Are you on the hunt for the best New Balance walking shoes? Look no further! In this article, we've decoded the latest shoe tech from New Balance and put their top models to the test. Whether you're searching for the perfect walking sneaker, the ultimate hiking shoe, or something with exceptional arch support and cushioning, we've got you covered. We've compared the 7 best New Balance walking shoes to help you make an informed decision. So, grab a seat and get ready to discover the best New Balance walking shoes on the market.
Why has New Balance become suddenly popular?
New Balance, a brand that has been around for over a century, has experienced its fair share of ups and downs. However, recently it was the iconic "dad shoe" that catapulted the brand back into the must-have category. The rise of normcore fashion, including mom jeans and dad fashion, shifted the focus towards comfort and practicality over high-fashion pieces. Leading this charge was New Balance's gray 990 shoe, which gained popularity around fall 2018. It started appearing everywhere, especially on the feet of fashion editors and influencers during fashion week. This was a significant departure from the usual dominance of statement heels. Since then, more and more fashion-forward individuals have embraced New Balance sneakers, with the 574 and 327 styles surpassing the 990 as the top picks for 2023. On a recent stroll in my neighborhood, I spotted numerous stylish Upper West Siders sporting New Balance sneakers.
Beyond their trendy appeal, New Balance sneakers boast exceptional comfort and prioritize support, even in lifestyle sneakers designed for fashion-conscious individuals. While they may not be the most affordable brand, New Balance sneakers are known for their durability and longevity. Additionally, New Balance offers a wider size range and multiple width options for most of their sneakers compared to competitors like Nike or Adidas. In summary, they are a worthy investment for those seeking stylish and comfortable shoes that won't fall apart within a few months.
Our Selection Process
To identify the best New Balance shoes, we consulted with the New Balance team and head coaches to gather their top choices for various activities. We also considered what shoppers should look for in a New Balance shoe that suits their specific needs.
For this article, we personally tested several New Balance sneakers, paying close attention to their standout features such as fit, cushioning, arch support, and stability. We also incorporated findings from previous tests where we evaluated over a dozen pairs of New Balance shoes, wearing each shoe at least three times a week for a month. Additionally, we interviewed podiatrists to gather insights on the best New Balance shoes for activities like nursing, relieving back pain, and standing all day, as well as other specific conditions. Our final selection of New Balance sneakers is based on expert recommendations, intended activities, common foot conditions, and varying budgets.
New Balance Shoe Technology Explained
Choosing the right pair of sneakers is a personal experience as individual needs vary. However, it's important to find a shoe that complements your foot type and withstands the demands of your chosen activity. New Balance offers a wide array of choices, making it challenging to narrow down your search. Here's a breakdown of their two most popular styles and their notable features:
FuelCell: FuelCell refers to the specific foam and cushioning technology used in the FuelCell shoe line. It maximizes energy return, giving runners a propulsive feel that drives them forward with each step. Shoes featuring FuelCell technology, such as the SuperComp Elite v3 and Coco CG1, are designed to enhance speed and minimize the impact during high-intensity movements like running.
Fresh Foam: Fresh Foam is New Balance's inclusive platform, suitable for all individuals. Fresh Foam midsoles provide a plush, cushioned, and supportive experience. You can find this technology in shoes like the Fresh Foam X More Trail and Fresh Foam 1080. While FuelCell offers propulsion and speed, Fresh Foam is more geared towards everyday runs and all-day comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are New Balance shoes suitable for running?
- Where can I purchase New Balance shoes?
- Are New Balance shoes recommended by podiatrists?
New Balance offers a wide range of running shoes featuring FuelCell technology for propulsive thrust and ample cushioning to protect your feet from the impact of running on different surfaces. The Fresh Foam 1080s and FuelCell SuperComp Elite are among the top recommendations for New Balance running shoes.
Many New Balance shoes carry the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). This seal indicates that the footwear, materials, insoles, and equipment meet the standards for promoting good foot health as evaluated by podiatrists. Some New Balance styles that boast the APMA seal include the FuelCell Propel v4, Fresh Foam 860v13, Fresh Foam X More v4, and Fresh Foam 880v13.
Our Method of Testing the Best New Balance Shoes
To compile our list of the best New Balance shoes for walking and other activities, we thoroughly researched over 25 pairs of shoes, considering key features such as fit, comfort, support and stability, materials, traction, and durability. We also sought recommendations and advice from experts on selecting shoes for specific activities.
Our team tested 12 pairs of New Balance shoes, spending over 55 hours walking and running in them. The testers conducted short walks or runs on various surfaces, including treadmills, pavements, sidewalks, and trails, depending on the intended purpose of each shoe. They also did one long-distance walk or run to evaluate comfort, support, and blister protection after extended wear. Additionally, the testers wore the shoes casually to assess overall comfort and support for everyday use.
