New Balance walking shoes originate from the brand’s belief that walking is a physical activity “all its own” and not just the slow-footed variation of running. In fact, fitness walking has been rapidly gaining popularity as a full-fledged training routine, with some researchers even calling it a “superfood” exercise. Also, the idea of making ten thousand steps as a healthy daily norm has been in place ever since the rise of Japanese pedometers in the 1960s. And even if you’re not a fan of walking for its own sake, you probably cover considerable distances doing chores, getting around, or simply spending time outdoors. No matter which of the activities mentioned above you’re up for, New Balance walking shoes are created to assist you.
What makes New Balance walking shoes stand out
Best New Balance walking shoes - February 2019
- Brand reputation and history
Founded more than a century ago, New Balance is recognized as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of athletic footwear. For many decades it had a strong commitment to making a name purely based on the people’s choice and not because of sponsorship deals with athletes and sports teams. Today, the brand boasts of a huge global following which marvels at the high-grade materials as well as the proven durability of New Balance products. The company also prides itself on the fact that they are the only major US athletic brand that still produces part of its shoes on the US territory.
- Dedicated walking shoes
Very few popular sports brands focus on creating a line of shoes specifically for walking. New Balance did not leave this category unaddressed. Considering this type of movement different from running, the company conducted a great number of studies to figure out what kind of support it requires. That’s why New Balance walking shoes are designed with the specifics of a walking gait cycle in mind. The construction of these shoes takes into account the three stages of the cycle: the heel strike, the full contact with the surface, and the toe-off.
- Approved by Medicare
Nearly every pair of New Balance walking shoes is recognized as appropriate for people with diabetes and is created to accommodate a multi-density orthotic insert. These shoes are given the A5500 HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) code and are subject to Medicare reimbursement.
- Width options
New Balance is a protagonist of making shoes in multiple width options to suit the needs of people with all types of foot measurements. The brand has been known for doubling its models in wide widths ever since the 1960s. Today, buyers can choose New Balance walking shoes in narrow, standard, wide, and extra wide width variations.
Choosing the right pair of New Balance walking shoes
First off, consider the type of conditions to which you’ll be exposing your future New Balance walking shoes. If it is an urban environment with concrete pavements and mild climate, then you can opt for a trainer with a regular rubber outsole and a leather or mesh upper. But if you are planning to enjoy your walking sessions on a more demanding terrain, like rocky trails or unpredictable forest paths, then you will be better off with New Balance trail walking shoes. They have a sturdier construction with tough platforms and heavy-duty upper materials with water-resistant features. This type of shoes is similar in design to hiking footwear.
Style and materials
A common feature for all New Balance walking shoes is that they tend to have a simplistic look. Some models are featured in subdued monochromatic coloration, while others come in merely plain black or white colors. However, these trainers can be roughly divided into the following categories:
Stylewise, these shoes closely resemble running shoes. They make use of streamlined mesh and synthetic uppers and white foam midsoles.
Most New Balance walking shoes are offered with a rather conservative all-leather upper. They are meant to render comfort and support while still maintaining a clean, neutral look. Made in plain black, white, or brown, they are also widely used as work shoes by people whose job involves a lot of walking or standing.
This is the most robust-looking category of New Balance walking shoes. Featuring solid mesh, synthetic, leather, and suede materials and overlays, these trainers mean business. They mostly employ dark brown, black, and grey hues to resonate with forest and mountain trails.
Type of cushioning
New Balance has patented more than a dozen different cushioning compounds. The following are the most common technologies used in New Balance walking shoes:
ABZORB combines foam and DuPont Engage isoprene rubber to create responsive units in the heel and the forefoot. These units are as lightweight and shock-absorbing as the regular EVA but are made to be more durable.
- Fresh Foam
It is one of the company’s latest inventions and can be easily recognized by the concave and convex shapes which have been computer modeled to create different zones for more effective impact resistance. It is also one of New Balance’s springiest and most stable midsoles.
- Rapid Rebound
This one is designed as a high-rebound foam. Its responsive nature allows the foot to receive more energy upon the heel strike and channel it into a bouncy toe-off.
This material is made 13% softer than other foams in New Balance walking shoes. It has a plush characteristic to it without compromising stability or durability.
When you set out to conquer the miles, you have to be sure that your walking footwear assists the healthy motion of your feet. As a manufacturer of arch supports in the past, New Balance places special emphasis on the wearer’s foot pronation. When a foot moves through the walking gait cycle, it performs an S-shaped motion, transitioning from the outer edge of the heel to the inner side of the arch, and finally, to the ball and toes. It is normal for the arch to roll inwards slightly during the second stage.
