Ok, so I've had these for about 10mos at this point (purchased 7/25/18), and my intense love for these has definitely faded. I thought I ought to come update this review, since I was reminded just today how much I've come to...dare I say, hate(?) these shoes for my current needs (technically still cross-training), because my preferred running/training shoes were temporarily MIA. I pulled these on thinking I'd be FORCED to wear them for today's workout and my feet were immediately miserable and coming out of my shoe with every step (more on that below). Thankfully, the others were found in the nick of time...
So, these were SUPER comfortable & quality at first, for about the first 2mos. I wore them almost daily for both cardio/aerobic type exercise at home and as my every day shoes when I'd be out/on my feet for a long time. I dropped off my 'wear-age' of them after that til the holidays, when I began wearing them again daily as everyday shoes, no exercise thanks to an injury, but still regular wear and tear. After that approximately month to month and a half of steady wear starting again on Thanksgiving, when I was putting them on one day in Jan 2019, I noticed the outer fabric covering the shoe form upper was separating from the sole; the fabric had holes along the heel that almost looked like they'd formed due to wear, though my gait and thus shoe is not worn in that way. So, I started looking into customer service options through Amazon, who sent me directly TO NB. By the next day, the fabric holes had opened enough for me to see that the issue wasn't JUST the fabric covering outer but the entire heel was beginning to separate from the foamy shoe upper and the foam inside was breaking down noticeably. I followed the instructions for warranty issues/returns on the NB site, sent them my order invoice from Amazon along with photos of the bum shoe (only the right one...then), and they replied back that they would give me a $35 credit refund, that I had to have the shoes back to them within about 2wks (because that was when my 6mo warranty ran out), and that ~I~ would have to pay return shipping. With this in mind, knowing it'd cost me $8-10 or more to ship the shoes back, meaning I'm only up about $25 (technically not what I paid for them even, but only by like fifty cents), I emailed back to the person managing my warranty/refund claim asking for clarification as to whether the refund I was getting could ONLY be used on their site (basically store credit, and re-buying through their site was at least $65...I think almost 80, actually) OR if I could use it to purchase something else NB on Amazon (the original retailer, more likely to find something in the $25-30 range). I got no response but emailed that person several more times along with another email address I'd found and NEVER got a reply back. Since I had been looking for new NB shoes since finding the holes and knew I couldn't get anything else as comfy and cute (my main concerns at the time) for the same or similar price in my size, I decided to keep the shoes and more or less glue them back together. This worked for a while with wear most days a week, AND they were still just as comfortable as the original few months, buuuuut...about 7wks ago, I started a pretty intense fitness plan, still using these shoes. Within the first couple days of a couple hours of strength training, cardio, and/or high intensity classes EVERY day, the uppers of both shoes were NOTICEABLY broken down. Within that first week, the uppers had become so broken down and worn that I had to tighten them progressively tighter every single day. Once I added a personal trainer who likes to add in yoga poses every now & then AND added daily jogging to my regiment, these quickly became unbearable to wear...for various reasons. For starters, even though the listing for this particular color shoes double holes at the top for a heel lock tie, mine absolutely do not have this feature. Because of this, doing down dogs, planking, or even doing mountain climbers is nearly impossible because of how broken down the uppers had become in the last maybe 6-7 total months of daily wear, most of which was not exercise wear; my heels were constantly slipping out of the shoes in those poses/exercises thanks to the lack of heel lock holes combined with the break down of the uppers. Further, after maybe a week of daily jogging for 45min-1hr, the soles had noticeably worn down and compressed (like the foam has squished, not worn away), and, inside, any arch support these shoes DID have had totally worn down. Shortly after I found the fabric holes in January, the insole in that same shoe began constantly sliding back in my shoe and frequently up the heel area. I'd have to re-seat the insole EVERY time I put them on, forcing them actually TOO far into the shoe (like curling it up on itself in the toe-box), so when they started sliding the moment I started moving at least I'd sort of have a headstart, if that makes sense. Once I began exercising intensely every day, this problem was just super exacerbated--I was taking off my shoe at LEAST once an hour to re-seat the insole. I put up with this for maybe 5 days before I finally pulled out the same E6000 I'd used to 'fix' the heel and glued the dang thing in place. That worked, but now I can't pull that particular insole out for cleaning/airing out. Also, at some point in those couple weeks I wore these, the left heel fabric began wearing through. Thankfully, though, after some trial & error (or try ons & error?) I found some decent looking, reasonably priced NBs here on Amazon (Item:
New Balance Women's Arishi V2 Fresh Foam Running Shoe Black/Metallic Gold) around 2 or 3 weeks into my new intense exercise schedule and have since switched to those. The heel lock alone has made a HUGE difference...I digress.
