|Fits as expected||
New Balance Men's MW978 Walking Shoe
|Price:||$99.95 - $154.95|
- Rubber sole
- Waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX membrane
- Dual-density foam-padded collar
- ABZORB foam cushioning
- Built on OL-1 last for hiking with narrow heel width, high instep, deep toe box, and wide forefoot
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New Balance is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their goals. It's been their mission for more than a century to focus on research and development. It's why they don't design products to fit an image. They design them to fit. New Balance is driven to make the finest shoes for the same reason athletes lace them up: to achieve the very best.
Whether you’re tackling your favorite trails or doing some serious strolling around town, this walking shoe by New Balance will keep you comfortable and well protected. Constructed with a soft yet durable nubuck upper, it has generous cushioning in the forefoot and heel, a lightweight EVA midsole, and a special technology in the outsole designed to stabilize and guide the foot through the walking gait cycle. The padded tongue and collar provide added comfort and support, while the pull tab at the heel makes it easy to slip on and off.See all Product description
- Product Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- ASIN: B003GXEFQI
- Item model number: MW978-M
- Date first available at Amazon.com: October 4, 2005
- Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
- International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
- Average Customer Review:
Top Customer Reviews
I thought I had allowed enough when I bought a half-size and a full size larger than my normal 10.5 shoe.
Boy was I ever wrong when it comes to these shoes. I wish I had paid more attention to some of the (many) other reviews describing this problem.
It is NOT a matter of the forefoot width, which is how the shoe's width is measured.
The problem is the shape of the toe box. The 978 is indeed more pointed than the 977.
But it's not just it's not just the "pointyness" of the toe (as viewed from directly above).
The toe piece seam is farther back on the 977, where it is less likely to rub the widest part of the big toe (in a shoe that is sized properly to the length of the foot). And lastly, the contour of the toe box is tighter on the upper side, in other words, the degree to which the sides slope inward as they comes up from the sole. On the 978, the side of the toe area is a little more sloped than on the 977. All of this makes for less width, and more importantly - LESS COMFORT - in the toe area! While getting a wider width should help alleviate this problem, it may create another problems (like being too wide elsewhere).
I see that some people say this shoe fits them well. I guess that if they have long pointy toes, they won't have any problem with the MW978.
But people who have short wide toes (like me) will probably find that this shoe rubs the outside of their big toes, which the MW977 less pointy toe shape did not do. Or maybe the problem is as reviewer "Hoosh" commented on February 1, 2014: "The sizing is horrible" makes me wonder if the last inventory of the now-discontinued 978 had size inconsistency problems. (turns out, they DID: see the update at the bottom)
As far as the rest of it... it fits great elsewhere, and the quality seems pretty good.
Too bad that I won't be able to enjoy that otherwise great fit without rubbing the outside of my big toes raw.
Maybe if I can get enough shoe stretch in there, I will be able to reshape the toe box enough so that it doesn't rub like it does now.
But it's a shame that I have to resort to something like that on a new pair of shoes...
...particularly when New Balance HAD it right before.
If you take a good look at the top view photo of the (now-discontinued and unavailable) 977s here:
and carefully compare to the same top view photo of the 978, the difference is OBVIOUS!
This difference won't affect anyone who doesn't have a wide big toe. That's where the problem is.
I see that New Balance has a replacement for the 978 now: the 1569.
From what I can tell, the 1569 seems to have practically the same toe style as the 978.
And they also cheapened out on the lacing system on the the 1569 too.
And I have to wonder why New Balance screwed up what a lot of people have stated was a very comfortable shoe, just to make the toe more pointed.
Are you listening New Balance? WHY did you have to screw up such a great shoe?
UPDATE: To all of those who have bought new Balance 978s recently and found they are smaller - and in particular - NARROWER than expected, there appears to be a good reason why that happened. The folks at the New Balance Outlet have informed me that most of the last inventory of MW978 is what they consider to be "Factory Second" not because of flaws in the finish, but because the sizes have not been consistent, and in particular, they state this about the last 978s: "Why is this product a "second? This shoe runs narrow. Consider ordering a wider width than your normal athletic shoe width."
