New Balance Is Back—These Are The Cool Dad Shoes WH Editors Are Loving RN (2024)

New Balance Is Back—These Are The Cool Dad Shoes WH Editors Are Loving RN (1)

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Whether you're in search of the perfect clunky shoes to pair with your linen pants or trainers that'll help you feel motivated to hit your fitness goals, New Balance shoes can do it all.

The brand, born in 1906, is probably best known for the dad shoe aesthetic, and lucky for it and our precious feet, the fashion trend has made a comeback, which is likely why you're searching for the perfect NB shoe right now. It's safe to say its buzz is here to stay, so it's probably a good idea to buy a New Balance shoe for every part of your lifestyle. Don't worry, there's a shoe for everything and everyone from runners to golfers to power walkers.

See some of the best New Balance shoes below:

Want a sneak peek of the following list? If you need walking shoes, try the FuelCell Walker Elite. It's cushy and made with a supportive outsole that'll make conquering lengthy walks that much more enjoyable. If you're looking for a good sneaker for cross-training, try the lightweight and ultra-responsive Dynasoft Beaya Sport V1 Cross Trainers. Plus, there are so many more options to keep your shoe closet stocked.

Ready to finally get on the New Balance wave? See below for the 12 best New Balance shoes you need in your life right now.

Best Sporty Casual Shoes

New Balance 327

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Best Sporty Casual Shoes

New Balance 327

Retro but sporty with an almost streetwear-like vibe, the 327 was inspired by New Balance's '70s running shoes. The sneaker is designed with a suede and nylon upper and an oversized N logo. Lifestyle and commerce editor Jasmine Gomez already loves it, even though she has only been wearing it just a few days, she says. "I'm a walker and this shoe makes tackling NYC streets quickly a breeze."

This sneaker pairs well with both jeans and leggings, and it's cushy, so I don't mind wearing it all the time." She also likes that it's lightweight and supportive, though she wouldn't recommend it for any kind of heavy exercise.

Best Shoe For Running Workouts

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13

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Best Shoe For Running Workouts

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13

If your goal is to go after more intense fitness goals or you simply want to get more miles in, this Fresh Foam sneaker is a solid choice. In fact, fitness editor Jennifer Nied calls it her go-to for her marathon training runs because it's " incredibly, unbelievably comfortable," she says. "The cushioning is better than running on a cloud, they add buoyancy to every stride, even 10+ miles in."

That isn't a coincidence. The sneaker is designed with midsole mapping that applies more foam to wider areas of the midsole, increasing flexibility at its narrower points. To help you achieve your comfiest fit yet, the shoe is also available in narrow, standard, wide, and extra-wide widths. Nied's only caveat is that she doesn't recommend this shoe for treadmill runs. "They're better left to pavement/sidewalks because the cushion can catch on the belt."

Best Lightweight Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam Roav

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Best Lightweight Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam Roav

When it comes to cushioning, New Balance knows a thing or two, which is part reason why lifestyle director Lindsay Geller is a fan of the Fresh Foam Roav sneaker. "These are my favorite New Balance running sneakers because they strike the perfect balance between being lightweight and supportive of my joints," she says. Its support comes partly from its bootie upper construction designed to hug the foot and support the ankle.

"The flexible heel is perfect for when I need to take my dog out for a quick bathroom break," Geller says, adding that she also likes wearing this shoe on long weekend walks around town since it's so stylish and flexible enough to easily slip on and off. Reviewers also rave about the shoe's comfort, but complain that it does tend to run small, so sizing up even half a size might be a good option.

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Best Cushioning

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer V1 Running Shoe

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Best Cushioning

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer V1 Running Shoe

Now 15% Off

A Women's Health sneaker award winner in 2023, this FuelCell trainers from New Balance is also a go-to fave of Geller's. Winner of the "Best Cushioned Running Shoe" category, Geller regularly uses it on her runs. "The eye-catching shoe has a very high stack (meaning: the material between your foot and the ground) in the heel and midfoot, but still allows you to rock to the toes for added propulsion," she says. She calls it a safe bet for anyone who prefers not feeling the ground when they're hitting the pavement.

