Are New Balance 574 Shoes Good For Walking? [My Advice]


The New Balance 574 is one of New Balance’s most popular shoes. It has an athletic, comfortable fit, but what about walking? Are New Balance 574 shoes good for walking?

Answer: The New Balance 574 shoe is not designed specifically to be a walking shoe. That said, it does have an athletic design that allows it to function as a satisfactory walking shoe, especially for casual walking. But if you are searching for a dedicated walking shoe with maximum cushioning or extra support and stability, there will be better options. This is the list of New Balance walking shoes I would recommend you consider instead.

If you are searching for a shoe to use specifically for walking/exercise, the 574 has neither the thick foam cushioning nor the stability and support of New Balance walking shoes.

That said, don’t think of the 574 as a stiff shoe. It is actually very lightweight and flexible, and it has a versatile design that allows it to function well as an all-day casual athletic shoe. If you are looking for a shoe comfortable enough to handle vacation adventures or a day of walking out on the town, the 574 can deliver that. But for dedicated walking/exercise, there are better options.

In this article let’s take a closer look at the 574. I want to show you next how the 574 responds on my foot, so you can get a better idea how cushioned it is under the foot.

Is the New Balance 574 Good for Walking?

If you are looking for a dedicated walking shoe, there will be better options. The New Balance 574 is not designed specifically to be a walking shoe. That said, the 574 has a comfortable, athletic design that makes it a great casual shoe.

Think of the New Balance 574 as a shoe you can wear around town running errands and also wear for a sight-seeing tour on vacation. But if you are looking for a shoe dedicated specifically for repeated exercise and walking, there will be better options (see my favorites).

To give you a better idea how the 574 responds on a foot, here I am wearing mine:

Why Isn’t the 574 Made for Walking?

There are three main reasons why the 574 isn’t a perfect option for walking:

  • Midsole – It lacks the thick foam midsole that some people prefer in walking shoes to help reduce the impact stress on the bottom of the foot. If you want a midsole that is thick and “squishy” to help reduce impact stress, I like this option better than the 574.
  • Breathability – The uppers are made with a combination of suede and mesh. And although they are breathable, they trap more heat than many types of ultra-lightweight athletic shoes.
new-balance-574-material
  • Support/Stability – For those who need extra support and stability for walking shoes, the 574 has no type of enhancements to help control improper foot movements. For example, it doesn’t have a medial post or a thick collar for ankle/heel stability. This is just a normal athletic casual shoe. If you need extra support or stability, this is a better option.
are-new-balance-574-good-for-running

The truth is, yes, you probably *could* use the 574 for dedicated walking, but there will certainly be better options. That said, don’t think of this as a stiff shoe. When I tested the shoe, I found it to be very flexible (show me how flexible these shoes are).

Are New Balance 574 Good for Hiking?

It’s important to understand that the 574 Core is not a dedicated hiking shoe (New Balance classifies it as a “lifestyle” shoe). It is not waterproof, and there will be better options for rough terrain.

That said, compared to other types of normal casual shoes, the New Balance 574 is a decent option for hiking. They have a versatile design that New Balance calls a “hybrid road/trail design”.

The 574 is built like a retro athletic shoe, but with a more versatile design and outsole that makes it serviceable for an occasional (easy) hike. But if you are an avid hiker, or looking for shoes for extremely rough terrain and/or wet weather, there will be better New Balance options (for example, Hierro Trail, Arishi Trail, 1300 Hiker, 1400 Hiker).

It’s also worth noting that New Balance does offer the 574 in a “rugged” version, which features durable, rugged materials inspired by the outdoors. But even the “rugged” version is still classified as a lifestyle shoe.

How Flexible is the New Balance 574?

When I tested the flexibility of the New Balance 574, I was a bit surprised by what I found. These aren’t stiff shoes. They have more flexibility and twistability than many other types of New Balance shoes.

Here I am testing the flexibility of the New Balance 574:

Here I am testing the “twistability” and reactiveness of the New Balance 574:

As you can see, they have a flexible design. And I guess this shouldn’t be too shocking since they are inspired, in part, by retro athletic shoes.

However, they aren’t as “twistable” and responsive as New Balance running shoes. For example, here is one of my favorite options, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12:

Notice how thick and flexible that midsole is?

The main takeaway is although the 574 is an athletic shoe, there are other types of shoes that are better designed to fit specific exercising needs. In the next section, let’s discuss some of my favorite New Balance shoes for walking.

Alternatives to the New Balance 574 for Walking

New Balance has a wide range of dedicated walking shoes, and even many of their running shoes make for great walking shoes. Below, I have compiled a list of my favorites.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these shoes.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12

When I recently tried over 30 types of New Balance shoes, the 1080 was the most comfortable I tried. This is actually a New Balance running shoe, but it can also work as a dedicated walking shoe.

It weighs less than the 574, and provides much more cushioning. The midsole provides that “squishy” feeling under the foot, which helps reduce impact stress while walking.

What’s the drawback? The lightweight upper won’t offer a ton of support, and if you are worried about stability, there will be better options.

Here’s how the 1080 responds on my foot:

New Balance W840v3

The New Balance W840v3 is almost like a combination of an athletic shoe and a walking shoe. It feels like an athletic shoe on the foot, but offers more support than running shoes (and more support than the 574).

Two things I really like about this shoe: first, it is very padded around the collar, which creates a comfortable fit near the ankle. Second, the leather upper is unique in that it is much more breathable than other leather shoes.

Here’s how mine responds on my foot:

New Balance 928v3

Now we are into a shoe that prioritizes stability and support. That means it will weigh more than the 574, and not be as flexible, but it will provide better foot and motion control.

The New Balance 928v3 is designed with New Balance’s ROLLBAR technology which helps prevent improper rearfoot movement. It also has extra cushioning in the midsole to help reduce impact stress on the foot.

Here’s how the 928 responds on my foot:

New Balance 877v1

The New Balance 877v1 is a dedicated walking shoe, but it is much more breathable than leather walking shoes. It is made with a suede/mesh upper to improve airflow and help reduce weight a little bit.

The 574 will be lighter in weight and more flexible than this shoe, but the 877 has more support than the 574. Here’s how this shoe responds on my foot:


Other New Balance 574 Resources

Although the New Balance 574 is not designed specifically to be a walking shoe, it does have a comfortable and athletic design that makes it great as a casual shoe. If you are interested in the 574, and want to read more, visit my articles linked below.


Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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