Someone said that working at Ump-Attire.com has got to be like Christmas every day. Well, not every day but today, yes, it felt somewhat like that.
Note to Peter Crawford (our New Balance rep): Thanks for playing Santa Claus.
I took three pairs you would most be interested in and compared them on look and feel:
The older MU450s were always harder for my in-between D and EE foot to fit into. They were too tight for me at the instep so I would have needed not just to size up number-wise but in width.
So I was was very excited to feel that with the new MU460s, my foot just easily slid right into it like a Converse hi-top I used to wear in high school. There was no tightness. New Balance promised a larger toe box, and they certainly delivered as the fit is similar to the Reebok plate shoe's fit. We have always recommended that you size up a number or width with the MU450s but with my feet as an example, I don't see the need.
From a comfort perspective, the new MU460s felt most like a real shoe than anything else I've ever tried. They were certainly lighter, 10% than the MU450s.
"Softer" might also be an appropriate conservative explanation of how they felt compared to MU450s. Saying they felt like a pair of comfortable slippers would be overstating it, but I'd put the metaphor somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. It might not be too much of a stretch if you tried on a pair to say "you know, those are the most comfortable plate shoes I've ever tried".
To me the Reebok RPLOs are more comfortable than the older MU450s. Some will say the Reeboks still are the most comfortable to them than the new MU460s. I'll let you be the judge, but an obvious difference was that the New Balance felt, appropriately so, more "balanced". In other words, it didn't feel heavy anywhere on the shoe whereas the Reebok can best be described in my opinion as a little front heavy.
The official feature from New Balance regarding comfort is as follows:
ABZORB® - a blend of Dupont™ Engage® and Isoprene rubber - in heel and forefoot provides superior shock absorption and cushioning throughout the game.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll refrain from typing that many and let you see the differences visually. (BTW - Please do not start calling in asking where you can get umpire pants made of blue jean material. They are not yet available.)
|The MU460s have 40% more coverage than the MU450s. You'll want to, of course, pull your pants over your tongue, but I wanted you to see the differences old and new there.|
|Side shot with RPLOs. Some have been concerned with the N placement in the back of the shoe. It's barely noticeable with pants on. Note: Always wear pants when umpiring.|
|Small white logo on back of MU460s compared to style number and "New Balance" on MU450s|
|MLB logo vs larger Reebok logo|
What did I miss? Give me your thoughts.