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NB921 Winter Trainer - 1st Run (Read 894 times)

    Got them yesterday from NBWebexpress' free 2-Day delivery. Bottom line: they are great on snow and ice! Warm, water resistant, good cushioning, nice fit. They are cut more like a lightweight trainer (902) than a typical trail shoe, which makes them feel lighter than they are (13 oz. men's 9 according to catalog). The high, gusseted tongue does a good job of keeping snow out of the shoes. They seem moderately stable for a shoe sold as a "cushioning" shoe (I usually wear stability trainers). They came with a bag of spikes (enough for the shoes and 8 extras) which appear to be metal, a bag of blanks and a wrench. Up until yesterday, my whole town was a glacier from the ice storm last week. So I put in the spikes and went for a 7-mile run. Unfortunately, it was above freezing all afternoon, so there were now some bare stretches of sidewalks and roads. On most of these I walked, trying to keep the spikes in the bottom of the snow bank (2-3 ft high) on one side. I didn't want to wear down the spikes too much. I avoided one dry stretch by running down the packed middle of some railroad tracks, and another by running a mile on a snowmobile trail. By the end of the run, a few of the spikes were blunted, but still had 80-90% of their original length. I guess I'll save the spikes for trail running, or conditions like we had prior to the thaw yesterday (I'm sure we'll have plenty of crap later this winter in WI). I'll try them tonight with the blanks. The soles look like they would have better traction tham my usual trainers even without the spikes. I was amazed when I ran on solid ice areas I did not slip at all, same with solid packed snow with an icy glazed surface. The only place they didn't have better traction that road shoes was in thick slush where it was so deep the spikes didn't go through to a solid surface. But even here they performed better because they kept my feet dry and warm.


    Needs more cowbell!

      Ha, I think I just responded to you over on the RW forum! Wink Did you get plastic or metal blanks? Those plastic blanks are worthless...one run in them and the head for removing them was worn down. So we're going to have to drill those dumb things out. But I can't wait to use the metal spikes. Of course, now we have a warming trend, so there's little snow left on the roads...Murphy's Law and all. Tongue k

      Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

      '14 Goals:

      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

        Actually, I haven't taken the blanks out of the bag. But they appear to be the same material as the spikes, which are gray and feel/sound metallic. Guess I should get a magnet and check, of course that will only work if they have iron in them. If they are plastic, I guess I'll just leave them out, and just clean the threaded holes out good after the run, which will be on pavement/sidewalk so there shouldn't be anything to damage the threads. Confused I saw your post on RW about spikes/blanks at Holabird. I'll order some tonight. Shy


        Needs more cowbell!

          Ahhh...I think your blanks must be metal or maybe ceramic (mine are sort of off-white and very soft). I believe my spikes are ceramic, as they are sort of a dull gray. I think the steel ones are more chrome-y. From what I have heard NB will gradually be switching over to shipping the shoes with steel spikes. Holabird was out of the blanks, so I have to wait. But the spikes (1/4" steel pyramids) they sent are identical to the ones that came with the shoes, just steel instead of ceramic. I've heard the ceramics are pretty soft and will wear faster. k

          Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

          '14 Goals:

          • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

            The blanks are plastic, but I put them in anyway. Since they are plastic, it should be possible to get them out no matter how chewed up they are, hopefully they will protect the threads. I'm going to order some steel blanks and replacement spikes very soon.


            Needs more cowbell!

              I've run about 9 miles with those plastic blanks and they are already worn down to the top of the thread ports (or whatever the holes are called)...with some scratching on the metal ports. Those plastic blanks are utterly worthless. What's left of those blanks will still be removable, but not without a drill. I'm eventually going to tell NB that while I love their shoes, those blanks were really a poor idea. No one should require special tools to remove blanks after so few miles. Or, at the very least, they need to include instructions re: the permanence of the plastic blanks. Do you guys have much snow left? I'm planning to do my long run in my 902s, today, as the roads look pretty clear here. The sticky rubber soles of the 921 will probably wear extra fast on dry asphalt, so I'm really going to save them for bad roads as much as possible (plus they are very warm and my feet were pretty hot the other day with temps right around freezing and windchills in the 20s). k

              Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

              '14 Goals:

              • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

              • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                Major thaw here. I started out in the 921s last night, but all I found after I got out of my subdivision (poorly maintained cul de sac) was dry sidewalk and pavement, with some slush on the streets. The921s were very noisy and stiff on the bare surfaces, so I looped back home and swapped them for the GT 2130s. Tomorrow I will take the 921s out to a rail trail (crushed limestone) where there is probably snow/ice left (snowmobiles packed it down). It looks like these will be used mainly for snow/ice/trails. I see on the weather today, that we'll probably get back to glacial mode Saturday night. Surprised Well, at least I'm ready now! Smile


                Needs more cowbell!

