New Balance and their whacky shoe numbering

If you don’t know about how the New Balance shoe numbers work, you really should. Especially if you wear New Balance.

If you look inside the tongue of your shoes, you’ll see a code.

My shoes say: WR1223ST.


WR = Women’s running

1223 = model code

ST = stability

Now, just to add some confusion in the mix, sometimes those last two letters relate to colour, not the type of shoe.

You can see all of the types of codes used here.

Generally speaking, the higher the model number, the more is in the shoe. For example, the 1260s are stability shoes. They’ve got lots of stuff in them to make them rigid and cushiony, and are generally more expensive than more minimal shoes. For example, they’re significantly more expensive that 890v3, which are lightweight, marathon distance type shoes.

Another thing about stability shoes – while they’re more expensive, they also generally wear better than more lightweight shoes. Stability shoes are often good for 1000km, whereas more lightweight shoes are closer to 400-500km.

The good news is that 1 pair of stability shoes should get you through a marathon cycle, whereas you would need 2 pairs of 890s for the same cycle. Of course, the flipside is the 890s are cheaper, and you’ll probably need 2 pairs anyway (so they can dry between runs), so you might not be better off at all!

On model codes, in the past, NB has started with a number and increased that number by 1 when they released a new model. For example, the 1200 became the 1210, 1221, 1223, 1224, 1225, 1226. Then it got to 1260, which started on the new model codes. New Shoes will be labelled with versions. So the 1260 became the 1260v2. This is much easier for my brain to handle. Yay!

For a full look at NB shoe codes, check this out (check this out? WHO AM I?)

The other cool thing about NB is they’re great for people with wide feet.

They offer the following widths:

Men: 2A (extra narrow), B, D (normal), 2E, 3E, 4E, 6E (super wide)

Women: 4A (extra narrow), 2A, B (normal), D, 2E, 4E (super wide)

The great thing is that usually you can pick what size and width you are, then choose new shoes based on that. However, some shoes fit differently – for example, my 1223s have a narrower fit than the 1260v1, so I went from a D to a B in these shoes, but stayed the same side. Looking back though, I pull my laces really tight in my 1223s, so it’s possible that I didn’t need the wide fit after all.

Sometimes the different widths can be hard to find online, but usually you can find the various sizes more easily online (and NB has free shipping for every order over $200!). I’m also pretty sure that they don’t make every shoe in every width, but don’t quote me on that.


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One thought on “New Balance and their whacky shoe numbering

  1. […] Since the 1223s, there have been 1224s, 1225s, 1226, 1260v1 and 1260v2 (you can read about NB shoe numbering here) […]

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