12 Best New Balance Shoes, According to Podiatrists in 2022

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Once a relic of dadhood deemed uncool, New Balance shoes are now in. (Although their nickname, “Dad Shoes,” still sticks. And we’re okay with that.) Their entrance into ~fashion~ is supported by sneaker heads, hipsters, and even podiatrists, who often recommend the brand for myriad foot problems. Whether or not you realize it, your feet are super important to your overall well-being, especially if you spend a lot of time actively using them. So, if you’re experiencing foot pain or other issues, an easy way to address this is to change up your kicks.

When you’re looking for a supportive sneaker, podiatrists typically recommend finding what works best for your foot type, says Bruce Pinker, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist at Progressive Foot Care, and an associate of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons. “For example, if one has a low arch, generally, they should be looking for a sneaker with added arch support, an anti-pronator sneaker,” Dr. Pinker says.

“Those with average arches and high arches should avoid anti-pronator models and look for the neutral styles,” he adds. (If you’re not fluent in podiatry, an anti-pronator sneaker means that the shoe protects you from walking in a way that would inadvertently flatten your feet over time.)

Why we love New Balance

What’s so great about New Balance in particular is that it offers sneakers for a lot of different types of feet—which is no accident. “New Balance has historically designed sneakers with anti-pronator modifications, and usually [its] footwear is very well-constructed and durable,” says Dr. Pinker. He adds that it’s also nice that New Balance sneakers are available in many different widths, making it easier for individuals to find the right fit for them.

From the materials to the shape, adding a pair of New Balance shoes to your foot wardrobe is a no-brainer, says podiatrist and podiatric surgeon Dana Canuso, DPM, founder of Dr. Canuso Skincare for Feet. Why? “In general, New Balance sneakers have always been designed with the idea of support and foot structure in mind first, and then aesthetics,” says Dr. Canuso, who lauds the brand as “pioneers when it comes to podiatry-friendly sneakers.”

Below, find the 12 best (and podiatrist-recommended) New Balance shoes available now.

The best pairs of New Balance shoes that podiatrists *actually* recommend

New Balance 997H — $90.00

Good for: Walking

“The 997H is a lifestyle sneaker,” says Dr. Pinker. “It is great for walkers and for runners who put on low to moderate mileage.” A bit more about this model: There are upper panels made of mesh, which allow moisture and heat to escape. Read: No more hot or sweaty feet thanks to New Balance’s 997Hs. I purchased a pair for myself and have worn them often, which means I can attest to the fact that they’re cool (in temperature as well as style) and mega comfortable.

The soles of this sneaker are made with IMEVA (or injection-molded EVA foam, which can lead to a firmer, higher rebound material) and rubber, which provides great foot support. This option meets the lightweight-yet-durable status for which New Balance sneakers are known.

“As an overall good, everyday sneaker, I think the 997H is a great option because they’re cushiony and have a little bit of style to them,” says Dr. Canuso. “They’re definitely a walking shoe though,” she says, recommending that people don’t run in these sneakers.

Available in 10 colorways.

New Balance 237 — $80.00

Good for: Walking

Equipped with an EVA midsole (which is great because it absorbs shock from each step you take), these shoes also feature a padded collar and footbed—so they’ll offer comfort all day long. They’re also a lace-up option, which Dr. Canuso says is helpful in adjusting the sneaker to your feet. As fantastic as the New Balance 237s are, though, you probably don’t want to add this option to your cart if you’re in search of a running shoe.

“The 237 is a lifestyle sneaker, which makes it great for low to moderate activity,” says Dr. Pinker. To be sure, low-intensity activity would be taking a leisurely stroll, while moderate activity includes brisk walking, vacuuming, and raking leaves. Running falls into the vigorous-intensity camp, so hitting the track or treadmill with these sneakers isn’t recommended.

For walking though? They’re a dream. Take it from my roommate, Cherelle Lewis, who recently took these babies to the United Kingdom and Israel—where her pedometer was off the charts. “I wore them the majority of my tours and I have been happy with their performance. No blisters! By far, they’re the most comfortable option I had on my trip,” she texted me from London.

