new balance back to school

Heading back to school means a complete revamp of your life. After settling into the rhythm of doing absolutely nothing, picking up routines again can feel like you’ve never done it before. But with this unfamiliar kickstart comes the opportunity to revamp a few other things, too. Primarily your sneaker rotation.

New Balance is known for producing some of the highest-quality, understated sneakers in the sportswear game. From the normcore king, the 990v5, through to new silhouettes like the CT302, New Balance back-to-school shoes come in varied styles so that there’s a design for all occasions.

What we’re looking for in back-to-school shoes is versatility. Something that can be worn for casual sports, offers round-the-clock comfort, and looks good while doing it. For that, there’s no better place to start than New Balance. That’s why we’ve put together 9 of the best New Balance back-to-school shoes below.

The New Balance XC-72 landed as part of a collaboration with Casablanca but has since made a space for itself in the permanent New Balance offering. The lightweight, futuristic silhouette lends itself to all different styles and this colorway only aids that cause.

Taking after the iconic does-everything shoe, the 574, New Balance’s 57/40 offers a more modern take on the silhouette. Retaining the versatility offered by the pared-back upper, a bolder sole unit brings the shoes into focus for 2022 market. In this off-white color palette, the design is neutralized to cover all bases.

The Made in US and UK sections of the New Balance collection are gold mines for sneakerheads who appreciate a touch more refinement. The same classic silhouettes are built using high-end materials in the brand’s US and UK factories respectively. This 991 comes from the UK factory and, in its forest-green outfit, is set for styling both at school and in your day-to-day life.

One of the newest arrivals to New Balance is the CT302 which stands as one of the least sporty silhouettes on offer. Built on the foundation of the CT300, a popular ’80s tennis shoe, the CT302 keeps many of the on-court details that made it such a top performer. That said, new colorways and a casual suede upper align this modern update more with the lifestyle rotation.

Shoes don’t come more versatile than the 990v5. Favored by tourist dads and fashion-week attendees alike, there are precious few other silhouettes that could hope to appeal across the board like that. Unrivaled comfort combined with the classic Core Grey color palette makes it a shoe with boundless possibilities in terms of styling. Any occasion, any weather. This might be the ultimate back-to-school shoe.

The RC30 is another of the newest jewels in the New Balance crown. With one of the most eye-catching sole units in the game — partly because there’s barely any midsole and partly because the jagged outsole dominates the front half of the shoe — it’s a shoe based on contrasts. The lightweight, ’70s-style upper feels incongruous with the modern, technical sole unit but that’s what makes it such a hard shoe to take your eyes off.

New Balance’s skate shoes are highly underrated when it comes to versatile styling. The NB Numeric 272 is a prime example, especially in this neutral colorway. The majority off-white upper is highlighted by flashes of color to the heel tab and logo in blue and red, rounding out a colorway that suggests a sporty purpose without allowing it to dominate the shoe. It means that you can sport this when skating or just in daily life.

Another silhouette out of the UK factory, the 920 is often overlooked in the New Balance 900 family. While the others hit the big time in sneaker circles, the 920 deserves more airtime. This dark-grey edition is proof.

We love the CT302 so much that we had to double up. While the black suede version is a beautiful addition to an understated rotation, this Vintage Indigo colorway is really doing it for us too. Subtle detailing to the tongue combines perfectly with the shaded blue overlays to the upper for, once again, dreamy versatility that avoids looking boring.

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