So, overall, now that I've used these guys for a while AND pretty intensely, I gotta say, if you were just going to use these for daily outings, or for regular low intensity easy terrain walks, or even needed to use them for average levels of exercise (like 2-3hrs/wk), I think these would be perfectly fine. I think they might even be GOOD if yours actually come with the heel lock holes. Also, I think it's reasonable to believe a LOT of the problems/the rapid decline of the shoe, in my case, were due to or at least exacerbated by the initial break down of the heel of the right shoe (I'm pretty certain the insole issue was a direct result of the heel separating, causing the shoe parts to flex in unintended ways). Still, the quickness of total breakdown of the shoe (particularly the originally "fine" or seemingly properly made left shoe) once moderate to heavy intense & prolonged activity began was a pretty big letdown.
Most of me wants to give these shoes 2 stars because of how much I've grown to dislike them, but, ultimately, I think the ability to submit a claim/get at least SOME kind of credit (but who knows where all you can use it!) actually THROUGH New Balance themselves is worth the extra star, PLUS, if I never ended up using them for intense exercise, I'd find them perfectly fine as daily-wears. If I had gotten the answer I wanted and CHOSE to return (or even keep, because I was more or less forced into keeping these) these, I'd give them yet another star, coz support (or the option for it) for an Amazon purchased shoe was pretty unexpected but appreciated.
Would I buy these again? Sure, no problem, but for daily wear/errands shoes ONLY (basically to keep my new gym shoes in better shape longer); they're cute and comfortable for this purpose, and if I could find them for $25 again, I still think this would be a fine deal (update within an update: I actually just purchased a 2nd pair in a different color for daily wear only for $24.98...another update eventually?). This having been said, I would ~personally~ NOT buy them again if I had even the smallest chance of ~needing~ to wear them for light/more average amount of regular exercise or walking. The potential for the upper to become worn and loose with repeated exercise is not something I want gamble with again.
To add a little bit of info that may be helpful for other chunky (wide) footed people:
Since buying and trying I think THREE different NB shoes to replace these, I have realized that, in their original, new to you form, the Wide option in THIS specific shoe style is really nice and roomy, I mean noticeably wider than others I've since tried. Even with my chubby feet in these things, there was no problem with the tongue not being wide enough to cover all of the top of my foot once I loosened the shoe(s) a little. With 2 of the 3 cross training and running NBs I bought to try, all in 12W, they were MUCH less wide, even extremely tight in 1 case. With those same 2, there was no room to loosen the laces without the edges of the tongue being VERY visibly away from the lacing edges, meaning my socks showed through visibly on the tops of those shoes. The shoes mentioned toward the end of my review (the ones I now use) are just barely wide enough to not show the edges of the tongue/my socks when loosened a little to fit me properly. All of this is to say, if you happen to have a VERY wide foot and only need shoes for errands, light daily use, and/or light exercise or walking, these might be just what you're looking for!
1st pic: within the first few days
2nd pic: damage that was discovered in January
I was about to head out for the day to run errands, included a dreaded stop at a shoe shop, when I though, let me just ~check~ amazon’s offerings. I’m a hard size to fit for a woman—11.5-12 and wide. I usually end up buying men’s athletic shoes, just because they’re easier to find in a size that fits me, and styles and colors in that size are plentiful. In fact, the last several sets of trainers I’ve purchased have been almost exclusively men’s NB...and a single set of ASICS. NB generally just works.
So, when I put in cross training shoes, and narrowed it down by ‘women’s’, and then 12W, I was utterly SHOCKED to see even a ~couple~ cute things offered. And then I saw these, at just $25.50! That’s an unbeatable price! I checked out IMMEDIATELY. They came today, and I tried them on immediately, pleased to find out they fit, and very well. I know men’s wide is usually a little wider than women’s wide, so I was unsure if these would actually be wide enough, and they are, super comfortable. I’ve been through a couple sets of takadas and another 30min high impact aerobic session since I got them, and they’re really great. Should my love of them change, I’ll update the review. But seriously, a freakin’ STEAL at less than $30, when I was getting revved up to spend $75-100 plus 1-2hrs of misery in a couple shoe stores trying to find something that fit and was cute.
The women's fresh foam crush from New Balance is designed specifically for the female athlete with data derived from high intensity workouts. New Balance signature fresh foam midsole technology offers ultra-plush cushioning, while a foam-molded upper combines the best of comfort and support in a protective barrier around your feet. Plus, strategically placed perforations offer superior breathability when your workout heats up.