Our verdict

New Balance Shando is incredibly comfortable and beautiful-looking. I noticed that this shoe is inspired by the ruggedness of the current trail trend. They may not actually be too suited for any serious trail running, but with looks like this, I got lots of wear out of them.


  • Aesthetically amazing
  • Really grippy outsole
  • Durable materials
  • Super comfy midsole
  • Incredibly useful heel tab


  • Stuffy toe-box
  • Not ideal for difficult terrain
  • Lacing will give you a headache

Audience verdict



New Balance Shando Lab Test and Review

With current street-style trends adopting more off-road, trail running silhouettes, it’s no surprise that some brands are beginning to offer trail shoes to a more sneaker-head market. 


That’s not to say that the New Balance Shando’s are totally incompatible with trail running, just that New Balance doesn’t really expect you to do more than a light jog on a well-maintained trail. 

At 12.5oz (354g), they are well off of the average running shoe mark, and while the bulky, CAT-style shoe looks the part, the added weight is nothing to do with performance-focused features. 


Who should buy the New Balance Shando

The Shando is probably perfect for you if you want:

  • A pair of daily sneakers that you can take with you on a light hike
  • An all-round shoe for outdoor activities
  • Lots of protection underfoot 

New Balance Shando side profile

Who shouldn’t buy these trail runners

Conversely, I suggest to avoid these if:

The New Balance Shando doesn’t fit the bill

One of my gripes with this shoe is that it does very little that it’s marketed to do. First and foremost it runs half a size too small.

New balance shando side on

If you don’t however, expect to be disappointed and look at returns (if you bought online) because even a half size up these felt incredible claustrophobic. The main reason for this is the more athletic-looking toe box, which not only constricts the forefoot but is wrapped with a think synthetic leather, so there’s very little stretch either. 

A gorgeous upper

The shoe really does look great (once it’s on your foot) and brings New Balance firmly into the current trend for casual trail running shoes that sees the Salomon XT-6 as one of the biggest selling shoes for casual wear at the moment. 

New balance shando trail running sneaker

With industrial-looking webbing for lace loops, mesh, synthetic leather, and high-contrast colorways, New Balance is definitely here to please those with style in mind. It’s pretty warm in there too, which again lends itself more to the day-to-day wearer, than someone pounding to trails for an hour or two. 

The New Balance Shando does not get the lacing right

New Balance Shando On foot lacing

While the webbing lace loops may get 5 stars for appearance, it’s a low score for practicality. The webbing is sewn into the shoe which actually prevents the lockdown from working the way that it should.

New Balance Shando Yellow Webbing

Moreover, the anterior side replaces some loops with slits in the synthetic leather which makes tying the laces more difficult than it has to be; one end moves freely while the other is caught in the shoe. 

New Balance Shando anterior side

Even the laces themselves are too round and slippery to offer much in the way of secure fastening. I had to triple knot them to keep them going for any length of time. 

The midsole is a welcome break

I almost forgot all my woes stepping into the New Balance Shando though. Not quite New Balance’s Fresh Foam, the DynaSoft midsole is still super plushy and there’s a lot of it. 

With a Durometer of 39 HA the midsole is much softer than most trail-running shoes tested. The shoe also has a heel stack height of 34.7mm which is up there with some of the tallest shoes on the market.

New Balance Shando stack height

This makes for a really comfy ride, but with all that cushioning and very little in the way of stability control, it’s often not a trusted ride. For this reason, I’d say if you want to wear the Shando on adventures, make them slower-paced adventures. 

The New Balance Shando offers a super-grippy outsole

New Balance Shando outer sole grip

Fast or slow, you can get over most obstacles in these. New Balance’s AT Tread has some big, chunky 4.9mm lugs around the outside of the foot to keep gripping at different angles. 

The Lugs in the middle are smaller and less spaces out and thanks to the softness of the shoe, they grip onto lots of objects underfoot. 

New Balance Shando Trail Running Grip

Extra features or extra style?

The outsole extends out the back of the heel on the exterior side, a bit like a baby brother to the heel platform on the Hoka TenNine. The suggestion here is maximized ground contract for more stability and traction. 

New Balance Shando heel

I didn’t really notice its effect myself, and maybe it’s just too soft to make any difference. I think it’s probably another aesthetic choice from New Balance. 

New Balance Shando Heel grip

One feature I love about the New Balance Shando

If there’s one thing that is so often overlooked on trail shoes it’s the heel tab. While it might seem like a small detail, a good, chunky heel tab changes my day. 

New Balance Shando Heel Tab

The New Balance Shando has just such a heel tab and I’m glad they didn’t mind adding weight to the already chunky shoe to include it. Something this big allows you to slide a muddy, wet shoe on and off without slipping around. Genuinely a game changer for me. 


New Balance Shando front view

It’s easy to point to all that the New Balance Shando is not; it’s not the best running shoe for you if you care about your body. But the Shando isn’t about that in my opinion. To me, the New Balance Shando is similar to the Nike Air Max 90, or the Adidas Superstar, the sports shoes that started pivoting from their speciality towards popular trends and kept companies able to spend real time focusing on all aspects of their production. 

New Balance Shando tear down

The Shando is a great-looking, trail-inspired shoe that you could take on a run if you wanted but would suit you well on a dog walk, the golf course or a night out.