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6 Best Alternatives to New Balance 550

6 Best Alternatives to New Balance 550

    A combination of vintage looks and 80s-era basketball sneakers being fashionable, high profile collabs and limited availability have made the New Balance 550 an extremely popular sneaker model.If we rewind a year or two, the New Balance 550s would have sold out almost instantly. They were challenging to acquire, and their resale value remained quite high.Fast forward to 2024,they have become relatively easy to cop at retail prices.However,It isn’t perfect – the shape probably isn’t going to fit most, and there are some other sneakers that have better materials for less.Not everyone can afford to splurge on a pair of New Balance 550, and some may be looking for more affordable alternatives.
    What shoes look like New Balance 550?What shoe is similar to New Balance 550?What shoes are equivalent to New Balance 550?Are there New Balance 550 alternatives?In this article,I'll take a look at some great New Balance 550 alternatives in 2024.These shoes are perfect for those looking to make a fashion statement without sacrificing comfort or quality.Check them out below.

Cover Photo:newbalance.com
 

New Balance 550 Review

The 550 is a basketball sneaker from New Balance that originally released in 1989 as a low-top counterpart to the 650.After its initial run, the 550 was filed away in the archives, before being reintroduced in limited-edition releases in late 2020, and returned to the full-time lineup in 2021, quickly becoming a global fashion favorite. The low-top basketball shoe is a revived ’80s-era style from the NB archive, which was catapulted into the limelight by a collab with Aimé Leon Dore founder Teddy Santis, and has remained a firm favorite among celebrities ever since. Celebrities like Laura Harrier, Kendall Jenner, and Hailey Bieber have all stepped out in New Balance 550s.

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Source:newbalance.com

New Balance 550 Design & Style

The New Balance 550 is the ultimate comeback kid getting a refresh from its original ’90s look. It evolved from a basketball shoe to an all-around sneaker that offers style and performance.It boasts a clean and straightforward style that amplifies its adaptable vibe from the hardwood to the playground. Despite having no modern technology, this kick will not disappoint in providing you with lasting cozy strides while keeping you stylishly chic on the city streets.The shoe also featured innovative reflective detailing, making it an ideal choice for runners, athletes, and casual wearers. And to add some modern hints, this sneaker is dressed in different hues giving users the luxury of picking which NB 550 colorway fits their style.With a pair of New Balance 550 shoes, you can wear them casually or stand out from the crowd.

New Balance 550 Materials

The upper of the 550 predominantly features premium leathers, although some variations opt for a suede toe guard instead of plain leather. The stitching is neatly done, with no noticeable glue marks across the upper, presenting a decent shoe within its price range.

The midsole is made of regular EVA foam.Along the midsole, you have various patterns, stripes, and two different versions of the New Balance Logo. There is also a cut out directly to the EVA foam on in inside of each shoe. This cut out gives an otherwise pretty bland shape shoe some curves – it’s a really nice touch. It does incorporate Ortholite insoles, providing a slightly bouncy feel on the inside.

The rubber sole unit is the classic one you’ll find on sneakers from the 80’s. It is stitched to the upper to match the overall design adding more to its durability. The outsole itself is held on with a row of stitching that runs everywhere but the cutout.

New Balance 550 Pros & Cons

ProsCons
  • Lightweight design and comfortable feel.

  • Suitable for various outfits.

  • Designed with the latest technologies, including shock absorption systems and responsive cushioning materials.

  • There are a variety of colors and classic retro styles.

  • Durable materials and construction.

  • Incredibly clean details.

  • Reasonably priced.

  • Easy to clean.

  • No visible wear after several uses.

  • Released in a limited quantity.

  • A bit heavy compared to more contemporary sneakers.

  • Limited sole cushioning.

  • Fits wider than expected.

  • Insufficient lockdown feel.

Where to Buy New Balance 550?

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6 Best New Balance 550 Alternatives

1. Reebok Club C

Price: $90

Materials: Premium leather upper;Rubber outsole

If you’re looking for that similar vintage vibe, I’d highly recommend Reebok Club C as a great alternative to the New Balance 550. Almost identical to the ’80s version of the shoe, the Reebok shoe incorporates fresh hues for an appealing, updated look. The classic sneaker is also well-loved by multiple celebrities.

