Train 'n 'Em - New Balance demo

Categories: Reviews and stuff   shoes

This morning, Runners Fit had their New Balance reps (Matt and Karen(?)) in the store for a “Train in Them” session. This is an opportunity to try on some of the new models and shoes, and take them out for a test run. Most of the rest of this post will be a review of the shoes. If this doesn’t interest you, I won’t take it personally. However, if you’re dying to know what I think about when I’m trying shoes (and who wouldn’t be), then this is for you.

This morning, they were showing us the MR1063 and the MR769., some of their models built on their new performance last. This was a good chance for me to try them, since I think it’s been at least 15 years since I ran in NB’s, probably longer.

I’m a neutral runner with a mid-foot strike. Years ago, I did the tradition heel to toe, and I needed a super stability shoe. It took a long time, but I learned a midfoot to forefoot strike, and I’ve been a lot happier with it. Unfortunately, I have a wider than normal foot, and they didn’t have my size in the 1063 (the neutral shoe), so I tried out the 769.

Now, first impressions:

  • They looked good for road shoes. My personal preference is for loud, like you find on trail shoes. They have the fancy laces that are harder to come undone.
  • The 1063's I tried on had a tighter toebox than the 769's. (This is why I needed the wider size.) They were a little tight across the bottom of the laces (the toe side). Loosening the laces didn't help much, but again, as stated, with a wider size I would have been fine.
  • The 769's had a very roomy toebox, and no tighteness across the laces. For long runs, this will be real nice. (For your 5-10K's, tighter isn't such a big deal since your feet don't swell as much.) However, there was a little slippage in the heel. Alternate lacing to a farther back hole fixed that right up, making this comfortable to put on.
  • The base was wide! Huh, you ask? This is what I love about my current brand shoes, the sole of the foot is wider than the uppers. When you stand in a shoe, your foot shouldn't overhang on the sides so you can't see the edge of the sole. These didn't disappoint, and they provided a very solid platform. (Keep in mind that I'm well north of 200 lbs. so I know what a solid platform means.)

[caption id=”attachment_380” align=”aligncenter” width=”200” caption=”So many choices…which ones should I take”]So many choices...which ones should I take[/caption]

Now, I’m a firm believer in that a good shoe shouldn’t need to be broken in. (They should fit comfortably within 1 run under 5 miles.) Maybe that’s a tough, but from paying the big money for shoes, that’s what I expect. These shoes did pretty good on this point. My run was 4.5 miles, and by the time I finished, they felt pretty good.  Below is what I noticed during the run:

  • The midfoot and toe was comfortable. They had just enough cushion to feel soft and absorb the road.
  • The heel was much stiffer and more firm than I was expecting. I was hoping for just a little bit of cushion, but nope, there wasn't much give in them.
  • The stability is probably really good. I felt like I was running  on the outer edge of my feet, which if I was a pronator, would probably hit the spot.
  • The heel-to-toe ratio was good for running. However, I found the heel a little bit high for walking.  It wasn't horrible, I'd probably get used to it after a few more miles. (I may not have noticed it if there was more cushion in the heel.)
  • It was pouring rain this morning about a half hour before we headed out. The traction on these were good, and I didn't feel slippery on the road at all.
  • Since these were demo shoes, I avoided the puddles, so I can't talk about how water repellant they are. :)

After the run, the reps gave us some door prizes; a hand towel, bottle opener, and some candy.  Being Valentine day, at least one guy among us took some extra for his sweetie.

They also had a drawing for a free pair of shoes. No, I didn’t win, but hey, I had a good time.

Note: I have no financial interest in New Balance. I offered to give them a video review, but it was too noisy with everyone there, so didn’t get a chance. I was going to film one later, but since I didn’t have an actual shoe to hold up, and figured this was better. And for the record, I actually know what a shoe last is, and how it’s used in the shoe making process.

Written on February 14, 2009