New Balance True Balance shoes were the toning shoes that set a new standard for style when they were launched in late 2011. They used an altogether different approach to design; one which piled on the style and took away all that thick EVA foam rubber which other shoes of this ilk favored. This made them look just like a standard running sneakers and nothing like toning shoes that were flooding the market at the time.
New Balance True Balance was not the company's first venture into the world of toning. The shoes were released on the back of the Rock & Tone range, which had proved so popular when they were released in early 2011. The Rock & Tone (MW and WW1645) took their design cues from the popular running shoes that the brand was world renowned for. However True Balance trainers took this a step further and improved on looks considerably. This was undoubtedly the main selling point, as they were attractive to women who preferred not to announce to the world that they were trying to tone while walking. Getting some extra help to get the lower body in shape should not mean making a compromise on fashion after all, yet New Balance was the first manufacture to recognize this. Ugly toner shoes became a thing of the past with the release of this brands range of toning and wellness footwear.
The Original New Balance True Balance Range...
New Balance True Balance shoes were put to the test in the research labs at NB HQ and demonstrated that they could increase muscle activity in the lower body (when released, NB claimed up 29% lower body muscle activation). They also were shown to increase calorie burning by up to 10%. It was a good improvement on New Balance's Rock & Tone trainers, which claimed to tone up to 27% more and boost calorie consumption by 8%.
Since then the company has dropped these statistics and have concentrated on the shoes being a good addition to any healthy and active lifestyle. True Balance are now the backbone of the wellness range of shoes from New Balance, and have been favored over the Rock and Tone. They fill the gap between casual sneaker and running shoes, and offer a little extra help to get the lower body into shape, provided that the wearer gets out and gets active in them that is!
New Balance True Balance feature a technical design, and used a different method of getting the lower body muscles working harder. Rather than opting for the usual toning technology to activate muscles in the lower body such as the rocker sole or instability pod design, NB favored a more understated design.
The shoes feature a three component midsole which is the key to the wellness benefits.The outsole is not rounded, but still helps to introduce small instabilities into each step. This is due to the leaf spring system in the heel and in three quarters of the midsole.The design helps to introduce small instabilities which the body then corrects subconsciously, or so the theory goes. These small instabilities causes small changes in the muscles to correct any imbalance, and this means greater muscle activation throughout the stride. The True Balance range also features a soft midsole which offers excellent cushioning to absorb shocks, and this makes walking really comfortable. This shoes are also designed to allow a natural flex in the forefoot, and promote a good heel to toe roll. This makes them feel much more natural to walk in than most toning shoes or wellness footwear.
Why New Balance True Balance are So Popular
It is the comfort and the cool designs which have been the main selling points for these wellness shoes, and naturally the chance to improve the shape of the lower body when walking has certainly helped! The comfort comes from the high level of cushioning from the "balance board technology" inspired design, and the seamless Phantom Liner removes potential sources of irritation making them highly comfortable on the feet. Any lover of New Balance running shoes will certainly appreciate how good the brand is at making comfortable shoes. The design has also shaved important ounces off the weight compared to other toning shoes on the market; and being lightweight and flexible means they are more comfortable on long walks.
Further weight reduction has been achieved by using Acteva Ultra Lite foam in the midsole which is 32% lighter than the standard EVA foam rubber favored by other brands. A mesh upper helps to keep the weight down too, and it is highly breathable. This helps with moisture management and allows sweat and heat to escape from the shoes more easily to keep the feet cool and dry.
Old Style True Balance Wellness Shoes from Amazon.com
True Balance Style
The True Balance range of shoes function perfectly well as standard sneakers giving them great wearability, and whether worn casually or for exercise they can help the wearer to improve lower body shape as part of an active and healthy outdoor lifestyle, and faster than in standard shoes according the NB research.
The New Balance True balance range was originally released in two models; the WW1100 and the WW850. Both of these shoes have cool designs and great styling, and few would argue that the True Balance range is anything but highly attractive (in sneaker terms at least) and certainly when compared to some of the alternatives on the market. However as with any exercise sneaker model, you can't expect them to stay the same for more than a year before updates are made
While the original models are still available with some retailers, they have now been replaced by all new models with updated technology. The Old style True Balance range has now become the WW850, the WW800 and the WW875. All feature new technology and designs aimed at improving comfort further still from the originals.
Check out the New Balance True Balance styles for 2012 detailed below. If you liked the originals, you should love the latest models. But if you prefer to stick with what you love, buy now while the old models are still available.
True Balance WW855 from Amazon.com
True Balance WW855
So how has the True Balance WW850 been updated to make it better (or different) for 2012?
