Verdict from 5 experts and 5 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Stylish: Flashing a style similar to the Nike Dunk Low, the New Balance 550 flaunts a vintage look that quickly grabs the attention of many peepers.
  • Craftsmanship: It has dope details that many reviewers describe as "incredibly clean" and "solid."
  • Versatile: With its breezy flair that's hard to fault, the NB 550 looks great with just about any attire.
  • Cozy: The majority of its comfort is credited to its well-padded insole that feels even comfier with added wear and with time. 
  • Striking shades: New Balance offers this in fashionable hues.
  • Affordable: Scooping a pair of this model will definitely not break a bank. 

1 reason not to buy

  • Insufficient lockdown feel: Because of its roomier heel area, the wearer's heel tends to slip out while walking in them. 

Bottom line

If retro sneakers float your boat, the New Balance 550 will surely tickle your fancy. From the hardwood to the playground, this kick boasts its clean and straightforward style that amplifies its adaptable vibe. However, since this sneaker is a vintage pair from the archives, don't expect any innovative feeling. It offers basic comfort on your feet that you can wear all day, every day. 

Tip: see the best sneakers.

New Balance 550: Recreating a timeless classic

Coming off from the success of Aime Leon Dore's collaboration, the Boston-based brand dropped the updated NB 550 to pay homage to the 90s basketball generation. NB released the 550 in several retro colorways, such as university gold, black, and burgundy that quickly garnered many followers.

The 550 is not a brand new silhouette. It was initially unveiled in 1989 as basketball footwear and offered simple and versatile flair. It displays a familiar look of the famous and luxurious Louis Vuitton Trainer, making this pair a pretty affordable alternative to the pricey iteration from Louis Vuitton

Remarkable features

Let us dive into some of the essential details of this fashionable NB model:

  • Perforations are found on the lateral side of its leather upper for breathability and comfort. Meanwhile, its toe box is overlaid with a suede mudguard for added durability.
  • Found on the midfoot is another leather panel with the signature N logo. This feature holds the foot securely while providing a stylish flair.
  • New Balance inserted it with a dual-layer Ortholite insole to double the comfort and support.
  • On the ankle area is another leather overlay that matches the accent color of the sneaker. Underneath it is a well-cushioned collar that provides an enhanced cozy feel. 
  • Tonal TPU heel clip boosts support and structure for the back end of the sneaker.

New Balance 550: Retro vs Aime Leon Dore

Comparing the retro NB 550 and Aime Leon Dore x NB 550 iterations, they virtually look similar. However, these models differ only in minute details, such as:

  • The N logo found in the NB 550 is made of smooth leather, while the Aime Leon Dore version is covered with crack-styled leather. 
  • The midsole of the ALD version is a bit yellowish, while the NB 550 is in white.
  • Set side by side to the mass-produced NB 550, the Aime Leon Dore version is covered with slightly better quality leather. 
  • Found on the heel of the left pair of Aime Leon Dore's version is the ALD logo. Meanwhile, the general released 550 has the NB logo on both pairs.


How New Balance 550 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 22% sneakers
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Bottom 29% New Balance sneakers
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Bottom 22% low sneakers
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The current trend of New Balance 550.
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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.