New Balance 880BK9: Always In Stock—Guaranteed!

This month, New Balance releases their latest update to the dynamic 880 series—the 880v9—bringing exciting updates to an already-stellar neutral shoe.

Now, if you’re reading this hoping to find out if they’ve shaved off .05ozs compared to last year’s model, or to be dazzled by fancy descriptors, you won’t find those details here!

While those kinds of buzzwords might help sell shoes, they don’t do much to help fit shoes.

As shoe fitters, we typically ignore catchphrases like “premium knit upper” and “superior EVA midsole,” and instead focus on things like toe-box depth, width offerings, and overlay designs. And, it’s in these crucial fit-related details where the latest New Balance 880 sets itself apart from other shoes on the market!

The 880v9 brings a versatility to our shoe wall that we haven’t had in a while. Runners, walkers, gym-goers, and orthotic wearers can all find success in the responsive and durable neutral shoe. A few highlights include:

  • Sporting a deep heel-cup and a forgiving no-sew toe-box, the 880v9 locks in your heel and gives your toes room to spread.

  • Orthotic wearers know the struggle of heel slippage, but this update is a welcoming vessel for your orthotic.

  • One of the big changes made to the v9 is its modernized, durable, and seamless upper.

  • Have wide feet? The popular black-and-white colourway is now available in wide and extra-wide in men’s (FitFirst only) and women’s sizes (both stores).

 At FitFirst and LadySport, we’re dedicated to looking after all shapes and sizes of feet—and we want to prove it to you. How?

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, WE GUARANTEE TO HAVE YOUR SIZE IN STOCK AT ALL TIMES.

We’ll have the New Balance 880V9 in women’s 5-12 and men’s 7-15 (men’s at FitFirst only) in all width options (medium, wide and extra wide). No matter where your feet fall in this spectrum, we promise to have your size of this key model in stock. If your size isn’t in store,  we’ll take $25 off once we get it in for you.

Don’t worry about calling ahead or facing a “take what you can get” selection—the New Balance 880V9 will be ready and waiting. The only question is, where will they take you?

Heel Slippage… No Simple Solution

I’ve been fitting shoes now for the better part of 37 years, and—without a doubt—heel slippage is the most challenging issue we face when fitting women’s footwear.

Most believe that it is caused from an unusually narrow heel (something that those of a certain generation appear to take great pride in). This common foot profiling comes as a result of being fit in a dress shoe store, where the salesperson tells the customer that they have a narrow heel (for example, a 2A forefoot with a 6A heel). This kind of statement is made even though there has never  been—to my knowledge—a device designed to measure heel width.

Whether the heel can be measured or not, the use of a combination last can be important when fitting most pump-style shoes. In the case of this style of footwear, there are really only two places the shoe can hold on to the foot: the heel and the toe. The fact that there is no material over the instep leaves only one strategy for keeping the shoe on—i.e. squeeze the foot and hope it doesn’t hurt!

But a good fit and limited heel slippage are far more complicated than just a tight heel and toe fit.

In fact, with most athletic and orthopedic fits, we are trying our best to actually avoid a tight toe box. The resulting roominess up front makes keeping the heel in place even more challenging.

In these cases, a good heel fit is only possible by having a snug and customizable fit over the instep. That is why a lace-up shoe should fit better than Velcro, Mary Jane, or slip-on options.

Here are some ways to improve heel fit while still allowing for ample toe room:

  • Snug up the laces over the instep.

  • Make use of the top eyelet.

  • Lock or loop-lace the top lace holes (see a video demo on this technique here).

  • Adhere a tongue pad to the inside of the tongue—this creates a snugger fit over an otherwise sloppy instep. It can also act as additional padding, so that the laces can be pulled tighter without bruising the dorsal aspect of the foot.

  • Consider having an additional eyelet punched out in casual shoes, so the shoe can be laced further up, closing the gap around the ankle (this can be done at a shoe cobbler or in our shop while you wait).

  • Adhere ‘heel grips’ to the inside of the heel counter. Have these contact-cemented in place so that they don’t come off, and use a shoe horn to put the shoe on each time.

  • If a roomy toe box is not required, then place toe taps or half insoles under the footbed, or full-length orthotics to snug up the forefoot. You can do this on both shoes, or just one if the slippage is unilateral (often this is the case when one foot is shorter than the other).

  • In the case of a sulcus or ¾-length orthotic, cut the removable insole in half. Using just the forefoot section, drop the orthotic in place. This will ensure a deeper fit in the back along with a snug cushioned feel in the toe box.

  • In the case of an equinus/tight-calf individual, try adding a small heel lift on each side. You will lose heel depth, but the lift may help to counteract the early heel rise and subsequent heel slippage experienced from having tight heel cords.

  • Try different types of socks: thick vs thin, cotton vs synthetic, single vs double layer, etc.

  • In the case of a very stiff shoe, heel slippage is often inevitable, as the foot is trying to flex during toe off while the stiff shoe lags behind.

    • If stiffness is a recommended feature, then making sure the shoe has a good toe spring or rocker profile may be the only way to ensure a good heel fit.

    • If stiffness is not required, try to bend or ‘preflex’ the shoe to make it move better with the foot thus keeping  the heel in place.

There are no simple solutions to complex problems, and heel slippage is a complicated issue requiring multiple strategies and a variety of tools—as well as, of course, lots of patience.

Hope this helps!

Cheers!

Phil

[Photo credit: RunRepeat]

Customized Sandals

Orthotics Can Actually Go In Your Sandals!

A lot of people do not realize that their custom orthotics can actually be put in a sandal. These unique sandals come from companies like Naot, Wolky, Portofino, Revere and Cambrian... not necessarily household names... but they are sold right alongside New Balance and Asics, helping to providing a nice orthotic alternative for this time of year.

Not all custom inserts fit seamlessly into a given sandal. Sometimes the removable footbed needs to be cut and trimmed in order to make the combination work. It's a bit of an art and takes some experience to properly match a custom insert to a desired style of sandal.

Whether it's a sport sandal or one to go with a dress, there are a myriad of choices in colours and styles to suit any situation .

Our staff are well-equipped to customize your fitting for the ultimate in comfort and control. Arch molded flip flops from Sole, Oofos, Olukai and Spenco are also available at Ladysport and Fit First.

A personalized sandal can help make those long walks on a sunny summer day a real joy .

Drop by Ladysport or FitFirst.. then, hit the beach with a smile on your face .....and happy feet!!