Our verdict

Strut the streets in comfort and style with the New Balance 327. Inspired by several running shoes, this model is a standout for us because of its classic yet contemporary vibe. We adore its lasting comfort and superb ventilation, which make the featured kick such a brilliant summer shoe. Its grip is one for the books, too.

Pros

  • Fashionably sporty
  • Well-cushioned
  • Stable and planted platform
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Above average breathability
  • Superb grip
  • Suitable for driving
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Relatively stiff
  • Fits a little tight
  • Not suitable for wide feet

Audience verdict

88
Good!
  • Top 8% most popular sneakers

Who should buy

We recommend the New Balance 327 as a great choice for:

  • Sneakerheads who enjoy vintage sneakers with a modern twist
  • Those who prioritize excellent traction from their sneakers
  • Anyone in the market for a lightweight and sporty shoe for casual use
  • Those hunting for a breathable summer shoe that’s easy on the wallet
  • Frequent drivers and car enthusiasts in need of a shoe that facilitates smooth movement between pedals

Who should NOT buy

The 327 is a snug fit and certainly isn’t roomy enough for those with broad feet. We recommend looking into the NB 574 as a more accommodating option.

The rather dense EVA midsole means that the 327 is significantly stiffer than the average sneaker. For those who prefer a more flexible kick, check out the NB 480 instead.

New Balance 327 hbrwhjrv

Breathability

We pumped the 327 full of smoke to get an idea of how well-ventilated it is. As we can clearly see from the footage, smoke is able to escape the shoe quickly and relatively evenly throughout. This performance earns the 327 an above-average breathability score of 4 out of 5, thus making the shoe a good choice for those toasty summer days. 

For comparison, check out how the Reebok Classic Leather chokes up the smoke; making it more of a foot sauna than a sneaker.

To illuminate matters further, we inspected a backlit cross-section of the 327 and found that the light easily shines through the many perforations in the upper’s porous mesh sections. 

Looking at a closeup image of the 327’s upper mesh under our microscope reveals it to be made of very thin fibers interwoven and braided with lots of gaps and holes that promote excellent airflow through the shoe.

New Balance 327 hrejam

New Balance 327 Breathability
Test results
327 4
Average 2.9
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

Using our blowtorch, we burned the 327’s overlays and found them to be genuine suede. We can tell by how the material merely gets scorched rather than melting or catching fire as a synthetic material would. 

Test results
327 Real suede

Toebox durability

To test the durability of the 327’s toebox, we fired up our Dremel to 5K RPM and applied the grinding element to the shoe with 3.2N of force. This has an immediate effect that sends shreds of suede flying all over. 

Despite the four-second test being visually dramatic, we found that we hadn’t inflicted as much damage as anticipated, with only an unsightly indent left in the aftermath. This leads us to give the 327 a respectable 3 out of 5 for toebox durability and to predict that it should last 500 miles of normal use with no issues.

New Balance 327 Toebox durability
Test results
327 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Next to face the Dremel is the 327’s generously padded heel counter. While the test isn’t as visually exciting as the last, the tool’s grinding element was quick to blast through the lining material and feat upon the soft padding below. 

It’s difficult to see from the aftermath photo, but our tool really did a number on the 327’s heel counter during the four-second test. The hole it left is quite pronounced and gaping enough to fit our finger, leading us to give it a less-than-stellar 1 out of 5 for heel padding durability. As such, we don’t recommend going sockless in this shoe as the constant friction of sweaty heels will likely take a toll on its integrity after some time.

New Balance 327 Heel padding durability
Test results
327 1
Average 3.4
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Using our durometer to test the hardness of the 327’s outsole reveals it to be right within the average range and 85.5 HC. This level of hardness usually denotes a healthy mix of grip and durability. 

New Balance 327 Outsole hardness
Test results
327 85.5 HC
Average 85.2 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.5 HC

Outsole durability

For the third and final appearance of our Dremel, we take aim at the 327’s prominent outsole. This time spinning at 10K RPM, we apply the tool’s grinding element to one of the mini-lugs that dot the outsole. While a fair amount of debris is kicked up, the Dremel doesn’t seem to have much effect throughout the twenty-second test. 

Using a tire tread gauge to assess the damage, we found that only 0.84 mm of rubber had been shorn off the outsole. This is less than the average sneaker loses in this same test and leads us to predict that the 327 should easily last 500 miles before showing any major signs of wear and tear.

New Balance 327 Outsole durability
Test results
327 0.8 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The 327’s outsole is right on par with our current lab average at 5.7 mm thick according to our caliper measurements. This gives us no cause for concern as our previous test demonstrates that the outsole is hardy enough to withstand extreme wear and tear with ease. 

New Balance 327 Outsole thickness
Test results
327 5.7 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
12.5 mm

Weight

Despite the substantial amount of rubber found on the shoe, the 327 is surprisingly lightweight; tipping the scale at only 10.6 oz (301g).

New Balance 327 eq btef

This is much lighter than the average sneaker and means that the 327 never felt cumbersome as we tested the shoe, even when walking around for extended periods.

Test results
327 10.62 oz (301g)
Average 14.22 oz (403g)
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Using our caliper, we measured the 327’s stack to be 35 mm thick at the heel.

New Balance 327 Heel stack

This is higher than average and means that we have plenty of foam underfoot to enjoy well-cushioned landings in this shoe. 

