Friday, 31 October 2014

Product Test: New Balance M1260v3

Brand New
Product: NB M1260v3 (2013)
Size: 9.5 (UK)
Width: 2E
Price: £125
Replaced: NB M860v2
Available for Women: Yes

Having reviewed a number of recently purchased running products and in turn received some positive feedback, I've now decided to review my first bit of clothing - this time my trusty running shoes!

It's difficult to say something new about trainers which hasn't already been covered by countless other reviews on the web. However I'm so pleased with my NB M1260v3 that I need to sing their phrases somewhere.

There are two main reasons why I'm writing this review:
  • My current pair have thus far clocked up a staggering 1,000 miles since I bought them at the end of January and yet they are still going strong (just)
  • Although they are the 2013 version and have since been superseded by 2014's v4, they are still available to buy from numerous places at a heavily reduced price
That makes them a serious contender for anyone wishing to purchase a long-distance stability shoe that has plenty of cushioning and protection for those delicate feet and knees.

Type of Runner
To put the review into context I first need to briefly mention my running style; the surface I run on; and more importantly the kind of mileage I run.

I am flat footed which means my arches have collapsed. This is not something that just happened - I was either born with it or it happened sometime over the past 40 years (yes I really am that old!). I only noticed I was flat footed when I started to take up running seriously a couple of years' ago. I therefore need a shoe that can provide me with the support I need. Likewise I mildly over-pronate (as do most flat footed people). I also have wide feet at the front, so prefer a running shoe with a wide toe-box (and more especially when running long distance due to the natural swelling). Finally I tore the cartilage in my right knee a couple of years' ago, and although I' not suffering any after-effects, I do prefer to have a shoe that is cushioned.

I primarily run on tarmac roads or compacted stone if going lightly off-road. I'm also a long distance runner, so look for shoes that will last for all those lonesome miles.

So with that in mind, let's get onto the boring technical stuff....

Boring Technical Stuff
The NB 1260 v3 features an ACTEVA Lite midsole which is approximately 24% lighter than standard foam, and a T-Beam TPU shank for optimal torsional stability and arch support. What this basically means is that as your foot wants to collapse to the inside (pronating), it neutralises the foot. 

The low-to-ground N2 technology offers a responsive, durable, sustainable cushioning to every landing, and thus protects my knees from the hard tarmac roads. This is due to the N2 being a new high-end cushioning system, which is a nitrogen injected foam. They also added an Abzorb crash pad to the forefoot, which gives extra durability and longevity.

It has a skeletally engineered FantomFit synthetic, TPU and air-mesh upper which offers no-sew welded seaming for friction-free (and blister-free) comfort.  It is finished with a blown rubber outsole for lighter weight and great traction. It has a 8mm heel-to-toe drop (which I find just right) and weighs just 10.8 oz.

To conclude this techie bit - this is an elite category of stability shoe that offers plenty of protection against the constant pounding of a hard surface. So with all the ingredients in place, let's see how I got on....

Road Test (Literally!)
After 1,000 miles
This have been my go-to shoe now for almost a year and I've never had an issue with them. I've ran on the road, off road, on ice and in the wet and they've provided me with the support and cushioning I require. 

After 1,000 miles
Where I've find them particularly good is on long distance runs, whether that be back-to-back 30km runs (over a mixture of road, compact stone and canal towpaths) or on even longer 50km runs. The space in the toe-box (as a result of going up half a size and purchasing the 2E fit) was just perfect. Your feet swell when you run long distance, so having the additional space ensures there was no rubbing and hence no blisters. Only once did I ever get a blister - but once out of 1,000 miles is not bad at all!

The cushioning, even after 1,000 miles, is still there - just! It's the start of November now and I don't expect to be still wearing them come January. My test of whether I need a new pair of trainers (with the obvious exception of the tred and body of the training wearing out) is when my knees / legs start to hurt. That's usually a sign I need to invest in a new pair. I'm not feeling that just yet, but I suspect I'm not that far off.

After 1,000 miles
After 1,000 miles
Even after 1,000 miles the actual construction of the trainer still remains in a good state. As you can see from the pictures, there are no issues with the upper body, and the sole although showing some wear is still going strong and still providing me with enough grip on slippy terrain. To be honest I've never washed them - about the most I do to them is spray them with a foot odor after I've ran in them.

When I originally purchased these they cost of £125, which I thought was expensive for a pair of trainers. However I think they've been worth every penny given how far I've ran in them.

There are so many factors that go into determining the life of a running show - the surface, your size and weight, weather conditions, cadence and running style, running speed and even quality of the running shoe (to list a few). Trying to come up with a definitive figure is impossible and at best conjecture.  The more common thought is between 300 - 500 miles for an average runner; however I've known friends who have destroyed their trainers within 300 miles and other who've exceeded well over 1,000 miles.

My previous shoes have lasted between 500 - 600 miles, and so to now find a pair that will go beyond 1,000 miles has been a blessing. Let's not forget that running shoes are the most expensive running items you'll purchase. At first glance that may not be the case when compared to your running watch; but given how many pairs of trainers you'll go through vs. the number of running watches you will purchase, then the cost soon stacks up. Therefore to pay a little extra and get double the life means a good return on investment in my books.

This is a great running shoe that is comfortable, light-weight and provides all the support and cushioning you'll require over long distance, on differing terrains and in mixed weather conditions. They're not cheap by any means - however due to v4 now being available there some bargains to be had. Amazon are selling them for a very reasonable £69.00. 

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