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Deciphering New Balance Model Numbers

Posted by Chris Bacon on

New to New Balance shoes? Their model numbers can seem confusing at first, but they actually hold a wealth of information about the shoe's design and purpose. This guide will break down the numbering system so you can confidently choose the perfect pair of New Balance shoes for your needs.

The Structure of New Balance Model Numbers

New Balance's numbering system has been consistent for years, evolving as new styles and technologies are introduced. Typically, the model number is divided into three parts: the letters before the number, the last two digits of the number, and any letters that follow the number.

The Prefix: Letters Before the Number

The letters before the number indicate the type of shoe and the intended user:


  • MT: Men’s Trail
  • WT: Women’s Trail
  • MW: Men’s Walking
  • WW: Women’s Walking
  • MX: Men’s Cross-Training
  • WX: Women’s Cross-Training
  • MC/MCH/MCY: Men’s Tennis
  • WC/WCH/WCY: Women’s Tennis
  • US: Made in the USA

Special codes for children’s shoes include:


  • G: Grade school
  • P: Preschool
  • I: Infant
  • Y: Youth (preschool and grade school)

The Core: Last Two Digits of the Number

The last two digits reveal the shoe's primary purpose:


  • 40: Control shoes with high cushioning and stability, ideal for those needing extra support.
  • 50: Fitness running shoes, suitable for indoor or outdoor workouts with good responsiveness.
  • 60: Stability shoes designed to minimize pronation, offering maximum cushion and support.
  • 70: Light stability shoes, a balance between fitness and stability, good for those needing biomechanical support.
  • 80: Neutral shoes for minimalist runners, lightweight and designed for a natural feel.
  • 90: Speed shoes for competitive runners, providing a snug fit and responsive performance.

Typically, higher numbers correlate with more advanced technology and features.

The Evolution Indicator: The Lowercase "v"

Models with a lowercase "v," such as the 990v5, indicate the version of the shoe. The number following "v" represents how many iterations the model has undergone, with each version incorporating improvements.

New Balance 990v5

The New Balance 990v5 sneaker combines style and performance, continuing the legacy of the iconic 990 series. Made in the USA, it features a blend of premium suede and mesh for durability and breathability. The ENCAP midsole technology provides excellent support and cushioning, making it ideal for both casual wear and running. With its timeless design and superior comfort, the 990v5 has become a staple in the New Balance lineup, appreciated by athletes and fashion enthusiasts alike.

Choosing the Right New Balance Shoes at Van Dyke & Bacon

Understanding New Balance’s model numbers allows you to select the right pair for your needs. If you require stability, opt for lower-numbered models. For athletic performance, choose higher-numbered models. Match your choice to your activity—whether it's trail running, walking, cross-training, or more—and consider the specific features denoted by the suffix letters.


By decoding these numbers, Van Dyke & Bacon customers can find the perfect New Balance shoes that meet their specific requirements for comfort, support, and performance. Whether you're a casual walker, a dedicated runner, or a fitness enthusiast, New Balance has a model tailored to your needs. Click here to get started!


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