7 Best New Balance Walking Shoes in 2024

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7 Best New Balance Walking Shoes in 2024
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This guide focuses on the athletic walking shoes from New Balance. They are different from classic NB trainers, like the 574, which are typically associated with the brand.

New Balance walking shoes are made for walking, hiking, and travelling. The primary focus of these shoes is set on comfort and support.

We have scrutinised more than 10 walking shoes from NB to help you find your next favourite pair. And by scrutinised, we meant intense testing from wearing the shoes ourselves and bringing them back to our lab. We covered various categories as some people may appreciate shoes with arch support, some are looking for light shoes, and some want to add style to their casual outfits.

See our top picks to help you fulfil each of these needs.

How we test walking shoes

In selecting the shoes to test, we do not only concentrate on the popular ones but also give the little-known NB models equal priority to keep the competition fair. To give you an idea of how we keep our reviews as thorough as possible, here's what we do:

  • We buy all the NB shoes, whether they're popular or not, expensive or cheap, using the money out of our own wallets. We do not depend on anyone but ourselves in obtaining each pair to stay unclouded with our judgments.
  • We feel the NB shoes with our feet. We bring them on daily walks, work, and other outdoor trips.
  • We tear apart the NB shoes so we can have an in-depth view of what's inside. Also, we test each pair in our lab over different aspects, such as weight, stack height, and breathability.

Best New Balance walking shoes overall

What makes it the best?

As we pushed Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 to its limits in and out of the lab, it easily emerged as our top New Balance walking shoe. It gave an unparalleled experience and satisfied our craving for supreme comfort. With its ultra-breathable upper and pillowy cushion, standing on our feet all day is a breeze.

From the moment we set our foot into the shoe, we were blown away by its cloud-like touch. As we thoroughly tested it on the streets, it absorbed much of the impact, leaving us with fresh legs after a long day. To take a deeper look, we pressed our durometer into the midsole and the result confirmed our observation: 10.0 HA, one of the softest we’ve ever measured in the lab!

Another feature that makes it so comfortable is its free-flowing nature. Our 90-degree bend test shows it’s 30.0% more malleable than average, further establishing that it’s highly suitable for walking.

We spent long hours in this shoe with no sweat and blisters! This came as a surprise since knit uppers tend to limit airflow, but this pair defied all odds with a perfect score on our breathability test.

Given its marshmallow-like cushion, we advise those with mild pronation and stability needs to find a more supportive shoe.

Pros

  • Exceptional comfort
  • Outstanding breathability
  • Incredibly soft ride
  • Long-lasting outsole
  • Lightweight for its size
  • High-quality materials throughout the shoe
  • Ideal for medium or long runs at a relaxed pace
  • Suitable for a wide range of foot shapes

Cons

  • The EVA-based midsole falls short in energy return
  • Lacks stability
  • Not suitable for quick-paced running
Full review of New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13

New Balance walking shoes with the best arch support

What makes it the best?

For us, the best New Balance walking shoe with arch support should be able to provide a consistently stable ride without any hiccups. After testing the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12 in our lab and on foot, we found it to be beyond reliable - having tons of features that put in the work day in and day out. What blew us away was its stability features, its satisfyingly firm cushioning, and its rain-or-shine grip.

Having the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12 on our feet felt like going to stability heaven. Its medial post was satisfyingly firm, forcing our feet to the right positions whenever they tried to roll in. Plus, its heel counter locks feet without fail. Heel slips never crossed our minds as we strolled through the streets. We tested this in the lab by prodding it systematically to see how stiff it was. It scored a 3 out of 5 for our heel counter stiffness test (with 5 as the stiffest), which translates to a superb feeling of being locked in.

As we pounded the ground with the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12, we found its sole to be extremely comfy, especially as we clocked in longer times. We took a deeper look into this in our lab by pressing our durometer to its midsole (5 times for improved accuracy). We found that its hardness of 32.3 HA is on the firmer side (17.0% more firm than the average walking shoe), but it still has some softness when compared to other stability shoes.

Another great thing about the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12’s sole is that it grabs the ground well. We found it to be particularly grippy across several surfaces and weather conditions. We measured its outsole thickness with our caliper, yielding a result of 4.6 mm. This measurement is a whopping 170.6% thicker than the average walking shoe. Plus, wiith an outsole hardness that’s 22.3% tougher than the average walking shoe, this translates to a strong outsole that will last a long time.

While it provides a lot of structure to feet, it’s rather weighty, being 24.6% heavier than the average walking shoe. We cannot recommend it to those looking for a lightweight walking partner.

