Verdict from +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The excellent cushioning and plush interior provide a very comfortable ride for the 680 v2.
  • It is pretty light for a cushioned trainer.
  • It is a very affordable shoe.
  • It is quite flexible.
  • Some runners loved its versatility for short or long distance runs.
  • The traction works better than expected from an affordable shoe, according to several reports.
  • The 2nd version of the 680 is very breathable due to the large holes in the mesh upper.
  • Based on some reviews, the transition is smooth.

2 reasons not to buy

  • It lacks durability, according to some.
  • A few mentioned that it is a bit boxy for a relatively lightweight trainer.

Bottom line

New Balance keeps it simple and functional in the 680 v2. It is moderately light and has very decent arch support for all kinds of distance running. Entry level runners will surely love the wallet-friendly price, the luxurious feel, and the above average traction of this shoe.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • A slew of updates in the upper is featured in the 2nd coming of the 680. Most significant is the change in the mesh upper. The mesh is bigger and has larger holes than before. It immediately enhances the breathability and durability of the upper.
  • Another very visible change is the presence of bigger overlays. Although they are fewer in number, they have more substance, which should greatly improve durability and midfoot lock down.
  • The ankle collar has better padding in this version. Besides increasing the comfort level, it also gives better wraparound feel in this area.
  • Finally, the outsole gets a slight change. The circular pattern on the outsole is bigger and with deeper flex grooves. New Balance introduced the changes to add a little more cushioning and flexibility in this shoe

New Balance maintained the accommodating fit of the original model in the 680 v2. The main difference is the better midfoot security because of the bigger overlays. A roomy toe box is for runners to enjoy in this shoe still. Runners with medium to slightly wider feet are suited for the type of fit that this shoe brings. Sizing is standard in the shoe as well.

The outsole is made of very thick and mostly blown rubber for enhanced traction. New Balance uses a very large circular pattern in the midfoot to the forefoot. It helps the shoe save some weight and offers a bit of cushioning. There are deep flex grooves in the forefoot for better flexibility. The heel has a segmented crash pad for shock dispersal. 

The blown rubber material is also placed in some New Balance running shoes such as the New Balance 680 v4.

The midsole continues to be very basic in the 680 v2. A full-length and compression-molded EVA occupies the entire midsole. Giving additional cushioning and shock absorption in the heel is a wedge of ABZORB foam. This is made of Dupont Engage material and compression-molded EVA.

The mesh stands out because of the large holes for a very breathable run. Providing lockdown in the midfoot and heel are very prominent synthetic overlays. New Balance uses the logo to act as another midfoot overlay. The heel counter is a bit stiff for added stability. Inside, the interior is soft while the collar and tongue are very well-padded.


How New Balance 680 v2 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 4% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Bottom 4% New Balance running shoes
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Bottom 1% stability running shoes
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The current trend of New Balance 680 v2.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.