serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Posts Tagged ‘New Balance’

New Balance Warrior Prequel Running Shoe Review

Friday, October 11th, 2013

photo 1.JPG

New Balance gave me the chance to check out the new Warrior Prequel Running Shoes and I couldn’t wait to lace these babies up and take them for a spin around town. The Warrior Prequel is the first in it’s series and is a shoe built from the ground up without any creative constraints.

photo 4.JPG

The first thing I noticed when putting on the shoe was the molded tongue for a tight fit in the upper part of the shoe. I personally haven’t run in any shoes with this kind of support in the tongue and I was pleasantly surprised at how it cradled my entire foot. The upper is seamlessly welded for unmatched fit in any type of runner. This also lends itself for high performance for all types of foot shapes and sizes. The Warrior Prequel combines comfort, stability, and is ultra-light speed all in one package.

photo 3.JPG

The external stability cradle maintains the foot positioning in the center heel which helps all types of athletes. New Balance was also able to add rev-light material in the heel which is 33% lighter than other shoes with the same amount of cushioning.

I ran in these shoes but New Balance wants you to know these shoes are perfect for anyone playing team sports, crossfit, or anybody. New Balance tested them with recreational athletes and professional athletes to show it can work for anyone. I think they are great all around shoes but if you are looking for a running specific shoe you may want to try another New Balance running shoes.

Check out this video on how they designed the shoe.


The Best Running Shoe Laces

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

running-shoe-lacesI’ve noticed the past couple of years that running shoe laces have been going through an enlightenment period; evolving at a faster rate than ever before, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good thing.  Personally I have the latest technology in shoe lace science in my New Balance MT101s and to be honest, they have been coming untied a lot lately.  The good thing about shoe laces though is that they are interchangeable, you can put any type of shoe lace on any type of running shoe.  We examine if it’s time to go back from the future for your running shoe laces.

Flat woven:  These are your traditional running shoe laces.  They are a 1/2 inch wide, flat and square with plastic end points for ease of lacing.  They range from 27 to 72 inches and have traditionally been about 34 inches in running shoes.  They can be made of cotton, jute, or hemp which is different from modern running shoe laces made from synthetic fibers which tend to be more slippery.  The length of the flat woven on traditional running shoes allows for little excess lace to dangle on the side of your shoe.  This results in an extra tight shoe as runners must tighten enough to have plenty of lace for the tie.fat-shoe-laces-running

Fat Woven:  These are very similar to the flat woven running shoe laces above; however, they have a width of 3/4 inch.  The idea behind having fatter woven laces is that they won’t loosen in the lacing holes on the shoe as you run.  They also make it easier to tie for all intensive gripping purposes.

Round Braided:  These first appeared in basketball shoes and made their way into running shoes.  The lengths range from 27 to 72 inches; however, most are 72 inches because of their basketball “baggy look” heritage.  The 72 inch laces are much too long for running shoes as runners feet pass each other very closely.  Basketball players are able to tuck the long laces into their shoes but runners can’t due to chaffing.  Don’t buy these shoe laces and if they come with your running shoes throw them out.

SURE LACE:  This is what my New Balance 101s have.  The length of the laces are 34 inches.  The laces resemble round braided laces but are computer knit designed with a reciprocating wave pattern.  New Balance says it, “secure shoe laces, provide added midfoot support, and keep the shoe snug around the foot.”  I agree with all of these except it keeps the shoe laces secure. Here’s a video about them:

Overall, you have to find the shoe lace that fits you, but don’t be fooled by gimmicks like SURE LACE technology or the hip long lace fad.  If it aint broke, don’t fix it, just tie a double knot!

New Balance Headphones

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

new-balance-headphones-for-runnersNew Balance has announced they are teaming up with iHome to launch a sport/fitness headphones for runners and endurance athletes.  I personally never wear headphones when I go running, especially when trail running.  How can you connect with nature if you can’t hear it?