                  Interesting that you found them stiff and noisy on the dry stuff. I haven't found that to be the case. Is the noise from the blanks (you have metal ones, right)? The only negative I have found is that they are a bit too generous through the heels. Usually NB wides are still narrow through the heels, but these are a little loose. I need to tie them snugger, too, as I think they have stretched a little during my first couple of runs. Now that we have our Winter-specific shoes I'd bet money that we have an easy Winter. Last year I didn't have shoes that worked well on snow and ice and we had a pretty cold, tough one. Tongue

                  Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                  '14 Goals:

                  • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                  • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                    Yes, I had the blanks in, but I think they are plastic. We're supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow tonight, so I'll probably give them another test with spikes tomorrow.


                    Needs more cowbell!

                      Were you able to try your spikes? Did you get the plastic blanks out? Here is the e-mail I just sent NB's customer service: ~~~~~ I have been happily running for nearly 2 years and 2k miles--almost exclusively in New Balance shoes. I've never had a single NB shoe that I wouldn't recommend to other runners and my friends know me as a bit of a NB fanatic. So when I first discovered the 921 I was pretty ecstatic. I live in snowy West MI and spent much of last Winter running on some pretty treacherous rural roads, which limited my mileage more than I would have liked. It took some time finding a retailer that carried them in my size (no brick-and-mortar stores near me have them, so I searched online), then I found that they ran smaller than all my other NB shoes, so I had to return them and wait for the next larger size to be reordered. When I finally received them I couldn't wait to try them out, but since we had a brief spell of mostly clear roads I decided to try them for a few runs with the plastic blanks. After a short run of less than 4 miles I learned the hard way that the plastic blanks could not be removed once run upon. I'm not sure if the plastic blanks were intended as permanent fillers, as another short run in the shoes and the blanks have worn to the point that the top of the screw holes are becoming scratched. At this point the only way the remainder of the plastic blanks can be removed is via drill, which is what my husband is currently attempting to do (with some difficulty), so that I might be able to insert the spikes for a snowy run tomorrow. In the future it would be very useful if some sort of simple instructions might be included with the shoes and/or replacing the plastic blanks with steel ones. There are likely to be times when I want to wear the shoes without actual spikes, especially since I found the sticky rubber tread to handle wet, slushy snow very well. The water resistant uppers will also be nice during cold, wet Spring runs when I won't want spikes. Thank you for your time, KD

                      Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                      '14 Goals:

                      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                      Needs more cowbell!

                        I updated my message to NB customer service...I'm guessing they won't even get to this until after the new year. No ~~~~~ As of the following day my husband is still unable to remove 2 of the plastic blanks without risking damaging the metal threaded spike holes, so my $100 shoes are effectively rendered completely useless after only 10 miles of wear. I am very frustrated after waiting nearly 2 months to have a pair in my possession, only to not be able to use them. We have already had a month of Wintery weather. I would return them to the retailer where I bought them (NB Tampa), but they apparently do not accept returns on any worn gear. k

                        Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                        '14 Goals:

                        • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                          Sorry to hear about your problem. I was able to get the blanks out, no problem. I ran with spikes again today since we had about 8 inches of fresh snow last night, almost all the streets and sidewalks were snow/ice covered. Ran 5 miles, and they worked great. I'm still using the spikes that came with the shoes, a couple are very short. I have ordered steel spikes and blanks,but haven't got them yet.


                          Needs more cowbell!

                            Where did you purchase your steel blanks? Holabird Sports was out of them and wasn't doing backorders when I ordered them along with a set of steel 1/4" spikes. k

                            Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                            '14 Goals:

                            • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                              I ordered them from VS Athletics in California.


                              Needs more cowbell!

                                Good to know. Someone posted a link to a different one on RW, so I'll have to look at them closer to decide which might work better. I think the ones on RW will recess and not wear down, which would be useful. k

                                Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                                '14 Goals:

                                • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

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