Well, time doesn't stand still where technology is concerned, and 12 months is plenty of time to develop new and improved designs to further improve comfort. The WW855 now features a C-CAP midsole has been added to improve cushioning, but also to improve durability to make the shoes last longer. In any sneaker, the midsole breaks down much faster than the uppers, and this is the reason why it is recommended to change sneakers every 500 miles or so. This increase in durability means better cushioning and greater value for money and should translate into a longer lifespan.
The leaf spring system in the heel is retained, but N-Durance rubber has been added to keep the outsole performing for longer too. In short the True Balance 855 is longer lasting, and tweaks to the styling make it more attractive (well I think so!)
The WW855 weighs in at 268 grams (9.5 oz)
The True Balance WW800
The True Balance WW800 is of a similar ilk to the WW855, with the design the only thing to really differentiate this shoe from the 855 True Balance model. This shoe weighs in at 268 grams (9.5 oz) too.
Although this True Balance model has all the same features, the use of fabric strips in the uppers differs slightly. This is mainly for style, but the fabric strips also reinforce the shoe. This model should feel more flexible, with the 855 offering a little extra support.
WW800 from Amazon.com
True Balance WW875
The True Balance WW875 is styled more for casual wear, and features synthetic suede panels at the front and the sides which adds to the style but also improves durability. Synthetic suede is harder wearing than mesh, although on the downside it is not quite so breathable.The True Balance WW875 also shaves a little off the weight of the shoes. This model weighs in at 264 grams (9.3 oz). OK, so you are not really going to notice the difference in weight of just 0.2 ounces, but every little helps.
So, for casual wear this would be the better choice, and for exercise the mesh should make for cooler feet, so the WW800 and WW855 would get my vote for exercising and long walks. However, the differences are only very slight so you are probably best choosing by style and color choice.
When to Wear True Balance Shoes
If you are more of a walker than a jogger or runner, the True Balance range should be right up your street. However if you run rather than walk, I'd say you should avoid these shoes.
This style of shoe is ideal for walking, but running generates greater forces, especially in the heel. This style of shoe is not designed for running or jogging, and those small instabilities are not ideal when you are moving at speed. If you want to run, you should buy a pair of specialist running shoes or if you want to still increase toning, then choose toning shoes specifically for running: the Shape Ups Resistance Runner and the Reebok Runtone may be a better choice.
- More muscle activation
- Great designs to choose from and wide choice of color schemes
- Good for casual wear, everyday walking and comfortable feet at work
- Highly comfortable design thanks to the Phantom liner and well cushioned midsole
- Lightweight design and highly breathable
- Increased durability in the latest models
- Good outsole grip
- Well priced compared to many models of this type of shoe
- These shoes will not make any difference to your body shape if you do not get out and clock up the miles walking.Remember that toning shoes alone will not give you a shapely and firm lower half, and you will need to exercise regularly in them to notice any difference in body shape.
- Unlike Skechers Shape Ups, MBT shoes, Avia Avi-motion, Ryka reform and Chung Shi shoes, True Balance will do nothing to correct the posture.
- The groove in the outsole is a pig to clean should you step in something soft, squidgy, smelly and unpleasant
All in all, the New Balance True Balance range gets my vote if you want to increase toning while exercising. They are great sneakers for everyday wear, and every little helps when it comes to getting the lower body in shape. They are highly breathable, lightweight and really comfortable to wear and the midsole design offers excellent cushioning.
If you have put off buying toning shoes due to the styles on offer, these could well be the shoes for you. As with all wellness and toning shoes you should bear in mind that simply changing footwear will not see the pounds fall off and your legs turn into svelte perfection. That will only ever come with exercise. However, if you want to lose weight and get in shape, the True Balance range is a great choice to help tip the playing field in your favor. Many women have sworn by the True Balance range for the help that the shoes have offered with getting the lower body in shape, and the feedback on the shoes is still good after 18 months on the market (at the time of writing).
Fortunately it is not just women who can benefit from the True Balance range. Despite being launched as women only shoes, the range has been expanded to give men the benefits. I can testify that they are highly comfortable now I have had the chance to try them on for size. I cant speak for the women's model, but the men's range is incredibly comfortable. The men's and women's range are constructed from gender specific lasts, so they are tailored to the differences in anatomy between men's and women's feet. As such, the women's models should be just as comfortable. From the reviews of the shoes that I read, and the customer feedback that I researched when compiling this hub it appears that this certainly the case.
However for the men, it is just the older models which are available - it appears that the wellness range may be phased out in the mens line. If you have tried these shoes and love them, it may be best to buy up a few pairs now while you can still get them.