At any rate, from the article, “New Balance is dedicated to offering innovative products to help athletes of all abilities perform at their best,” says John Cullen, general manager for licensing at New Balance. “iHome’s experience and expertise in the audio solutions industry will allow us to offer a range of innovative sport headphones to complement our existing line of performance footwear, apparel and accessories.”

“Listening to the right type of music while running, training or competing in an endurance-style event can have a very positive effect on performance,” said Evan Stein, vice president of marketing for iHome. “Merging iHome’s ability to create compelling audio devices with New Balance’s expertise in the world of athletic products is sure to be a winning combination, and we hope many athletes will soon be beating their personal bests with the release of our New Balance Sport Headphones this holiday season.”

The New Balance 439 headphones have removable ear-hooks and detachable cables of varying length and will retail for $34.99.  The New Balance 447 will be foldable and sit on your ears but also feature the interchangeable cables along with an in-line player remote for iPhones and iPods; it will retail for $34.99.  Lastly, the New Balance 467 will be behind the neck headphones (neckphones?) with interchangeable cable links and sell for $24.99.

We’ll have to wait and see how well a shoe company like New Balance can manufacture and market headphones for runners with their partner iHome.  Maybe we’ll start seeing more of these partnerships in the future.  I however think New Balance should stick to its core competency; making those laidback grey sneakers that everyone used to like so much….

New Balance 101 Minimalist Trail Running Shoes Review

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

new-balance-men-101-minimalist-trail-running-shoesI got to take home a pair of the new New Balance 101 Minimalist Trail Running Shoes from Outdoor Retailer a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been taking them for test spins on my trail runs ever since.  I’m not new to New Balance minimalist trail running shoes, I checked out the 101′s father, the New Balance MT100 minimalist trail running shoes a while back and really liked them.  The 101s have the same genes as their father, but they have a personality all of their own.  Acting like your father isn’t cool; unless your dad is Willis Haviland Carrier or something….

The New Balance 101 minimalist trail running shoes have the same exact sole as their father.  Just like the 100s, “The heel of the shoe is made up of cut outs for rear traction.  This really helped when I was runningnew-balance-101-minimalist-trail-running-shoe over some sandy and rocky terrain as I was able to push off better.  The midsole tread looks like someone took an ice cream scooper and scooped out pieces of the sole.  My guess is that this is to reduce the weight of the shoe, as well as increase flexibility and breathability.  You won’t be getting any dirt, mud, or rocks caught in these cylinder shaped holes.  The front tread is made up of some smaller ice cream scoops but mostly squares around triangles which lend for good traction while still giving you ample feeling of the trail.”  Honestly, who quotes thyself?  I do I guess.  The midsole is very flexible which allows the shoe to bend like your foot does, giving you the minimalist feel.  However, the soles are tough enough (are you tough enough NKOTB?) that I’ve run on all types of gnarly terrain in these babies and the bottom of my feet haven’t hurt yet.  This son understood what his father meant when he said to make sure to always have protection.

new-balance-101-minimalist-trail-running-shoesThe biggest difference in the New Balance 101 is the shape of the front of the shoe.  The protection strip in the front is made of a sturdier plastic and covers more area than the MT100s did.  An upgrade for sure.  The toe area also seems to be wider than than the New Balance Trail 100s too.  I really like this difference because it gives my toes more freedom to move around while I run, allowing the shoe to harness the benefits of minimalist running.

There is less cushioning in the New Balance 101s than the 100s, but you won’t notice it when you run.  They’re minimalist trail running shoes, so if you looking for cushioning then you should check out a pair of cushioned trail running shoes, not these running shoes.  There is an area for your foot to rest if you have high arches, but the NB 101 minimalists don’t have any arch support.  It’s about time you stopped supporting your arches, they’re well over 18 now.

