New Balance Hiking Shoes
Here you’ll learn how to choose your next pair of New Balance hiking shoes. Whether you’re new to hiking or an experienced overnight backpacker, we’ll guide you to the best shoe for you.
How New Balance hiking technology improves your performance
New Balance 978v1 -- Versatile Mid-Cut Hiking Shoe
The New Balance 978v1s are Holabird’s best-selling hiking shoes.
They’re the go-to trail walking (not running) shoe for moderate hikes.
This shoe has a rollbar that guides each of your steps, preventing your feet from rolling inward or outward, depending on your stride. This is what makes this shoe great for anyone who needs help with their alignment. It also has a sturdy rockplate which protects you from sharp rocks.
The 978v1 is also versatile. The mid-cut height allows your ankle to move around a bit. But it still has a robust leather upper for stability. This shoe is the best of both worlds.
Just know: because of the rigid upper, they’re not ideal for running. So you might want to pick another model if you’re looking to go fast.
What you’ll notice:
- Snug [narrow] fit.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you slip on the 978v1 is the narrow fit. It’s great for hikers with narrow feet.
Just note: if you’ve got slightly wider feet, this model might feel a tad uncomfortable.
- Stickier traction
Compared to a lighter hiker like the 1450 which has more moderate tread, the 978 is much more aggressive. You’ll appreciate the confidence this gives you when traversing slippery terrain.
New Balance 1450v1 -- Light Day Hiker
The New Balance 1450 was built to be a lightweight, breathable day trekker.
Unlike the hefty 978, this model has a breathable mesh upper. While this means the shoe isn’t fully waterproof, it does however keep your feet from getting overly warm and sweaty.
It also has a lower cut than the 978, meaning your ankle is free to move around, and won’t be held in place. This is what makes the 1450 a nice, light day hiker.
If you’re planning on an overnight backpacking trip, you’ll need a shoe with a waterproof upper in case you run into wed condition. You’ll also want a model with a higher cut for ankle support.
What you’ll notice:
- Light and Breathable
The mesh upper is designed to let air in, and heat out, keeping your feet nice and cool.
New Balance 1400 -- New Balance high-cut hiking boot.
This hiker was built for hiking in cooler, wetter conditions.
The 1400 is high-cut to protect your ankles over longer treks. It’s made of solid leather to keep the heavy elements out. And thanks to an added layer of insulation they’ll keep you warm.
An added plus: they come with a removable insole so you can insert your own orthotics. And this is exactly why so many podiatrists recommend this shoe for hiking.
What you’ll notice:
- Lightweight (for a backpacking shoe)
Even with all the features of a sturdy overnight backpacking boot — thick leather upper, and high cut ankle — it weighs in at a modest 15.2oz.
- Keep your feet warm & cozy
Unlike the light and breathable 1450 for day hikes, or the mid-cut 978 for versatile offroad treks, the 1400 is fully insulated for long, cold, overnight adventures.
How do I choose the best New Balance hiking shoe for me?
You should pick your hiking shoes based on a few different factors:
- The different types of weather you’ll be hiking in
- How much hiking you’ve done in the past
- How much equipment you plan on taking with you (if any at all)
- The various kinds of hiking terrain you’ll be traversing
Casual day hikes
If you’ll be walking for leisure, maybe get rid of a little stress, and even get some exercise, you’ll probably be going on casual day hikes.
For this type of hiking you’ll probably want a lightweight shoe with a bit of structure. They should have good grip but not be too heavy. Based on the weather you’ll be hiking in, you’d either want a breathable model, or one that keeps your feet warm and dry.
A great model for casual day hikes would be the New Balance 1450v1. This shoe is an every-day shoe that can be worn on the trail or even strolling city streets. It’s made of breathable mesh to keep your feet cool, and it’s mid-cut to let your ankle move freely.
This is a nice breezy shoe with just enough stability for a casual trail.
If you’ll be going on longer treks, maybe with steeper terrain, and sometimes even completely off the beaten path.
For this style of adventure, you’d probably want a more robust hiking shoe.
The New Balance 978v1 was built to be exactly that.
The 978v1 is made of thick leather, which keeps your feet warm and dry. And it’s got a mid-cut collar for ankle support.
Just know: because of the hefty leather upper, this shoe is a little on the heavy side, weighing in at over 17oz. So if you’re looking for a light day hiker, you’d probably be better off with the 1450v1.
Longer treks & backpacking trips
If you’ll be going on longer treks, and even overnight camping trips where you’ll be carrying a heavy backpack, you’ll need a shoe that can handle it.
For this, you’ll want a hiking shoe with plenty of cushioning to support a heavy backpack. And you’ll also want a shoe with enough insulation to keep you warm in case the temperature drops.
The New Balance 1400 was designed for exactly this type of hike. It’s high-cut to keep your ankle secure. The thick leather upper keeps water out, and your feet warm. And it’s got plenty of cushioning, and a Rollbar for arch support, to combat the extra weight of a backpack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear trail running shoes for hiking?
Trail running shoes can certainly work for shorter day hikes where you’re not doing a lot of climbing, or need a ton of protection and ankle support.
If possible, it’s best to have a separate pair of shoes that are built for the specific activity you’ll be doing.
How often should I replace my New Balance hiking shoes?
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to replace your New Balance hiking shoes every 350-500 miles.
You’ll know that you need a new pair if you notice the following:
Your soles become too slick and lugs aren’t doing their job, digging into the ground
Your foot isn’t held securely in place by the upper as it once was
- You’re experiencing aches or joint pain after your hikes
These are all usually a sign that the technology in your hiking shoes has been worn down, and it’s likely time for a new pair.
I need help deciding: Which would be the best hiking shoe for a beginner?
The New Balance 978v1 is a great go-to hiking shoe for beginners. It’s sturdy and weather-resistant. And it’s got a mid-cut to give you some mobility but also a little ankle support.
Of course if you’re going straight into overnight backpacking trips, then you’ll need a hardier boot like the New Balance 1400. It’s got more cushion to support the added weight of your backpack. It has a high-cut for better stability. It’s got insulation to keep your feet warm. And it’s waterproof to keep you dry. Everything you need for a long adventure.