Summary

We spent 9.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

9 reasons to buy

  • The New Balance 520 is a great looking and stylish sneaker, according to the majority of reviewers.
  • A large part of the reviewers commends the extraordinary comfort of this shoe. 
  • It is comfortable right out of the box and does not require any break-in, according to them. 
  • This classic is offered in several colorways for both men and women.
  • This shoe is affordable.
  • The great fit of this shoe is well-appreciated by numerous purchasers.
  • The colors are nice and beautiful, according to many purchasers.
  • A few reviewers comment that they receive many compliments on this shoe.
  • One New Balance 520 review mentions that the insole is removable and replaceable with the orthotic ones.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some purchasers claim that it has minimal arch support compared to other New Balance models.
  • Some colors look different in actual than in the photos, according to a limited number of reviewers.

Bottom line

A highly recommended sneaker, the New Balance 520 exhibits a minimalist look in a classic retro silhouette and high-quality materials. The mesh-suede upper provides the perfect mix of style and comfort, which makes it more desirable for most purchasers.

Re-introduced as a lifestyle sneaker, it has a versatile look suitable for any casual outfit and even sportswear. Many wearers attest to its great true to size fit on foot. 

Facts

Rankings

A top rated sneaker
Top 2% most popular sneakers
It has never been more popular than this July

Expert Reviews

  • First look | Shop Zappos | | Level 1 expert

  • First look | Sole Martian

Become an expert

The classic New Balance 520 is available in men's and women's sizes. Some colorways are considered unisex but limited only to men's sizing. So for women who want to avail such colorways, it is recommended to order 1 ½ size down for an accurate fit. 

The well-structured upper with suede overlays provides ample support to feet. The low-top construction allows ankle mobility, while the padded collar gives a cozy feel around the ankle. The tongue has an added eyelet or tab in which the flat laces could loop through to help keep it in place and not slide uncomfortably to the sides. The lacing system allows a customized fit.

The New Balance 520 is a classic sneaker suited for both men and women across generations. A great low-top shoe to wear for workouts, walking, casual day out, or just day-to-day comfort, it looks good when worn with skinny jeans, shorts, dresses, skirts, or sportswear.

Designed with versatile styling in mind, the NB 520 offers several colorways that match any style or any outfit. Some of the released colorways of the New Balance 520 women’s include black with gold, sea salt with classic gold, light cashmere with classic gold, floral marblehead with white, and silver mink.

The two-tone mesh and suede upper defines the classic look of the men’s and women’s New Balance 520 running-inspired shoes. It provides an aesthetically pleasing look to the entirety of the shoe, and it also functions to give the wearer breathability while keeping it durable with sufficient support. One notable feature of this shoe is its nylon tongue that bears the NB 520 woven branding. Another is the herringbone-patterned gum rubber outsole that extends up front and serves as a toe cap for added durability.

New Balance is a renowned sports brand that manufactures and produces top-quality athletic and lifestyle shoes among others. Founded in 1906 by William J. Riley, the brand’s humble beginnings can be traced to selling arch support products to the market. He partnered up with Arthur Hall, and in 1927, they started manufacturing shoes that cater to the athletes. As years passed by, New Balance was able to establish itself as one of the best shoe brands that produce high-quality products. It particularly left a mark in the running community as a brand that runners easily turn to for tested, performance-based running shoes.

Like other brands such as Adidas, Nike, and Reebok, New Balance eventually expanded its product catalog even more and incorporated lifestyle shoes or sneakers into its product lineup. One of these shoes is the New Balance 520.

The New Balance 520 is one of NB’s classic sneakers which was initially released in the ‘70s. Belonging to the 500 series, it is one of the few models that are not as popular as the other lines.

In 2017, New Balance revived the 520 runners from its archive with a fresh yet retro look for lifestyle use. Utilized are mesh materials on the upper with suede paneling for comfort, durability, and a style that mixes the old with the new. Completed with the signature N on the side panels, the classic upper sits atop the bi-density EVA midsole for plush cushioning and shock absorption. Finishing off the look is the gum rubber outsole for maximum grip and traction. 

As the popularity of the New Balance 520 grew, the brand continuously produces several colorways and renditions for the classic retro model. Collaborations were also made involving the NB520. Below are some of the most notable releases of this classic New Balance kick.

 New Balance 520 Hairy Suede Pack

In February 2017, New Balance introduced the Hairy Suede Pack of this classic silhouette in unisex sizing and two colorways – one in navy and another one in sea salt. Each shoe gives a unique play of texture on the classic 520 silhouette with an upgraded hairy suede and nylon upper materials. Signature New Balance brandings are seen on the tongue, heel, and sides. Each pair retailed for USD 100.

  New Balance 520 Triple White

Priced at $90 is an all-white rendition of the New Balance 520 sneakers. The clean, minimalist low-tops made a debut in September 2017 with perforated suede upper with hints of leather on the heel and N side branding. The tongue is made of mesh, which permits more breathability on foot. Completing these white New Balance sneakers are tonal white laces and a white sole unit.

  Hanon x New Balance 520 Fisherman Blues

Aberdeen-based sneaker boutique Hanon collaborated with New Balance on the 520 silhouette in September 2017. Dubbed as the Fisherman Blues New Balance 520, the 520 received a touch of a nautical look. Each shoe comes with three sets of laces, a bespoke shoe box, and a special edition dust bag. The upper material is of plush leather with perforation detailing.

  New Balance 520 Blue Yellow

One of the newest colorways of the New Balance 520 comes in a blue and yellow color scheme. It dropped in March 2018 with a mix of suede, nylon, and mesh materials on the upper. Blue color dominates the upper, while pops of yellow are seen on the sole, N side branding, and heel. The flat laces, midsole, and tongue come in a contrasting white color to finish off the street-ready look of the shoe.

  New Balance 520 White Grey

Released in September 2017 is the New Balance 520 in White Grey colorway. The shoe displays a clean look that offers nothing but versatility and on-point style. Both men and women can definitely rock this low-top from day to night with its neutral tones and comfortable built. The upper is made of mesh underlays for increased foot ventilation, while support is provided by leather overlays on the toe area, midfoot, and heel. The collar and tongue are sufficiently padded for the much-needed in-shoe comfort, while the adjustable laces come in white to match the signature side N branding.  

  • New Balance brandings are also visible on the heel, the outsole, and the insole. The signature N branding is present on the sides.
  • The durable outsole provides the necessary grip and traction.
  • The shoe laces are flat, cotton, and tonal.
  • Also featured are a lightweight, shock-absorbing EVA midsole and a removable insole in a canvas material.
  • J.Crew worked with New Balance on the 520 silhouette and came up with exclusive color combinations for the ‘70s classic – the navy/rose gold, and the gold/salt.
Author
Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.

daniel@runrepeat.com