Over the past couple of years of walking I’ve gone through a fair amount of gear, so I thought I would share some feedback for stuff that’s tried and trusted. Hope it helps.
What is it?: New Balance MW1450WK walking shoes.
How much?: about $180 CAD + tax
Where, when, how do I use them?: I bought these in August 2019 after I had worn out my New Balance 990 running shoes. I knew I was going to be doing a long 200km walk from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto in a few weeks, and since it was partly Bruce Trail offroad hiking and partly Waterfront Trail paved trails, I wanted something that could handle both. Basically, I wanted something heavier than a running shoe but lighter than a hiking boot. These fit the bill.
They have GoreTex uppers so they’re pretty water resistant. I have worn them through my share of puddles and small streams and as long as it wasn’t above ankle height, they have kept my feet dry. In fact, I wore them in the late autumn and early spring shoulder seasons so they’ve seen their share of slush, sleet, and light snow as well as mud and puddles.
At this point they probably have around 500 km on them, and judging by the soles, I can get a bit more before I completely wear them out. I have had to have the local shoe repair guy put some soft leather into the back of the heels where I wore out the lining, but other than that they’ve held up well.
Since I wear custom orthotics, I got an extra wide pair which has proven to be a wise choice – there’s lots of room for both the orthotics and thicker socks. I did have some blisters early on as I was breaking them in, but I put that down to the wrong choice of socks. Since then, they’ve worked pretty well.
One thing to consider is that, if you aren’t carrying heavy loads, you can probably get away with these even on backpacking offroad trails. The high ankle style gives a good amount of support, and the soles and footbeds are solid too. I still wouldn’t say they are a true substitute for full-on hiking boots, but they can work. It might just boil down to your own preferences – since they are lighter than full hiking boots, that might mean the difference between a 25km day and a 30km day.
Would I buy them again?: I think so, if I still need a “between” boot/shoe. I like the NB 990 running shoes for roads and paved trails, and I like my Zamberlan hiking boots for off-road stuff. If in future it looks like I’m going to be in one of those betwixt and between situations where I can only take one pair of something, I think I’d look at these again.
Disclaimer: This is not a “review”. I don’t go around sampling things, instead this is a summary of my own experience with a product I have used a lot. All opinions contained in this post are my own. I offer no warranties or assurances for your experiences with the same product. I bought the gear with my own money and have not received any form of compensation from the manufacturer. Take my feedback as given – caveat emptor.