Reviewers love that the shoe feels lightweight, but some have complained that it does have a narrow toe box. One customer also said that the ankle backing feels very stiff, which for some can make the sneaks more supportive, but for others uncomfortable.

Best For Hiking Trails

New Balance Fresh Foam Garoé

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Best For Hiking Trails

New Balance Fresh Foam Garoé

On days you're more interested in heading off the grid, the Fresh Foam Garoé' will help keep you grounded. The shoe's treaded outsole offers traction both on and off-road, and the 'toe protect technology' keeps feet safe from any rocks, roots, or debris you may encounter. Reviewers say this sneaker is supportive and comfortable, and that it has a lightweight feel.

The shoe is also super stylish. Though the NB link only displays them in one colorway, you can check out some other options on Amazon here. The only caveat several customers mentioned is that the toe box feels a little narrow, so it's probably not a great option for those with wider feet.

Coolest Dad Shoes

New Balance 2002RD

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Coolest Dad Shoes

New Balance 2002RD

Now 31% Off

This sneaker is giving dad shoes, but cooler. The modified mule silhouette is designed to be reminiscent of the 2000's running shoe the MR2002. Associate fashion and commerce editor Lily Wohlner says she wears it regularly because it's just that comfortable. "These shoes have supported me through miles and miles of walking without any pain, which is a huge plus coming from someone who often experiences discomfort after long days on my feet," she says.

She also loves its overall look. "They are so stylish and cute—I've had them for over a year and never get sick of sporting them," she says. Customers generally recommend this shoe for its durable quality, and comfy, lightweight feel, but they also advise that the sneaker may take some breaking in. Some customers also said that the color they received after getting the shoe shipped didn't exactly match what the photo shows.

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Best Walking Shoe

New Balance FuelCell Walker Elite

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Best Walking Shoe

New Balance FuelCell Walker Elite

If you're going to make hot girl walks a regular thing, you need a hot shoe to do them in, and this one fit the bill. The Fuelcell Walker Elite is made with responsive cushioning and a propulsive feel that makes each step that much comfier. Its foam bottom resembles a cloud in both look and feel.

Though it's technically a walker, one customer put it to the running test and the shoes excelled. It's a great shoe for a walk-to-run transition, according to one reviewer. However, another customer said that the shoe didn't have enough arch support and that it ran narrow. If you're afraid this might be your case, you can opt for the wide or extra-wide width options, though.

Best Work Shoes

New Balance New Balance 626v2

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Best Work Shoes

New Balance New Balance 626v2

Whether you're a nurse who's on her feet all day or prefer to spend more time at your standing desk than seated in the office, this shoe was designed to make standing for extended periods of time less of a hassle. The shoe is made with cushioning foam, an internal shank for stability, and a supportive leather upper. The outsole is slip-resistant, which is a welcome bonus if you tend to come across hazardous surfaces at work.

Reviewers say this shoe is great for wearing all day, with one customer raving that it was also comfy despite their plantar fasciitis. That being said several customers say the shoe is stiff, which doesn't take away from its comfort, but is something to note if you prefer a more flexible shoe.

Most Stylish Shoes

New Balance Made in USA 998

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Most Stylish Shoes

New Balance Made in USA 998

Part of New Balance's Made in USA collection, this sneaker is probably the most stylish option on this list. Designed in an olive leaf colorway, the shoe is designed with a shock-absorbing midsole that's cushy and compression-resistant.

Reviewers say the shoe is comfortable and chic, with one customer calling the vintage N logo on the tongue a "nice touch." The shoe currently has limited reviews, but in terms of cons, one customer's only frustration was that the shoe doesn't go up to a size 16.

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Best Lightweight Running Shoes

New Balance FuelCell Propel V4

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Best Lightweight Running Shoes

New Balance FuelCell Propel V4

As its name implies, this sneaker will help propel you forward with a smooth transition from heel to toe, even during your most intense runs. It's also made with knitted mesh construction, which makes the shoe super breathable, flexible, and lightweight. The midsole is thick, creating a buffer between you and the pavement, and is designed with a TPU plate that gives it structure and durability.