UPDATE 2: I bought a total of six pairs of these shoes (10.5-D, 11-D, 11-2E, 11-4E, 11.5-D & 11.5-2E) and still had not managed to find the right fit. I THOUGHT that the size 11.5-2E was going to work, but even that size was cramping the toes of my barely size 10.5 feet. I finally had to go to the local New Balance shoe store to try to find the right fit (I actually went to TWO different New Balance stores just to make sure). As it turned out, I needed a size 12D in the 978.
I also learned two other things: The New Balance store people are familiar with the fit issues of the 978, and they generally recommend a MINIMUM of 1/2 size to 1 full size larger than the normal shoe size. They were also familiar with the sizing inconsistencies that I mentioned previously (from the Joe's New Balance website). Those inconsistencies have pretty much been corrected with the 1569, but even that shoe runs smaller than the indicated size. Too bad I didn't cover that base. But I can also tell you this: the 1569 has a better overall fit than the 978. It's difficult for me to quantify that, but there are some subtle differences in the sole of the 1569 that make it more comfortable than the 978. But in either case, most people will need to buy a size that is AT LEAST 1 FULL SIZE LARGER.
UPDATE: I have now posted photos comparing the so-called "size 11.5D" New Balance MW978 to an actual size 10.5 shoe (Rockport). As you can see, the New Balance 978 is about the same length as the size 10.5 Rockport. Also see my review of the New Balance Men's MO689 Outdoor Multisport Hiking Shoe for more pictures of the same size 10.5 Rockport shoe compared to another undersize New Balance shoe, in that case the half-size too short MO689: http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B006P9DT12
UPDATE: 4/22/2014: After I returned the size 11 & 11.5 978s I bought from Amazon, the larger sizes were no longer available on Amazon, but I was able to find some leftover size 12D 978s at a New Balance store, and determined that those fit pretty well. Since the largest size I wear (when the shoes are actually true to size) is a size 11, this is further confirmation that the 978s run at least a full size smaller than their indicated size.
1. The 978 seems overall more bulked up. Whereas the 977 feels like a cross-trainer that looks like a hiking boot, the 978 feels like a hiking boot. It may be too much for everyday wear.
2. The toe is much more pointed. If you are someone with wide feet who found the 977 to be a great fit, be aware that New Balance has completely changed that with the 978.
3/22/11-update: After trying to break them in for another month, the 978's haven't worked out for me for the above reasons. The 977's are the way to go!
These have all the ankle support you would expect from a hiking boot, but all the comfort of a walking shoe. There is no break-in period at all. I wore them out of the box on an 11-mile hike on a punishing trail that was all stones and boulders covered by leaves. At first I worried about twisting my ankle because so many times my feet landed on uneven footing that I couldn't see, but the support of these boots was excellent, and I just plowed along.
I guess a drawback would be the sole: the traction pattern on the bottom isn't as aggressive or solid as what you'd find on a true hiking boot--but then, that's the point of these: they're hybrids. Nevertheless, after my 11-mile hike, my feet, while tired, were not in pain, nor were they sore the next day. By contrast, my hiking partner had heavy duty boots on and complained that the rocks were killing him.
Also, these are Gore-Tex. I crossed two streams by just splashing through, and these shoes practically quacked like ducks.
Last week, I wore these all day to a large warehouse store for three hours, riding my bike, and in a movie theater. They were as comfortable as any sneaker and did not cause fatigue, but I was aware that I had good solid, warm boots on.
Some people have commented on the sizing being a little off, and I will corroborate that. I normally wear a 9.5D for New Balance shoes. After reading the comments, I ordered a 10D. while it fits comfortably, I wish I'd gone with a 10.5D, as I think these are a full size off from normal New Balance sizing. Some people have also complained about the toe being too narrow. I did not find that to be an issue at all, but then my feet are normal width.
Lastly, I think the list price on these is a little steep, but if you're able to find them in the $80 range or below, these are excellent for trail, work, or leisure.