Customer Reviews: New Balance Men's MO689 Outdoor Shoes,Brown,10 2E US
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on March 1, 2013
These are cushy shoes that are best used for walking around on flat/smooth and dry surfaces or standing. But the excessive roll, poor grip and minimal bottom protection from bumpy surfaces make this a poor hiking shoe. When walking on a gravel road you feel every rock.

Very cushy shoe that is good if you do not move around much or if your only walking on flat, smooth surfaces.

Size is true

Looks good

This cushy shoes allows your foot to roll/wobble with every step. This is especially bad when going down hill or trying to travel over rough terrain or boulder hopping. The rolling motion at times can affect your balance when making certain moves over rough terrain.

When walking on rough terrain you can feel the rocks more than most hiking shoes. There is no rock stop and seems to be minimal protection against objects you step on. If walking very far it makes my feet more sensitive and seems to tire me out quicker than other hiking shoes.

The bottom is perfectly flat with areas removed to form cleats that are level with the bottom and I think this is why they do not grip as well as shoes that have cleats that extend from the base of the shoe? The tread quickly fills up with moist dirt or mud making walking more like skiing than walking.
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on February 24, 2013
Very comfortable with true size for my 12 4E feet. Lace ups give that extra assurance. I was a little hesitant that these may be a little too far down the quality chain with NB, (the lower the model number, the less features), sure they are not top of the line and are reflected in pricing, but great walkers for daily walks, general use and occasional off the beaten track, but not heavy duty hiking.
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on December 6, 2013
I bought these shoes specifically because they have New Balance's MOL-01 last. I have narrow heels and a wider forefoot, and have found that this last, along with the similar SL-2 last, fits me better than other lasts. For those who don't know, here's how New Balance explains what a last is: A shoe last is a 360 degree model of the foot used to create each shoe's heel width, instep height, toe box width and toe box depth.

According to New Balance the MOL-01 last has:
"a slightly narrower heel and roomier fit in the toe box, this last shape provides good control and fit for outdoor activities, where the foot may spend more time in a flexed position."

Since Amazon deletes all links to external sites, you can find the New Balance last chart by searching for the "shoe-last-chart" on the NewBalance dot com website. You can find more information about shoe fit by search on "New Balance Fit and Widths" (Answer ID 561 | Published 04/28/2008) and then viewing the "Fit Comparison" .PDF at the bottom of that page. If you read that "Fit Comparison" chart, you'll see that shoe size is determined by length, and that a men's size 11 is the "basis size" for all other sizes, meaning that size 11 is intended for an 11" long foot, and each size smaller or larger differs by one-third of an inch. Width also varies with size, and that "Fit Comparison" chart explains how that works too.

What I didn't realize when I bought these shoes is that New Balance shoes have been getting smaller. I normally wear size 10.5 or size 11 at most. I have a particular problem with most shoes being too loose on the heel if I get a size that is otherwise large enough, and that's why the MOL-01 last provides a better fit. Or at least, if DID, until the sizes changed.

I ordered these shoes in size 11D (medium width). The size 11 shoes I got are actually more like size 10.5 2E width; in other words, the length is like a 10.5 and the width is like an 11D or 10.5-2E. They are of course marked 11D, so it is not a matter of it being the "wrong" size. It is a matter of New Balance making the size 11 shoe in this style only be the length of a size 10.5 shoe, while the width is correct for a size 11D shoe.

Elsewhere, I have posted photos of the "size 11" New Balance 689 lined up with three other size 10.5 shoes, including an older pair of New Balance size 10.5 shoes, and the "size 11" New Balance 689 are NOT longer than the other shoes. In fact, one size 10.5 Rockport is noticeably longer than the size 11 New Balance 689. The photos are at the the customer image gallery for the gray MO689, here: New Balance Men's MO689 Outdoor Multisport Hiking Shoe

I also didn't realize that I was going to have to become a shoe fit expert to find shoes that fit. Given that I have worn New Balance shoes for a long time, when I order a size 11D New Balance shoe, I expect it to be size 11D, not a size 10.5-2E shoe pretending to be a size 11D.