New Balance 577v1 — $85.00

Good for: Walking, standing

Sometimes, we take small things for granted—like being able to tie our shoe laces. Not everyone has the mobility to do this, and New Balance is well aware of that. For that reason, they created the 577s. As opposed to being laced, this sneaker features velcro for accessibility. Also, most sneakers come with an EVA midsole, but these velcro sneakers actually feature a polyurethane midsole for stable cushioning.

According to Dr. Pinker, these shoes are also best for walking, but you might consider wearing them for work if you have to be on your feet all day. This sneaker is made of 100 percent leather, which is fantastic for durability but might not align with vegan practices. If you don’t mind purchasing leather—but are still not convinced the 577s are for you—consider that this sneaker comes in a wide, extra-wide, regular, and narrow fit. Additionally, these sneaks might be eligible for Medicare reimbursement under the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System. To check, use code A5500.

Available in 4 colorways.

New Balance 574v2s — $85.00

Good for: Walking, strength training (and other low-to-moderate activities)

“The 574v2 is also a lifestyle sneaker, somewhat similar to the 997H,” says Dr. Pinker, adding that he’d recommend this style for low to moderate activity—so they’re best for walking instead of running or hitting high-pound squats at the gym. That’s because New Balance designed the 574, the original model of this sneaker, in attempt to build “a reliable shoe that could do a lot of different things well.”

Originally designed for trail hiking, the second version of the 574 (aka the 574v2s) offers the retro aesthetics and support that’s a pillar of New Balance sneakers. The updated kicks also have built-in technology designed to offer long-term wearability. What’s more, is that there’s an ENCAP midsole, which New Balance says is a core of soft cushioning “with a tough polyurethane rim for more support and durability.” The 116-year-old brand also put a rubber outsole on these puppies, so you won’t be slipping or falling.

Available in 4 colorways.

New Balance 940v4 — $140.00

Good for: Running

Up to this point, we’ve given ya mostly lifestyle shoes. That said, New Balance isn’t only in the daily wear game. They, of course, also make pretty great running shoes. In fact, both Dr. Canuso and Dr. Pinker agree that your feet will be happy to run in New Balance’s 900-level sneakers, like this pair. According to the brand, “The 940v4 stability running shoe for women is made for over-pronators.”

This pair also sports a high-density medial post, which is an area of your shoe within the midsole, which is great for absorbing shock while you’re running. Additionally, New Balance uses a lightweight, flexible technology (called T-Beam) in this shoe, which helps stabilize your torso while you’re working out and provides arch support. How they were able to fit all that in a shoe that’s still chic… is honestly beyond me.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12 — $135.00

Good for: Running

“I love these 880v12s,” says Dr. Canuso, adding that this model has more stability—which means they’re not as flexible as other options on this list. That, however, is not a bad thing. “When you first put a running sneaker on, it’s not going to feel as comfortable, but it’s going to protect you a lot more when you’re running. In the long run, it’ll actually make it more comfortable for you to wear since it takes a lot more shock absorption,” says Dr. Canuso.

She adds that folks generally want to look for a lightweight running shoe, and the 880v12s are that shoe, considering that they only weigh 8.6 ounces. The sneakers are also equipped with a dual-layer midsole, which has foam cushioning and Fresh Foam X. In case you’re wondering, Fresh Foam X is a material that’s super-soft and still comfy as well as supportive. The Fresh Foam 880v12s were built to help you run more comfortably for longer, says New Balance’s website. They also come with a blown rubber outsole for a better rebound.

Available in 7 colorways.

New Balance 515v3 — $75.00

Good for: Walking

These tennis shoes are reminiscent of the classic style you might envision when you think of New Balance. Because they’re made with EVA foam cushioning in the midsole and rubber on the outsole, New Balance’s 515s are not just lightweight—they’re also super comfy on your heels. That said, though, these shoes aren’t meant for running. As a 500-level shoe, it’d probably be best to stick to walking in these.

If you know you’ve got a lot of steps in your future, take this five-star review from an Amazon customer, where the 515v3s have 4.6 out of 5 stars: “I got these planning ahead for my NYC trip, where I knew I’d be walking miles and miles every day. I was very happy since they were extremely comfortable but also look nice to get into museums, restaurants, etc.”

Available in 20 colorways.

