New Balance 978 notable features

-Built for quick excursions to the trail, the New Balance 978 features a durable nubuck leather upper that provides reliable protection against the elements.

-Several footwear technologies are behind these shoes, such as the ABZORB responsive midsole for support and comfort and Gore-Tex membrane for waterproofing. They also feature a Rollbar posting system that addresses severe pronation and supination.

-The 978 trail walker comes with a dual-density collar that provides the right mix of cushioning and firmness.

Size and fit

The New Balance 978 is a low-cut shoe available for men and women. It has quite a narrow toe box compared to other models. Since the upper is made entirely of leather, it takes on the shape of the foot after some breaking in. Furthermore, the traditional lacing system helps facilitate an effective and easy adjustment of the fit.


The New Balance 978 has a solid rubber outsole called Ndurance. It’s made with a rubber compound that has maximum durability in high-wear areas. The lugs are widely spaced, so no debris or mud gets stuck in between. They are also deep enough to create grip and traction on varying terrain.

Another interesting feature of this shoe is the Rollbar. It’s a posting system designed to prevent the foot from rolling inward. It consists of a molded plate under the heel connected to the inner and outer edges of the shoe. The Rollbar technology makes the New Balance 978 suitable for people with severe pronation as well as those with severe supination. It also provides protection against sharp objects, such as rocks and sticks.


This popular footwear from New Balance incorporates the ABZORB midsole made from Dupont Engage Isoprene rubber and proprietary foam materials. It works by absorbing shock and displacing energy, thereby protecting the wearer from accidental impact.

Just like EVA foam, ABZORB also offers lightweight comfort. But the company claims that it’s able to withstand its cushioning properties longer than EVA. Included in the mix is the New Balance Rock Stop system - a flexible layer of EVA foam placed in between the midsole and outsole. Lastly, the shoe incorporates a polyurethane insert for added cushion and comfort.


The shoe upper is made entirely of Nubuck leather, including the stabilizing straps. It’s a high-quality material that offers protection against the elements while helping the feet stay warm in colder days. All the parts of the upper are sewn together using double-stitching.

Another important feature of this shoe is the Gore-Tex lining that protects against water intrusion. The New Balance 978 also features a dual-density collar that offers supportive padding. The gusseted tongue is sewn in place to prevent debris from entering the shoe. 

Completing the upper is a lace-up closure with metal hooks and eyelets.

New Balance 978 vs 1400

The New Balance 978 is among the latest hiking shoes offered by the brand. But what makes it different from earlier models, particularly the New Balance 1400?

Shaft. The New Balance 1400 is a high-cut boot which means it offers more ankle support. High-cut boots also give additional protection from cuts, bruises, bites, and grazes which are all too common when venturing off well-maintained trails. 

The New Balance 978 is a low-cut model and is often preferred by hikers who have gained considerable experience and are less likely to twist their ankles. Low-cut shoes also offer more ankle flexibility which is helpful when climbing up or down steep slopes or when hopping through rocks in lakes and streams.

Insulation. Both the NB 1400 and NB 978 are made from high-quality materials. They also feature the Rollbar technology, a lace-up closure, and a gusseted tongue. However, there are a few notable features that distinguish one from the other. First off - the NB 1400 comes with thermal insulation, called  Thinsulate® Quilted B200. It’s made from synthetic fibers that, although lightweight, are twice as warm as any natural material. The men’s 978 trail walker lacks special insulation although the leather upper can be warm enough in cooler days.

Weight. The1400 hiking boots are surprisingly lighter than the NB 978. The latter weighs 505 grams per shoe while the former weighs 431 grams. Nevertheless, both these models belong to the lightweight class which is ideal for day hiking with less load.


The current trend of New Balance 978.
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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.