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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > New Balance 471 > Owner Review by Douglas Wayne McCoy

NEW BALANCE 471
BY DOUGLAS MCCOY
OWNER REVIEW
October 01, 2007

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Douglas McCoy
EMAIL: dmccoy805@msn.com
AGE: 35
LOCATION: Spokane Washington (State) U.S.A.
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
SHOE SIZE: US 12
SHOE SIZE: UK 11.5
SHOE SIZE: ER 46.5

I’ve always been intrigued by the outdoors, and as a kid I sometimes stayed on a farm or did some camping, but never really had the opportunity to fully enjoy the outdoors until about 7 years ago. I really got serious about backpacking 4 years ago, and it is now more of a lifestyle than an activity. Most of my backpacking is solo and often off trail “via throw a dart on a topo" and plot a route. In accordance with this, I’ve transitioned from “heavy” to “ultralight”, and constantly seek ways to lighten my load and share my ever growing knowledge with others.

PRODUCT INFORMATION


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Manufacturer: New Balance
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: www.newbalance.com
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: TOTAL: 28 oz (792 g)
Other details:
Color: Grey
Materials: Synthetic leather with breathable mesh weaving.
Sole: Rubber
Toe: Rubber
The New Balance 471 is a low cut running/walking style shoe. It has a rubber sole with a mild tread pattern, and mesh in the heel, toe, and arch areas. The main body is made up of synthetic materials with a large proportion of that being mesh for ventilation. It has a rubber toe box and high-backed rubber heel for protection and mesh vents in the heel for ventilation. The tongue and laces provide plenty of top support and keep the shoe in place and properly positioned. It has a grosgrain pull tab in the back to aid in putting the shoes on. The laces are round and the tongue comes up to about ankle height. The insole is about 1/8th in (31mm) thick foam that has vent holes in a uniform pattern throughout the insole and has a moderate arch support built in to it.

FIELD USE

These shoes were bought "out of desperation" for the lack of better term. It was the evening before one of my section hikes of the Oregon (OR) Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that I did this summer. I had driven to a point of contact where I was going to meet up with fellow backpacking members. As I was unloading my car I soon realized that I had forgot my "regular" hiking shoes back home, which was 7 hours away. I quickly drove to the nearest sporting goods store and began my shoe search. I tried on 4 different brands and the New Balance 471s fit the best and felt the best. I could notice a complete difference in them compared to the others. I decided to go with the 471s and hoped for the best.

TRIP 1:
This would be the shoes maiden voyage because I had bought them the night before and had no break in time prior to the beginning of the trip. I was about to embark on a 40 mile (64 km) hike with ten miles (16 km) scheduled for the first day. We were going to hike from Mt. Hood, OR. to Romona Falls OR. along the PCT. Temperatures were in the mid 70 F (21 C) range and the trail was well groomed. We averaged about ten miles (16 km) a day for the next three days with elevation gains and losses of about 3000-4000 feet (900-1200 m) per day along an established hiking trail. I only crossed one talus field and had no problems crossing it. The shoe soles provided plenty of grip and supported my ankles enough to avoid any major sprains. This in part may be due to a light pack of 20 pounds (9 kg) starting weight. I suffered no blisters, hotspots or excessive moisture build up, or any foot discomfort while hiking. My feet were in the same physical condition at the end of the hike as they were in the beginning.

TRIP 2:
A three day weekend off trail bush whacking hike with multiple river crossings, marshy trekking, low alpine, and hardcore "vertical climbing." Temperatures for the day were in the 60 F (15 C) range. This trek was primarily a discovery hike where I was forced to make my own trail. It involved walking through thick brush, up muddy 4x4 roads, across marshy areas, and several climbs of 1500-2000 ft (457 - 610 m) over an estimated distance of a quarter mile (400 m) along avalanche routes heading up into low alpine areas (7000 ft / 2100 m) where the terrain was sometimes hand over hand grab and hold, with moss and slippery rock covered surfaces. The distances were not too teribly long, but the terrain was very rugged and harsh. The shoes held up flawlessly and drained well after river crossings and were dry within 1-2 hours thereafter. I would not take them off for crossings but just continued to wear them. Even with the excess amount of moisture / water in them my feet still did not blister up or have any in shoe slippage related problems. The shoes provided plenty of traction and movement in the "dicey" areas of my hike and did not suffer any such damages as rips, tears, un-threading or sole separation issues.

Day Hikes:
I have done several day hikes in these shoes. The terrain has been varied from walking through lowland prairie with lots of sage brush and pricklies that have the potential to get through the material and poke my foot, to high elevation climbs where the risk of twisting my ankle and or slipping on a rock a high possibility. I have suffered no such pricklies and have not yet sprained an ankle or suffered any other type of foot injury from these shoes. I have walked as little as 2 miles (3 km) to 20 miles (32 km) in a day on them and each time has in the same results. No pains, no injuries.

Around Town/ Campus:
I also wear these shoes around town and on campus and have the same results as above. They are comfortable all day long walking along concrete paths and sidewalks.

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Tread Pattern Toe
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Tread Pattern Heal
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Tread Pattern

SUMMARY

I am absolutely impressed with these shoes. If they can be taken right out of the box and go on a 50 mile (80 km) back packing trip with no break in period and with the original foot beds and not give me a blister or any type of discomfort I say that they are a winner in my book. I have since continued to wear them on various backpack trips, day hikes, mixed outings, and around town and on campus, and they still have not bothered me and are holding up strong with no "real" signs of wear or manufacturing flaws, or break down of material. The original foot beds are still in them, which is rare for me because as I have high arches I usually change them. But these foot beds have not caused me any problems and I will continue to keep them in the shoes. These shoes offer a variety of performance functions and have withstood a large amount of abuse from me. They have worked great for me as a backpacking shoe and I have enjoyed the many miles/km's I have put on them every step of the way.

THINGS I LIKE

Fair price
Durability
Good tread pattern
Supportive
Ventilates well
Well built
Comfortable
Great light weight hiking shoe
Dries fast
Protected toe box and heel


THINGS I DON'T LIKE

None thus far

SIGNATURE

Douglas McCoy
dmccoy805@msn.com

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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