The upper is a synthetic mesh which keeps the New Balance 101 Minimalist Trail Running shoes dry and breathable.  I ran these straight through a couple of creeks and new-balance-101-minimalist-trail-running-shoe-reviewthey were dry in a matter of steps; as you can see from my picture to the right!  They also have New Balance’s Sure Lace technology but let’s get serious, did shoe laces really need new technology to keep them from becoming untied?  I have my own Sure Lace technology, it’s called double knotting.  There is more fabric on the lip of the tongue (make sense?) than the New Balance MT 100s which is nice because it keeps the ultra-lightweight tongue from getting stuck down in your shoe.

Overall, these are very legit minimalist trail running shoes.  Not many changes from the New Balance 100s, but if it aint broke, don’t fix it.  New Balance did come out with the new fly green color.  Check out the other colors when New Balance releases the 101 Minimalist Trail Running Shoes to the public!  Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek!

Outdoor Retailer 2010 and the Minimalist Trail Running Movement

Friday, August 13th, 2010

outdoor-retailerI went to the Outdoor Retailer conference last week and had a blast checking out all the new trail running  gear and shoes companies were boasting for their Spring 2011 product lines.  I’ll be sharing the cool new products I checked out with you during the next couple of weeks so stay tuned if you’re into that sort of thing.  The bounce back in business from 2009 could be felt across the show with huge displays and excited retailers.  There were a lot of great new innovations.  I was amazed to see how much outdoor retailers are constantly changing their product lines to fit consumers needs.   I also didn’t know companies started selling  and promoting their new products so soon will many set to be released in the Spring of 2011.  I guess that’s why the big trail running news from the conference is the minimalist movement.  A bit late to the party I would say, but every company from New Balance to Terra Plana were presenting their new minimalist trail running shoes.  And so the movement moves on.

I learned a lot about minimalist running while I was there.  A quick recap of what the minimalist running movement is all about.  It really took off after Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run where he followed the Tarahumara Indians to learn how they are able to run for such long distances without injury.  The theory is that human beings are made to run long distances in order to outlast the prey they hunt.  Now we just drive to the store.  Humans are made to run landing on their toes first and absorbing their weight in the ankles and foot.  Overtime running shoes have been developed with extra cushioning in the heel which has lead runners to begin running by striking our heels first.  This heel strike leads to a longer stride which results in more lateral movement of the legs throughout the stride, much of which is absorbed by the knees.  Running shoe companies have been taking notice and are now releasing more minimalist trail running shoes to keep up with the demand for minimalist trail running shoes.

However, no one really knows what the long-term effects of this young movement will be.  Are we just trading absorbing impact from one area of the body to another?  When running in minimalist shoes runners must shorten their stride which could be the reason for the decrease in injuries and not necessarily the shoes.  The shorter stride also may decrease your speed.  As one prominent ultra runner told me at the conference, “I’ve never seen anyone win an ultra wearing minimalist shoes.  I don’t buy it.”  Yeah, because you don’t buy any of your trail running shoes, you have a sponsor.

I have had a severe knee injury for the past year and have held off of surgery in hopes of a less intrusive cure.  So I’m going to put minimalist running to the test.  I am going to train for a half marathon, because it incorporates both speed and distance running, to see if I can run the same time as my last half marathon, 1:24, but in minimalist shoes.

Next I’ll share what I learned from Lee Saxby of Terra Plana vivobarefoot who also helped Chris McDougall run injury free.

New Balance MT100s Trail Running Shoe Review

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

new-balance-mt100-trail-running-shoeI first became injured on May 19th of last year with Jumper’s Knee.  Over the past year I have been nursing this injury, never fully recovering.  I have undergone countless physical therapy sessions, MRIs, multiple X-rays, a plethora of doctors’ touching my knees, different types of knee braces, and everything else you can think of to subside this injury to no avail.  What was left for me to try?  Minimalist Running shoes.

