Our verdict

The retro looks of the New Balance 530 made us feel like time travellers. Even though its style comes from a very fashionable past, we found that its comfort lives up to the present trainers standards. Much like its breathability, durability, and featherlight weight. This running icon is back to conquer the streets, and most likely your heart, too. Wait, you haven't fallen in love with it yet? Then, let us tell you that its value for money couldn't get any better!

Pros

  • Incredibly breathable
  • Comfortable firm but cushy midsole
  • Extremely lightweight with a padded interior
  • Durable outsole
  • Wide-feet friendly
  • Excellent value for money
  • NB's classic style
  • 90's retro and chunky vibe
  • More colorways than a rainbow

Cons

  • Not for cold weather
  • Could be grippier

Audience verdict

92
Great!

Who should buy

You might want this NB as your new best friend if...

  • you're looking for a budget-friendly pair with a cool retro vibe.
  • you need some new breathable and lightweight shoes for the summer.
  • you absolutely adore New Balance's well-known comfort and technology.
  • your motto for trainers is "chunky is love, chunky is life".

New Balance 530

Who should NOT buy

If you need a new pair that will be there for you when the rain starts to pour, we believe that you should go for the all-rounder Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2. It's weather-resistant and its traction is no joke! We absolutely loved wearing it when grey clouds and angry skies tried to ruin our plans. Just keep in mind that it's a high-top shoe, so it will be heavier.

If you are a huge fan of New Balance and you're looking for some comfortable and wide-feet-friendly shoes with a durable toebox, we believe you should have a look at the New Balance 574. It also has that extra cool 90s retro style, and who doesn't like that? Cause we sure do!

New Balance 530

Breathability

To check the breathability of the 530, we pumped it full of smoke.

When you look at these chunky kicks you'll most likely think that they must've been a bonfire in their past life, but they are here to tell you you're totally wrong!

For comparison, we've got the Reebok Classic Leather on the left. It totally wouldn't make a living as a train... all the smoke stayed in!

But look at how easily the 530 lets the smoke out! Your new NB friends will be there for you in the summer. It scored an outstanding 4 out of 5 in breathability!

Even though it's got some suede parts, the key point here are the mesh zones all around the shoe. When we put it in front of a lightbulb, we saw the light shining through it with no problem at all.

You can clearly see how big the mesh holes are. But let's check what our microscope has to say about this with a couple of close-ups.

New Balance 530

It does look tricky, doesn't it? We can see two layers of material there, and it might seem like air would have a tough time coming in and out.

New Balance 530 Breathability

But not at all! The first one we see, which is lighter, is indeed full of ventilation gaps. These very thin fibers are woven with a lot of space between one another, promoting airflow and letting your feet breathe. The second one, which is darker, doesn't have such big holes, but the material is paper-thin, so it does not interfere with the shoe's breathability.

New Balance 530

So, even though the 530 is ideal for the summer, your feet will become ice cubes if you wear it in winter. If you're looking for some New Balance for the penguin's favourite season, we recommend the 574. Your feet will feel super cozy when temperatures drop!

Test results
530 4
Average 3
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

We're done with fake friends, aren't we? That's why we decided to get our blowtorch and go all out in this pair. Later on, we tested the burnt parts with our scratch awl.

As the suede did not catch fire, we found out it's real. Nevertheless, the grey overlay up on the heel was totally on fire (quite literally!), so it's fake/synthetic.

Test results
530 Real suede

Toebox durability

Breathability has its price... and usually, durability is the coin you use to pay for it.

Our Dremel completely obliterated this pair's toebox! That's why we had to give it a sad 1 out of 5 in our toebox durability test.

And don't let this image down here fool you! That white thing you see is a piece of material that we put there on purpose to show you that the mesh was absolutely destroyed. It's not another layer of material!

New Balance 530 Toebox durability

Just look at it... could that hole BE any bigger?

Test results
530 1
Average 3.7
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Sneakers' weak point is usually the heel, just like Achilles. But the 530 said "nuh-uh, not today".

We went all in with our Dremel once again. Just like the paleontologist Ross Geller, we thought it would dig a little deeper. But not at all!

This NB pal has one of the most durable heels we've seen in our lab. We could barely see the damage! It scored an outstanding 4 out of 5 in our heel padding durability test, which is almost the highest grade a shoe can get!

New Balance 530 Heel padding durability

The damage did not affect this pair's integrity at all. When we put it on, we noticed our heels felt comfy and safe. May we say that it's like your feet's Central Perk? Once they sit there, there's no way they're going anywhere else!

Test results
530 4
Average 3.4
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

We used our durometer to check these kicks' outsole hardness. As its upper is not very resistant, we wanted to see if this pattern was constant throughout the whole shoe.

And what a pleasant surprise when we saw the score!

New Balance 530 Outsole hardness

At 84.5 HC, this level of hardness usually equals a healthy friendship between grip and durability in the sole.

