Skateboarders tend to be creatures of habit when it comes to purchasing shoes, boards, etc. Trying something new isn’t something we do very often. When you find something you like, why try something new, right? After skating the Cons CTS’ and Trapassos for years, it was time for me to reconsider what I had become accustomed to and look for a new shoe to skate in. I decided to try the New Balance Numeric Stratford 479s because I was looking for a cupsole shoe that I could get some support and additional padding for my traumatized feet without sacrificing board feel.
Right out of the box you can feel the support of the cupsole. Unlike some other cupsole shoes, the tread on the bottom of the Stratford is grippy from the get-go. Let’s just say you won’t be missing any flicks on the first day. The fit is narrow and hugs your heel nicely. The toe shape is similar to that of the first Nike SB Koston, not too round and not too slim. Although there is stitching around the toe, there isn’t any real purpose for it other than aesthetics. The insoles have a bit of cushion to them and are paired with an EVA foam midsole for maximum impact protection. Also, there are perforated side panels to keep the shoe ventilated and relatively odor free.
One Week Later
After a week of serious abuse, the Stratford 479s have held up really well. They have not lost their shape or become floppy. The one-piece toe cap kept the shoe intact and does a good job of preventing any ripping or blowouts. The cushion and padding around the heel have packed down a bit, but that’s pretty natural. I’m no Andrew Reynolds, but I’ve done my fair share of jumping down stairs in them and have yet to experience any kind of bruising or impact injuries. Hundreds of kickflips later, I am just barely getting through the first layer of suede with a layer of rubber underneath ready to go. The laces stay fairly protected, but when it comes to skating no lace is safe in the long run. I ripped a couple laces on the right shoe and ended up tossing another lace in there, but have only ripped one lace on the left shoe so far. The tread is still in really good condition. The sole around the toe has lost some of its grip, causing me to miss a couple of flicks here and there, and the perforated sides definitely didn’t keep my feet from sweating. These shoes are far from done and have plenty of life left.
I’m glad I stepped outside the box and picked up a pair of the NB# Stratford 479s. Skating vulcanized shoes and trying to emulate my favorite professional skateboarders for over a decade has done some damage to my feet. The Stratford 479s offer a great mix of padding and reinforcement accompanied with good board feel and grip. My feet are thanking me now. The shoe has some flaws, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. These shoes skate much better than I initially expected. I will be recommending them to anyone trying to protect their feet from further vulcanized harm. Kudos to New Balance Numeric for making a great skate shoe.