I bought several pairs of these shoes in different sizes, and started wearing one of them to check the fit. Unfortunately, due to a set of circumstances partially beyond my control, I was unable to complete that test fit process with the one pair, so that I could return all the others I had not worn within Amazon's return period, which is actually very short compared to the return policies of regular shoe stores. Shoes are probably a more difficult item to fit than any other thing you wear. Hopefully I will able to return the unused sizes without paying a penalty.
4/22/2014 Update: Turns out these 689s are almost exactly 3/4 of a size shorter than the true size, so if you order a size 11, what you will get (if they are like the ones I got) is a size 10.25. Also, they are not as wide as I initially thought they were; they are narrower than the true size too. Although the 689 has a MOL-1 last, which is supposed to have a tighter fit on the heel, they accomplished this by just putting thicker foam there, but it quickly flattens out, resulting in a loose fit on the heel. This picture shows what happens in a short period of time: [...] (the foam around the heel collapses, and the shoe becomes loose around the heel).

The tag on the 689s I got say they were made in Vietnam. All the NB shoes I got that were made in Vietnam were smaller than the true size. The similar type shoes (e.g.: 481) that were made in Indonesia are sized correctly.

I have posted photos comparing the these shoes to another similar New Balance shoe (481) that is actually true to size:

Also, these shoes do not hold up well. I have reduced my rating to one star, because if the fit problems aren't bad enough, the fast rate at which these shoes wear out is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
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on July 27, 2013
I'm a big fan of New Balance footwear. They're the only sneaker manufacturer I've found so far that give me adequate vertical room in the toe area. These shoes give a little more support than sneakers do. Despite my choice being 4E width, they are not overly wide. Overall very happy with these shoes.
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on July 22, 2014
lightweight, insubstantial,no support,ill fitting,second class shoe, not the quality I expect from New Balance, a shoe for hiking should have a stiff sole for rough uneven ground, this shoe is more like a bedroom slipper than something to be worn hiking
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on June 27, 2014
This shoe offers a huge amount of comfort for the money. As other reviewers have noted, it may not be suited for heavy-duty hiking on sharp rocks, as the sole is not super stiff. As a shoe for everyday walking, standing, and light sports, it is amazing!

Comfortable, classy-looking, affordable, available in width... New Balance does it again!
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on April 9, 2014
I first purchased these as a closeout when a local store was going out of business. I normally wear a size 11 shoe and have for several years. This shoe was 60% off and the last one left, so I bought them, even though they were a size 12. Trying them on, I noticed that they were somewhat snug, even though they were a size larger. Over the past four months, I wore these NB Hiking Shoes, almost daily, doing a walk of about 5 - 10 miles per day through wooded paths. After all these miles and wear, one shoe has a tear on the side of the shoe, but the wear and tread of the rest of the shoes are doing fine. The downside has been that both feet have small blisters on front and three of my toenails have turned black and blue from rubbing the front toe of the shoe.

I liked the comfort and durability of these shoes and I have many more miles to hike. Therefore, I ordered another pair of these shoes in size 13. They arrived and fit me like a normal size 11 shoe, with just the right amount of room at the front of my foot. No more blisters or black and blue toenails from now on.

I gave these shoes four stars mainly due to their miss-sizing. The shoes say that they are made in Vietnam, so this may explain the size difference. Just be aware that you need to order a shoe from one to two sizes larger than you normally wear.
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on March 21, 2013
I was happy to find a shoe that was wide enough for my feet. I would expect a brand like NB to last longer. I will try another pair. Maybe it was just a flaw that passed through inspection.
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on January 6, 2013
I bought a pair of these for my son and another for me. We are both very happy with them. We purchased the 4E and they fit perfectly, so they run a little small to size. We normally do not need more than a 2E.

They seem to be very well made and have good arch support. The tread grips very well on grass and dirt. The biggest plus is that they are very COMFORTABLE!

Edit: Changed my rating to 3 stars from 5 stars due to the sole breaking down on one side lacking good support. They are over a year old, but I don't wear them every day.
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on October 27, 2014
This has been a good walking shoe for me that has suited casual walks and trails with even surfaces, but it is not suitable for highly irregular, uneven surfaces. The sole design is imbalanced and puts the hiker at high risk for ankle rolls/sprains, which is the worst thing that can happen on a hike if you're by yourself.
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