Can You Wear New Balance Running Shoes for Fitness Walking?

New Balance Shoes
LeventKonuk/Editorial RF/Getty Images

Walkers wonder whether New Balance running shoes are good for fitness walking. Shouldn't you wear their walking shoe models rather than their running shoe models for walking? While there are differences between running shoes and walking shoes, many models of running shoes are excellent choices. Walkers have been wearing New Balance running shoes for decades and many find it their go-to brand.

Walkers need shoes that flex in the forefoot and they do not need as much heavy cushioning as is often found in comfort shoes or cushioned running shoes. But many New Balance running shoe designs are excellent for training and walking longer distances such as the 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. You will also benefit from these designs if you use the run/walk technique for races and charity runs.

Why Not Choose New Balance Walking Shoe Designs?

While New Balance also produces shoes they label as walking shoes, if you walk briskly you will probably prefer their running shoes. Shoe companies generally put their best technology into their running shoe models while the walking shoes lag behind.

Often the walking shoes are not flexible enough for fitness walking, especially for long distance. While New Balance has some athletic walking shoe designs, their running shoes are often a better choice for brisk walking. See more about the 

New Balance Shoes Features

New Balance has a full range of styles for overpronators who need motion control, neutral lightweight training shoes, stability shoes, and trail shoes. They also have these advantages:

  • New Balance shoe widths: Very few athletic shoes come in widths, but New Balance has shoes in a full range of widths: x-narrow, narrow, medium, wide, x-wide, xx-wide. These are available in shoes for men, women, and children.
  • New Balance shoe lasts: New Balance uses a variety of different lasts for its running and walking shoes. For many years they used the SL-1 and SL-2 lasts. But they have changed things up and it is best to research which last fits your foot best, then buy shoes built on that last. The lasts differ in heel width, toe box width, toe box depth, and instep height. New Balance provides a chart of their shoe lasts so you can check which models may be best.

What to Look for in New Balance Running Shoes for Fitness Walking

You can check shoes to ensure they meet the criteria for good fitness walking shoes using these criteria:

  1. Flexible: Walkers need shoes that can bend in the forefoot. If you are looking at a New Balance shoe at the store, remove any shape-holding inserts and see if the shoe bends or if it is stiff and inflexible.
  2. Low heel drop: Some running shoes have built-up heels for stability for runners who strike with the forefoot. Walkers strike with their heel, so they need a minimal heel drop. Often this will be listed in shoe features and you should look for a heel drop of 8 millimeters or less. Ask the shoe clerk for a low heel drop shoe.
  3. No flared heel: Because walkers strike with their heel, they don't want a flared heel. A slightly undercut heel is best, but hard to find on running shoes. Look for shoes with minimal heel flare.
  4. Fit: A big advantage of New Balance is that they have a full range of models and widths and you should be able to find the perfect shoe for your gait and foot shape. But to do this, you must be fitted at a serious running shoe store. If you are lucky enough to have a New Balance shoe store in your area, that is also a great place to shop for fitness walking shoes. The staff of those stores can give you a good assessment and fitting.

    Top Picks for Walking Shoes

    New Balance running shoe designs are featured in each of the categories for the best shoes for different walking needs:

    • Motion control shoes: These shoes are designed for people who overpronate.
    • Stability shoes: These are designed for people who need more support and they are more durable.
    • Cushioned shoes: If you walk long distances or on hard surfaces, cushioned shoes can help prevent fatigue.
    • Neutral performance training shoes: If you have a normal gait, these shoes are lightweight but just right for walking briskly.
    • Racewalking shoes: These shoes are for those who use the racewalking technique and need a very flexible and light shoe.

    Made in the USA New Balance Styles

    Most athletic shoes produced by other companies are manufactured overseas, but New Balance has five manufacturing plants in Maine and Massachusetts and a commitment to purchase materials from domestic suppliers. They label their shoe models "Made in the USA" when the domestic value is at least 70 percent. They produce over 4 million pairs of shoes each year that carry this label.

    Was this page helpful?