Remember I was at Hong Kong, not just for the Hong Kong Marathon, but also for the New Balance Tech Summit? During the talks, I jotted down notes as I learned more about the wonderful world of running shoes. Methinks New Balance unleashed the monster running shoe addict in me!
Here are running shoe tips I picked up from New Balance:
Check the INSOLE and look at the imprint to find out if you have the right fit.
Don’t just measure the length of your foot. Measure the width and where the joint bends (ball to heel) too.
When checking the shoe fit. Feel the WIDTH. You don’t want too much pressure on the side or too much material.
You should be able to play the piano with your toes to ensure the TOE BOX is wide enough. But you don’t want too much excess material in this area either.
Get the shoe size for the bigger foot.
There should be 1 to 1.5 thumbs width from the tip of the longest toe to the end of the shoe. Why? Your foot expands. Your foot moves such as when you run down the hill.
The MIDSOLE is like the engine of the car, materials that hold the shoe together.
Check the TONGUE. How much of the tongue is showing?
Women have about 4x as many foot problems as men.
Women are more difficult to fit. We often worry that the shoe is too wide when we’re probably just not used to a spacious toe box since we wear narrow shoes (e.g., high heels).
Shoes should last 300-600 miles, which is roughly 3 to 6 months.
Best way is to rotate between two pairs. Pair A and B. Introduce second pair after roughly 200 miles on the first pair of shoes.
Foot size changes as you get older because ligaments stretch. Your feet may not get longer, but they may get WIDER especially for women who have given birth.
Never wash your entire shoe. Do not put them in the washing machine. Do not throw them into the dryer.
Test a running shoe by flexing the shoe. If it flexes in half that’s not a good shoe.
When you run, you run on an S-shaped angle. Land on the lateral side of the heel and exit on the big toe.
I felt like I was back in school again when I attended the New Balance Asia Pacific Tech Summit in Hong Kong, last March 1 & 2, 2010. But, this time, we spent two full days on my favorite topic: RUNNING GEAR. New Balance apparel and shoes, to be exact.
NEW BALANCE: THE COMPANY
New Balance is the No. 2 overall athletic footwear in the US. It is No. 3 running brand in the US. It’s actually the only athletic company still making shoes in the US.
MORE THAN JUST MOISTURE-WICKING
Shane Downey from New Balance U.S. gave us a background on the apparel of New Balance. Apparently, the New Balance apparel system varies from fabrication, construction and technology. Finally, I understood the meaning behind the various hangtags attached to NB apparel, such as X-static, Cocona, Icefil, and Lightning Dry, to name a few.
I used to think that one should just make sure that apparel was moisture-wicking, but it’s good to check if your tops and bottoms are also: thermodynamic (keeps you cool when it’s hot and keeps you warm when it’s cold), hydrophobic (moisture-managing), anti-wind, anti-odor, UV-protection, and more. (Told you I learned a lot!)
SHOES AND FEET 101
Kellie Pidgeon, the regional tech representative from New Balance Australia, who is also a podiatrist, discussed the Total Fit concept of New Balance. She taught us how to measure our feet using the Brannock device and determine the perfect shoe fit for a runner. (Coming soon: a post on all my learnings about shoes)
Using me as an example, she also demonstrated how to do gait analysis using their software and also elaborated on the five common injuries for runners (a topic I was very familiar with!)
This session was an eye-opener. It educated me not just on the importance of choosing the right model, but also how to ensure that it’s the perfect fit. A half size too loose or too tight can spell blisters, dead toe nails, or worse injury during a long run. In running, where we take hundreds or thousands of steps per session, the role of the shoe in our performance is key!
NEW BALANCE COMPRESSION+
New Balance’s Compression +, NB’s new compression gear which can be comparable to the technology behind Skins and other leading brands for compression tights was also introduced. This will be available in Manila. Price TBA.
As a believer in compression tights, I am very familiar with other popular brands. I noticed that NB compression tights is thinner and lighter than CW-X; material is as stretchable as 2XU. Colors so far are black with red lining and beige. We were told that based on NB scientific research, the effectiveness of NB compression+ is similar, if not better, than Skins, considered to be the market leader.
Here’s John, a cyclist and runner (a Comrades Marathon finisher), from NB South Africa who tested the NB Compression+ during the HK Marathon the day before. Beside him is Kelly…
NB’S TOTAL FIT
Shane, an obvious NB shoe and apparel expert, got all technical and discussed NB running shoes in more detail.
Despite the variety of models, he emphasized one thing: NB offers runners “Total Fit”, which means:
Proper size (NB like all other brands offers different shoe lengths)
Proper width (NB provides various widths: 2A, B, D, 2E, 4E, 6E etc)
Appropriate last (the foundation of the shoe which gives it volume and shape)
= TOTAL FIT.
NEW NB SHOES TO WATCH OUT FOR:
New Balance 760 – Go To Stability (moderate stability). Thinner, softer materials. Welding instead of seams. Better heel to toe transition. New toe cap which has been rounded off.
New Balance 1064 – High End Neutral cushioning shoe. Modernized upper and improved fit.
New Balance 1012 – The Master of Control. Very stable, maximum support.
New Balance 740 – Good priced stability shoe. Little brother of the NB 760.
New Balance 759 – Go to Neutral shoe. New toe cap. Softer materials, softer rubber bottom.
New Balance 1226 – Premium Stability. More stable than 1225. Excellent heel cushioning.
New Balance 870 (Q4 2010) – Lightweight Stability. Small medial post provides a little bit of guidance. Low to the ground.
* Thank you to Anton Gonzales and Bing Buenaventura of New Balance/ Planet Sports for sponsoring the HK trip.
Guess who’s coming to town by January 2010…Garmin! A local company has just obtained exclusive distributorship of Garmin products—from car GPS devices to…you guessed right…running watches! Finally!
In 2007, before we saw a Garmin on every other runners’ wrist, I had to order my Garmin 305 online. And, only a few months back, I still had to order my Garmin 310XT through a friend. By 1st quarter of 2010, no need to pay shipping fees or beg a friend to hand carry the watch home, Garmin products will be readily available in Metro Manila.
For now, they are definitely bringing in the Garmin Forerunner 310XT and Garmin Forerunner 405. I’m hoping they can bring in the Garmin Forerunner 305, too. Hopefully, they can also have a service center to replace our dead batteries instead of us having to ship them out to Taiwan.
By the 1st Quarter of 2010, the Garmin showroom will be open to the public. For now, they can accept orders for the watches. If you are interested, just comment below and I’ll make sure to forward your email.