The Club C line works in all situations. The soft, garment leather upper adds a unique style detail while also surrounding your foot in supportive comfort. A padded foam sock liner ensures a secure fit while providing additional support and comfort. The EVA midsole is lightweight, yet offers all the cushioning you need as you go about your day. The high-abrasion rubber outsole has a three-quarters wrap for the ultimate in traction and durability.The shoe’s comfortable feel combined with its retro look makes it a popular choice. The shoe sits at a comfortable low height below the ankle, eliminating any annoying rubbing or discomfort around the ankle and Achilles area—definitely a plus in my book.

The Club C boasts a flatter and thinner top, providing a more narrow look, while the Regular 85 C’s feature a rounded toe box and a more rounded side profile. So, depending on your style preference, there’s a Club C variation that suits your unique taste.Comparing the New Balance 550, the Club C 85 at $90 is a steal for a pair that’s likely to endure over the years.

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Source:reebok.com

Where to Buy?

2. Nike Air Force 1

Price: As Nike Air Force 1s have various versions, the price can range between $20 to an astonishing $190Z(from baby to adult).Custom shoes usually run around $120 to $140.

Materials:Leather,suede and even canvas upper;Rubber outsole

The Nike Air Force 1 is a legendary sneaker that needs no introduction.Originally released in 1982, it was Nike’s first basketball shoe to feature air cushioning technology. And even though the shoe is made for basketball, it is more of a shoe for“style”.

The Air Force 1’s design is simple yet elegant, characterized by a clean white upper, a chunky midsole, and a distinctive ankle strap. This design, often called “Uptown,” has remained virtually unchanged since its inception. Its minimalistic aesthetic allows for endless customization and adaptation, making it a canvas for self-expression.While the 550 boasts a retro basketball aesthetic, the Air Force 1 offers a streetwear elegance that seamlessly blends with casual and semi-formal outfits. It’s a statement piece that effortlessly transitions from the court to the streets.

The New Balance 550 typically features a leather upper, providing a classic and durable feel. On the other hand, the Air Force 1 often comes in various materials, from leather to suede and even canvas. And the Air Force 1’s encapsulated Air-Sole unit provides unparalleled cushioning. It’s like walking on clouds.The sneaker often comes with a price tag comparable to the New Balance 550. Considering the quality, style, and durability, it’s a bang for your buck.

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Source:nike.com

Where to Buy?

3. Nike Dunk

Price: $115 (Custom shoes usually run around $120 to $165)

Materials: Like New Balance 550s, Nike Dunks are yet another cool retro basketball sneaker that's comin' in hot on the fashion scene. They originally debuted in 1985, providing further proof that throwback styles are trending hard at the moment.

Much like its close relatives, the Air Force 1 and Jordan Retro 1, the simple and clean design of the Dunk has opened the door for countless variations of colorways, making it the perfect canvas for color blocking and artistical freedom.There was something for everyone, a weighty plethora of Dunk options coming in all colors, materials and patterns. Dunks colorways coined “Jedi”, “Hulk”, “Heineken”, “Hemp”, “Shark”, “Reverse Shark” and many more donned stories relating to pop culture, big-name personalities and the repurposing of materials.Nike Dunk‘s were made for college basketball players.Now, crossing over into the world of sports, high-end fashion, and contemporary streetwear, the Nike Dunk continues to transcend genres – with no limit in sight.

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Source:nike.com

Where to Buy?

4. Adidas Forum 84

Price: $105-$120

Materials: Premium leather and suede upper;

The Forum 84 stands out as their closest match to the New Balance 550. It’s a fantastic budget-friendly option for those looking for a reliable pair of summer sneakers.These adidas Forum 84 Low are a “recrafted” take of sorts on the adidas Forum which originally released in 1984.