New Balance 327 Heel stack 2
Test results
327 35.0 mm
Average 30.0 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
50.5 mm

Forefoot stack

Moving up to the forefoot, we found the 327’s stack to be 25 mm thick according to our caliper measurements. This is quite chunky compared to the average and rivals the heel stack of some sneakers. As a result, we felt extremely protected and comfortable as we walked around in the 327 which keeps our feet high above any hazards below. 

New Balance 327 fore

For those who prefer low-profile shoes that offer more ground feel, we recommend looking into the Adidas Gazelle instead.

New Balance 327 Forefoot stack
Test results
327 25.0 mm
Average 18.9 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

The difference in our stack measurements leaves us with a heel drop of 10 mm, which is only slightly shorter than average. This feels pretty balanced and should feel fine for most people as many of us are used to wearing shoes with elevated heels. 

New Balance 327 drop

On the other hand, for those whose preference lies with feeling more parallel to the ground, we recommend checking out Altra and their wide range of zero-drop shoes.

Test results
327 10.0 mm
Average 11.1 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
6.7 mm
Drop
22.6 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Pressing our durometer against the 327’s EVA midsole yields a reading of 26.6 HA.

New Balance 327 vrjr

This is certainly on the firmer side when it comes to midsoles, but the shoe’s high stack allows us to really sink into the foam upon landing. This increases our sense of perceived cushioning, making the shoe feel softer in reality than the durometer leads us to believe.

Test results
327 26.6 HA
Average 29.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 43 sneakers
Number of shoes
15.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
60.0 HA

Insole thickness

The 327’s insole is slimmer than average at only 4.4 m thick. However, we still found the interior of the shoe to be padded enough to complement the shoe’s midsole cushioning. 

New Balance 327 Insole thickness
Test results
327 4.4 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
14.2 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

Coming from a brand known for shoes with excellent arch support,  it’s no surprise that the 327 feels exceptionally stable and well-planted underfoot.

Torsional rigidity

One key way that the 327 maintains such a stable base is through a high level of torsional rigidity, which we scored 4 out of 5 on our subjective scale after our manual assessment. As such, the shoe is able to mitigate any excessive lateral movements that lead to instability. This is also helpful for those with overpronating strides. 

Test results
327 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Squeezing and prodding at the 327’s heel counter reveals it to be moderately stiff, earning a middle-of-the-road score of 3 out of 5 on our subjective scale. This level of stiffness means that we were able to achieve a snug lockdown without the heel collar putting too much pressure on our tendons or restricting the natural movement of our foot. 

Test results
327 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The biggest contributor to how stable the 327 feels underfoot is its behemoth of a platform that measures 119.5 mm wide at the forefoot. This is much wider than average and goes far to explain how well-planted we feel in this shoe. 

New Balance 327 jkvjkrv

Furthermore, this wide midsole in combination with the rather snug toebox (which will be discussed below) serves to really lock us in place within the shoe, which feels more like an extension of our foot. This makes the 327 feel exceptionally stable yet agile underfoot.

Test results
327 119.5 mm
Average 108.9 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The 327’s midsole is similarly robust at the heel, measuring 90.6 mm wide according to our caliper. This is much wider than our current lab average for sneakers. 

New Balance 327 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
327 90.6 mm
Average 83.3 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

The dense slab of EVA midsole foam means that the shoe is significantly stiffer than average. We confirmed this with our stiffness test where the 327 required 26.7N of force to bend the shoe to 90 degrees. 

As such, the 327 is quite rigid and resists the natural bending of our foot which, on the one hand, adds to how stable and supportive the shoe feels, while on the other sacrificing a certain amount of comfort.

New Balance 327 Stiffness
Test results
327 26.7N
Average 24.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
5.8N
Stiffness
60.5N

Grip / Traction

The highlight feature of this shoe is certainly its prominent outsole which extends into a flashy triangle at the rear of the shoe. The many circular “lugs” that dot the outsole provide us with excellent traction over a variety of surfaces. Their configuration also means that this shoe is well-suited for park days as we were still able to get good traction on damp grass. 

New Balance 327 grip

What’s more, the way the outsole extends up the contour at the rearfoot feels great as we rest our heel against the floor while driving and facilitates switching between pedals seamlessly.

New Balance 327 grip 2

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Using our caliper, we measured the 327’s toebox to be 94 mm wide at its widest point. This falls short of our current lab average and means that the 327 is better suited to those with narrow to normal-width feet looking for a snug and agile fit. 

New Balance 327 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
327 94.0 mm
Average 99.1 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
91.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The 327’s toebox tapers to 73.3 mm wide in the area around the big toe. This is also narrower than average and gives us very little room for toe splay. As such, this shoe isn’t a great option for those with broad feet who are likely to feel too constricted by the 327 and should consider its roomier cousin, the NB 574

New Balance 327 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
327 73.3 mm
Average 74.9 mm
Compared to 52 sneakers
Number of shoes
63.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
83.0 mm

Tongue: gusset type

While the 327’s tongue is non-gusseted, the central lace-loop helps to prevent it from slipping off to the side. 

New Balance 327 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
327 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

At only 2 mm thick according to our caliper measurements, the 327’s tongue is much thinner than average.

New Balance 327 Tongue padding

Despite this, we were able to achieve a snug and secure lockdown without the laces feeling too apparent across our instep. 

New Balance 327 Tongue padding 2
Test results
327 2.0 mm
Average 9.1 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Removable insole

The 327’s insole is fully removable, so those in need of custom orthotics can use them with this shoe. 

New Balance 327 Removable insole
Test results
327 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The 327 doesn’t feature any reflective elements. 

New Balance 327 Reflective elements
Test results
327 No