Checking in with two leading sports podiatrists
Editor's Note: This content is presented to you by New Balance.
The New Balance Vongo V5 has arrived, and for fans of the 1080 and New Balance’s patented Fresh Foam X technology, they’re well worth a look.
Keeping the 1080’s responsiveness and plush ride characteristics, and adding in a dash of stability for good measure, the Vongo V5 has definite claims for a place in your rotation.
Don’t believe us? It has the admiration of those in the know, including some of Australia’s leading sports podiatrists.
Sophie Fitt, elite distance runner and leading podiatrist from Fitzroy Foot and Ankle Clinic, is one. A stalwart of Australian distance running with the knowledge to match, Sophie has competed in 7 international marathons, twice finishing 5th in the Melbourne Marathon, and has a personal best of 2 hours and 42 minutes, set in the 2018 Valencia Marathon. A recent lack of available racing hasn’t dimmed her motivation, either.
She recognises that running is an enormous part of her life that keeps her in impeccably good health, and she plans on giving back to the sport which has given her so much.
"I’ve been wearing New Balance primarily for the last 8-10 years," Sophie explains. "As soon as I tried them on I felt an emotional connection – they felt great. New Balance’s technical rep, Matt Spicer, has been fantastic in helping me with my professional development as a podiatrist, and New Balance has been the shoe that I knew more, loved more, have worn more."
Sophie immediately felt that familiar connection when the latest Vongo landed in her hands.
"The New Balance 1080 is my favourite shoe ever," Sophie says. "The Vongo looks just like it. As soon as it was in my hands I felt excited. I could tell the Fresh Foam X was in the midsole from first glance at it. On flipping it over, I could see the added stability." The Vongo V5 has made a clear effort to combine all the features of the 1080 with added stability, all the while being careful not to restrict the freedom of the runner. It's a particular advantage for those runners who overpronate.
"Pronation plays a role in shock absorption," Sophie says. "While pronation is not a pathology as far as podiatrists are concerned, it can lead to internal rotation, where the foot, ankle, shin region, hip joint, and lower back can be negatively affected."
The Vongo V5 is a shoe that may assist in such situations.
"This shoe is less restrictive in the gait cycle. There’s less motion control, more freedom than previous stability shoes. In fact, this shoe shares many characteristics with the 1080. There's a little more density in the medial aspect of the shoe, which is exactly as it should be. It will reduce overpronation, however it is as soft and comfortable as the 1080, which I adore. Internal rotation may increase the chances of injury, and I think that New Balance have been very successful in making changes to previous stability shoes with the Vongo."
Fellow podiatrist (Walker Street Sports Podiatry, Sydney) and elite runner Tom Do Canto is another who is impressed by the Vongo V5. A winner of the 2016 Melbourne Marathon (2:20.52) and 2019 Melbourne Half Marathon (1:04.27), as well as 19th placing in the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon (2:14.59), Tom has spent a lot of time in running shoes.
"I was a runner well before I took an interest in podiatry," Tom says, although adds that his 10 years experience as a podiatrist helps him to understand the mechanical purpose of footwear. "I've been lucky to have been given a lot of shoes to try over the years, and run enough to try them all," Tom explains.
"I've been running for 20 years, and did spend 4 or 5 years in stability shoes, but it wasn’t until the past couple of years that I’ve started to add them back into the rotation properly, including the new Vongo. They're flexible, light, and enjoyable to wear, with that plush feel of Fresh Foam X. There is higher density foam on the inside but it’s more subtle as opposed to being overly firm or abrupt. It gives a natural feel while stabilising the foot."
Tom suggests that this inner stability may assist those who pronate heavily, and the firmer medial post will reduce the ‘crushing’ of the foam in this area, improving its durability for those runners. With fascinating insight for new and experienced runners, Tom says that studies are starting to show that people’s perception of comfort plays an important role in injury prevention.
"Don’t run in a shoe that is uncomfortable for you," he says.
"The New Balance 1080 and Vongo V5 are comfortable shoes, which shoe is more comfortable will be person specific. Don’t shy away from a stability shoe, especially if they feel good."
Tom adds that experienced runners who own a variety of running shoes may want to introduce the Vongo V5 to their collection.
"If you get them into your rotation, you can test them," he explains.
"They may assist with foot and ankle niggles such as arch cramping or arch fatigue, even if they’re not for every run. These are soft like the 1080s, and the Fresh Foam X provides a soft, bouncy ride. Compared to the highly rockered 1080v11, the Vongo V5 has less rearfoot rocker and more traditional geometry which may alter the perceived ride of the shoe and suit some runners more."
New Balance have worked hard and seriously raised the stakes with the Vongo V5, and the results are in: if you love the 1080s, and feel like you could use some added stability or support, the Vongo v5 could be your next go-to.
Experts agree they’re well worth a place in anyone’s running shoe stable.
You can cop the Vongo v5 now via New Balance.