Pros

  • Excellent stability shoe
  • Good lacing
  • Looks the part
  • Comfortable
  • Consistent ride in any condition
  • Good grip
  • Perfect daily runner

Cons

  • Runs half a size small
  • Heel counter is not for everyone
  • Quite heavy
Full review of New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12

New Balance walking shoes with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

We assessed the performance of New Balance walking shoes both in and out of our lab, and the pair with top-notch cushioning is none other than the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4. This is without a doubt the best because our feet are welcomed by a footbed that’s packed with all-in-one goodness: softness, comfort, bounce, and protection!

On the outside, the stack height of v4 can be deceiving. So we delved inside and measured the height at the heel and forefoot, which are 32.5 mm and 27.9 mm, respectively. The heel is 0.7 mm narrower than the average while the forefoot is 3.6 mm greater. While this equates to a 4.6 mm drop, we are absolutely safeguarded from any shock even during our brisk walks.

We also enjoyed the springs on each of our steps in v4. We investigated more and discovered that the midsole is 15.5 HA soft. Compared to the average, this is 36.2% softer, giving us a pillowy platform without the unwanted squish. Even though v4’s super soft, we are still unfazed by the thought of unsteadiness because we measured the base widths at 119.5 mm in the forefoot and 102.1 mm in the heel. They are 5.8% and 13.3% wider than the averages, suggesting stable rides.

However, with more cushioning comes more weight. v4 tipped our scales at 10.62 oz (301g), which is 12.3% heftier than other shoes. If this does not fall within your weight criteria, select other lighter walking shoes.

Pros

  • An armour from fatigue
  • REALLY cushy for long days
  • Puts life in your run
  • A stable ride
  • True to size
  • Superb heel clutch
  • Markdown price
  • Long-lasting
  • Reflective

Cons

  • Easily feels hot
  • Chunky and clunky
  • Low energy return
Full review of New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4

Best New Balance shoes for hiking

What makes it the best?

If there is one thing to expect in hiking trails, that’s unpredictability. However, with New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7, we are not even the least worried about a trail’s variability, from treacherous routes to bumpy rides and everything in between! And its invincibility on all our treks is just the deal-sealer as to why this is the best NB for hiking!

Hierro v7 really supported us all the way through our rocky journeys. We felt sustained with balance at every step we took. Poking around inside the shoe, we discovered that it has more than enough platform width to keep us stable, even on uneven roads. We measured the midsole in the forefoot at 113 mm, which is 1.8 mm wider than average. Meanwhile, the heel is 90.6 mm wide, trumping other shoes by 1.4 mm.

Stability doesn’t always come with stiffness, and this is actually the case with Hierro v7. We enjoyed traversing trails with this comfy pair, especially because bending our feet is as smooth as ever. Amusingly, in our lab, folding the shoe using our digital force gauge is also as effortless. Our device only picked up a resistance of 16.6 N, meaning it’s 46.1% more flexible than average.

The 88.4 HC hard outsole, which by the way is almost 4% harder than others, is what verified our impression that Hierro v7 is hard-wearing. But if we could wish for something to improve for our hikes, it would be breathability because our smoke test revealed that the shoe’s ventilation is only so-so. We suggest bringing other shoes but Hierro v7 during your summer hikes.

Pros

  • Grippier than ever before
  • Ready for a rough beating
  • Lighter than ever
  • Seamless heel-to-toe
  • Stable during sharp turns
  • Buttery soft
  • Welcomes wide feet
  • Tongue stays in place
  • Also for hiking!

Cons

  • Not enough airflow
  • Forefoot lacks cushion
Full review of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

Best New Balance walking trainers

New Balance 574
90
Great!

What makes it the best?

We could take the New Balance 574 for an entire day of foot travel without protest. It is a sneaker but walking in it encourages our optimal foot posture, lasting us hours and miles of stability and pleasure. Stepping things up is its modest price of £100, which is 23.1% more favorable than the average cost of walking shoes.

We cracked open the shoe and discovered two layers of foam. Both seemed unyielding and true enough, pressing our durometer to each revealed that the primary foam is 44 HA hard, while the secondary one is 33% softer than the former at 29.5 HA. While both are significantly firm, the combination afforded us impact protection and defense against foot collapsing. 

Further proving the stability of the New Balance 574 is our caliper which measured the midsole widths of 114.3 mm in the forefoot and 80.2 mm in the heel. These values are broader than their averages by 8 mm and 2.5 mm, both of which exhibit a significant increase.

All day is not a long time in 574 but one thing that might change our minds is the lackluster air circulation. Earning a 3/5 breathability rating in our smoke test, 574 is not the best during sun-drenched trips. We recommend wearing more breathable pairs in warm weather.

Pros

  • Classic NB silhouette
  • Budget-friendly
  • Suitable for all-day wear
  • Real suede
  • Highly durable
  • Stable and supportive
  • Great for wide feet
  • Easy to style
  • Numerous colour options

Cons

  • Lacks breathability
  • Stiff and firm platform
  • Tongue shifts a little
Full review of New Balance 574

New Balance walking shoes with the best style

New Balance 327
90
Great!

