Review: New Balance WRC1600B

December 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

I have been trying to find a replacement for my old Adidas Adizero Adios, the red rockets. Now two years old, they have done many tens of kilometres and they are literally coming apart at one seam. The out sole has the soft, crumbly texture and appearance of Mersey Valley cheese but little of the eating appeal. They have been awesome shoes.

So I turned to Wiggle local retailers to help me replace my road shoes. Et voila! Meet the New Balance WRC1600B.

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The New Balance WRC1600s in a typical office environment.

The WRC1600B joins the NYC860v3, the MR1400NY and the Ionix3090. Every New Balance shoe model contains 6-9 digits including letters and numbers so in addition to footwear, they make excellent passwords.

The 1600s are one of the army of lightweight, minimalist running shoes that are quickly overtaking both the market and other runners. They have a tiny 6mm drop and will add just 140 grams to your kit, or a bit more if you wear both of them.

I converted to minimalist shoes because I didn’t like the high, spongy feel of conventional runners. A dozen years of yoga has beaten my Achilles and calves into submission. I’m naturally a forefoot and mid-foot striker, because I run like I unicycle: turning little circles underneath me and going almost nowhere. And when every step hurts, every gram counts.

But there is one other factor in my preference for minimalist shoes and that factor is vanity.

In these image-conscious times, you want to be seen in the Thoroughbreds of the running shoe world, not the Clydesdales. Lightweight shoes make you look like a scene-ster instead of a New Year’s Resolution who walked into Athlete’s Foot like a fly into a carnivorous plant. Did I just call Athlete’s Foot a bunch of shills? I withdraw. It’s better than Footlocker, which is some sort of nightclub where you enter with $400 and leave with neon high-tops, a gym membership and a shaved head.

Look. There are good runners, fast runners, who need stability and cushioning on their feet. I just don’t respect them and neither should you.

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30% lighter foam than other shoes! Suspicious looking swoosh there.

A ‘blown rubber’ is usually cause for concern, but not in this case. The blown rubber out sole is stealthily quiet so they are well-suited to both shy runners and burglars. Fortunately, the unique hieroglyphic imprint will be a dead giveaway at any crime scene. These intricate lugs wrap around the toe of the shoe to the front, a feature that will appeal to those who include very steep or indeed vertical runs in their program. And thanks to the REVlite mid sole (made of foam that is 30% lighter than other shoe foams) I would expect a largish ant to be able to carry one off.

Of course, the worst thing about these shoes is the logo. I have always avoided New Balance shoes because of the giant, superhero N on the side. What a creative stroke of graphic design that was.

The giant, superhero N on the 1600s is metallic hot pink 😦 But on the upside I can’t really see it from where I’m standing which is, obviously, inside the shoes. Anyone outside the shoes is invited to mock me as appropriate.

Still, if you can get past this feature without feeling like wearing your undies outside your compression tights, then I highly recommend these shoes. I will be smashing out some five minute Ks in them. Sponsor that.

PS. Have you read my review of the Adidas XT3 trail shoes? Of course you have.

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