New Balance 992s – Not good for lower back pain

Many folks who suffer from lower back pain are told – “buy New Balance sneakers”.

The mistake comes in where folks follow the hype and buy what is a terrific running sneaker – New Balance’s 992s.

I can understand why. I’ve seen Steve Jobs wearing them for goodness sakes.

And yeah, I actually bought a pair.

But here’s the thing, that particular sneaker does not help back pain sufferers. In fact, I believe can trigger low back pain when they are mis-worn. Which is wearing them for a purpose other than running. 992s are running sneakers with additional cushioning in the heal for the hammering they take during jogging or running. This additional cushioning elevates your heal, adding pressure to your legs and encouraging your back into a posture that isn’t helpful while walking.

And if you are suffering low back pain, like me, you’re not running all that much.

After following some advice found in this message forum I went out and bought some Clarks and Pumas. There is a notable difference when standing or walking. Richelle’s mom has sung the praises of Clarks for her knee pain for a while.

So it was great to read in New York Magazine that this approach made sense.

Related: Boing Boing thread on the previously mentioned article and subject.

7 responses

  1. I have had the same problem from NB 757 that I recently bought. Point of first contact is so far back that it creates a lever that makes foot slapping the surface. It is impossible go downhill properly because of it. It changed a little bit my posture at 8:00 pace so after 14 miles last Saturday I had a massive lower back discomfort that ended up with back pain after side jump during tennis game at Sunday evening.
    I experienced the same similar result from Spira Genesis 2 but less severe. Four years of using Nike Maxair gave me nothing but joy and nice pace with less efforts compare to NB and Spira. Maxair are expensive and air babbles life is short but I am with them again anyway.

  2. I have had the 992’s for 3 months. I have major lower back pain, i have a medtronics pacemaker installed in my back to help block the pain, i have compression fractures of T11 and 12 and a whole mess in the lower part.
    these sneakers are great, i am on my feet 12 hrs + a day and they help limit the numbness i get in my legs and hips, and relieves the some of the overall back pain.
    makes my day much less painful.

    draw back: the price…
    and new balance never last me more then 3 months, the sole is almost worn through, have to buy another pair in the next 2 weeks.

  3. I’m happy you are happy with the 992s. My experience has taught me that since I walk all of the time, a shoe engineered for running was counter productive to easing my lower back pain.

  4. hi karl,
    which Clarks and Puma sneakers did you find to be the best for your lower back pain? i also tried the new balances, and they only made my lower back hurt more.
    thanks.

  5. Excellent. Thanks, Karl. I currently have Clark Wallabees that seem to work well. I think I’ll give the Adidas Goodyear sneakers a try.

  6. This is intersting, a Yahoo! Answers users asked if my favorite shoes are worth buying with back pain:

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090517210438AAya3XT

    Of course the conventional wisdom was applied – big cushioned heals.

    As far as I can tell, unless I’m running, the big heals hurt rather than help.

    The Goodyears have a decent arch, but practically no heal, and they’ve been a bit of a revelation.

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