New Balance 990v5 — $185.00

Good for: Running and walking

Dr. Pinker, who says he often recommends New Balances to patients, lists the 990s as his favorite New Balance sneaker. “They are mostly running sneakers that have added cushion and shock absorption, making them ideal for runners, as well as for walkers,” he says.

The 990v5s, specifically, are composed of suede and mesh, which makes a more flexible sneaker; a dual-density midsole cushioning, so your ankles are comfy and supported; an ENCAP midsole and Otholite insert, both providing all-day support; and blown rubber outsoles, which give you a better rebound.

Available in 3 colorways.

New Balance 57/40 — $100.00

Good for: Walking and hiking (low, moderate, and higher intensity activities)

Another update to the classic New Balance 574 model, the 54/70 sneaker is a hybrid sneaker—meaning you can use it for low, moderate, and higher intensity activities, like hitting a hiking trail. On their website, the brand states that this shoe is best for “style seekers who aren’t willing to compromise on comfort.” That likely means that this shoe also falls into the lifestyle category—which would, in turn, mean that the 57/40s are your best friend when it comes to walking.

Weighing in at 11.6 ounces, these New Balance shoes come with a stacked midsole, meaning there’s a lot of shoe material between your foot and the ground. That also means that there’s more support for your feet and less of a shock that your body takes with each step. Simply put, the stacked midsole absorbs the impact instead of your body. Pretty neat, if you ask me.

Available in 2 colorways.

New Balance 996v2 — $100.00

Good for: Running

This shoe might look like it’s only meant to be worn as a lifestyle sneaker but think again. According to New Balance, “The last two digits in a running shoe’s style number specify the type of shoe.” As 900-level sneakers with 90 as the last two digits, the 996v2s are meant for speed, meaning that they’re perfect for “faster runners who want every advantage, including a superior ride and fit,” per the brand. This makes sense, considering this tennis shoe has a rubber sole providing traction, as well as two EVA midsoles that provide stability in addition to cushioning for comfort.

These can also be worn every day, bringing a retro style to any outfit—but, according to Amazon reviews, you should get a size up. “Take the advice of everyone—these shoes are narrower and slightly shorter than normal sizing,” said one reviewer, who gave the shoes four stars. “But these shoes are incredibly comfortable and great for everyday normal wear. I didn’t buy them for running, but for fashion. And they are handsome indeed!”

Available in 27 colorways.

New Balance 813v1 Hook and Loop Walking Shoe — $90.00

Good for: Walking, active recovery

Another accessible option? The 813v1s, which also come as velcro sneakers instead of lace-ups. While laces may be your best bet in terms of fitting the shoe to your foot, exactly, these shoes come with a hook and a loop to make it more foot-forming. Moreover, they’re equipped with New Balance’s Roll Bar technology, which helps prevent your foot from rolling inward or outward when you’re walking.

Like its velcro sister (577v1s), the 813v1s are best for walking, are made of 100 percent leather, and have a rubber outsole, which helps you keep your footing in a range of terrains. There’s also a soft, padded collar to allow comfort to your Achilles heel (read: No blisters!) as well as extra room in the toe box. A number of Amazon reviewers have mentioned this shoe was perfect for them during recovery from foot surgery and for folks with limited hand mobility or neurodivergencies. Also akin to the 577v1s, this model may be eligible for Medicare reimbursement under code A5500 of the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System.

Available in 3 colorways.

New Balance XC-72 — $110.00

Good for: Walking

If you’re looking for shoes that support your feet, are timelessly stylish, and are eco-friendly, please consider adding the New Balance XC-72s to your cart—like ASAP. As far as foot support goes, this model features three different outsole patterns as well as a stability heel clip (the part you see hanging out the back of the shoe) to make sure you never have to catch your footing. That said, this sneaker has a square toe, so it might not be your best bet if you prefer rounded shoes.

Because it’s a blend of some of New Balance’s most iconic styles, including the XC15s and the 375s, the XC-72 is sure to be in style through the decades. And the eco-friendly portion? New Balance manufatures this model with sustainability in mind. That’s why each pair has a rubber outsole that’s made of 5 percent recycled content as well as an upper portion that’s also made from repurposed material. Much like Nancy Sinatra’s boots, though, these shoes are made for walking.

Available in 2 colorways.

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