The other week, I ran with a neighbour who had recently purchased a couple of pairs of running shoes. She was not altogether pleased with early signs of wear and tear on the mesh toe box. Turns out that we both have the same size foot so with two miles to go, I suggested that she take a test run in my shoes. I have been wearing New Balance running shoes exclusively since 1995, ever since winning a pair at the Spring-Run Off 8K in High Park.
I had purchased only one pair of New Balance shoes prior to that and due to poor advice from a salesperson, ended up with a too-big pair of New Balance shoes back in the early 80’s. Unfortunately, this bad fitting, deterred me from the brand, and highlights the importance of buying your shoes at a place with a reputation for knowledgeable staff, such as New Balance stores.
New Balance is known to long-time runners as being at the footwear-forefront of the first running boom of the 70′s and 80′s. The Boston based company started out in 1906 as the New Balance Arch Support (NBAS) company and evolved into the New Balance Athletic Shoe (NBAS) company
Like many long-lived companies, the philosophy has been to avoid expensive advertising in favour of research and design excellence. In spite of competition from larger athletic shoe companies it has exceptional brand recognition for state-of-the-art shoe design and competitive pricing. It sponsors world-class runners and local champions (a story for another day) with an emphasis on the community involvement of these athletes. The price tag for New Balance shoes is far less than companies who market their products by seeking endorsements of the Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan’s of the world.
The pair my neighbour test-ran were the NB760’s and she asked me to quote her, “good shoes, good shoes” as she ran along, and again, “good shoes, good shoes”. She also commented that my shoes felt more cushioned than her new shoes in spite of the fact that my shoes were at the end of their life. I also use the NB special insoles that you can buy for about $30, and last for a couple of years. The other New Balance shoe I wear is the NB950. This shoe is a bit lighter and streamlined so I wear this for my faster paced workouts.
As for my experience of wearing another brand, truthfully, I was surprised in my dissappointment. Go New Balance!
“Yet if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?” Germaine Greer