Last week’s miserable attempts at shopping have been completely forgotten. The mood in the house has changed to giddy excitement, tempered with a little bit of finger crossing and optimism.
Today we ventured north on our biannual trip to the New Balance factory shop at Shap. I love the New Balance factory shop at Shap. Apart from a brief but disastrous flirtation with a pair of Brooks (which turned out to be so heavy and over stable that they put me off running for months), I have been entirely faithful to NB since I started running. Luckily, they forgave my infidelity (honestly it meant nothing, I’ll never stray again) and I’ve been back in them ever since.
As I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t really built for running so I need the shoe equivalent of a hug from a matronly dinnerlady – nice and squashy, but also solid and supportive. It turns out that this really narrows my choice of shoes (how I envy all of you with neutral, dainty lady sized feet). My first purchase from NB was a 1225, then an upgrade to 1226, then back to a 1225 because they were cheap on Amazon.
So, today in the shop, I announced confidently that I need a 1226 in a 7 and a half in a B width, but didn’t know where to start with trail shoes. Due the aforementioned wonkiness, it turns out that I have to finish where I start as there is only one shoe for me (obviously there are two shoes, a left and a right, I believe that’s the standard arrangement). I tried on the trails, paced around, prodded my toes, did some nervous bouncing, all the essential shoe-trying behaviours. They felt good, no obvious ankle rolling, comfy around my foot, not too high on the ankle…but my toes were right at the end. Into an 8 I went… Lovely.
But all this made me doubt my trusty 1226 sizing. On they went and lo and behold, too snug. “Your feet must have grown” suggested Ginge. “I’m 32!” I yelped back. No problem. Apart from the fact that they didn’t have an 8 in a B width. I was given a wide fitting, which I thought would be ok (what I haven’t admitted is that my trail shoes are a men’s 8 and thus wider fitting), but no. Despite me tightening my laces tighter than a swooning lady’s corset, my feet slid around in them. Another shoe was produced, it had the same stability as my precious 1226s but less cushioning. I peered at them suspiciously. On they went, I paced, bounced and prodded. Something wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on what. I paced, bounced and prodded again. My heels felt weird.
The lovely assistant advised me that I should leave it if I wasn’t 100% certain, especially as the 1260 (the uber souped up new version of 1220s) would be in their shops very soon. OK, I sighed and abandoned the quest. This is where excellent customer service kicked in. I must have looked heartbroken because he offered to ring the Keswick branch for me (they will post shoes out), oh and he knew they have had some 1260s in. He rang. I held my breath. No joy. He rang Flimby. They had a 1225 AND A 1260. Or did they? It went quiet. They just had to check something. It wasn’t a B width in the box. It went quiet again. The B width was in the D width box and the D width in the B width box! Panic over. They will be mine!
I finished up with my trail shoes, Ginge got some road shoes and some trail shoes and my shiny new 1260s will be in the post on Monday. Best of all, there was 50% off all shoes, so my shiny new Runners World reviewed 5 star in every category 1260s cost me just over £60 including postage.
I just hope they fit.
New Balance Factory Shops are at Shap, Keswick, Flimby and Murton. I would heartily recommend them for their friendly, knowledgable and generally lovely staff, their range of kit and their bargain prices (even when there’s no sale on). They have not paid me to say any of this, but if they want to send me some stuff I won’t argue.