Verdict from 33 user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • Several satisfied reviewers said the New Balance 345 has a nice looking suede cover that holds up pretty well.
  • The rubber layer under the upper extends the lifespan of this shoe, described by some users.
  • The sole of this NB# shoe offers excellent grip, described by some skaters.
  • Quite a lot are satisfied with the board feel of this vulc shoe.
  • As described by a couple of buyers this New Balance sneaker is flexible, which makes it ideal for skateboarding tricks.
  • The New Balance 345 runs stiff right out of the box, but gets less tight in just few days, according to weartesters who tried breaking-in this shoe with skateboards.
  • Skaters particularly like the elastic band under the tongue that offers a good slip on and lockdown feel.
  • The heel of the removable insole is thick, but won’t mess up with the flexibility, as told by a couple of wearers.
  • A bunch of skateboarders said the PU material that makes up the footbed is a lot denser, but comfortable to the feet.
  • Several reviewers recommended this shoe for those who want the protection and support of a cupsole, yet be able to get full board control with the shoe’s vulc structure.

1 reason not to buy

  • The laces of the New Balance 345 are too short that it is impossible to tie them up all the way, complained by a considerable sum of wearers.

Bottom line

The New Balance 345, an updated version of the Brighton 344, has a vulc sole construction that allows users to have a closer feel of their boards. It is built with reinforcements on the upper and outsole which prolongs its skating ability. The sufficient padding around the ankle, plus the compact cushioning on the footbed put a great deal of comfort to the feet. In a nutshell, it’s a skate shoe that provides performance abilities with a price that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

The New Balance 345 has a standard lacing system that offers a customized lockdown fit. The elastic band under the tongue provides a slip on feel to the foot and offers a snug fit. This skate shoe is available in men’s sizes ranging from 6 to 13 US. New Balance Numeric shoes are made with a narrow fit. Thus, the brand recommends to get half a size bigger than a regular NB lifestyle shoe in order to take the full performance benefits of this shoe.   

The low-top New Balance 345 comes with a bunch of skate-specific advantages as it is built with a reinforced primary upper and durable rubber outsole. The suede upper is made of subdued monotones which makes it so versatile to pair up with a mélange of casual street wear like long shorts, cargos, khakis, slim-tapered pants, and straight-fit bottoms.  

The New Balance 345 is a remastered version of the Brighton 344 that is made with a sleek, clean, one-piece primary upper. The minimal cushioning around the collar enhances the slim-profile look of this shoe coupled by a thinly structured tongue. This vulc shoe variety may look like any ordinary sneaker from the outside, but the upper down to the outsole are made with hard-wearing components which makes this sneaker a stable and durable skateboarding companion.

New Balance is one of the oldest sports footwear manufacturers based in the US that has mastered athletic shoe construction for over a century now. Its entry into the footwear industry started as early as 1906 as a maker of arch support and after a couple of decades later, around mid 1980s it earned a solid reputation in the running circuit.

The brand managed to retain some of its distinct qualities such as its attention to workmanship and ability to market shoes in extreme varieties of widths. While several brands started to manufacture products overseas back in the 1980s for a much cheaper cost, New Balance opted to keep its domestic production. A single brand that up to this day affirms producing 70 percent US-made products with facilities in Norridgewock, Norway, and Skowhegan in Maine; Brighton and Lawrence in Massachusetts.

New Balance managed to survive the challenges faced by most of its contenders in the footwear industry in the early 1990s. The brand even rose to the top as one of the five leading athletic footwear companies just before the turn of the new century.

After earning legions of supporters for its 900 and 1000 running series, New Balance attempted to immerse into the growing skateboarding industry. In 2013 the Numeric category was conceived which particularly addressed the needs of the skateboarding communities.

The venture of the brand into skating was further amplified by its initial tie up with pro rider PJ Ladd, which grew into a team supported by other prominent skateboarders Arto Saari, Levin Brown, Tyler Surrey, among others. These men became the voice behind the developments under the Numeric line.

On the onset, the skateboarding range is supported by veteran retailer Black Box Distribution and other experts in the same field such as Mystery, Fallen, Zero, and Slave. And with its foundation pegged at the right ground, the New Balance Numeric skateboarding collection immediately earned a cult of followers, from amateurs and enthusiasts to pro-skaters.

One of the Numeric front liners that has an appeal among skateboarders is the slim, low-top New Balance Quincy. This cupsole skate shoe provides enough cushioning and support coupled by good ventilation through its laser perforations and mesh tongue. The New Balance Stratford, another low-profile skate shoe in a super slim form, charmed heaps of skaters as it is lightweight, durable, and made with a plush genuine suede cover. One more skate shoe that got the nod of professional and amateur riders is the New Balance Logan, which is more up-to-date in terms of technical specifications that features the proprietary foam compound called the REVlite.

Soon, through the recommendation of professional riders, the Numeric range grew exponentially in the coming years that led to the birth of vulc models like the Brighton 344 in 2016. This vulc shoe, made of leather base and suede heel tab became a go-to footwear among skaters.

This silhouette is succeeded by the drop of the New Balance 345 in the Spring of 2017, which also came in streamlined, low-top profile. The updated 345 is likewise built with a vulc construction and trademark ABZORB  + insert, which offers protection against shock and impact.

  • The heel is reinforced with an additional panel for support, especially during heel flips.
  • Just like any vulc shoes in the Numeric range, the New Balance 345 is flexible, lightweight, and does not need a long period to break-in.
  • The sole of this shoe is made with multiple layers of rubber, which are glued together and bonded to the upper with a strong rubber foxing tape.
  • The toe cap is reworked so it can withstand the abrasiveness of skateboarding. Multiple layers of rubber are placed in that region to extend its life, which is covered with a singular-piece suede upper to enhance its aesthetic charm.
  • New Balance custom insert called ABZORB + insert is placed inside the shoe to add protection to the foot, particularly in high-impact zones.
  • The “N” branding is stitched to the side panels while the NB# logo is embedded to its hex tread sole.
  • The sole is made of durable gum rubber.


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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.