Our verdict

The New Balance 237 keeps it simple, but in a million colorways. These old-but-new trainers are here to make the compliments rain every single day, just... don't wear them when it's actually pouring! We loved its '70s running shoe aesthetics in a reinterpreted design, as it makes this pair incredibly versatile. It matched pretty much everything we had in our wardrobe! It's made with durable and authentic materials, which we really appreciated, as the brand made sure this model was still top-quality despite its affordability. Also, it's comfortable for all-day wear, but don't expect a couple of clouds. It has a firm sole and it might run narrow for some. Still, with its old-school colorways and aesthetics, it quickly won our hearts... and our feet, too!

Pros

  • Breathable and ready for the summer
  • Very durable and premium materials
  • Real suede
  • Out-of-box comfortable
  • Incredibly light
  • Retro vibes and effortlessly chic
  • Mix-and-match queens
  • Loads of colorways
  • Compliment magnet
  • Super affordable

Cons

  • Firm sole
  • Narrow fit
  • Materials wrinkle

Audience verdict

90
Good!

Who should buy

Don't let this former running shoe run away if you're looking for:

  • A retro, cool pair that makes everything in your wardrobe stylish.
  • A breathable shoe with a minimalistic design for your summer walks around town.
  • An affordable and versatile companion for your daily life.
  • Some lightweight but durable kicks made with authentic materials.

New Balance 237_008

Who should not buy

If you are into cloudy, spongy, fluffy, plushy shoes, you're not gonna like this one. It has a firm sole, so your feet won't feel like they're stepping on cotton candy. If you don't want to change brands and you're looking for a super comfortable pair for all-day wear to rock in the summer, we believe you should go for the New Balance 1906R. If you're on a budget, the New Balance 327 is another great choice, and it comes in multiple colours!

Additionally, we don't think this model would be the best choice for the sneakerheads with foot conditions. Even though everybody knows New Balance excels at arch support, we'd recommend a more supportive pair with a better lockdown. The New Balance XC72 might just be what you're looking for.

New Balance 237_007

Breathability

When we analyse shoes, we always get the party started with some smoke in our lab. Yeah, smoke, you read it right! But not with one of those big machines that you can find in some popular night bars. What we use is a small device to fill the interior of each pair with smoke, and then we sit and see how much of it the upper material lets out.

If this was a chimney contest, the 237 would have the upper hand! As you can see on the right of the video, the Reebok Classic Leather is not one of the most breathable shoes in our catalog. On the contrary, our NB pal lets the air go through with no problems, and it does it with a constant and thick pillar. Kudos to you, 237!

Consequently, we've given it a well-deserved 4/5 in our breathability test. So... what's its upper doing so right for the shoe to have such a great score? Let's ask our microscope!

New Balance 237 Breathability_3

Big ventilation gaps. That's it!

Wait, wait... is that a second layer we see? Close-up. please!

New Balance 237 Breathability_4

Heck yeah, it is! We LOVED the design of this pair. As you can see, both layers have extra big gaps to let the air come in and out and, at the same time, them being two should give the shoe some extra durability... right?

Look at all the light shining through the mesh! This means this pair is going to be a wonderful mate for summer walks. And trust us, it was!

Test results
237 4
Average 3
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

New Balance is a very well-known brand, and even though this is not its most expensive pair, we wanted to know if it was designed using authentic materials.

Torch in our right hand. NB 237 in our left hand. And let's keep the party on fire.

As the suede material doesn't catch fire, we can confidently say it's authentic/real.

Oh, but that leather part at the top of the heel? Fire, baby. It's clearly fake/synthetic.

Test results
237 Real suede

Toebox durability

We could say breathability and durability are sworn enemies by now. It's common for shoes to use very tough but toasty materials, or quite flimsy and airy ones. That's why we couldn't keep our mouths closed when we saw the results of our toebox durability test.

The suede part at the toebox fought our Dremel courageously. And it won! With a fantastic 4/5 in our toebox durability test, we're incredibly proud of this pair.

New Balance 237 Toebox durability_2

As you can see in the picture, the damage is minimal! The suede overlayer surrounds the forefoot shamelessly, and it protects the mesh way more than other suede-mesh combo models.

We thought this was a really smart and stylish idea, as the combination looks cool and is also functional.

Way to go, New Balance!

Test results
237 4
Average 3.7
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Well... not everything about this shoe could be pretty much perfect, right?

With almost tears in our eyes, we stood and watched our Dremel obliterate the 237's heel padding. Bye-bye!

With red threads flying around and getting tangled in our tool as if they were cotton candy, we could only give this shoe a 1 out of 5 on our heel padding durability test. That's the lowest score, but look at this and tell us it deserves higher:

New Balance 237 Heel padding durability_2

With that hole? Nuh-uh, it doesn't. It's true that this part is one of the most fragile ones, especially in sneakers. But such a low score means it won't last long... and that sucks!