Reviewers definitely enjoy the shoe's lightweight feel and breathability. Others also rave about the style. For some, a midsole built with a TPU plate can sometimes feel too stiff, though, so if you prefer a more flexible shoe, that's something to keep in mind.

Best Everyday Shoe

New Balance 574 Core Sneaker

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Best Everyday Shoe

New Balance 574 Core Sneaker

Constructed to deliver all-day support, this shoe is truly perfect for all occasions. It's built with mid-sole cushioning, a rubber outsole that delivers plenty of traction, and a stylish frame that's available in a bunch of color options. If you value sustainability, you'll also love that the vamp, collar, and tongue mesh are made with 100 percent recycled polyester.

Highly-rated on Amazon with over 7,000 five-star reviews, customers say that this shoe is very comfortable, partly due to its roomy toe box, and that even those with flat feet can wear it for extended periods of time. On the flip side, customers didn't like that the shoe's fabric is a little noisy while walking.

Best Shoe For Cross-Training

New Balance DynaSoft Beaya Sport V1 Cross Trainer

New Balance Is Back—These Are The Cool Dad Shoes WH Editors Are Loving RN (23)

New Balance Is Back—These Are The Cool Dad Shoes WH Editors Are Loving RN (24)

Best Shoe For Cross-Training

New Balance DynaSoft Beaya Sport V1 Cross Trainer

Now 23% Off

If you're looking for a budget-friendly option that can serve as a jack-of-all-trades workout sneaker, the New Balance DynaSoft Beaya Sport Cross Trainer is here to save your day. The shoe boasts comfy, plush support and ultra-responsive construction. It can also be used everywhere from your studio classes, to your pavement runs, and everything in between.

Customers regularly rave about the shoe's comfort, durability, and snug and supportive feel. But some reviewers say they feel like the shoe doesn't have enough cushioning, and that the sole feels rather thin, which could lead to it wearing out quickly, one customer pointed out. But the lack of excessive foam does make it a little more lightweight if you tend to stray away from heavier shoes.

Read more: Best Cross Training Shoes

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How we chose the best New Balance shoes

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For the past few months, Women’s Health editors, include lifestyle and commerce editor Jasmine Gomez has been researching the bestselling, most popular, and top-rated New Balance shoes for women. Our team filtered through hundreds of customer reviews to determine the best New Balance shoes for a wide range of preferences.

What makes New Balance such a great shoe brand?

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When it comes to sneakers for your active lifestyle, New Balance is one of the OG brands. Whether it's through cushioning or a supportive frame, NB shoes always boast comfort for a variety of lifestyles. From walking shoes to some of the best running trainers out there, there's a pair of New Balance shoes for every kind of customer. It's also worth noting that many styles, like the FuelCell Propel, are approved and sealed by the American Podiatric Medical Association, which means they promote foot health in some way.

Read more about the best sneakers

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Best Sneakers | Best Workout Shoes For Women | Most Comfortable Sneakers | Best Treadmill Walking Shoes | Best Running Shoes

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Jasmine Gomez

Commerce Editor

Jasmine Gomez is the Commerce Editor at Women’s Health, where she cover the best product recommendations across beauty, health, lifestyle, fitness, and more. When she's not shopping for a living, she enjoys karaoke and dining out more than she cares to admit. Follow her @JazzeGomez.

New Balance Is Back—These Are The Cool Dad Shoes WH Editors Are Loving RN (2024)

FAQs

Why are New Balance shoes considered dad shoes? ›

In 1976, the letter N was added to its shoes – the same year that Running World magazine rated the 320 as the top shoe for runners. Before the cool kids started rocking NBs, they were the preserve of dads, hence the “dad shoe” nickname that has stuck. The shoes still had celebrity endorsem*nts – of sorts.

Why are dad shoes back in style? ›

Chunky heels, large toe boxes and big laces: The so-called “dad” shoe was back in full swing in 2023. Thanks to the pandemic, retro-style footwear brands have enjoyed their biggest resurgence in years.

