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Every single person’s body and feet are different. So finding the right shoe for any person means meeting their individual needs. It is important that body type, foot shape, activity, and any problems or ailments be taken into consideration when choosing a pair.
One must account for heel and forefoot widths as well as instep, toe box, and arch heights. To meet these needs, New Balance has developed different relative foot models (or “lasts”) for men, women and kids. Lasts are represented by short alphanumeric codes, like “SL-1” for example. “SL” standing for “Straight Last” and “1” the type Identifier. The definition of an SL-1, their most common last, is a standard heel width, standard forefoot width, standard instep height, and standard toe box height.
Size and width measurements for New Balance shoes correspond to the widely-used Brannock Device measurements. For men’s shoes, the “D” width is usually the same thing as a regular or medium width. However if you are talking about women’s shoes, the “D” width is usually considered a wide width, while a “B” width would be the women’s medium or regular width. If you do not know your usual size and width, it is strongly recommended you visit a local shoe store to be properly sized.
Then you should decide your primary use of this footwear. While there are some sneakers out there that seem to serve just about every purpose fairly well, certain activities require specific levels of support, stability, cushioning and traction. With that in mind, the best shoe is going to be the one that best meets the needs of your activity. With running shoes, walking shoes, cross-training shoes, basketball shoes, and tennis shoes, it can be difficult when trying to decide which type is best for your needs. However, there are some basic differences which can help you understand and usually hold true for all shoes.
A traditional basic running shoe design supports and encourages forward motion. You can expect a higher heel and lower flexible forefoot with roll-up toe. A decent running shoe will always have plenty of dense, yet responsive heel cushioning and the better ones include it also in the forefoot or even throughout the full-length of the sole. They provide the perfect foot support for fast, forward-rocking movement.
These days, New Balance running shoes have become incredibly specialized and there is usually a match suitable for any unique set of needs you can imagine. Online stores like New Balance North Shore categorize the men’s running shoes as well as the women’s running shoes, allowing you to shop easily through the various styles:
Motion control running shoes offer maximum stability to control over-pronation. They are best for runners with a heavier stature, flat fleet, weak ankles, fallen arches or general stability problems.
Stability running shoes combine a moderate level of stability and cushioning. They are suitable for most runners with medium-to-low arches.
Cushioned running shoes (sometimes called neutral-cushioning shoes) offer maximum cushioning and shock absorption, with less support and stability. They are best for lighter runners with neutral gaits and without stability or arch problems.
Lightweight running shoes are constructed to be especially light for racing and speed training. These are best for competitive runners with neutral gaits.
Trail running shoes offer a more aggressive outsole tread for better traction and some models also offer a solid-plate in the midsole to protect your feet from the shock of sharp surfaces.
Similar to running shoes, walking shoes are designed for forward motion but not as much speed. So unlike the running shoes, these will keep your heel and forefoot more evenly transitioned or simply put, more flat. Also, you can normally expect a less-dense cushioning than in running shoes, which is more responsive to the lighter pressure of walking.
Tennis and basketball shoes are similar in that they are specifically designed to support the foot and body through strenuous lateral (side-to-side) movements. You can expect durable leathers, more rigid shoe-sidewalls and some higher-cut styles which offer additional ankle support as well.
As the name might suggest, cross-training shoes are meant for a little bit of everything. Go to the gym, do some aerobics or run a couple miles, cross-trainers can serve well. They generally offer more lateral support than running/walking shoes– like a tennis or basketball shoe, but at the same time are typically too rigid and supportive for the long runs or all day comfort you might get out of a running or walking shoe.
So the next time you’re in the market for New Balance shoes, remember that combining the right style, shape, length, width and shoe technologies will ensure your feet get the support they need and the comfort you demand.