Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On the A-List

Did you guys know I went to the New Balance Fall 2009 Preview Show in midtown Manhattan last week? I did, I did! Let me tell you, it’s not every day you receive a special invitation to attend that kind of event . . . but thanks to the generosity of Amy and Tom of the Runners Lounge, I found myself on the A-list. Of course, the one thing standing in the way of my opportunity to rub elbows with the folks of New Balance was my silly job. Luckily, I’m awesome at lying, and I also have no shame. I told my various teams that I had a “very important doctor’s appointment of the womanly variety.” (The co-workers on my various teams are predominantly male). And it worked! Because let’s be honest, who the heck would touch that one with a ten foot pole?

Anyway, on to the show, shall we? Peter, Laura and I, the lucky NYC loungers who attended the event, met up out front and headed inside unsure of what lay ahead of us. Would we hear a lot of in depth technical language we couldn’t understand? (Not too much). Would the New Balance people figure out that we are actually novice runner/writers, and not particularly influential in the running world? (Perhaps). Most importantly, would we get any free swag out of the event? (Time will tell, but all signs point to yes!).

The elevator doors parted and we stepped into a small showroom lined from floor to ceiling with all kinds of New Balance sneakers. My shoe addiction flared up a bit, and I found it very difficult to pay attention to what anyone in the room was saying. Thus, I missed probably the first five minutes of conversation. Oops! Luckily, unlike myself, Laura and Peter are actually professional human beings capable of holding a conversation in just about any setting. They gave the NB representatives all kinds of awesome info about Runners Lounge, and made us all sound REALLY cool and important! Great work, you guys!

After these introductions and a brief discussion about the fall line’s general goals and focuses, we moved onto the goods. Boy was I shocked to see that models were going to be involved! But indeed they were. As you might expect, NB chose the sexiest, fittest fitness models you could possibly imagine to show off their apparel. This came in handy, since I obviously look just like them . . .

Now, as the author of a style blog (, I am one of those people who is way too concerned with superficial things; i.e. how my clothes make my ass look. Naturally then, I took on the task of writing up a review on the women’s apparel side of things. Without further ado, here are the highlights of New Balance’s Fall 2009 women’s apparel line:

• The introduction of X-static. This is the silver-based fiber Laura mentions in this today's Runners Lounge podcast.* I don’t really get what this stuff is, but it sounds pretty fancy. I mean, NASA uses it . . . so it’s GOT to be awesome, right? It’s supposed to be anti-static, anti-odor, anti-microbial and thermo-dynamic. I heard it even does your taxes for you . . .

• Lots of pockets! This one’s huge for me, since I prefer to carry approximately 78.2% of my personal belongings with me when completing long runs. Also, I’m not exactly sure why this is such a good thing, but a lot of the pockets are hidden within seams (the NB folks seemed excited about this, so I’m going to trust that it’s a good thing). Now that I think of it, I guess hidden things can be fun . . . think about jelly donuts!

• Color, color, color! I loved the colors used in the fall line, you guys. First of all, there was a fierce turquoise-y teal in the women’s line that I loved, loved, loved. Second of all, the men’s line had some colors that were a refreshing change from the usual reds, royals, grays, blacks and whites. My favorites were a deep olive color and a yummy burnt orange color. Sexy!

• If we’re not going to be responsible and run with ID on us, New Balance is going to MAKE us responsible, darn it! They’ve included a tag in much of their fall line that can accommodate “In Case of Emergency” info. It’s built right into the pocket, meaning you can’t possibly lose it or drop it in the toilet. If you’re like me, you definitely can’t remember your own phone number after 18 miles of running, so this little nugget could really truly come in handy!

• Feminine details. Again, this is one of those things that I’m taking New Balance’s word for . . . but now that I think of it, the female models didn’t look manly or anything, so the feminine details thing MUST be true!

• Two words: Phantom Waistband. I love this idea. In fact, it’s such a great idea, I’m not sure how it’s possible that this is the first I’ve seen such a thing. It is simply a fuzzy wuzzy fabric that covers the inside waistband of their shorts and actually feels good against your skin. Brilliant!

• 360-degree reflexivity. This too seems like a no-brainer to me, but considering how often NB pointed out that the clothes had it, I think it must be a new idea . . . anyway it certainly makes sense for running brands to want to keep their runners alive and well. If their customers die, they’re no use to them! But hey, even if NB has some ulterior motives, I appreciate the fact that they’ve got my back (and my front and also both of my sides!)

So there you have it. Those are the “mentionables” that really stood out to me during the show, and also the things that I think you, my fellow runners, would be interested in knowing about New Balance’s Fall 2009 line. This stuff hits stores sometime between July and August, so keep an eye out for it!

Oh, and before it starts to seem like New Balance bribed me to get such a positive review, let me point out that the folks never emailed the press materials to us reviewers! Can you believe it? Don’t they KNOW who we are?! I apologize if anything I said is inaccurate and/or just plain wrong, but I was counting on that info, NB! What’s up with that? I thought we were homies?

Still, it was obviously a very wonderful experience, and I’d love to do it again in the future should New Balance or any other brand want me to review their stuff (wink, wink)! Thanks, Tom and Amy! You two are the best!

I leave you with the three measly photos I took at the event (oops--was a little too busy taking notes to take pictures! I'll have to work on mastering that type of multi-tasking in the future!)

* Yes . . . Amy, Tom, Laura, Peter and I recorded an entire podcast about our experience at the show. If you haven't already, check it out! Again, here's the link.


The Laminator said...

Hey Irish, thanks for the info. I heard the podcast on the train ride to work this morning and thought you all did a very comprehensive job reviewing the plus and minuses of NB's fall line of clothes and shoes for us. Thanks.

Spike said...

it sounds like an awesome time, and what a great way to 'excuse' yourself to attend the event--I wouldn't have questioned you.

so...did you get free swag, or did you demand to know the running credentials of the models?

glad you had fun!

aron said...

i listened to you yesterday :) sounds like it was a great experience! thanks for all the info!!

Running and living said...

V nice review and pics. Hope some well deserved free swag comes your way! Ana-Maria

lindsay said...

thanks for all the info! great ideas on nb's part.

found you through the lounge's "open mic friday" post, you are so famous :) i ran the sunburst marathon back in '06 - finishing on the 50 yd line was awesome!

sRod said...

NB has always been my favorite for clothes. Somehow they always fit right and are priced well (btw, where does Nike get off charging $55 for a pair of shorts??). And they always have lots of pockets--for the bagillion things I carry too.