Nice one, NB!

Test results
530 84.5 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

Our Dremel and the NB 530 were definitely not on a break.

Striking once again, but this time spinning at 10K RPM, the tool was ready to go all out.

But... can you see it moving from one side to the other? This means that our friends put up a fight! We could barely see any debris, and the damage was minimal throughout the twenty-second test!

New Balance 530 Outsole durability

With a small hole of only 0.5 mm, we believe this pair will be there for you for at least 500 miles... just not when the rain starts to pour, though!

Test results
530 0.5 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We measured the 530 outsole's thickness at 5.0 mm with our caliper.

New Balance 530 Outsole thickness

This might sound like an issue as it doesn't seem like the shoe offers a lot of protection underneath, but trust us, worrying about this is a moo point! In other words, its outsole is extremely durable, so even if it was way thinner, it wouldn't make these chunky queens have a shorter lifespan!

Test results
530 5.0 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
8.2 mm

Weight

Once we put these retro baddies on and realised how incredibly light they were, we were ready to brag about them all day around town!

Now, now, listen to us. Have you ever dreamt of a pair of sneakers that looks like it's just time-travelled from the 90s but that it's left all its weight in the past? Yeah? Same here!

We felt like we were wearing a pair of stylish feathers, so we took them to our lab to see what our scale had to say. At only 10.9 oz (308.0g), we just couldn't believe it!

New Balance 530 Weight

If you want some lightweight NB that doesn't have a chunky profile, we got you. At only 10.6 oz (301g), we think you should try the sleek 327!

Test results
530 10.86 oz (308g)
Average 14.18 oz (402g)
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Friends are there to protect you, right? Well, so is the 530's heel!

With a height of 37.3 mm, your feet will remain unbothered even if the pavements of your city have some thick cobblestones around.

New Balance 530 Heel stack

When we went out with this pair, our heel felt cushioned and comfy.

Remaining true to its performance running shoe past, the 530 is ideal for heel strikers. So, if when you take off your sneakers after coming home you see the back part of the insole more worn out than the rest, we believe this NB is ideal for you!

Test results
530 37.3 mm
Average 29.8 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
41.8 mm

Forefoot stack

But the 530 was not happy with only having a higher stack height at the back, it also wanted to protect your feet at the front!

According to our caliper measurements, we found these kicks stack to be 25.4 mm thick at the forefoot.

New Balance 530 Forefoot stack

So our good news is not only for heel strikers anymore!

But, honestly, we didn't expect any less from New Balance, a brand that focuses on support! Our landings felt cushioned, and our joints didn't hurt even if we spent our whole day walking around town.

New Balance 530

Test results
530 25.4 mm
Average 18.9 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

Even though its stack height is high, this pair's drop is nothing special. At 11.9 mm, we felt we were separated from the ground, but not so much it'd make a difference for us when walking.

New Balance 530 Drop

Just to clarify, a shoe's drop is the difference in height between heel and forefoot. We've done a lot of research on this topic. If you're interested, you can have a look at our ultimate guide.

Test results
530 11.9 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.

We took our durometer again, and when we pressed it against the 530’s EVA midsole it yielded a reading of 25.8 HA.

New Balance 530 Midsole softness

This is definitely on the firmer side when we talk about midsoles. Nevertheless, there are three key features here that tell us otherwise:

  1. This shoe's high stack, which allows us to skin into the foam when we land. This is exactly what our feet felt when walking around! Even though the durometer tells us this NB is supposed to be stiff, our feet disagree.
  2. The ENCAP technology. According to the brand, it's a core of soft cushioning of EVA with a tough polyurethane rim for support and durability.
  3. Its ABZORB cushioning. The brand says it's a superior blend of foam cushioning and compression set, featuring rubber.

New Balance 530

Well played, New Balance!

Test results
530 25.8 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

Secondary foam softness

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

By now, you've probably noticed that the midsole of the 530 consists of two layers of foam living together. We also measured the softness of the one that is closer to the foot, and OH. MY. GOD!

At 31.0 HA, the secondary foam is actually 27% softer than average!

New Balance 530 Secondary foam softness

So Chandler Bing's plane to Yemen won't be the only one with a pleasing landing, right?

Test results
530 31.0 HA
Average 26.2 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Insole thickness

We measured this shoe's insole thickness at 5.0 mm with our caliper. Even though this doesn't sound like much, we couldn't be any less worried!

New Balance 530 Insole thickness

You see, our new friend's bottom is so padded that it didn't feel any less comfortable.

New Balance 530

Wait... doesn't that sound a bit weird? Anyway, what we want to say is that the midsole cushioning was more than enough to keep us on our feet from sunrise to sunset! Pivot to the next section!

Test results
530 5.0 mm
Average 5.4 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
13.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

When shoes have big midsoles, they tend to be unstable. But New Balance kicks? Nah, those are built different... literally!

