Benzoic acid (BA) is an important platform aromatic compound in chemical industry and is widely used as food preservatives in its salt forms. Yet, current manufacture of BA is dependent on petrochemical processes under harsh conditions. Here we report the de novo production of BA from glucose using metabolically engineered Escherichia coli strains harboring a plant-like β-oxidation pathway or a newly designed synthetic pathway. First, three different natural BA biosynthetic pathways originated from plants and one synthetically designed pathway were systemically assessed for BA production from glucose by in silico flux response analyses. The selected plant-like β-oxidation pathway and the synthetic pathway were separately established in E. coli by expressing the genes encoding the necessary enzymes and screened heterologous enzymes under optimal plasmid configurations. BA production was further optimized by applying several metabolic engineering strategies to the engineered E. coli strains harboring each metabolic pathway, which included enhancement of the precursor availability, removal of competitive reactions, transporter engineering, and reduction of byproduct formation. Lastly, fed-batch fermentations of the final engineered strain harboring the β-oxidation pathway and the strain harboring the synthetic pathway were conducted, which resulted in the production of 2.37 ± 0.02 g/L and 181.0 ± 5.8 mg/L of BA from glucose, respectively; the former being the highest titer reported by microbial fermentation. The metabolic engineering strategies developed here will be useful for the production of related aromatics of high industrial interest.