What motivated New Balance to create this shoe? ›

The initial design of New Balance was inspired by a chicken's three-pronged foot, observed by founder Riley, leading to the creation of a flexible arch support that provided unparalleled balance and comfort in the shoe. Its commitment to quality and comfort has made it a favorite among runners for decades.

What is so special about New Balance shoes? ›

Even after more than 100 years, New Balance shoes align with William J. Riley's original vision: to offer maximum support and comfort. And that's what makes them popular with everyone from dads to athletes and influencers. So why not find your balance with a pair of New Balance shoes?

Are dad sneakers still in 2024? ›

While their aesthetics can be polarizing, we can't deny the fact that dad sneakers are a huge street fashion trend. Whether you're in search of your next or planning to purchase your first pair of dad sneakers, we've rounded up a bunch of cool iterations from various brands that will surely increase your street cred.

Which shoe is the dad shoe? ›

What Are Dad Shoes? Dad shoes generally refer to practical, comfortable sneakers popularized by fathers or middle-aged men back in the day. Performance-wise, dad shoes are often running shoes or workout shoes with oversized, chunky soles that provide maximum comfort for guaranteed underfoot support and cushioning.

Are dad shoes going out of style? ›

Chunky "dad shoes" are being replaced by low-profile sneakers. The chunky, basic dad shoe is on its way out in 2024, according to Full. She told BI that old-school styles of flat, slim, and sleek sneakers are being favored instead.

Are dad sneakers still in style? ›

At one point, dad shoes were deemed ugly, but much like a lot of fashion trends, it's back — and is actually now cool. So much so that even celebrities are wearing them on rotation. And that's not surprising: these kinds of kicks make outfits look effortless and and your feet feel comfy.

Why is New Balance 990 so expensive? ›

Retailing for $100 right out of the gate, the shoe was a big gamble from New Balance, as sneakers didn't usually cost that much back then; I think what made people immediately willing to pay this much was the fact that it was the perfect synthesis of attractive style, high quality performance, and domestic production.

Who owns New Balance now? ›

James S. Davis (born 1943) is an American billionaire businessman, the owner and chairman of New Balance, and an early investor in Major League Lacrosse.

Are New Balance 550 still trendy? ›

It has a retro style and is often used by people for daily wear or to match casual outfits. In the fashion circle and trend culture, New Balance 550 sneakers also have a certain influence, attracting the love of many young people.

What are the New Balance sneakers everyone is wearing? ›

New Balance 550 Sneakers

Celebrity approval has been central to this laid-back retro sneaker's ascent, and the proof is in the data. Searches for New Balance 550 sneakers on the shopping site Lyst increased by 44 percent after Swift was seen wearing a pair in a viral video at her first Kansas City Chiefs game.

Is Nike and New Balance the same thing? ›

For instance, New Balance is renowned for its comfortable fit, collaborations and exceptional support, making it an excellent choice for those seeking comfort and endurance. Nike, conversely, is lauded for its innovative designs and advanced technology, making it a favorite for high-performance needs.

What model New Balance is the dad shoe? ›

It further stated that “within the New Balance model family, the 990 is known to consumers as the 'original' dad shoe.”

Are New Balance shoes still trendy? ›

New Balance, yes, the brand synonymous with "dad shoes," is very much in right now. New Balance has been emerging in the sneaker community since 2019, according to Moore.

Is New Balance a dad shoe? ›

The 9060s withstood several 30,000-step days on one editor's recent trip to Germany.

What is the ultimate dad shoe? ›

Nike Air Monarch IV

In the world of "dad shoes," only one shoe reigns supreme. Whether you lovingly refer to them as the "Grasscutter 7s" or the "Grillmaster 11s", there is no denying that the Nike Air Monarch IV is the king of fatherly footwear.

What age group buys New Balance shoes? ›

Kormas, whose firm polls 25,000 households every four months on footwear-purchasing preferences, reckons that "the average age of a Nike consumer is 25, the average age of a Reebok consumer is 33 and the average age of a New Balance consumer is 42."

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