Remember that we said the heel counter of this pair kept our feet in place? Well, it did the same to our ankles! Even though our feet are quite far from the ground (compared to other low-profile sneakers like the Adidas Gazelle, for example), we felt planted on the ground in every step.

New Balance 530

Getting the best of both worlds here! But did you expect any less from an arch support specialist brand? Cause we sure didn't!

Torsional rigidity

When we tried to twist this pair torsionally, we found it wouldn't let us do it easily.

This is another key factor that contributes to the 530's overall stability. With a 3 out of 5 in our torsional rigidity test, we believe this pair shows its healthy mix of support and comfort. In other words, it will bend with the movements of our foot, but it won't let our ankles do Monica Geller's turkey dance.

Test results
530 3
Average 3.5
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Now, the heel counter is quite pliable.

We pinched, pushed and squeezed it, and it actually gave in easily. Consequently, it has earned a 2 out of 5 in our heel counter stiffness test (where 5 is the stiffest).

We were surprised by this. Remember at the beginning of this review when we said that it was a very resistant part? Well, it's normal for stiffness and durability to be best friends, but not here!

New Balance 530

In our wearability test, this meant that we didn't get any hot spots or blisters in our Achilles tendon. Hurray!

Test results
530 2
Average 3.2
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

We measured the midsole width in the forefoot at 113.4 mm using our caliper. No kidding, this makes a huuuuge difference! Saying it's just 5% wider than average might not sound like much to you. But to your feet? Well, that's music to their ears!

New Balance 530 Midsole width in the forefoot

So wide feet are welcome here! How great is that?

Test results
530 113.4 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

Its midsole is also wider in the heel! At 88.1 mm, it just makes this pair's overall stability level up!

New Balance 530 Midsole width in the heel

But let us warn you: if you have narrow feet, this is not what you're looking for!

Test results
530 88.1 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

In sneakers, the bigger the platform, the stiffer the shoes are. But don't let these big boys trick you!

To bend this NB to 90 degrees, we only needed 17.8N. This is a solid 18% less than average. Could it BE any more flexible?

The 530 has an EVA midsole, and this material is usually quite stiff. Nevertheless, we didn't feel like that at all when we were walking. So it's not only our force gauge that says this pair is pliable, so do our feet!

Test results
530 17.8N
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

As this shoe was originally a performance running model, it's decided to keep some of its best features.

Even though the NB 530 doesn't have flashy circular lugs like the 327, its traction was just right when we were walking around. As long as you don't try to conquer ice and slug, that is... Still, it's grippy on most surfaces!

New Balance 530

As you can see, it has three big linear gaps at the front, and some other grooves around. Even though they might just feel like collecting some pebbles around, which actually was a bit annoying, we also found them very helpful. They make the shoe blend naturally with your feet, so we felt incredibly comfortable!

New Balance 530

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

This pair keeps it big, as it should!

New Balance 530 Toebox width at the widest part

Measuring the widest part of the 530's toebox, our caliper returned 101.9 mm! This translates not only into a wide platform for our landings, but also into plenty of space for our feet to be comfortable.

Roomy and stable? Sounds about right!

Test results
530 101.9 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

In general, shoes tend to become narrower towards the tip, but these baddies have decided to break the rules once again!

New Balance 530 Toebox width at the big toe

With a toebox width at the big toe of 76.6 mm, the testers among us with wide feet were happier than ever. It seems like they've found their shoe-lobster!

Test results
530 76.6 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

Even though the 530's tongue is non-gusseted, the central lace-loop is has didn't let it slip off to the side.

New Balance 530 Tongue: gusset type

Test results
530 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

We just cannot believe how puffy this pair's tongue is when we think about how lightweight the whole shoe actually is!

New Balance 530 Tongue padding

At 8.7 mm, its tongue is quite thick. This means that we didn't get any lace bite, and the overall comfort level just kept increasing.

Talking about comfort, check this video of the upper:

It's not only the tongue that is padded, but the whole interior of these kicks! Just not so much in the mesh parts, gotta keep it breathable, though!

Test results
530 8.7 mm
Average 9.3 mm
Compared to 47 trainers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Heel tab

We loved the finger-loop at the back! It made putting on this shoe super easy, and it also gave some extra points to the 90s retro style that the 530 already rocks.

New Balance 530

Test results
530 Finger loop

Removable insole

If you're ever asked to name a better duo than Joey and Chandler... maybe the 530 and its removable insole would work?

New Balance 530 Removable insole

As we already know, New Balance is an expert on arch support, so its insoles are designed to help your feet as much as they can. Nevertheless, if you need to use your own orthotics for whatever reason, this pair is all for it!

New Balance 530

Test results
530 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Reflective elements? Not here, no.

New Balance 530 Reflective elements

If you wanna go out at night, the New Balance 530 doesn't even have a "pla".

Test results
530 No