I received a pair of New Balances’ MT100s Trail Running Shoes and thought this must be a sign to take the first step…running.  The New Balance MT 100s (WT 100s for women) are New Balances’ new version of the New Balance 790s.  Since I had never tried minimalist running before I decided to try the New Balance 100s as my minimalist shoe because they offer more support than something like Vibram Five Fingers and are tough enough for the trail, which is where I run mostly.  I started with a little street running in these trail running shoes, only to get to the trail.  My philosophy is you can’t drive to the trailhead if you are within running distance.

When I first started I ran down a hill in front of my house and could really feel the pounding on my feet.  This probably had a lot to do with the fact that I had never run in minimalist shoes, and these were made for trails, not asphalt; and not to mention I was running down a steep hill.  However, if you are looking for cushioning and comfort then these are not the shoes for you.  If you want a fast ride and to feel the trail but still have some protection, the MT100s could be your new trail running shoes!

new-balance-mt-100-trail-running-shoesThe heel of the shoe is made up of cut outs for rear traction.  This really helped when I was running over some sandy and rocky terrain as I was able to push off better.  The midsole tread looks like someone took an ice cream scooper and scooped out pieces of the sole.  My guess is that this is to reduce the weight of the shoe, as well as increase flexibility and breathability.  You won’t be getting any dirt, mud, or rocks caught in these cylinder shaped holes.  The front tread is made up of some smaller ice cream scoops but mostly squares around triangles which lend for good traction while still giving you ample feeling of the trail.

The Rockstop embedded into the forefoot provides decent protection from sharp rocks and roots.  The puncture-resistant toe material in the toe wrap also helps provide some lightweight protection from trail debris, but I would be careful out there, it isn’t built like your normal trnew-balance-mt100s-trail-running-shoesail running shoes.

The midsole resists compression sets which allows it to bend, feeling more like running barefoot.  However, there is some cushioning in this sole.  I didn’t have any aches or pains in my feet after taking these bad boys on a 6 mile trail run.  There is a little arch support from the rubber that wraps around the sole which helps if you are not used to running in minimalist trail running shoes.

The upper is a synthetic mesh which is really lightweight.  The mesh works great for water drain.  I ran through a couple of creeks and felt like the shoes were completely dry after only 4 or 5 steps!  The mesh also gives a tight fit to your feet.  Helping is the Sure Lace technology that New Balance is using on a lot of their shoes now.  It definitely keeps your shoe laces from loosening or coming undone on the trail.  The tongue is really small too which adds to the lightweight and snug fit that the New Balance MT100 trail running shoes give you.

Overall, great trail running shoe if you are looking for a minimalist trail running shoe or maybe even a trail running shoe with a lot of performance on a trail race.  Now if they would just release with some more rad colors so I don’t have to buy 3 pairs in the same color.

New Balance LOVE/Hate Relationship

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009


New Balance has been running a marketing campaign about the LOVE/hate affair runners have with running to promote their 88 critical points of contact which they claim will increase the LOVE and decrease the hate part of running.  Bringing the two adversaries together…much like the black and white cookie.  Look to the New Balance running shoes to solve all problems and social issues!  Not really, but maybe it will help you solve some of your personal problems, like running.  Initially when I heard this slogan I thought to myself, ‘Why would they put the word hate before New Balance?’  No matter what the message they are trying to convey actually means, the word “hate” gives a negative connotation to their company, especially since it is just before the words “New Balance.”  However, upon watching some of the commercials and researching it further, I really like the concept.  I just hope it doesn’t turn too many consumers off with their first impression.  Not that I really care though, I stopped wearing New Balance when I was like 15; but I’ve always been on the cutting edge of running.  It’s fine though if you still run in New Balance, I’ve got nothing but love for you baby.

