New Balance 1123 Motion Control Running Shoe Review

Now that the Green Girl has been running in her New Balance 1123's for a few months, she decided it was time to review them.

I have small, wide feet with very low arches and my feet roll inward more than they should. In addition to overpronation, I have also had plantar fasciitis since I was young. My plantar fasciitis manifests itself in a deep, dull pain in my arches. After a bad right ankle sprain early last year, I now also struggle with posterior tibial tendonitis.

To give a little background on the Green Girl's running shoe history, I started out with the New Balance 85x series of stability shoes with Green SuperFeet. I loved the extra wide toe box in the New Balance shoes because my feet swell a lot when I run long distances - especially in the heat.

The 85x series worked realy well for me until I injured my right foot and ended up with custom orthotics. The combination of the 85x stability control and my new orthotics overcorrected and I ended up oversupinating.

To make a long story short, after a lot of trial and error (and thanks to New Balance's generous return policy), I discovered New Balance 1123 motion control shoes.

I had my podiatrist check out all the different New Balance shoes and he felt the 1123's would probably be good shoes for me. He also mentioned shoes with a straight last would be a better fit for me because my feet are so straight.

My review is not going to cover the aesthetics of this shoe. The Green Girl learned at a very young age that when you have very small but wide feet, your shoe options are extremely limited so I made my shoe buying decisions based on utility, not fashion. If a shoe fits me, I wear it.

My first impression of the 1123's was that they were really stable shoes. The broad sole felt good under my feet. They feel very firm - not cushiony like the 85x models. The heel counter on the 1123's is really high. So high that the achilles notch really irritates my ankles when I walk. I almost returned them until I discovered the height doesn't bother me when I'm running. And really, running is all the Green Girl cares about.

My biggest complaint is the poorly designed tongue that constantly slips down into the shoe. It has a notch for looping the laces but the tongue is so flimsy that it doesn't make any difference. This really annoyed me at first but because the tongue is so soft, you can't really feel it so unless I look down at my feet while I'm running, i can't even tell the tongue has slipped almost completely into the shoe.

The 1123's are the heaviest running shoes I've ever worn but truth be told, they don't weigh as much as you'd expect them to. I mean, they have the thickest midsoles I've ever seen in my entire life.

Despite the 1123's shortcomings, the stability this shoe grants me is enough to keep me running in them. Making sure I have adequate support and stay injury-free are my priorities.

In conclusion, if I could redesign the shoe, I'd lower the heel counter and fix the tongue. I'm anxious to see what changes New Balances makes when they release the next model in this line.


  1. I forget if I've ever asked, but have you ever tried barefoot walking/running as part of your routine? You could try sessions of barefoot walking each day to try to build some foot strength. Seems you are going through a lot of work with these shoes and was just seeing if the barefoot option might help (even if your doctor frowns upon it!) Of course, as I am in the progress of testing this myself right now, you could wait for me to be the guinea pig :-)

  2. Its the Charlie Brown shoes! Its a bummer about the tongue, there was a pair of Nike's I almost got, but the tongue was so massive... Its the smallest things sometimes.. I'm glad these shoes are keeping you on the road though, races, here we come!

  3. Brandon, no I have not tried any barefoot running or walking - with the exception of running laps on the padded floor around the dojo. Understandably, I've been very intrigued by the whole concept but I am really hesitant to try.

    I think for now, I will continue to live precariously through you. ::smiles::

    Rad Runner Girl, yup, it's the Charlie Brown 'Humvee' shoes! Yeah, it's crazy how you never know what will bother you once you hit the pavement. This tongue is so thin and flimsy that it's almost like imagining have a tongue made out of paper.

  4. Like you, I'm an overpronator. I've found Asics have been very good to my feet. I tried some Sauconys once and was in agony fro the get go. I'll keep New Balance in mind when (not if) they disontinue my current favorite shoe!


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