Hiking is a popular way to exercise and retreat into nature for a while. Having a high-quality pair of hiking shoes makes the day’s journey more enjoyable by keeping your feet dry and firmly planted on the ground. Active hikers opt for the lightweight sturdiness of hiking shoes designed for shorter treks on established trails.
Boston-based New Balance has been manufacturing comfortable, durable athletic shoes for over 100 years. Its lineup of hiking shoes combines the ruggedness of the trail boot with the agility of a sneaker. For its reliability on all terrains, the best New Balance hiking shoe is the New Balance Men’s 1300.
What to know before you buy New Balance hiking shoes
What are hiking shoes?
There are three types of hiking footwear.
- Hiking boots feature high collars and are made from tough materials for rugged trails.
- Trail runners are low-cut and flexible, with a tighter fit for easier trails.
- Hiking shoes are a hybrid featuring the lightweight, low-cut advantages of sneakers but are made from stronger materials with more durable soles for the dirt and rocks you will encounter. They provide more support than trail runners but won’t weigh your feet down like heavy boots.
Comfort and fit
Hiking shoes should feel snug around your foot, but not too tight. You want comfort and support at the same time. A good gauge is to make sure that your heel doesn’t shift around but that you can still wiggle your toes.
Hiking shoes can offer excellent ankle support. The key component is found in the sole of the shoe. Having a firm sole that doesn’t let your foot roll from side to side is the key to keeping your ankles strong. New Balance hiking shoes have sturdy soles designed to do this.
What to look for in quality New Balance hiking shoes
Hiking shoes are made with leather or synthetic uppers.
- Leather hiking shoes are more expensive, but last longer and form around your foot for premium comfort. They can be hot, though, and don’t always repel water.
- Synthetic shoes are made from nylon, polyester or fake leather. They are feather light and dry off quickly, but they won’t last nearly as long as leather.
Some hiking shoes feature both leather and synthetic materials for extra durability along with breathability and flexibility. The types of trails you hike and how frequently you use your hiking shoes determine the best material for you.
If you often hike in wet areas, you may want hiking shoes that are water-resistant. Some shoes come with a waterproof coating to help keep your feet dry. They aren’t always comfortable when it’s hot, however, so if you can tolerate a little wetness, you may prefer synthetic shoes that quickly dry off.
New Balance uses its Fresh Foam midsole to maximize comfort but maintain a lightweight feel to its hiking shoes. That’s especially welcome over a long day on the trails.
How much you can expect to spend on New Balance hiking shoes
- Inexpensive New Balance hiking shoes cost $60-$90. They are basic hiking shoes and trail runners that offer synthetic uppers and all-purpose soles for every terrain.
- Mid-level hiking shoes go for $90-$140 and incorporate more innovative design, with foam insoles and imported foam-rubber soles for premium traction.
- Expensive hiking shoes run $140 and above. These are both leather hiking shoes and premium synthetic trail runners that come in the brightest styles and feature the latest technology.
New Balance hiking shoes FAQ
What is a gusseted tongue?
A. A hiking shoe tongue keeps rocks and debris from coming inside the shoe. A gusseted tongue is attached to the shoe upper along the laces instead of a freestanding piece of material. This creates a solid barrier against foreign objects getting past the laces.
How soon should you clean off mud from your hiking shoes?
A. Dried mud can be difficult to remove. As soon as you can get to a water source, spray off your shoes. Even if you are on the trail, use your water bottle or look for a stream. The sooner you remove the mud, the easier the final cleanup.
What are the best New Balance hiking shoes to buy?
Top New Balance hiking shoes
What you need to know: This rugged shoe is comfortable and sturdy for every trail. It looks stylish in chocolate brown with black or red interior.
What you’ll love: Made from full grain leather, it has a gusseted tongue and nylon shank. It features Rollbar technology, designed to prevent your foot from rolling inward or outward, and a waterproof membrane. The low-top design weighs just over 14 ounces.
What you should consider: The shoes are very stiff out of the box and breaking in takes a long time.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top New Balance hiking shoes for the money
What you need to know: This stylish shoe is designed for both on- and off-road activities while being affordable and comfortable.
What you’ll love: A synthetic mesh upper breathes and a trail-ready outsole has excellent traction. The DynaSoft cushioning is responsive. There are no-sew overlays for a cutting edge look.
What you should consider: The shoes fit too snugly for some hikers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These stylish shoes are designed with specialized technology for both comfort and running off-road.
What you’ll love: Featuring the Vibram Megagrip outsole, made of a high-performance rubber that grips whether it’s dry or wet, New Balance’s technology builds a shell of durability around your foot. The Fresh Foam midsole delivers premium comfort and the upper is made from over half recycled content. The shoes come in several bold patterns.
What you should consider: They are more expensive than other New Balance women’s hiking shoes.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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