However, if the rolling becomes excessive and the arch collapses on the side, it’s a sure sign of overpronation. Another deviation includes an excessive outward rolling of the foot upon the heel strike, also known as underpronation/supination. In both cases, it is recommended to consult a podiatrist or a similar specialist as you may need a pair of specialized New Balance walking shoes.
This type of trainers caters to people with normal pronation and supination. They do not offer any kind of stabilizing or arch supporting components.
This category of New Balance walking shoes helps people with moderate overpronation. They feature technologies like SBS Stabilizer, a hard rubber compound that reinforces the midsole and is anchored to the outsole. It helps in steadying the rear section by preventing the heel from rolling inwards. This technology is used in the New Balance 1865 walking shoe.
- Motion control
This footwear is made for people with moderate to severe overpronation and supination. It employs the brand’s proprietary Rollbar technology in the heel section. It is a molded TPU plate with posts on both lateral and medial sides, which stabilizes the foot and prevents it from undue inward or outward rolling. Some of the popular walking shoes from this category include the New Balance 847 v3 and the New Balance 813.
Size and width
New Balance walking shoes are produced in a broad array of sizes and width profiles. Based on the US sizing scheme, men’s models are available within a range of sizes 7 to 18, while women’s trainers come between 5 and 13. Both full and half sizes are available to suit individual length measurements of each buyer’s foot. New Balance walking shoes typically run true to size; however, it is advisable to check the consumer reviews for the product you are interested in just to be sure. Click on any trainer of your interest to find out more about its fit and sizing.
As for the width, New Balance has been historically known for making shoes in a variety of width options. The brand has brought this trend into its walking footwear line as well. Depending on the shoe, the choice of widths ranges from Narrow and Medium to Wide, Extra Wide, and even Extra Extra Wide.
The way a shoe feels on your foot determines everything. It is important that it provides ample support without weighing you down.
Of course, there might be a trade-off between weight and functionality if you need a shoe with robust upper materials or gait stabilizing components. But even New Balance walking shoes with those features still weigh around 300 - 400 grams per shoe on average.
If you are more into lightweight walking trainers, then there is also a choice of walking shoes from the brand that weighs between 200 and 300 grams per shoe.
Given their dedication to quality and reputation, New Balance products are positioned in a more expensive price tier than most other athletic brands. While the cost of separate models can vary between $65 and $160, the average price tag of New Balance walking shoes stays at $120 - $130 per pair. However, keeping an eye on sales and discounts can help you acquire an excellent pair at a significantly lower price. RunRepeat.com has gathered deals from more than 200 online retailers to give you a chance to get the best shoe for the best price.
Frequently asked questions
Can I run in New Balance walking shoes?
It is not recommended. New Balance upholds the view that walking is essentially a different type of activity than running and, thus, requires a different kind of support. That’s why New Balance walking shoes are crafted for mild impact, gentle rocking motion, and even distribution of weight across the foot. The cushioning of walking trainers is made to withstand the shock of only one to two times of the wearer’s body weight. They are not ready to provide padding for the impact of two to three times of a person’s weight like running shoes do. Moreover, most New Balance walking shoes are made with leather and suede uppers which are not lightweight, breathable, or flexible enough for one to run comfortably in them.
Can I workout in New Balance walking shoes?
Every person implies different things when they talk about working out. If what you mean by “workout” is a short set of light, low-impact, warm-up exercises, then there is no need to change your New Balance walking shoes. However, if it is a cardio session, a studio dance class, high-impact aerobics, CrossFit, or weight training, then it is out of the question. The rigors of these training regimens require a special pair of either workout shoes, CrossFit trainers, or weightlifting footwear.
Can I go hiking in New Balance walking shoes?
Yes, if it is a pair of New Balance trail walking shoes. They are created with durable materials and sturdy construction to traverse the roads less traveled. But the right pair of hiking shoes involves more than that, and if you are serious about hiking adventures, make sure to take a look at specialized hiking footwear.
Do New Balance walking shoes relieve foot pain?
To some degree, yes, but the root of the problem should also be considered. Some people feel pain after a long day of walking because the walking shoes they are using aren’t sufficiently cushioned. Purchasing a pair of New Balance walking shoes with adequate cushioning could help relieve the discomfort. However, if there are other issues like plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, bunions, corns, or arthritis, then wearing comfortable walking shoes could help only to some extent. It would not exacerbate the discomfort and relieve some of the symptoms, but it also won’t magically make the pain go away.
