Tuesday, 28 September 2010

New balance 840 first look

Regular readers of this blog will know about my ongoing struggle with getting into non-waterproof shoes. When I found out that Gore Bike wear socks were back in the UK, It opened up the possibility again.

Innov8 seem to be the market leaders amongst UK hikers. Various bloggers seem to have created a cult following, but while I was getting into ultralight hiking, it was always New Balance shoes that were mentioned by US hikers. Phil Turner seems to like them (An even brighter pair!) and, more importantly, they have a wide forefoot which suits my foot rather than the narrow toe box which Innov8 have a reputation for. They also have a UK factory, although these are made in China. Add to that a nice cheap price at Wiggle and I decided to have a punt.

So why the 840s? Reviews suggested they were shock absorption was good, they drained and dried quickly and grip was excellent, however to say that the look of them didn't have anything to do with it would be a lie! They're supposedly blue, grey and yellow. It's more like purple, silver and yellow- they're bright! I always like the yellow of my Golite shoes, it's about as far away from the brown boot/red sock look as you can go.

There's not much to say about them apart from that. They weigh 331g each in a UK size 11. The New Balance sizing is odd though. The insole is almost exactly the same size and shape as my NF Hedgehogs in a size 10. A tiny bit longer. The New Balance size chart gives excellent guidance for selecting the correct size and it's worth using. The 'N' on the side of the shoe supports tapes that pull the shoe tight around the foot. The laces are bumpy and stay tied- I really like the laces. The yellow studs on the bottom of the shoe are soft and the purple ones are more firm. On the photo, they look a bit flat but they're chunkier than my Hedgehogs. That's it really. More detail when I manage to get them out- potentially in the next couple of weeks. Yup, my hill drought should end reet soon. Excited I am.


x said...

I wouldn't normally make shoe recommendations as everybody's feet and personal requirements are different, but if you like a wide toe box, have a look at the Mizuno Wave Harrier 2 trail shoe (360g each in a UK size 11). I really like being able to wriggle my toes to almost their full extent, and they're also very breathable. My one reservation is that they're only good for 500 miles or so as the support tends to break down underfoot. I did 560 miles in my first pair on the PCT, and the last couple of days were a little uncomfortable but I still felt a little sad putting them in the bin in Mojave! Then I swapped to Inov8 Terroc 330's, my previous choice for hiking in the UK, and they felt really clompy in comparison - in fact they left my feet numb for months after the walk. No blisters (over a few millimetres in diameter) in either the Mizuno or Inov8's , mind. I used Rocky Gore Tex socks, when required - turned out to be a good combination as I could have them on for most of the day with no ill-effects...although shoes dry much better in the US than they do in the damp old UK.

Is is the 'GT Socks' that you're looking at? I need a replacement as my Rocky's are starting to rip slightly at the top.

minimalgear said...

The socks are the Gore Bike wear Gore tex socks-26.99 is a bargain compared to the price of getting the rockys from the states. They're the 'second best after the rockys' according to PTC:
I've got a feeling I tried on the Wave Harriers and they didn't feel quite right for my foot for some weird reason-over the top of the foot rather than the shape of the sole. New balance seem to suit me, as do the North Face shoes. My brother despises them!

x said...

Thanks for that - I'll grab a pair. I managed to buy my original Rocky socks in the UK at Brookbank Canoes and Kayaks for £25 - they no longer stock them of course but they've been helpful in the past at obtaining non-catalogue items for me so I might drop them an email first.

Yep, I think that finding your perfect shoe is a real mission. I fretted about my choice of shoes for the PCT after some disasterous training hikes in the UK where my feet ended up in bits. Despite reading reviews online and various books I think it was mostly a matter of luck more than anything else that I found a pair that worked for me...and now I have 5 pairs of Wave Harrier 2's in my garage!