Originally published on Jan. 26, 2010
Sunday morning I couldn't resist heading out for a run in the sun. If you're from around the area, you know we haven't had much of it lately. Not only was I excited about the sun, I was still riding an accomplishment high from the day before. I ran 10 miles for the first time in a month. It was solo, except for the voices in my head (Metric and Muse). It was a great run and I needed more so I decided to find out if I had any juice left. As I was getting ready to leave, I happened to glance under the couch to see my brand new New Balance WT100's (I said new new and you'll deal with it!). I slipped on the ultra lightweight virgin shoes and pranced out the door. (Yes, these shoes are so lightweight they force you to prance wherever you go.)
Within the first half mile I rolled my ankle running on a sloped portion of the trail. No big deal! I realized that the mesh being as thin and stretchy as it is, called for tightening the laces to prevent my foot from being able to rotate within the shoe. Speaking of the thinness of the upper...it's real thin. It's just a skimpy piece of mesh attached to the sole. It's many times thinner than the upper of the 790, for example.
When I went through my first water crossing, I received quite a shock. My feet said, "OMG, do you know this water is 30 freakin' degrees?! Why do you hate us?" So, like I said, the upper is extremely thin. You're basically running around with a soled sock on your foot. I'll be the first one to tell you, I love brisk water crossings, but I was outbrisked on Sunday. Moral of the story: I wouldn't wear these in sub freezing temps through water.
Between miles 1 and 2, I tested out the toe protection. There isn't any. I wedged my toes between a couple rocks and it hurt like a bad word! I smacked myself around a little and told me to pay closer attention to where I was putting my feet. Ok, so there is a thin layer of a toughish material stitched to the toe area of the shoe. I imagine it's there simply to prevent objects from slicing through the shoe, but if you think it's going to prevent you from breaking the sh*t out of your toes, you're mistaken. I didn't kick any more rocks for the rest of the run, so I give it two thumbs up for idiot proofing.
Between miles 2 and 6 point something, it was smooth sailing...and running even. These shoes are so light and conform so well, it's hard to slow down in them. On my way out to Land's End I just kept running faster and faster. I felt like a beast! I was having too much fun to be conservative. As a result, the last 3.5mi were rather unbeastly. My legs were pooped from rocking those hills.
+Other Stuff+ I don't think I tested the rock plate much as I was avoiding stepping on sharp rocks. I can tell you that the soles of my feet weren't tender after the run though. Also, once I tied this shoe properly it fit like a glove, so I didn't get any hot spots from friction between my foot and the shoe.
+Take-away Tips+ Don't be afraid to snug those laces. Watch your toes, because your shoes don't care if you break them. Beware of freezing temps + water. Enjoy your foot gloves!
Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions and thoughts on the product. This is not an endorsement by the Trail Hawks for New Balance shoes.