Verdict from 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • A majority of wearers stated that the New Balance 1201 was very comfortable when used for walking on pavements and trails.
  • The rugged style of the trainer pleased a high number of shoppers.
  • Many owners commended the durability of this product.
  • Numerous reviewers marked this product as being true to size and width.
  • The upper material protected against the cold and the rain, according to plenty of users.
  • A lot of buyers were delighted that the footgear was lightweight despite its bulky appearance.
  • Multiple people appreciated the fact that this model accommodated custom inserts.
  • The ankle support provided by the padded collar satisfied several purchasers.

4 reasons not to buy

  • A minority of consumers claimed that the foam insole in the New Balance 1201 was hard and caused foot pain.
  • The build of the merchandise was too stiff, and a few users said that it needed breaking in to be more suitable for extended periods of walking.
  • Some critics complained that the item looked clunky and ugly.
  • The tread pattern on this trainer was not suitable for difficult trails because it was not very aggressive, according to a handful of individuals.

Bottom line

The New Balance 1201 resonated well with people who are in search of a reliable trainer for everyday walks on concrete and light trails. Despite its rugged style, it has been commended for its light disposition. Consumers also adored that the upper offered protection from wetness and cold. However, some reviewers said that it was short and narrow compared to other New Balance walking shoes. There were also complaints about its style and bulkiness. But in the end, despite some minor criticisms, it came highly recommended for people looking for a durable and comfortable walking footgear.

Tip: see the best walking shoes.

Good to know

  • The New Balance 1201 is created to provide comfort for extended periods of walking in a variety of outdoor environments. Its sturdy leather and suede upper is meant to give a steady foothold on trails.
  • The proprietary ABZORB unit is used for cushioning. It is a foam-based material that protects feet, legs, and lower back by dispersing the shock upon impact.
  • A layer of hard-wearing rubber lines the bottom of the platform. Its lug pattern is designed to grip the surface in multiple directions. A vertical rubber layer of contrasting color splits the outsole to accommodate a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

The New Balance 1201 employs a durable rubber material for the outsole. The unit extends up at the front and the back of the platform to protect the toes and the heel from bumps. These extensions have a razor-blade-like shape and act as brake lugs to prevent slippage on descends and wet surfaces.

The triangular lugs of various sizes are placed throughout the outsole. They are facing different directions to afford traction on unpredictable terrain. Multiple flex grooves between the lugs contribute to the flexibility of the unit.

The outsole is split by a rubber insert of contrasting color. It mimics the way a foot undergoes when it transitions from the heel to the toes during walking. It is meant to render a smooth walking gait cycle.

The brand’s foam-based ABZORB compound is the primary cushioning of the New Balance 1201. It is a full-length layer that guides the foot throughout the walking session. It ensures a safe and supportive ride, protecting the lower extremities and back from the impact.

The midfoot and the forefoot portions of the New Balance 1201 are covered in suede. It offers a snug fit and features perforations to keep the interiors of the shoe ventilated.

Genuine leather wraps the heel and the ankle for maximized support and stability in these areas. The toe box is also overlaid with leather for extra durability in this high-wear part of the shoe.

The tongue and the collar are generously padded to keep the shoe securely around the ankle. The edges of the collar utilize mesh to maintain breathability in the rearfoot.   

A traditional lace-up closure is used for regulating the tightness. Round laces easily slide through metal eyelets helping the wearer make quick adjustments. A pair of external metal loops is placed above the top eyelets. The laces can be run through them and cinched for a lockdown fit.

Those looking for a similar waking trainer with a waterproof upper, can consider the New Balance 1300.


How New Balance 1201 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 28% walking shoes
All walking shoes
Bottom 25% New Balance walking shoes
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Bottom 24% neutral walking shoes
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The current trend of New Balance 1201.
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