After testing, we assessed each New Balance shoe for its cushioning, fit, responsiveness, comfort, stability, and blister protection, assigning a rating of 1 (not recommended) to 5 (highly recommended) for each attribute. We also provided an overall star rating, representing our general impression of the shoe's performance and whether we would recommend it.
Comparison of the 7 Best New Balance Walking Shoes
|# of colorways|
Best New Balance Walking Sneakers
New Balance 574 Full review of New Balance 574
Today's Best Price
Best Overall New Balance Walking Shoes
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 Full review of New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12
Today's Best Price
Amazon Zappos Running Warehouse New Balance Shoebacca
Top-rated hiking shoes from New Balance
New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Complete review of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7
Best price currently available
New Balance walking shoes with excellent arch support
New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12 Complete review of New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12
Best price currently available
New Balance Walking Shoes with Superior Cushioning
Discover the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 Read the full review of New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4
Today's Best Price
New Balance 550
Get the New Balance 550
The New Balance 550 is a highly sought-after everyday shoe, known for its vibrant color options. However, the all-white version stands out as a timeless classic. With a chunkier sole, these shoes exude a vintage basketball aesthetic, reminiscent of Air Force 1s. The popularity of the New Balance 550 can be seen on TikTok, where videos showcasing the shoe have accumulated over 48 million views. Some styles of the 550 are reselling on platforms like StockX and GOAT for significantly more than their original $110 price point. Featuring a leather upper that is easy to clean and a durable rubber outsole, these shoes maintain their fresh appearance even after extended use.
$110 at New Balance
$110 at Net-a-Porter
New Balance Fresh Foam X More
Get the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4
True to its name, the Fresh Foam X More boasts an exceptionally thick sole compared to other New Balance shoes. This extra cushioning provides an incredibly plush feel. Initially, it might take a few steps to adjust to the stability, but once you find your stride, the shoes offer excellent comfort and support, especially during running activities. It's essential to note that New Balance does not recommend the More v4 for runners who require significant stability. For runners seeking a maximalist shoe, the More v4 is one of the best options available. It strikes a balance between softness and responsiveness, providing a superior running experience.
$150 at New Balance
Are Hoka Sneakers as Comfortable & Supportive As They Claim to Be? My Bunioned Feet Say Hell Yes
Want to stay updated on the latest and greatest products? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to discover our top recommendations.
New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro
Get the New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro
Designed for trail running, the Hierro offers superior grip to handle various terrains. It features a flexible-yet-durable toe cap that protects your toes from occasional impacts. The tight knit mesh upper effectively keeps out sand and dust while maintaining breathability. Reviews suggest that the Hierro fits true to size, and it is also available in wide widths for those who prefer more toe box room. It's important to note that the Hierro is best suited for easy to moderate trails and may not provide sufficient support or traction for rugged adventures.
$140 at New Balance
$140; $111 at Zappos
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080
Get the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080
For long-distance running or those seeking extra cushioning, the 1080 is an excellent choice. It features New Balance's Fresh Foam material in a greater quantity, providing enhanced support for extended runs. The 1080 requires no break-in period and offers a comfortable fit with no risk of blisters. Although designed for long distances, these shoes are versatile and suitable for runners who prefer extra cushioning or a smaller drop. Reviews suggest that the newest version of the 1080 runs true to size and provides more room in the toe box compared to previous models.
$160 at New Balance
$160 at Nordstrom
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880
Get the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880
The 880 is New Balance's most popular running shoe, favored by runners of all types. As part of the Fresh Foam collection, it features a cushioned insole that provides ample comfort while maintaining a responsive feel. The shoe is available in four different widths (narrow, standard, wide, and extra wide) to ensure a perfect fit. Whether you're training for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or full marathon, the 880 delivers reliable performance. It is especially well-suited for half marathon distances or shorter, providing adequate cushioning to keep feet feeling fresh. For sizing, it is often recommended to go up a half size for a more comfortable fit.
$140 at New Balance
$140 at Dick's Sporting Goods
New Balance 990
Both Steve Jobs and Kourtney Kardashian have been seen wearing the iconic New Balance 990. Celebrities like Kaia Gerber, Timothée Chalamet, Adam Sandler, Emma Roberts, and Zoë Kravitz are also fans. With such a diverse range of supporters, you can be confident that these shoes have a lot to offer. They are known for being incredibly comfortable, featuring an Ortholite insole and a shock-absorbing ENCAP midsole that provides hours of comfort. The shoes also have a dual density foam collar that offers extra ankle support without feeling restrictive, and a roomy toe box. While many reviewers praise the shoes for walking and standing for long periods, they are on the heavier side, so they may not be ideal for distances longer than a 5K.
