Whenever a pro model comes out, it sparks everyone’s interest because we know that the shoe’s been tailored for a specific skater’s style. Whether it’s from a styling perspective, or from a technical standpoint, a signature shoe is the product of personal feedback from our beloved professional skateboarder with the company’s R&D team. That’s why when New Balance Numeric released their 913 model and promoted it as Brandon Westgate’s signature shoe, we were instantly prompted to ask around for a pair to weartest. Because let’s face it, Brandon Westgate’s style is a beautiful combination of heavy hitting power and effortless finesse; two polar characteristics when combined, will pique curiosity towards the ultimate design, technical performance, and aesthetic of the shoe. After Brandon left Emerica in 2017, we were all initially struck with a hint of sadness as we all grew up watching Brandon through his MADE and Stay Gold parts. But shortly after, he was announced as the newest member on the New Balance Numeric squad, which was a strikingly acceptable move for the New England native amidst a decade of corporate skate squads being born. When it comes to Brandon Westgate, it’s not about the quantity of footage, but rather the quality of footage that continues to elevate his status in the tenured pro ranks; as a result, it was only a matter of time that New Balance Numeric presented him with a signature shoe. The New Balance Numeric 913 is the latest offering in the product line that consolidates Brandon’s stylish, powerful and technical skating into one shoe model. Read on below to see how their technical features held up in our official weartest.
The New Balance Numeric 913 fits true to size.
The three main areas to evaluate the durability of a skate shoe include the toe area, the mid foot area, and the outsole. Starting with the toe area, the New Balance 913 features an abrasion resistant suede. They used a special treatment by compressing the normal suede to increase resistance. Under the suede is a layer of TPU as well. These features significantly increase the durability by showing almost no sign of wear. In the toe area, the outsole wore down a bit but not the shoe’s upper material. The second area, the midfoot, didn’t show much sign of wear, and a positive feature of the shoe is the protection of shoelaces, which worked very nicely. Normally, laces that ripped aren’t always deemed a negative feature, since it can always happen, but with the 913, this was a noticeable highlight. As we mentioned, the third and last aspect of evaluating the durability of a shoe is the shoe’s outsole. The side areas of the outsole helped protect the toe area and the durability was very good. The bottom of the outsole showed very slight signs of wear, so all in all the durability of the 913 is excellent.
The 420 has a REVlite midsole which is extremely light and provides decent cushioning for impact absorption. The 913 has a quite complete sole; it consists of the REVlite midsole foam for impact protection, a TPU heel stabilizer, an additional N2 heel element and the outsole which holds everything together. The sole felt quite stiff in the beginning and becomes slightly softer while maintaining its initial strength. This is good for impact skating, however, it decreases the flexibility of the sole. As a result, the 913 is definitely a shoe tailored for impact skating and it remained rather stiff throughout our 10 hour test.
Just from the aesthetic of the shoe, you will instantly be lured into wondering how the shoe fits and skates. Upon first impression, the shoe felt quite narrow. The shape of the 913 feels like it tapers from the midfoot to the toe, and stops quite drastically into a sharp square edge, instead of becoming a pointed tip. The heel, midfoot and toe area sit quite snug on the foot.
BOARDFEEL AND GRIP
The boardfeel of the New Balance 913 is average. As a cupsole model, the midsole in the back two thirds of the shoe proved to be quite stiff and inflexible. However, after a few sessions, the whole sole and midsole of the shoe broke in much better, but far from the level of a vulcanized shoe. New Balance used a very wide tread pattern for the sole in the toe area and they added additional grooves for flexibility. The sole is quite grippy compared with the stiff sole and the outsole also did not show any blow out spots.
COMFORT AND STABILITY
Comfort and stability are highlights of the shoe. To start with the comfort we usually consider breathability, weight and initial step-in. Breathability is a feature showcased in the lateral area with a big ventilation mesh and it helps to increase air flow in this area, but not in the rest of the shoe. The 913 feels light in the foot and the initial step-in is very comfortable due to the usage of a nice synthetic material. When it comes to stability as mentioned earlier, the shoe itself has a snug fit, with a few different factors working together to ensure a tight and compacted fit. For starters, the shoe’s heel collar sits quite high, which stabilizes the ankle and heel into a deep pocket. The heel area feels stiff and secure due to a harder TPU external support element, it holds the foot securely in the right place. Overall, the suede which is supported in different areas, did not lose its strength, which helps the shoe to keep its shape even after our 10 hour test. To sum it all up, comfort and stability are very good.
The Brandon Westgate’s New Balance Numeric 913 pro model exceeds expectations when it comes to durability, comfort and stability. A few elements that can use improvement includes the shoe’s flexibility of the sole and the boardfeel, which, compared to the overall excellent performance of the shoe, are rather small issues. New Balance has set the technical standard for a skate shoe in 2019 and we definitely recommend trying out a pair of the 913’s.