Are there New Balance walking shoes recommended for people with diabetes?
There are many brands that offer footwear specific to the needs of people with diabetes, and one of those companies is New Balance. New Balance walking shoes marked with the A5500 code fall in a category of trainers that are covered under the Medicare Therapeutic Shoes for Persons with Diabetes. It means that these shoes are designed not to have irritating seams on the inside that could cause foot issues to anyone wearing them, especially those with diabetes. Also, some A5500 coded shoes, like New Balance 577, may be eligible for reimbursement.
Can New Balance walking shoes accommodate custom orthotics?
Most walking shoes from New Balance allow the use of custom orthotics. Some models have removable sockliners to accommodate orthotics while others feature a deeper forefoot which means that even when the original insole is not removed, there is still ample room left for the toes to splay when orthotics are added. Also, New Balance walking shoes are available in different width profiles, so if more space is needed at the forefoot, a consumer can acquire a pair with a wider width.
I have flat feet. Do I need New Balance walking shoes with motion control or stability features?
Not necessarily. Though there is a connotation that people with flat feet overpronate, that is not always the case. Flatfootedness doesn’t automatically warrant the need for footwear with support structures that prevent overpronation. In some cases, there are people with high or medium arches that require motion control features. To determine if you need New Balance walking shoes with stability or motion control features, it would be best to have a podiatrist examine your gait to determine if there is excessive inward rolling of the foot during the heel-to-toe transition.
I’m a woman with really large feet, is it okay to get New Balance walking shoes in men’s size instead?
It depends on your overall foot shape as well as size and fit preference. Some walking shoes from New Balance may only be available in men’s sizes and other styles, though available for both genders, are not offered in larger sizes for women. When faced with this conundrum, some female shoppers opt to get the style they like in men’s sizes; the only problem is not knowing what shoe size to get. Gentlemen’s trainers are 1.5 bigger in size compared to ladies’ shoes. Which means that if you wear a size 9 in women’s shoes, the 7.5 in men’s sizing will suit you best. Though this sounds like an easy fix, it should also be noted that though the length would probably suffice, the fit may be off. Women’s feet are triangular in shape — broad at the forefoot and tapered at the heel. As for men’s foot shape, it is more rectangular — the ball and the heel are almost the same widths. What this means is that even if a woman was able to obtain the right measurement in terms of length, the fit might feel loose especially at the heel. A loose-fitting shoe may be a deal breaker for some, but there are others who don’t mind a little room in their walking shoes.
Can New Balance walking shoes be customized?
Unfortunately, no. Though the brand offers customization for some of its categories, New Balance walking shoes aren’t included. Only some models in the Lifestyle and Baseball lines can be customized to some extent. However, if you do wish to update your walking gear, the quickest and easiest solution is by changing the laces. Choose strikingly bold colors or the ones with prints. You can also have mismatched laces to up the style factor. If you’ve got any painting or art skills, then treat your pair of New Balance walking shoes as your next canvass. Or you could get your friend or hire an artist to do it for you.
Did you know …
… that New Balance has British roots? Though the company was founded in Boston, its founder, William J. Riley, is of British descent. Riley is a British immigrant who built the New Balance Arch Support company in 1906. Though the brand may have changed leadership and ownership multiple times over the years, its headquarters remain in Boston, Massachusetts. The company also has manufacturing facilities in Norridgewock in Norway, Skowhegan in Maine, and Flimby in the UK.
… that New Balance is the father of all dad shoes? This ‘dad shoe’ trend started in the 1970s when the company released an ad showing old men and women wearing New Balance sneakers. The brand didn’t want to sell exclusively to athletes; they wanted to be known as the brand that caters to everyone, even those who are advanced in age. From then on, New Balance became the go-to brand for people looking for comfortable shoes for everyday wear. These clunky shoes have started to make a comeback since late 2017 with celebrities, both men and women, seen sporting these dad shoes, even during Fashion Week. Brands like Nike, Adidas, and even fashion brand Balenciaga have recently launched their versions of dad shoes.
15 best New Balance walking shoes
- New Balance 877
- New Balance 840 v2
- New Balance 577
- New Balance 1865
- New Balance 669
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1165
- New Balance Hook and Loop 577
- New Balance 813
- New Balance 1300
- New Balance 847 v3
- New Balance Leather 928 v3
- New Balance 365
- New Balance 1350
- New Balance Hook and Loop 813
- New Balance 1201
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