Test results
237 1
Average 3.4
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

We grabbed our durometer and pressed it against this pair's sole. At 86.0 HC, it's pretty much average, which means it offers a fantastic mix of grip and durability.

New Balance 237 Outsole hardness_11

We're so excited to tell you about those two features, but we'll have to wait! Keep reading and don't miss out!

Test results
237 86.0 HC
Average 85.1 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.3 HC

Outsole durability

So..., what was that again? Tough upper, weak heel, and... what about the outsole?

We took a deep breath and grabbed our Dremel. It was, once again, show time.

Alright, alright, let's all wipe our sweat! After this 22-second-long drilling session, the results were fantastic! With a dent that's only 0.8 mm deep, we felt like hugging our tread gauge after such good news.

New Balance 237 Outsole durability_2

Can you spot it? It's just a little bit bigger than a scratch!

We were incredibly happy about this, as it means that this model is slightly more durable than most sneakers, at least regarding its outsole.

Nice one, 237! Gotta keep that running heritage... well, running.

Test results
237 0.8 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

So, now we know the rubber is tough, but... is there a thick layer?

New Balance 237 Outsole thickness_10

Well, not really! At 5,1 mm, the outsole is thinner than average. But taking into account the great results it got in our durability test fighting the Dremel, we weren't really worried.

Also, as the rubber used in the bottom of the shoe is quite resistant, we believe the brand decided to use a thinner layer to keep the shoe's weight down. Right, NB?

Test results
237 5.1 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
8.2 mm

Weight

Ding, ding, ding! We've got a winner! And it's... us.

We're not gonna wait any longer, so let us tell you straight away. Do you remember we said the thinner outsole of this shoe might be a witty gambit-style move from NB to keep it lightweight? Well, we were right!

So that makes you the winner as well. If you go and grab a pair, that is.

New Balance 237 Weight_27

At 11.3 oz (319.0g), this shoe is incredibly light! And our feet agreed completely.

During our wear tests, we could enjoy the mix of breathability and lightness in our every step. This made us want to keep walking, as our feet had a very healthy environment that promoted longer strolls.

New Balance 237_014

Being a whole 24% lighter than the average sneaker that we've tested in our lab is no joke. And we couldn't be happier!

Just double-check your feet before you go to bed, you might forget to even take these kicks off!

Test results
237 11.25 oz (319g)
Average 14.18 oz (402g)
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

At 35.2 mm, this shoe's heel stack keeps us quite close to the ground, but it definitely makes sure our feet are protected from impacts.

New Balance 237 Heel stack:13

Its heel is higher than average, which we found incredibly helpful. Why? Well, let us tell you a bit about foot strike (you'll find more about this in this guide, which focuses on the way people run).

Don't worry, we're gonna keep it simple. Even though this New Balance does have a running past, it's not made for that anymore. Following one of our mottos, here in RunRepeat we believe you should always use a shoe for its main purpose and activity. In other words... sneakers are NOT running shoes!

Now that's out of the way, let's talk about foot motion. Setting running aside, when we walk we tend to step on the floor with our heel first. Then midfoot, then the ball of the foot, then the toes... and then you start again.

New Balance 237_013

That means that the heel's burden is slightly higher than the rest of the foot's, at least for a little bit. So, if a shoe has a high heel stack, there's more material to stop impact from reaching our feet.

Test results
237 35.2 mm
Average 29.8 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
41.8 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot stack is also higher than average at 25.2 mm. Not too high to completely mute the ground feel, but high enough to keep us safe from impacts.

New Balance 237 Forefoot stack_12

Sometimes, a higher midsole stack means a plusher ride. We're saying "sometimes" because this depends on the midsole's hardness, of course!

When we first looked at this shoe, we thought: "Oh, New Balance, have you blessed us with a new pair of clouds?". But you should've seen our face when we put the 237 on.

Like... what?

This video should explain it. Spongy, plush, soft, cloud-like... yeah, in our dreams maybe! Dang, these baddies are though, in and out! We're not gonna lie, we didn't expect this result.

This is not necessarily something bad, but appearances are indeed deceiving!

Test results
237 25.2 mm
Average 18.9 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

Now that we've got you hooked on the "white as a cloud" but "not fluffy as a cloud" midsole mystery, let's talk about the drop.

New Balance 237 Drop:14

And... you can go home, Sherlock. At 10.0 mm, this shoe is just average.

But before we go on, let's keep things clear. There's no such thing as a "good drop" or a "bad drop", there is no better and no worse, it just depends on your personal preferences. Some people like it when their heel is slightly elevated, and some others get stressed about the possibility of their feet sliding down inside of the shoe because of the height difference at the front and at the back.

