New Balance 2002R Review – Honest Thoughts After 1 Year of Wear –

This article is a review of my favorite shoes, the NEW BALANCE 2002R.

I’ve been wearing these shoes for a year, so I’ll share my honest thoughts based on my long-term experience with them.

By the way, the New Balance 2002R that I own has aged like this over the course of a year.

 

NEW BALANCE 2002R Side view
NEW BALANCE 2002R Back VIew
New Balance 2002R Top View

New Balance 2002R is the best shoe for standing long hours

To conclude, the New Balance 2002R is a suitable shoe for standing for long periods.

I work in a clothing store, so I spend most of my time standing throughout the day. On my shifts, I often stand for 8 to 10 hours a day.

According to a study, the average person stands for about 3 hours a day, so I stand for two to three times longer than the average person.

And since I’m already in my 30s, standing for long hours is tough. On days when I work in uncomfortable shoes, I need to use a massage gun after work to relieve my fatigue. It’s a moment when I feel the aging of my body, which makes me feel a bit sad.

For long hours of standing work, I choose the New Balance 2002R.

The reason I choose New Balance

New Balance logo

Before delving into the discussion about these shoes, I should probably explain why I started wearing New Balance in the first place.

New Balance is the manufacturer behind the shoes I’m introducing this time. When compared to other manufacturers, New Balance provides the most suitable shoes for my job. I’d like to briefly compare it to other manufacturers to explain the reasons behind this.

No Nike and Adidas

First, let’s talk about the giants of the sneaker industry, Nike and Adidas. For me, these two are out of the question. They’re simply not designed with walking comfort in mind. Because they prioritize design, when it comes to walking more than 10,000 steps, these two companies fall short. While there are some shoes that prioritize walking comfort to some extent, they can’t match New Balance when it comes to pursuing overall comfort.

However, they do make excellent shoes for sports purposes. In fact, my basketball shoes are always Nike. Their Zoom technology is fantastic.

But they’re not known for making shoes that are kind to your feet.

Asics and Hoka and Salomon is okay, But …

As for Asics, Hoka One One, and Salomon, the comfort of wearing them is not an issue. However, their distinctive appearance makes it difficult to match with clothing. Their soles are often too thick, and their designs lean too much towards running shoes. While one could opt to buy matching clothing, it’s a choice I, as a minimalist, prefer not to make. Therefore, these manufacturers are excluded from my options.

New Balance still looks cool even when it’s worn out

This is purely a matter of personal preference, but New Balance shoes that have been worn for years look cool. They acquire a rich aging similar to well-worn jeans because they’ve been used for an extended period.

For instance, my New Balances have aged like this.

New Balance 990V5
This New Balance shoes I’ve been wearing for the past four years

Personally, I find them cooler than when they were brand new.

There are countless stylish shoe designs out there. However, New Balance is the only brand whose shoes still look cool even when they’re worn out.

Moreover, I walk longer distances than most people, so my shoes tend to wear out quickly. The fact that they still look cool even when worn out is an important factor for me.

For the reasons mentioned above, I’ve worn a total of nine pairs of New Balance shoes so far, listed below:

  • CM996
  • M998
  • M2040 V1
  • WR993
  • MR993
  • M990 V5
  • 2002R
  • 2002R GORETEX
  • M990V3

Why New Balance 2002R is ideal for standing long hours

Now, let’s move on to discussing the New Balance 2002R.

As mentioned earlier, the New Balance 2002R is an ideal shoe for walking long distances. There are two reasons for this.

The cushioning is extremely soft

The New Balance 2002R features two types of cushioning, and the combination of these two cushions does an excellent job.

The first cushion is called “Abzorb”.

New Balance 2002R MIdsole

This cushion is famous for its high shock absorption capability. It’s surprising to find this cushion, which is typically featured in expensive American-made New Balance shoes, in the more affordable Asian-made New Balance 2002R.

The second cushion is called “N-ERGY” and is installed in the heel.

New Balance 2002R's N-ERGY

It provides a soft, squishy feel, making it very comfortable.

These two cushions work together to reduce the strain on the body when standing.

The New Balance 2002R is gentle on the soles

In the midfoot area of the New Balance 2002R, there’s a component called the Stability Web.

New Balance 2002R's Stability Web

It supports the arch of the foot, reducing strain. This support is appreciated as it helps alleviate foot pain that can occur from prolonged standing.

The disappointing aspect of the New Balance 2002R is…

Since I’ve only been highlighting the positive aspects so far, let me also mention a point where I personally find it lacking. No matter how good a product is, there’s always room for improvement.

Low responsiveness

I believe that shoes meant for prolonged wear should have two key qualities. One is shock absorption, and in this aspect, the New Balance 2002R performs adequately.

The other is responsiveness. Shoes with good responsiveness convert the energy from landing into the next step, which is crucial for long-distance walking. I typically walk over three times the distance of the average man, covering between 15,000 to 20,000 steps per day. Therefore, responsiveness is also important to me.

The New Balance 2002R feels slightly lacking in responsiveness, which may be due to the absence of a shank.

A shank is a component that supports the arch of the foot and aids in stabilizing walking. Typically, high heels, pumps, and leather shoes you wear regularly have a shank, known as an “arch support.”

However, adding a shank increases the price. Therefore, while expensive New Balance sneakers usually have a shank, cheaper ones do not.

If you desire better responsiveness, consider purchasing shoes with a shank. Personally, I recommend the New Balance 990v3, which features a carbon shank, providing particularly high responsiveness.

New balance 990 V3
New Balance 990V3
New Balance 990v3’s carbon shank
The carbon shank incorporated into the New Balance 990v3

The stability in the heel feels low

The New Balance 2002R does not come with a counter reinforcer. The counter reinforcer is a part that prevents the foot from tilting. When the foot tilts, it puts strain on specific areas, so the role of this part is to prevent that.

New Balance 993 and 990 counter reinforcer
The heel counter of the American-made New Balance 993 and 990V5

Once you wear shoes with a counter reinforcer, you’ll realize that this small part significantly reduces fatigue.

Conclusion

New Balance 2002R Side view

The New Balance 2002R offers excellent cushioning, making it perfect for standing jobs. When I have to work standing for long hours, I naturally reach for my New Balance 2002R.

While I’ve pointed out some shortcomings, these are only noticeable when compared to the more expensive American-made New Balance shoes. Considering the price, the New Balance 2002R is more than adequate—it’s an excellent shoe.

With its exceptional value for money, I highly recommend giving it a try if you’re interested.

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Thank you for reading until the end.

Author

Japanese
Former Deloitte consultant, currently studying abroad in Australia.