I do really love (not hate) what New Balance stands for:  self-improvement, inner harmony, balanced effort, the smell of nature, and spiritual development.  Isn’t that what most of us runners are looking for?  This is compared with Nike’s running shoe division which stands for winning, the roar of the crowd, extreme effort, the smell of sweat, and physical development.  These are all good things to work for and strive to accomplish…if you are 16 years old and have your running future ahead of you.  You can be anything you want to be when you grow up.  However, most of us are already grown up and are past our prime.  Most of us have jobs that aren’t living off race winnings.  Running is more of a spiritual release for us, to balance out our lives.  You could try drinking a gallon of V8 everyday to balance you out. I’m going to stick to running.

In one of the New Balance LOVE/hate commercials they say, “…balance between joy and pain, work and play.”  Running is about balance (but there’s nothing New about that).  It is a balance between your life and your life.  Running is your personal time.  Time to get away from everything else going on and be with yourself.  When you are running you are pushing and challenging yourself.  You find out what kind of person you really are; if you can make that extra mile.  If you can even get out of bed to start that first mile.  Another New Balance LOVE/hate commercial states, “The first mile hates to see you running.  It would rather you go back to the couch.  But both you and running know there are other things to look forward to.  Like the second mile.”  A none runner would say, ‘who actually looks forward to the second mile?’  Runners Do Mr. Novice.

Another commercial says, “…suddenly it’s just you and Running.  You won’t even return calls from Quitting.”  Quitting doesn’t even have my number.  I gave it my standard fake:  867-5309.

Trying Out the New, New Balance 769s for Free!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

big-peach-new-balance-fat-tuesday-event-resizeSo I’m blogging twice in one day.  I had a busy day yesterday trying new things and I want to tell you about them.  Looks like you win!

Last night I went to an event hosted at Big Peach Running Company and sponsored by New Balance. It was a really fun event with a lot of great giveaways.  They had New Balance towels, playing cards, bottle openers, and scratch off giveaway cards.  I won $5 off my next New Balance purchase.  I’m pretty proud of that.  As well, they offered a 15% discount on any shoes bought in the store that night.  In addition, there was a raffle for a free entry to the ING Georgia Marathon and a free pair of New Balance running shoes!  That’s what this poor economy needs, not big corporate bonuses, more free corporate giveaways to customers!  The event was to celebrate Fat Tuesday, having a King Cake shipped straight from New Orleans, Mardi Gras beads (without having to earn them…other than running), burritos with chips and salsa, and of course Abita beer.  They also had Gatorades and water if you’re into hydrating.  It was a real fun event, a great way to socialize with fellow runners, and recieve some cool, free stuff.  What else would you do on a Tuesday night?  Probably watch American Idol.   Lame.

The best part of this event was being able to try out the brand new New Balance 769s. The New Balance rep, Marcy, had a plethora of shoe sizes and was very knowledgeable about the shoes.  Makes sense, she works for New Balance. After fitting in the perfect pair of running shoes per customers’ requests, all participants went on a 2-6 mile run to try them out.  The shoes were brand new and perfectly white, so sorry brah, no trail running.  I did 4 miles because my training schedule called for it…plus I didn’t want to show off in front of everyone.  Yup.  I’m that awesome.  At any rate, it was great being able to try the New Balance 769s over such a long distance.  I feel like you really need a couple of miles to be able to legitimately determine how a shoe fits to your running style.  The New Balance 769s provide a moderate level of stability which gives a smoother run for those who don’t tend to overpronate.  I liked the transition from heal to toe along with the snug fit in my heal.  There also seemed to be more cushioning in the heal than I am accustomed to.  We all could use a little more cushioning in our heals.  However, the most innovative thing that I saw (there’s probably a lot more innovative things in the guts of the shoe) was the anti-untie shoe laces.  We’ve all had our shoe laces untie at the worst times, like in the middle of a race surrounded by 10,000 people, and this technology answers that need.  The laces had a “bubbling” technique that allows them to hug each other tightly at the knot.  No more triple tying!

This event was a very cool way to learn more about running shoes, socialize with fellow runners, and get your run in.  Did I mention all the free stuff too?  I guess the best things in life are free:  running, socializing, and of course…beer.