A retro hoops shoe with modern appeal, the New Balance 550 was resurrected from the brand’s archive in 2020 by Aimé Leon Dore’s Teddy Santis. Now one of the most in-demand silhouettes of recent years, fashion insiders and sneakerheads across the globe are vying to get their hands on the latest NB550s. If you’re looking to buy your first pair, you’re probably thinking “how to New Balance 550s fit?”, “do New Balance 550s run true to size” or “do New Balance 550s run big?” Much like other silhouettes from New Balance, along with crowd favourites from Nike, adidas and Air Jordan, sizing can be tricky with the 550. So you can achieve the perfect fit and wear your sneakers with confidence, we’ve created the ultimate New Balance 550 size guide.

Put simply, it’s best to go down by a half size with the New Balance 550. When purchasing your next pair of New Balance 550, size down by half if you like your shoes to be snug. New Balance sneakers are specifically designed to fit like a dream when they’re broken in, so the leather and suede will stretch to deliver a fit that feels practically customised. However, if you have wide feet, you’re best opting for your true to size fit to allow for extra room in the toe box. For more detailed information, you can check out the New Balance size chart which will have a breakdown of exact measurements — it will also be able to tell you more about sizing conversions between the US, Europe and UK.

We’ll go into more detail about the fit of the New Balance 550 sneaker throughout this post, so keep reading for more information.

A Brief History Of The New Balance 550

Initially released in 1989, the New Balance 550 — designed by footwear legend Steven Smith — was a low-top counterpart to its older sibling, the New Balance 650. Designed to be a competitive on-court basketball shoe, the 550 was NB’s answer to the Dunks, Air Max, Air Force 1s and Air Jordans that were taking over the industry at the time. Crafted from durable, premium leather, the upper was emblazoned with New Balance branding, cushioned insoles optimised players’ performance and a unique textured tread on the outsole delivered that all-important grip. Built with a thicker midsole than the Converse, extra cushioning allowed for higher comfort levels, making the New Balance 550 the ultimate basketball sneaker.

Eventually, the 550 fell out of rotation due to Nike Air technology rising to prominence. It wasn’t until ALD’s Teddy Santis delivered the Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 550 capsule in 2021 that the sneaker finally got its time in the limelight. Now, with more colourways released and even more options from the crowd-favourite Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance partnership, there’s a NB550 style for every taste and style inclination.

How Does The New Balance 550 Fit Compared To Air Jordans?

New Balance sneakers are specifically designed to be comfortable and fit like a glove. If you’ve ever owned a pair from the Boston-born brand before, you’ll know they they require next to no breaking in and the cushioning is enough to rival any Air Max in your collection. That being said, with the 550 silhouette, the toe box has a little more room than other sneakers. For this reason, you can afford to size down by a half size — especially if you have narrow feet. However, if you have wider feet you can go TTS (true to size) or half size up and add an insole. This flexibility in sizing means that you have more options when your size isn’t in stock.

If we compare the NB550 to the Air Jordan 1, the New Balance 550 runs bigger. Nike Air Jordan 1s tend to run small so you’re best rounding up to your nearest whole size (if you’re TTS is a half size) or just sizing up by half. Differently to this, New Balance 550s are designed with more room in the toe box and midfoot than the AJ1, so you have more options with the sizing.

How Should I Style The New Balance 550?

One of the biggest reasons the New Balance 550 is a bestseller is its versatility, comfort and vintage streetwear vibes. Its extensive line-up of colourways means that there’s something for everyone. Unlike more traditional running shoes, the NB550 features a panelled leather upper with instantly recognisable branding, a cushioned tongue and comfy cushioning. Thanks to the sneaker’s retro style, it can be paired with everything from jeans to joggers. Fashion insiders and A-listers alike wear the New Balance 550 with all their favourite ‘fits. For more detail on how you can style your 550s, check out our New Balance 550 style guide here.

The Most Iconic New Balance 550 Styles

New Balance 550 White Grey

A bestselling style at Laced, the New Balance 550 White Grey is a lesson in versatile styling. Expertly crafted from premium leather, the upper features a breathable perforated panel, instantly recognisable New Balance branding and cushioning on the ankle. Underfoot, lightweight cushioning delivers optimised comfort, while a unique textured tread provides grip all day. Sporting a retro look, this endlessly wearable white-and-grey sneaker is the perfect off-duty staple.

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 550 Green Yellow

From the first Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 550 pack, the ALD x New Balance 550 Green Yellow pays tribute to the first ever 550s from the ‘80s. The slightly off-white upper is complemented by rich green and yellow detailing, with New Balance and Aimé Leon Dore co-branding seen throughout the design. Staying true to the shoe’s origins, this sneaker is fitted with comfortable cushioning, a unique textured tread and a secure lace-up fastening that puts you in control of the fit.

New Balance 550 Triple Black

A smart option that’ll see you through any occasion in style, the New Balance 550 Triple Black is one of the most pared-back colorways of the shoe thus far. Perfect for taking you from day to night, the all-leather upper arrives in a jet-black finish with perforated panels added for breathability. New Balance branding adds a tonal element to the overall design, while functional details include lightweight cushioning, a secure lace-up fastening and a textured outsole for enhanced traction.

New Balance 550 Sizing: What You Need To Know

After speaking to our in-house team of experts and sneakers lovers, the general consensus is that you should go down by half a size with the New Balance 550 if you have narrow feat — this goes for both men’s and women’s sizes. However, if you have wide feet, you can opt for your true to size fit and you’ll be just fine. If in doubt, you can always check New Balance size chart, but most New Balance shoes are expertly crafted with sizing and comfort in mind. The 550 doesn’t require a crazy amount of wear to break them in and they’re designed to be comfortable right out the box. For the latest must-have pairs, browse New Balance 550s at Laced and keep an eye on release dates for the latest staples.

When it comes to taking care of your New Balance 550s, if you look after them they’ll last for years. Thanks to the smooth leather upper on most pairs, they’re easy to clean with a specialist sneaker cleaning solution or a simple mix of water and washing up liquid. If you have a gentle cloth, simply apply some of the solution to it and wipe down your sneakers when they get particularly dirty. This will keep the leather supple and clean. Top tip: throw the laces in the washing machine with your regular wash and the clean laces will make your sneakers look practically brand new.