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Monday, 19 March 2012

A shoe review - New Balance 660




Well now, the folks at SportsDirect offered me an opportunity to review a pair of running shoes for them from their range.

I have been given free rein to tell you the honest truth about these trainers folks so hold onto your knickers.

I went for the New Balance (NB) 660, why? - well I hadn't ever had a pair of New Balance before and I have a mate who swears by them so why the hell not.

Brand Comparisons

I am  big Nike fan - they fit wide trotters and I like the bounce of the air and they can look a little cooler than the norm. I have had mixed reviews from my podiatrist on how they are for pronators. I have been told off for wearing them in the past & after all I am constantly injured. Though I think the reason why my doc didn't like my Nike's was because they didn't have a rigid sole.

I am currently running in Asics - which I am not 100% with, they seem to shock absorb okay but I had to get a larger size for my wide feet so I pull out of the back of them a little. New Balance do offer a wide fit on some shoes though - worth noting for the ones of us with fat feet.

Asics are like the big fat gypsy wedding dress of running shoes. They have gaudy colours and are uglier than a Pat Butcher frock (may you rest in peace Pat).

NB have a classic looking range, they are a bit like the Gap for shoes - classic and unoffensive but not fruity like Nikes. What I like is they seem to stock tomboy colours and girly pretty colours in the same shoe. They are a decent looking shoe as running trainers go and this was definitely what attracted me as I am a bit of a shallow cow.

They are super light, compared to the Asics they feel like jumping around on clouds. I notice this is because they have a foamish filled sole, Asics soles are full of gel and this makes them a little on the heavy side. Nike are pumped full of air so they bounce a bit.

The weight of these shoes excited me as I hate being dragged down by weight. Though, I didn't feel the NB shock absorption was enough for me personally. I pronate bad, really bad on one side and the 660's sadly didn't cushion my terrible biomechanics.

I chose the 660's for the stiffened sole, I found it to be very rigid which will offer protection around the arch area. As you can see in the photo above, if the shoes have a central grey block of colour on the inside sole you know that they have a rigid centre to protect the arch.

NB shoes seems to run small, you need to go up at least a size for them to fit. Also you will need to remember to incorporate half a size to allow for foot swelling when running.

So I STRONGLY recommend you try before you buy to ensure the right fit.

Positives -
Light shoe
Good looking
Comfortable from the second you put them on
Lightweight
Rigid sole

Negatives
Lack shock absorption
Run small
Not wide enough

Advise for
Neutral gait runners
Short competitive runs - 5km (light weight speed my friend)
Occasional short distance runners - road or other flat surfaces
Gym shoes
People on the feet all day

Advise against
Pronators
Long distance runners without a neutral gait
Running on uneven ground
Insole users
People with high arches

Despite my comments these shoes will not be joining all the others in my trainers graveyard, I intend to wear them in the gym and maybe for a competitive short distance race because they are so light.

New Balance 660 c/o of Sportsdirect
They are easy in the gym bag but not on the knees in my opinion.

In the interest of fairness I took these shoes out with both insoles and without. My insoles are half shoe ones and are designed to prevent my high arches dropping. I didn't find there was enough support in these shoes and I needed the insoles. I usually slip them under the trainer insoles but these were quite narrow and slipped about on top of my inserts.

There was no way enough arch support for me without my insoles.

Do not let my experience put you off these shoes, they are mid-priced and would deffo suit a neutral runner or gym bunny better. They are incredibly comfortable from the minute you put them on so if I had a job that involved being on my feet all day e.g nurse, physio then I would consider these but I don't think they are built for high impact running.

Saying that my mate runs probably at least 50 miles a week in New Balance trainers; she has no complaints and has never ever experienced an injury. It all depends on you, we're all different - thank shabba for that coz I wouldn't wish my Oprah thighs on any of you guys.

You won't know if these are truly for you without a gait analysis first. All the specialist running shops do this, do what I do - get a free analysis and then seek them out at a cheaper price.

I didn't have a gait analysis for these but I could see my left foot was out and my knee felt pulled after a few 5km runs.

I won't be hanging up my Asics for the 660's though I am willing to give New Balance another go as, despite my quibbles, they are comfy and light, I just need to find the right fit for my disco feet.


Laters

Sam x


3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your review of the NB660, it is always good to know what other runners think. We do echo your advice about gait analysis too. It is always valuable to have one before purchasing a new pair of shoes.

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  2. I've been running in New Balance since training and completing NYC marathon in 2007. I alternate between 6 series and 7 series but I have had some 660's for a while which I love. As a woman I prefer the wide D fitting for real comfort and I do go up half a size. I am an overpronator but I have found the 660s perfect for long distances as well as regular training runs.

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  3. 660s for men helped me knock half a minute off my 5K PB to under 19:30. On soft-ish surfaces like grass when quite dry, they're remarkably light and cut out a lot of effort. Get in! They're alright for distances up to about 12 miles and they benefit from better insoles (your old ones from better trainers) but for more support and varied surfaces, the 860 v2's worth snapping up, as the V3 has soles that are less suitable for bad weather.

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