Anyone else have stitching problems with New Balance trail runners?
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Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Anyone else have stitching problems with New Balance trail runners? on 11/19/2011 09:41:32 MST Print View

I'm a huge fan of New Balance shoes. I have a very wide foot and never had comfortable shoes until discovering NB many, many years ago. I have and have had walkers, runners, basketball, cross trainers, etc. I've never had a problem with any of them and feel that the quality of the shoes was excellent and they are very durable. I have a weird foot strike and eventually wear the sole unevenly to the point they have to be retired but the rest of the shoe is always going strong. When I switched to trail runners, I couldn't find any in my size locally to try and ended up going with Merrill Moab Ventilators, which have been great. I wanted to get some new shoes and called the local NB store and they did have my size in the MT876 and MT626. I liked the MT626 better and bought a pair. Loved them. The fit was great. Now that I had tried them on and new my fit (1/2 size bigger than all other NB shoes I own, BTW), I ordered another pair. But after less than 100 miles on either pair, the stitching on both pairs started to fail in the exact same areas on both shoes. I took pics of this and sent them to NB and they said send them in to be checked out. I could have possibly returned them at the places I bought them but I really wanted NB to see that they have an issue with that model, and maybe more, and to get it in front of someone who could correct it. They are sending me replacements and it will be interesting to see if they have the same issue, which I suspect they will. If anyone else has had problems with stitching let me know and I'll pass that long to NB as well. Might help get someone to look at the issue. If I knew they fixed it, I'd keep buying this model as long as they make it. Here's a couple pics of what I mean. The stitching is actually breaking on both sides.

mt876_1

mt626_2

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Anyone else have stitching problems with New Balance trail runners? on 11/19/2011 15:33:23 MST Print View

Hi Randy

Yes, I like the width of the NB shoes too, and I have worn many pairs. You will find lots of reviews on them here on BPL.

I think the problem is that you have been wearing light joggers on very rough rocky trails. Really, that particular model is only suitable for clean surfaces without rocks - as you are finding out. The stitching is too close to the ground.

I have been wearing the 876s (also reviewed here at BPL) on harsh dolomite rock and scree for 7 weeks continuous mountain walking. They are about the same weight. They don't have the stitching near the ground, and I had no trouble at all with the stitching. Where I did have some problem was the mesh at the side, near the ground. After 2 months of crashing around in limestone scree the mesh tore.

Ideally I would like the urethane fabric upper rand to cover the edge a bit better. This is possible, but it makes the shoe a little heavier and a little stiffer. An ongoing development process.

I think the bottom line is to look very closely at the fine details of the shoes before buying.

Some other comments.
You can see the entire range of NB shoes at http://www.nbwebexpress.com/, which is a truly excellent user-friendly web site. The search facilities are great. And you can get the whole range from that web site too.
Also, as far as I know, NB are the only good trail runner manufacturer to offer a range of widths. Most companies sell only a D fitting - I take EEEE. Why such a range from NB? becasue they sell about 28 million pairs a year.
There are some 'running shoe' companies out there, but I haven't had much joy with them. Mostly D fitting, some bad features. Nike may (not sure) sell 4E fittings, but their shoes are mainly designed for street use and have some very BAD features - some of which can injure your feet and ankles.

Cheers

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
use on 11/20/2011 00:34:39 MST Print View

use em enough in rough terrain and thatll happen

its happened to my terrocs though after a lot of use

heres a hint ... seam grip the stitching ... itll make em last longer ...

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Anyone else have stitching problems with New Balance trail runners? on 11/20/2011 06:13:31 MST Print View

I have been using NB 759TR trail running shoes recently. I get an excellent fit with the shoe and I like the neutral foot position. I now have hiked about 250 miles in them, about half of it in the southern Sierra and have had no stitching problems at all. And, I just got back from the closet to check for sure.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Thanks on 11/20/2011 09:48:28 MST Print View

Thanks Roger. that's very insightful. The red pair I did use in the Narrows in Zion which is a 16 mile river day hike and mostly in rocks. So when the first pair started to fail, I attributed it to that. But the second pair did the same thing and those haven't been exposed to very rocky conditions. Some talus on a 14er but for the most part in rocky conditions, I'm walking on top of the rocks more than in them where the stitching would get rubbed but maybe I'm harder on shoes than I thought. When I get the replacements, I'll try seam sealing them as Eric suggested and also pay attention how I'm using them. I'll give the 876 a tr as well. And maybe use the Ventilators when I know I'll be in really rock conditions like 14ers.

Edited by rlnunix on 11/20/2011 09:57:34 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: use on 11/20/2011 13:31:55 MST Print View

> seam grip the stitching ... itll make em last longer ...
Yeah, a layer of Shoe Goo or similar over the stitching. Highly recommended.

Cheers

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
NB on 08/05/2012 19:27:03 MDT Print View

As a follow up to this thread, the advice from Eric and Roger has been spot on. I did get a pair of the NB 876, which have been great. And using seam sealer on the threads of the pair of 626 shoes has resulted in no damage to the stitches at all. Thanks.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
glad on 08/06/2012 00:24:04 MDT Print View

glad it worked out for you ... i do the same to high wear areas ... when in doubt seam grip ;)

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
not just widths but lasts on 08/06/2012 11:42:36 MDT Print View

Aside from the range of widths Roger mentions, there's also a far more critical thing that new balance offers, a range of shoe lasts.

Unfortunately, and somewhat inexplicably, neither the shoes nor the shoe boxes themselves list the last used, but if you go to newbalance.com shoe lasts you'll find the specific descriptions of each last. Why new balance fails to better promote such a killer feature and piece of information is a true mystery to me.

When you click on the link for the last, it shows which shoes have this last.

This means, not only can you get the range of widths, you can learn which last or lasts fit your feet, and then buy shoes that are the same lasts.

I almost never seen this fact mentioned in reviews or articles about new balance shoes, for example, if you review the 814, which is PL-1 I believe, that's a very important fact to mention, that means that once you learn that the pl1 last fits your foot, you can basically assume that new models using that last will also fit your foot. I believe failure to consider lasts is why sometimes new models make new balance buyers upset, they fail to check which shoe last the model is, then find it doesn't fit, then complain that new balance changed something. This is also new balance's fault for not listing the lasts more prominently on the shoe and packaging.

New balance solved my lifelong struggle with finding shoes that actually fit my feet, and opened the door to much longer hikes for me, so I'm pretty appreciative of their efforts in this area. Took a lot of trial and errors and failures and boxes of badly fitting shoes and boots until I discovered this fact, Roger, I suggest in all future reviews bpl does on new balance shoes, this information is featured much more prominently, it's not stuff that is widely known.

Edited by hhope on 08/06/2012 11:47:00 MDT.