcome enhancements that really do make an appreciable difference in day to day use.

© Nicklaus Walter

When compared to the 580 model that I reviewed previously, the New Balance 2002R sports an improved overall fit which is saying a lot considering how comfortable the former already is. It also features distinctly more arch support than the 580 making it clear that the 2002R is designed to take real impact from serious athletes. While the 580's sole is quite flat, the New Balance 2002R's sole is much more contoured to the human foot in what ends up feeling like the shoe is simply an extension of your body. These are legitimate performance running shoes through and through. Lastly, you can rest assured that these shoes fit true to size as well.

In terms of materials and construction, the New Balance 2002R uses a high-caliber suede and mesh upper that both feel gratifying to the touch while at the same time being more breathable than other lifestyle shoes. The attention to detail here has resulted in an exquisite fit and finish that boasts quality in every stitch. It has a sportier design that unmistakably falls into the running shoe camp but with lifestyle flavorings throughout. What I really appreciate here are all of the subtle design choices such as the "New Balance Running" logo on the tongue, the little N at the base of the shoelaces, and the striking NB insignia on the back of the shoe. Upon close inspection, it's apparent that a lot of thought has gone into the New Balance 2002R's appearance. Everything looks just right and feels quite premium.

I'd be more than happy to discuss the cons of the New Balance 2002R, but to be honest there's not really much to complain about here. Frankly speaking, this is a near flawless shoe. If anything, you might find that the suede upper doesn't do particularly well when it gets wet or is exposed to dirty and dusty environments. Perhaps it isn't the easiest shoe to clean either, but with some care it isn't hard to keep them looking their best over the longterm. If ever in doubt, just wear them on dry days and in well maintained surroundings.

© Nicklaus Walter

This the first truly stylish running shoe that I've come across with a sharp focus on technology that supports and protects your feet from the wear and tear of intense physical activity. The styling won't be to everyone's taste, but if you appreciate the look of these then they're a must have in your shoe collection. There's no shortage of colorways and special editions of the New Balance 2002R as well. From a water resistant Gore-Tex model to the exclusive and brilliant Salehe Bembury collaborations, these shoes come in a variety of colors and materials to compliment your character.

The New Balance 2002R is a very capable shoe that will transfer a feeling of confidence to you the moment you put them on. You can easily sprint at a moment's notice with them and don't have to worry about your footwear not being up to the challenge. Wear them for walking, running, or any job where you'll be on your feet all day and they won't let you down. Given that the New Balance 2002R is much more affordable than the original model, it's now a luxury lifestyle shoe for the masses. And I think you'll agree that great style and utility should be attainable for everyone.