I was at the mall yesterday with my family doing some back-to-school shopping for the kids. Being the shoe geek that I am, I stepped into the Shoe Dept. discount shoe store to see if they might have anything of interest on sale. Imagine my surprise when I came across this:
I immediately recognized that sole – it belongs to the New Balance MT101, one of the premier trail shoes in the New Balance lineup (and one of my personal favorites – see MT101 sole photo below).
So, was this just a new color variant of the MT101? Not quite:
The shoe appears to be a trail shoe consisting of the MT101 sole attached to a completely different upper (that looks like Minimus Trail mesh behind the “N” – see, I am a total shoe geek!). The shoe was on “sale” for $49.99 (this was one of those stores were every shoe is “on sale”). As I was taking the above photo a store clerk walked by and asked if I needed help. I sheepishly said “no.” She then replied “Going to see if she likes it?” I mumbled “exactly.” I didn’t want to admit that the real reason I was taking a photo of a shoe in a discount store with my cell phone was because I spied the sole of a shoe I know on a different upper and wanted to post it on my blog.
Anyway, after I got home I typed “New Balance 310 trail shoe” into Google shopping and found the following listing: http://bit.ly/r0wGiP. It appears that this is a shoe destined for discount and department stores like JC Penney and Kohl’s. Given that the sole is identical to that on the MT101, right down to the rock plate, makes me wonder how much more we’re getting for the $74.95 MSRP on the MT101. I actually thought the 310 looked like a pretty solid shoe, now debating whether to order a pair and do a full review
This reminds me of a shoe that I once saw at a Payless (also noticed by a reader who sent me a link to it) – the Champion Course Performance Runner:
Does that upper design look familiar? Hint, both Champion footwear and Saucony are owned by the same parent company…just wish I could measure the heel-forefoot drop on this one!