New Balance Numeric 420: a living review


Updated: 25 May 2020

Soles: Quite hard, stiff and plasticky. More or less OK. Feels a bit like standing on a pedestal. The sort of thick sole is an advantage when landing primo. Grippiness of the soles is OK. The soles are quite narrow at the arch of the foot. This can be a problem, especially if you have wide feet (Imagine landing on the very edge of the tail, slipping off with your sole, but catching the full impact of landing with the arch of your foot. True story.).

Upper: Completely fine, but not indestructible. There are better synthetic uppers. (example, example, example) Note, some other colourways have a synthetic suede upper. (See here.) The upper looks as if it was thick, rubbery, and protective - but it's not. When your board hits your foot it feels quite unprotected (hurts like hell), like what I would imagine the Adidas Blondey McCoy shoe would feel like.

Width: Sort of narrow but OK. If you have wide feet your foot will be slightly wider than the narrow sole. This can lead to painful encounters with hard objects.

Ripped laces risk ratio: Probably lower than normal ... because the laces are quite far up. (Maybe not, see "Day 6" and "Day 7" below.).

Looks: Decent. Like a classic New Balance running shoe. Feel like a Norwegian vegan straight edge model. (I mean, you can indulge in feeling this way.) The look is completely fine with me. I sort of get reminded of Doc Martens style shoes or ... even ski boots ... but really, they look fine. They look good even. They do look good.

Sweat factor: Perfect.

Heel slippage & heel comfort: No heel slippage. Perfect. 100% heel spa level comfort.

Big bother: They're OK. The soles are too thick, and I suspect the soles will be OK once the upper is completely destroyed.

Sizing: They convert USA to EU differently ... US 10 =  EU 44 ... I usually wear a US 10 = EU 43. In these I have a US 9 = EU 42.5 and this size fits well. I would recommend going at least half a size down.

Corporate this is not a skate shoe company percentage: Probably 100%. No street cred.


Day 5

Yes, that's a drop of water.


Day 6

Ripped laces, lowest and highest eylet
Breakthrough (bad kind) imminent


Day 7

Ripped laces: second eyelet from the bottom
 Note that the tongue is quite thin (OK) and has no tongue straps (not ideal), so the tongues always slip down to the sides.
The kickflip spot has now worn through.
The blue bit is the insole.
With the insole taken out. See my finger.
The tip of the front foot's sole.
After applying All Star Gum (a French non-toxic shoe goo - the company might be out of business now?) Including my finger print. Nothing to impress your mother-in-law with, but it works.


Day 8

Heel flips before dishonour
Metaphorical Achilles heel

 I think, the soles are more comfortable now.

If there's a cure, what good is discontent?


Day 10

The All Star Gum forms into a eraser-like rubber that is easily rubbed off by grip tape violence. So, I tried Ripcare - which I usually use nowadays. Ripcare is a German, seemingly not all that toxic version of Shoe Goo. Usually it won't create this sort of drop. I just use a few drops of water to smoothen out the surface of the Ripcare goo. Seems like I used a few drops too many this time. So, this is post day 9 (not shown).
Ripcare. At least the carton.
All Star Gum
Today's damage
The blue moods of Spain. A bit disappointed with this shoe's durability.
The front foot sole tip frazzle isn't really a problem. But why is this happening? The shoes are quite comfortable by now.
If your deck looks like this you know something's odd-looking.


Day 11

Blowout comb, and the laces ripped again.

After skate
After Ripcare
(No souls in these) Soles

The soles, and the shoes really, are good now. If they had an indestructible upper, I'd be happy with them.


Day 12

Comfortable. If you hold it like this you also notice how light this shoe is.

A more easygoing day of skating. After a day of rest sometimes all tricks just work - which can mean less punishment for your shoes.
Cosmetic problem only