Often dubbed as Adidas’ Dunk, sharing similarities and fitting into the lifestyle skating category, I find that the Forum Low boasts slightly more premium materials than the Dunks.The sneaker takes all the signature Forum elements and throws in a unique leather and suede upper. A Trefoil logo on the tongue provides the final adidas Originals touch to these Forum shoes and sneakers.The Forum showcases a wonderfully soft leather in the toe box, covering the medial and lateral sides, and extending a bit around the ankle area. Moving to the mudguard, you’ll find a high-quality suede that adds a nice touch to the overall feel.The insole doesn’t skimp on padding, and when you slip your feet into these, you can truly feel the luxurious materials.The materials on this shoe are going to vary based on colorway, but overall the leathers used are very nice while the suedes used are rough, but thickly cut.The premium feel in hand, with abundant suede and leather, adds a touch of luxury that you might not anticipate at this price point.

Overall, the Forum is an excellent choice for summer, and it’s light on your pockets. The availability of various colorways makes it easy to find one that suits your style. 

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Source:adidas.com

Where to Buy?

5. Asics EX89

Price: $69.95-$120

Materials: Layered leather upper;Rubber outsole

The EX89 sneaker blends the heritage influences of the GEL-EXTREME™ basketball shoe from 1989 with modern cushioning properties.It was originally created by Toshikazu KAYANO in the late 1980s as his first design project with ASICS.It has been reimagined and revitalized by Asics and now it stands out as a definite rival to the Nike Dunk Low and a noteworthy alternative to the New Balance 550.

The updated sockliner and midsole with FF BLAST cushioning provide a lightweight and springy feel with each step, while the sculpted heel shape improves shock absorption so you can go about your day in unmatched comfort - a feature absent in the standard hard rubber outsoles of many retro 80’s basketball models.The combination of FFBlast cushioning, the rubber outsole, and Ortholite comfort insoles makes for a really soft and cushioned ride despite the shoes having a relatively flat profile.While they may not compete with the comfort of running or modern shoes, they stand out as a more comfortable option compared to models like the New Balance 550 or the Nike Air Force 1.

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Source:asics.com

Where to Buy?

6. Diadora Davis Leather

Price: $60-$70

Materials: Cow Leather - Synthetic material details;Rubber outsole

Hitting the scene in 1985, these training sneakers represent a step back into the history of tennis and how they dominated the clay courts on the feet of great champions. Featuring a leather upper with a heavy wax treatment, the Diadora Davis Leather keeps your stance steady from the first lunge to the final deadlift.The height of the collar and upper, designed to ensure increased stability and greater protection for the feet, attest to its sporty attitude.

  • EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning and comfort.

  • Rubber outsole delivers traction and durability.

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Source:diadora.com

Where to Buy?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is New Balance 550 so popular?

A combination of vintage looks and 80s-era basketball sneakers being fashionable, high profile collabs and limited availability have made the New Balance 550 an extremely popular sneaker model.Hailey Bieber, Laura Harrier, and Kendall Jenner are a handful of the New Balance 550 sneaker's biggest fans. 

Why Is New Balance 550 so expensive? 

The New Balance 550 is expensive on the aftermarket due to popularity and the resulting rarity. High demand combined with staggered releases make them fly off the virtual shelves which drives up the price.

Are New Balance 550 comfortable for walking?

Like most New Balance models, the NB 550 is true to size. If you have a wide foot, it makes sense to buy the shoe in half a size larger. The chunky sole makes this model very comfortable and suitable for everyday walking.

Do New balances 550 run small or big?

The New Balance 550 runs slightly larger than true-to-size.

Are New Balance 550 high quality?

Are The New Balance 550 Good Quality? Quality on the 550 is decent overall but varies depending on the material composition of each colorway. The model is not part of New Balance's Made lines and generally has average quality materials. The shoe is solidly constructed however.

Does New Balance 550 have arch support?

The New Balance 550 is designed to provide good arch support. The shoes have a midsole that is made of EVA foam, which provides cushioning and support. The foam is also designed to be durable, so it will not compress or break down over time.

Are New Balance 550 uncomfortable?

The New Balance 550 offers great materials and surprisingly good comfort for a retro sneaker.

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2024-01-04 17:502061