Mens True Balance MW850 from Amazon.com
michifus (author) on January 18, 2012:
The problem is that unstable shoes + the extra forces from running have potential to injure you. They are probably OK for running, but the manufacturer will not say as much just in case you fall and injure yourself and sue them.
Take it easy, pay particular attention to any aches and pains, and if you get ankle pain stop running!
lacey on January 18, 2012:
I just bought the 1100's yesterday & I wore them to run in today and I loved them, then I read on here that you shouldn't run in them =/ Is it because of a possibility of getting shin splints or what? Hopefully I can continue to run in them & they don't hurt my legs because that's why I bought them :)
michifus (author) on July 15, 2011:
they have good shock absorption, although im not sure that is the same
Gil on July 08, 2011:
Do they have full shock abzorbtion?
Blah on June 14, 2011:
These shoes are great, they look so sleek and stylish, I have got them in the orange and White as they go with my tracksuit :), I did not realise that you are not 'supposed' to run in these... I have been running in these for a while and find them very comfy, they're amazing :D x
Kim on April 07, 2011:
I bought these shoes yesterday! I love them and so do my feet! What I like best is they don't look like toning shoes. I work in a hospital and do a lot of walking. I'd love to get a little extra burn, but I'm already in good shape and bought them more for the look and feel. Someone should wear a body bug and walk to a few laps with these shoes and two laps without and see if there's a difference.
Steve on April 04, 2011:
I initially liked the shoes very much since they looked great but found that they really should be worn for short periods of time. I made these my primary shoes since I felt they would be better to wear all the time and ended up with a stress fracture in my foot. This is probably my own fault since I often run and do the elliptical with these shoes but realize that it would have been better to just use normal one since these shoes change the pressure distribution in your feet and regularly wearing them led to extra wear and tear of my joints.
Love! on March 30, 2011:
I bought a pair a few weeks ago, and am in love with them so far! They are incredibly comfortable and I like the look - I had been looking for a black pair of sneakers for a while, and these fit the bill. I'm noticing a slight difference in terms of toning, but I'm not sure how much can be attributed solely to the shoes because I have been getting out for long walks more often now with the weather getting nicer... either way, I'm satisfied with my purchase and happy to add a pair of comfy sneakers to my collection!
isabela on January 23, 2011:
I just bought them and i already love them. i am not a gym shoe girl and i actually just bought them because i need all black comfortable gym shoes for work. I dont know if they actually tone yet but they are very comfortable so if your standing or walking for long periods of time during the day like i do i recommend these gym shoes.
michifus (author) on January 20, 2011:
Thanks for taking the time to comement MB, Glad you are getting on with your New Balance 850's.
MGColorado on January 20, 2011:
I purchased the True Balance 850 about 6 months ago. For me they were comfortable from day 1 and they still are after 6 months. I would say I wear them 3 times a week for about 6 hours. I have notice a little toning and I think thats better then nothing. If you are looking for a big change or burning these aren't the shoes and I don't think you will get that out of a shoe without a work out to go along with it. I will be buying another pair in the next month.
tracyjriggs on January 19, 2011:
I have plantar fascietis, getting much worse for last 3 months. I bought a pair of SAS shoes, they have some not-so-granny looking shoes now. Went to a place and had my feet and gait evaulated, got an orthotic shoe insert. Much better. Also got a pair of the new balance #860 tone ups and put a dr scholles 3/4 orthotic insole in those. Seems to be the best feeling so far. Going to Physical Therapist tomorrow to see what kind of exercises to do. Taking advil every 6-8 hrs. Really want to avoid having any injections in my heel.....ouch. ...I try to comment as it goes. Heel pain sucks!!!
Brandi on January 15, 2011:
I purchased these shoes yesterday and have worn them all day today, doing a good bit of walking. So far, they are super comfortable & I'm really liking them; however, I don't feel any burn either. I keep wondering if they are working... Regardless, the shoes are really cute & I'll continue to wear them & post again in a few weeks. I'm glad that I can hear feedback on how the shoes are working out for others. Happy Toning, ladies!
Allison on January 12, 2011:
I bought these shoes a couple weeks ago and have worn them almost everyday for 8 hours plus. I havent really noticed any difference. I dont feel any burn anywhere. They are very cute, and very comfortable though.
Andrea on January 07, 2011:
I am a big New Balance fan, so I waited until they came out with toning shoes to buy some. Unfortunately, I haven't noticed any toning difference in them and believe that they are less comfortable than all of my other pairs of New Balance and actually make my toes uncomfortable after a few hours of wearing them. So, I am hoping that my next pair of New Balance work better for me.
michifus (author) on December 28, 2010:
The effectiveness of MBT shoes for the treatment of plantar fasciitis is due to the rocker bottom sole. The rolling motion generated by the rocker bottom stretches the plantar fascia, therefore easing the condition.