What makes it the best?

Comfort isn’t the only thing we value in a great walking shoe, but also aesthetics. With that, the one with the best style from New Balance is the New Balance 327. It showcases a contemporary yet sporty appeal which we found to be one of the main reasons for its versatility. We are able to bring this shoe to most of our walking affairs because of how pleasurable it is on the foot and in the eyes!

Outdoors and indoors, we navigated surfaces in this NB kick with maximum safety, because of its exceptional traction. Not only that but because of its super grippy outsole, we found it to be an excellent driving shoe in addition to being a great walking companion. 

In terms of on-foot feel, this shoe got us floating on air because of how plush its midsole is and how light its build is. The only thing we are not thrilled about is the tightness that we felt around our mid and toe areas. If you have wide feet, we recommend looking at other wide options.

Pros

  • Fashionably sporty
  • Well-cushioned
  • Stable and planted platform
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Above average breathability
  • Superb grip
  • Suitable for driving
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Relatively stiff
  • Fits a little tight
  • Not suitable for wide feet
Full review of New Balance 327

Best retro New Balance walking shoes

New Balance 530
92
Great!

What makes it the best?

In our comprehensive evaluation of NB walking shoes, 530 is without equal when it comes to being retro. It has classic written all over it and we have no complaints as it’s the reason why we looked good on our walks. This might be retro, but the level of foot satisfaction it gave us never felt outmoded.

We discovered that the shoe’s ENCAP technology was responsible for our steady and impact-mitigated rides in 530. Even though the midsole was on the firmer side, we didn’t mind because we were soaked in comfort. On the other hand, the encapsulation that this shoe provided our feet also granted us exquisite foot support, making sure they were secure in place.

Another thing that made this NB shoe the best is its heavy-duty construction despite its £110 price. It might be 13% pricier than other walking shoes we’ve tested, but its durability made every cent worth it. 

Our only gripe is its narrow fit that tends to scrape our toes. For individuals with broad feet, we advise considering other wide shoes or sizing up in the 530s.

Pros

  • Incredibly breathable
  • Comfortable firm but cushy midsole
  • Extremely lightweight with a padded interior
  • Durable outsole
  • Wide-feet friendly
  • Excellent value for money
  • NB's classic style
  • 90's retro and chunky vibe
  • More colorways than a rainbow

Cons

  • Not for cold weather
  • Could be grippier
Full review of New Balance 530

What makes walking shoes from New Balance stand out

Big focus on arch support. Originally started as an arch support manufacturer, the brand has always taken flat feet and overpronation seriously.

Multiple width options. New Balance is one of the very few major athletic brands that make shoes in several width options, from Extra Narrow to Extra Wide.

Diabetes approved. Nearly every pair of New Balance walking shoes is recognised as appropriate for people with diabetes. These shoes are given the A5500code and are subject to Medicare reimbursement.

3 questions to ask before buying an NB walker

1. Use: city or trail?

If you need a walking shoe for commuting, working on concrete or tile floors, going shopping, or simply getting through your day, consider New Balance shoes for urban use.

If what you have on your mind are forest trails, countryside roads, and not very rocky mountain tracks, go for the brand’s trail walking shoes. These models are also waterproof.

2. Style: athletic or classic?

Athletic

Athletic.png

Classic

Classic.png

lightweight

breathable

flexible

cheaper

sturdy

supportive

durable

most come with arch support

most are approved for diabetes

some have Velcro straps

more expensive

3. Arch support: needed or not?

  • If you have a proven case of flat feet, complemented by a noticeable inward rolling of the foot (see image below), we recommend NB’s motion control walking shoes.
  • If you have a normal arch and haven’t experienced any issues in foot stability, go with New Balance shoes for neutral pronation.

If in doubt, see the illustration below to guide you. You can also learn more about pronation and arch support in our meta-analysis of 150+ studies on the topic.

Arch-types-and-recommended-shoes.png

Other New Balance shoes to consider

Apart from the dedicated walking shoes, your daily walking needs may also be satisfied by New Balance trainers and running shoes.

However, the choice will depend on your personal preferences in footwear. Here is how these three categories differ:

New Balance trainers

New Balance walking shoes

New Balance running shoes

All-day support

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All-day support

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All-day support

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Motion control

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Motion control

5 star.png

Motion control

3 star.png

Lightness

3 star.png

Lightness

3 star.png

Lightness

5 star.png

Style

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Style

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Style

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New Balance walking shoes are best for those who want to feel supported all throughout the day and look for a more conservative shoe style.

Author
Laci
Laci
Laci is a contemporary dancer turned shoe aficionado. She is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to athletic shoes, size conversions and details people nitpick about footwear. She keeps the RunRepeat content gears turning 24/7. And she walks 20miles/week.