New Balance 237_015

These cuties felt natural from day 1, which is something that we appreciate a lot! Like, no one wants a lifestyle shoe to walk around that's difficult to walk in, right?

Note: If you want to know more about the heel to toe drop, check our ultimate guide out. You'll become a jaw-dropping expert in no time! (Yeah, sorry about that joke).

Test results
237 10.0 mm
Average 10.9 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
6.7 mm
Drop
17.2 mm

Midsole softness

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

Now, now, the star of the show... the 237's midsole!

New Balance 237 Midsole softness_soft

At 42.5 HA, not only our durometer can tell you it's way less soft than average... so can our feet! We were pretty surprised, so we decided to compare it with the general results of its category, which is sneakers. It's 28% firmer than what we usually read in our lab!

New Balance 237_019

But, please, don't misunderstand us. This does, by no means, mean that the shoe is uncomfortable! Its midsole is just on the firmer side, that's all!

If you're used to extra plush midsoles and a cloud-like ride, like the ones you can find in the New Balance 9060 (19.4 HA), then it's gonna feel different, that's for sure! But it's not necessarily bad, though. Just... uncommon.

And another note: Also, it's an EVA midsole, which is not the softest material out there!

Test results
237 42.5 HA
Average 28.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 37 trainers
Number of shoes
15.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
46.4 HA

Insole thickness

As a brand that knows pretty much everything about arch support, New Balance decided to keep it simple regarding the insole.

New Balance 237 Insole thickness_insole

At 4.9 mm, it's slightly thinner than average. With such a firm midsole, we did think NB would go for a plushier and thicker insole for the 237. But that would mess with the "let's keep the weight down for this summer shoe" goal.

A little bit more fun in here wouldn't have hurt, though. But we still found the shoe comfortable.

Test results
237 4.9 mm
Average 5.4 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
13.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

As you can see in the video below, it's not the best shoe to keep your feet in place.

Our standard-size feet moved quite a bit, but not enough for us to say that it's dangerous to walk around town with this pair! It just doesn't have the most supportive structure, that's all.

It focuses on other areas, like being lightweight, for example. If its upper materials were more rigid and thicker, the shoe might have been not only heavier, but most likely more uncomfortable too.

New Balance 237 Heel tab_24

You can see it clearly in the picture.. the design of this model doesn't exactly scream supportiveness. Just by looking at it, you might even wonder if it even makes your feet pronate! Well, we wouldn't go as far, but it's true that the pronators among our testers didn't like this model at all.

They'd argue that their feet would move and even roll a bit when they were just walking around town. We found this quite dangerous, so please stay away from them if you're a pronator! Just have a look at our guide with the best New Balance walking shoes to find the one that works best for you.

We recommend the New Balance 1906R, as its lateral support helps people with flat feet and overpronation.

Torsional rigidity

Now, now, this is quite interesting...

In the video, you can see that it's not that easy to bend the shoe. It scored a wonderful 4/5, which is the closest to the highest torsional rigidity a shoe can have. This should be good news for people with foot conditions, and definitely bad news for natural-ride lovers!

New Balance 237_011

But... when we walked around town, we didn't feel that supported. It's true that the shoe didn't really move along our feet, but its structure was also not rigid enough to keep our feet in place. And we know why: the mix of thin and breathable materials in the upper, making that part of the shoe not supportive, with a very rigid midsole, that makes it hard for it to bend when you're walking.

New Balance 237_016

Also... the shoe bends in an ugly way in the toebox, which is something that we didn't really like. It has nothing to do with comfort, this is purely aesthetics, but... we just had to tell you.

Test results
237 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel is quite pliable, and we loved that.

It saved us from blisters, hot spots, and uncomfortable rubs. It also added some extra comfort to the whole shoe, which was very much appreciated by our feet.

New Balance 237_018

Test results
237 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Even though this shoe's structure is not very supportive in general, it has a wide midsole that will make your feet have the happiest landings.

New Balance 237 Midsole width in the forefoot_forefoot

At 111.7 mm, this pair is slightly wider than average in the forefoot. And we loved every bit of it!

Test results
237 111.7 mm
Average 108.5 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

When our caliper returned 101.7 mm, we just couldn't believe our eyes. Evidence? Right here, official!

New Balance 237 Midsole width in the heel_heel

We know. WE. KNOW. It's massive! If we go down to percentages, the midsole width in the heel of this shoe is a whole 18% wider than average. Trust us, that really is a lot!

While this might sound fantastic for people who like roomy shoes, individuals with narrow feet might find it slightly inconvenient. The testers among us with narrow feet said they had to tie this pair extra tight, using the top eyelet, to keep a snug fit. For the ones with standard-sized feet, this meant some enjoyable extra space.

