Friday, 15 May 2009

Shoe Review

Now the lovely people at Fitness Footwear sent me some running shoes. (Thank you!) And obviously I’m due to give them a review. Now I don’t have to say anything nice, I just have to review them. So anything positive or negative is based purely on my experience with the shoes – not on how free they were.

My only concession to the senders of the free shoes are the hyperlinks - I feel this is only fair to them. I agreed to wear and review with links - so link I will.

After Nike changed their fit on me, I moved onto the Mizuno’s (Wave Rider 12s - reviewed in a previous post). They’re comfy but not as cushioned as I was used to. On longer runs I even worried about shin splints as I got the horrible aching pain down the front of my shins… luckily nothing ever came of this.

But my new review running trainers are New Balance W1062.
So far I’m quite impressed, overall they are weighty but the CUSHIONING is very bouncy, the thick soles feel very comfy and quite responsive given how thick they are. It’s very nice to have the bounce back after the ‘flatter’ Mizunos. The New Balance are not a fast shoe – I’d even consider not wearing them for races. BUT for training they seem to be so securely cushioned that the comfort level looks like maintaining for a good few miles, which is good news when thinking about cost.(You can see the thick sole in the image above.)

I assumed from fit that he shoes are larger than I would usually wear [checking the sizes below shows this is just a feeling, not a reality].
SIZING: or why shoes are just like clothes – the sizes make no sense and the only thing is to keep trying on multiple pairs.
From the labels I get the following info:
Mizuno 5.5/38.5/US W8
New Balance 5.5/ 38 /US 7.5
See the confusion there! Also, I measured the original shoe inners against each other and the NB are at least 4mm longer than the Mizuno. They are most definitely ‘bigger’ shoes, and not just because they are a wide fit.

Now they might feel slightly ‘large’, but they are the size running shops have been trying to get me to buy for years. Often the 5.5 size is too big and the resulting fabric at the toe rubs across them when I run. Not this time! The wide size and the extra room mean that these might be a fantastic option for longer runs. Plenty of room for the toes to spread and swell during a (theoretical) 20 miler, but still enough security so my feel don’t feel like they are rolling around without some support from the shoes.

FIT – good straight from the box, feel a little big, but only at the toes initially – and the heel grip is supportive whilst neither slipping nor eating my socks with looseness.
CHAFING I had initial concerns about the edges of the tongue being a little rough. BUT this feeling vanished a few seconds into the run. They are quite padded and just needed time to ‘bed down’.
TOE BOX – these wide fitting shoes are truly WIDE – and my feet are very square and very wide. This width doesn’t seem to come at the expense of excess fabric though. Also points have to be given to NB for providing training shoes in different widths. It makes you realise that the way we buy shoes would be a little like buying our clothes based only on our height – with no concern for our width…
LACE LENGTH – great length – not too long, or too short, and, more importantly the bobbles really do make the laces feel like they’d hold better than a flat lace. This was a nice innovation I hadn’t seen before.
WEIGHT – including my orthotic (weight per shoe) 349g – so really quite heavy. (This is in comparison to the 288g incl orthotic of the Mizuno.)
Whilst I am generally glad of the weight as it’s due to the thick sole and therefore the bounce, the weight will make these shoes drain your legs after enough miles. I don’t think I’ll suffer as I have strong legs and weigh far more than I should; but lighter runners might suffer.
RESPONSIVENESS – now you always pay in responsiveness by having such great cushioning. And, I haven’t had them outside on anything apart from a very dry surface. BUT these are more responsive than I would have first expected. I like that the sole doesn’t have too many areas for mud (or dog poo) or stones to hide in. The Mizuno has a huge, deep, straight-sided void in the heel, which on a country road can trap pebbles. Sole images can be sen below. NB on the left.
Now there are some factors that I couldn't give a toss about. One is PRICE. For me it either fits and works or it doesn't. As I'm heavy I have a tendency to buy top-end shoes. I think they last longer and I get more choice if I don't limit myself to cost. However, I'll try on any neutral cushioning shoe regardless of cost. These seem like fairly priced, good value running shoes. Only time will tell how long they last.

COLOUR/DESIGN is the other factor I really don't care about. The only thing that would piss me off would be women specific shoes made in pink. ... But that's a personal thing. I'd prefer it if no running shoes were white in base colour, it just gets dirty and looks crap faster. Again that might be me. The New Balance shoes are quite a neutral white/orange scheme which looks sporty and isn't too girly. Goes well with navy or black sports gear - if you care about that sort of thing. The Mizuno does have better styling, there is more colour, and it's metallic which just has a racier feel. But both are pretty much generic white sports shoes with some colour.


So, whilst I am still sad that the perfection that was my Nike’s has been taken away from me (due to upgrades) I am delighted to have found both some great distance shoes (the New Balance) and some shorter distance racing shoes (Mizuno). I’ll probably wear the NB more as I am a heavy runner who is not light of foot. I hit the ground hard and am generally not fast enough to need a lighter shoe. Comfort and longevity is what I'm looking for. The NBs feel solid - lets get out there and see if they hold up. (To my complete lack of current training...)

1 comment:

The Professor said...

As you know I'm about as fit as a sloth, but I was quite bemused so thought I'd share. Reading all the stuff about cushioning it all seemed kind of familiar and then I processed "New Balance" and went to have a look at my trusty (read "rarely used" 'cos I'm a lard arse) trainers and indeed they are New Balance! Obviously I know nothing about training shoes, but when I got them and since, I have always thought they were just wonderfully balanced and bouncy shoes and had wondered if the make was available in the UK.

I got them when I was rowing in the US, one of my uber fit crew buddies recommended the brand you see. So I can attest that they're relatively sturdy. Only had one pair of trainers so I did all my training in them, rowed in them - indeed they've been swimming pools of lake water and mud - bled profusely in them, yet they look like they belong to someone with my lack of fitness! So yeah, what are the odds that I could actually have something to say about an exercise thing?! :D