Rocker bottom shoes replicate barefoot walking in soft sand, a mode of walking prescribed by physio's and doctors to help treat plantar fasciitis. Any rocker bottom soled shoe will help, and will be better than standard shoes.
These are a more attractive option, and the design is going to be better than standard shoes. Are they better than MBT for treating PF? Probably not. Will they help ease the problem? Yes, they will be better than standard trainers.
Any readers with plantar fasciitis tried the shoes? Please post your comments!
tarzankim on December 25, 2010:
I have plantar faciitis and was wondering how they work with this. I have worn MBTs for several years now and want something a little more attractive.
Bloggess on October 30, 2010:
I bought my shoes earlier last week and wore them all day yesterday (from 8am until about 10 last night). They are incredibly comfortable!!! I do plan to try them out in aerobics class, but even if they don't work for that reason - they are perfect for casual days at work, running errands and shopping. My feet feel like they are in heaven, I am getting an increased caloric burn AND no one can tell!!!
jmdc on October 16, 2010:
I just bought a pair yesterday and wore them on an all day shopping expedition. They were incredibly comfortable even after having foot surgery 6 months ago. Too soon to tell how the toning will go, but I do feel a difference compared to my regular sneakers so I think they're doing something....
michifus (author) on October 12, 2010:
Thanks for the feedback! I guess that in designing a shoe which looks so good, New Balance have ensured that you get the maximum wear and maximum benefit. Good to hear that they are working for you!
ilikemine on October 12, 2010:
Hello, I have these shoes and I have noticed tonin in my thighs and glutes. I wear them everywhere. At first I did not associate the achy hips to the shoes and my fiend remnded me that I wear the shoes all the time and thats why my hips were achy.
I like the shoes and am planning to buy another pair in another color
michifus (author) on October 11, 2010:
None of the toning shoes have been tested with orthotics so its difficult to say how it will affect toning.
Look for shoes with a removable sockliner/insole. This will make sure that the orthotic will fit. The New Balance True Balance 850 features a removable insert so this is your best bet
Char-b on October 04, 2010:
Is there any info about whether you can put orthotics in these shoes and if it will affect the toning results?
Moné on October 03, 2010:
So I know they're great for toning while walking, running, etc but am I able to actually use these as workout shoes as well???
Allison on October 02, 2010:
I bought mine at Bass Pro Shop. They have them in stock up to size 11's. I bought 11's they run a little small but I will post how I feel about the shoes in about 3 weeks. :)
michifus (author) on September 25, 2010:
Hi Tara, Click on any of the above Amazon links - They have size 10.5 US in stock in most of the models.
tina on September 24, 2010:
I have these shoes and find them ridiculously comfortable and lightweight. I've worn them on marathon shopping excursions and don't notice a difference in how my legs feel but I also went on a short run yesterday and ended up with very achy calves, so who knows?
Tara on September 22, 2010:
I'm having trouble finding them in my size. I wear a womens size 10 but I seem to need a 10.5 in these shoes. Everyone seems to only have them in stock up to a size 10. They are very snug in the toes but are otherwise a very natural feeling, comfortable shoe.
TVTopTen on September 08, 2010:
wow these shoes are really cute ;)
michifus (author) on September 06, 2010:
Hi 007 - TrueBalance are sold in larger sizes up to 9.5 US, so they should be perfect.
michifus (author) on September 06, 2010:
I do not personally have a pair, however I know a couple of people who are trying them out.
The verdict so far is that New Balance have the comfort spot on, and they score top marks for style. However it is a little too early to tell how effective they are at toning and helping with weight loss, and since both the testers are upping the exercise levels and dieting, I'm not sure how much will be able to be put down to the shoe, rather than the lifestyle changes which have also been made.
However they are both happy with their purchase, and are getting fitter and healthier so its all good.
When I get more feedback Ill post it, in the meantime, if anyone else is on a New Balance True Balance toning program, let me know how you are getting on with it!
Noticing the extra burn yet?
hypnosis4u2 from Massachusetts on September 05, 2010:
Interesting concept in shoes for toning. I'm wondering if they really do help or just a marketing ploy? Have you had experience and results from using them?
agent007 from Florida on September 02, 2010:
I love the look of theses..but I have a problem buying exercise sneakers. My foot is very long in the toe area. I actually wear an 8 shoe, but because of my toes, I need to buy 8 1/2. Are there any shoes that are made longer in the toe area?