New Balance 237_009

Test results
237 101.7 mm
Average 82.8 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

After analysing and conducting some tests on the 237's midsole, we already knew it wouldn't be the most flexible shoe around.

At 30.8N, it's an incredible 25% less flexible than the average sneaker we have studied in our lab! It's normal for more supportive models to get a high score on this test, but we believe it didn't make much sense for this New Balance.

New Balance 237_010

During our wear tests, we didn't feel the shoe bending alongside our feet much because of its midsole. Even though some people like extra pliable shoes, there are others who love that firm and supportive midsole feeling. We felt supported underfoot, and the wide platform let our feet spread happily in every step.

Test results
237 30.8N
Average 23.0N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
5.8N
Stiffness
51.8N

Grip / Traction

With its running shoe past, we would say this New Balance's traction is just average.

This means that it provided enough grip for most occasions, just nothing special. As long as we didn't try to conquer damp grass, ice, or any other challenging surface, we were pretty much fine.

Wait, actually, forget about wet floors in general. Those were a nightmare.

New Balance 237 Lug depth_1

What we really liked about it is that this shoe has a full-length outsole, which means more durability (hooray!). But the zig-zag pattern doesn't have any prominent lugs, which is already telling us... things might get slippery. If you're looking for a pair with a similar vibe but full of round lugs that will bite anything and everything, just change a number and try the New Balance 327.

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

So far, we've said the midsole is slightly wider than average, and the heel is way, way wider, right? Well, things have changed again... The toebox width at the widest part is narrower than the standard for the sneakers we've tested so far!

New Balance 237 Toebox width at the widest _widestpart

At 96.4 mm, wide feet won't like this news. It's true that for our standard-sized feet, this meant a snug fit. But we definitely wouldn't recommend it to sneakerheads with wide feet. Why? Because despite having a wide midsole, this pair's upper is snug, which might lead to uncomfortableness.

New Balance 237_020

In addition, just by looking at the picture, we can see the design becomes snugger towards the toecap. Before we give you any alternatives, let's talk about this in the next section.

Test results
237 96.4 mm
Average 99.1 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
94.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

It turns out that our suspicions were correct! Sadly, though. At 75.3 mm, this pair and big toes can't be friends.

New Balance 237 Toebox width at the big toe_big toe

If you're a wide-feet sneakerhead and you're looking for a New Balance that makes your feet's dreams come true, we believe you should try the 574. It's also available in wide and extra wide!

Test results
237 75.3 mm
Average 74.8 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
63.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
82.7 mm

Tongue: gusset type

As you can see, the tongue doesn't have any gussets (which are attachments) on the sides.

New Balance 237 Tongue: gusset type_gusset

Unfortunately, for us this resulted in the tongue moving to the side a little bit, but nothing uncomfortable or annoying. If you use the small loop it has in the middle and tighten the laces, this problem will vanish into thin air.

Test results
237 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

Many brands go for a non-gusseted tongue to keep the weight down, and the padding just follows this same logic.

New Balance 237 Tongue padding_23

At 3.5 mm, this NB's tongue is way thinner than average. But the whole shoe is pretty minimalistic in this sense, just check this video out.

The top of the collar is the only part of the shoe where we can actually see some soft padding. The rest keeps it down: lightweight, simple, and breathable. And we can't complain!

PS: We LOVED the retro tag at the top of the tongue! But its exposed foam and unfinished touch might not be for everyone, though. Keep it in mind before you buy it!

Test results
237 3.5 mm
Average 9.3 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Heel tab

This model doesn't have a heel tab, but we believe it just doesn't match its vibe. Also, as its tongue is non-gusseted, the opening is wide enough and we didn't have any trouble putting the 237 on.

Not many New Balance shoes have one, though. The brand usually goes for a simple design by just putting its name. Which, in this case, is slightly angled as you can see. No, no, it's not a manufacturing defect. It's just... well, New Balance!

Truth be told, we liked this risky detail on a retro shoe. It pairs up with the huge N in the quarter area. It just makes a simple design different, and the logo stands out in the best way possible. Cool feet and cool design, right NB?

New Balance 237_017

Test results
237 None

Removable insole

Another really nice detail is that this NB has a removable insole.

New Balance 237 Removable insole:1

You can go for your own orthotics if needed, or if you want some more plushness to battle the stiffness of the midsole.

New Balance 237 Removable insole_26

Test results
237 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

No reflective elements here!

New Balance 237 Reflective elements_1

By looking at the shoe design, we were thinking it would've been cool to make the massive N reflective, right? Maybe next time, New Balance!

Test results
237 No