$185 at New Balance
$185 at Zappos
New Balance 574
The New Balance 574 is currently the second most popular shoe on the New Balance website, just behind the 327. It's easy to see why when you read through the reviews. These shoes are comfortable, come in a wide range of colors, and are affordably priced under $100. Purewow’s senior food editor Katherine Gillen even lists them as her favorite everyday sneaker. She loves the 574s for their true-to-size fit, variety of colors, versatility, and reasonable price. She also highlights how comfortable they are, with no break-in period and lightweight cushioning. The shoes are not too narrow and provide ample support for walking in the city and during travel.
at New Balance
Other New Balance shoes to consider
If you're looking for walking shoes beyond the dedicated walking shoe line, New Balance sneakers and running shoes are worth considering. Your choice will depend on your personal preferences in footwear. Here's a breakdown of the three categories:
- New Balance walking shoes: These shoes are best for those who want support throughout the day and prefer a more conservative style.
New Balance WX608
For those looking for a more general training shoe, the New Balance WX608 is the most popular option. It offers ample cushioning and support for activities like squats, lifts, and jumps. The ABZORB heel crash pad reduces compression during hard heel strikes, providing relief during heavy leg exercises. The outsole is flexible, allowing for a full range of motion. The shoe is reported to run true to size, but if you plan to use your own inserts, going up a half size may be necessary.
at New Balance
; at Zappos
Best retro New Balance walking shoes
New Balance 530 Full review of New Balance 530
Today's best price
What are the best walking shoes for those with flat feet?
The best walking shoes for those with flat feet depend on individual comfort. If you have collapsing tendons during your gait, look for shoes with corrective features and maximum stability. However, some may find this style exacerbates pain, so a shoe with inherent stability and support without overcorrection is recommended.
5 Best New Balance Walking Shoes
Now, let's explore the top recommendations from New Balance's collection to find the best walking shoes. These handpicked sneakers offer comfort, support, and durability for walkers of all levels. They are not "dad shoes" but provide excellent support for joints during workouts and everyday activities.
#1 Best Workout Walking Shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4
New Balance's Fresh Foam X technology provides a plush and responsive feel. The shoes have a spacious mid-foot area and a good heel cupping for stability. With a higher stack height, the shoes offer a wider base and stability without being classified as stability shoes.
#2 Best for Cushion and Support: New Balance 880
The New Balance 880 is a neutral shoe that strikes a balance between cushioning and stability. It has a wide toe box for maximum power transfer. The shoes provide adequate cushioning for long hours on your feet and offer just the right amount of stability with a larger platform.
#3 Best Casual Walking Shoe: New Balance Women's DynaSoft Nergize V3
The Nergize offers a casual feel while providing cushioning and support for all-day movement. It has a bootie-like fit and comes in a Sport model for less casual occasions or in a mule style for a more relaxed look. The DynaSoft cushioning technology offers a plush and responsive feel, perfect for casual walks and everyday wear.
- 6mm drop
- 6 oz women's
#4 Best Trail Walking Shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro V7
The New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro is designed for trail walking. It features multidirectional lugs on the outsole for exceptional traction on uneven surfaces. The shoes' Fresh Foam X midsole technology provides responsive cushioning for rocky trails. With a durable construction, including abrasion-resistant materials, the Hierro ensures protection on the trail.
- Also available in boot style
- 8mm drop
- 8.3 oz women's
#5 Best for Workplace Safety: MX857v3 Slip Resistant
The New Balance MX857 is a shoe specifically designed for the workplace and safety environments. It features a slip-resistant outsole for reliable traction on various surfaces, preventing accidents. The MX857 offers superior support and stability with a supportive midsole and dual-density collar foam. It is made with a durable leather upper to withstand demands in the workplace.
- Men's only, black
- 14.3 oz men's
When choosing the right walking shoe, consider factors such as comfort, durability, aesthetics, and price. The right walking shoe should offer a comfortable fit, sufficient cushioning, and supportive stability. Understanding your foot type is crucial in finding the perfect walking shoe for you.
In a world flooded with countless options for walking shoes, New Balance has emerged as a standout favorite among fitness enthusiasts and casual walkers alike. With their advanced shoe technologies and commitment to creating footwear that not only looks great but also supports and cushions your every step, it's no wonder that New Balance walking shoes have soared in popularity. After tirelessly researching and testing the top contenders, we have narrowed down the selection to the 5 best New Balance walking shoes available on the market. So whether you're looking for the ultimate arch support, the unbeatable cushioning, or that perfect blend of style and functionality, we have your perfect fit covered. Don't settle for anything less than the best. Trust New Balance to take you on your walking journey with comfort and style. Choose the right walking shoe, choose New Balance.