New Balance WC 1187 Women's Shoe Review
- Toe durability
- Available in widths
- Limited ventilation
The WC 1187 is a good addition to the New Balance line-up. While some of the latest New Balance offerings have focused more on cushioned comfort, this shoe is designed for players who are looking for stability. Our testers were more than pleased with the lateral stability provided by the WC 1187, though the B width shoe felt wider than a standard medium, causing some slippage inside the shoe for our testers with narrower feet. The positive here is that New Balance does offer this shoe in the narrow 2A width. Though the focus may appear to be on stability, the New Balance cushioning systems impressed our team with plenty of comfort. Another comfort plus was the shoes needed little to no break-in. The one drawback of the WC 1187 was the lack of ventilation. The team found the shoe to run hot even when wearing thin socks. Overall, though, the WC 1187 got the job done, proving itself worthy for competitive players.
The WC 1187 stood out among its New Balance court shoe counterparts as soon as it hit the shelves. New Balance has traditionally stuck with classically styled white-based tennis shoes, especially in its women's offerings. This time, though, the New Balance designers drew from a wider spectrum of color and decided to have some fun. The result is the aggressively styled WC 1187, which in its Black/Pink/Silver style had our team chomping at the bit to test. To please more traditional tastes, there is a white-based shoe, too.
This eye-catching change helps show off what is at the heart of this new court shoe: stability technologies. The S-Curve stability system is popped with color and can be seen traveling from the forefoot through to the heel. This sturdy piece is designed to lock in a player's foot for protection during lateral moves.
We set out to see how the stylish new WC 1187 would hold up to the rigors of our testing. Here's what our team had to say after a month of playing on hard courts.
Comfort - Score: 3.8
With both Acteva foam and Abzorb cushioning, the WC 1187 impressed the team with its comfort level. Brittany settled into the shoes, saying, "When I first put the shoes on there was a very short period where I felt a slight pinch on the upper of my left shoe. After less than two hours of hitting the spot softened up and I didn't have any more problems. Overall, the shoe was comfortable in all the right areas and there wasn't too much extra cushioning in the heel."
Chloe agreed, adding, "I have feet with high arches and they are fairly wide, and I felt that my arches and feet were comfortable and supported. A little tight at first on the fit, but the shoes loosened up right away."
"When I first put them on I felt there might be too much padding in the upper of the forefoot, making it a little narrow and constraining," said Kana, who also has a wide foot. "After a hit, the upper loosened up and the uppers molded to my feet, making them very comfortable to play in."
Suzie offered, "The shoes were very comfortable to wear. I liked how they were tight around my ankles but still very comfortable."
Finding lasting comfort, Tiffani said, "I was pleased with the comfort from the first time I slipped my feet into these 1187s. The standard width shoe was a good fit, even with my wider forefoot, because the uppers were soft and pliable. The shoe has a good amount of cushioning that provides a soft, plush ride. I was also pleased with the quality of the cushioning. It was holding up well and didn't feel compacted at the end of the testing period."
Ventilation - Score: 2.9
The excellent cushioning, paired with the limited use of mesh in the uppers, made the shoe feel hot to our testing team. Still, Kana was satisfied. She said, "There was a fair amount of padding in the uppers that may have contributed to the lack of breathability. There isn't much mesh or perforations in the forefoot, so the front end got a little hot. I'd question wearing these on a really hot day, but overall it didn't affect the comfort too much."
Suzie felt there was room for improvement. She offered, "The ventilation in this shoe wasn't good, and I felt really sweaty and sticky after a long hit. I wanted to take my shoes off immediately."
Agreeing, Tiffani said, "This was an area I thought could be improved upon. The shoe felt well padded to me, and unfortunately, the drawback was my feet suffocated. I had to take these off immediately after playing."
Thin socks didn't help Brittany, who said. "Unfortunately, I found a lack of breathability with this shoe. When I played my feet would get pretty hot. I wear pretty thin socks and I still felt my feet sweating."
"I thought this shoe had very poor ventilation because the material on the top of the shoe wasn't breathable at all," said Chloe. "I wore the black shoe, and my feet got pretty hot while on the court."
Arch Support - Score: 4.3
Our testing team found the arch support of the WC 1187 worked for a variety of foot types. Tiffani said, "With my relatively flat feet, I measure the success of a shoe's arch support with one test: Do my arches ache when I'm wearing them? The WC 1187s passed with flying colors. I never had to think about my arches in these shoes, so that's a thumbs up from me."
Also with low arches, Kana concurred, "The arch support molded to my foot almost perfectly. The placement was in the right spot and provided the right amount of support."
Testers with medium height arches were just as pleased. Suzie offered, "I thought the arch support fit just right for my medium arches."
Brittany said, "I liked the arch that this shoe offered. The shoe's arch seemed to be just under a medium height, and I felt that the support hit my arches in all the right places. I felt no pain, and I felt the height to be just right for my medium arch foot."
Chloe, too, had positive experiences. She said, "I thought the arch support was excellent. I have high arches, and the shoe was able to support them. I thought the arch support was just right."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 3.7
The fit of the WC 1187 affected the testers' scores in the support and stability category. Those with medium to narrow feet felt the shoe was too wide. Suzie said, "The ankle support was great in these shoes, however, my foot did slide around inside the shoe in the forefoot. The shoe was too wide in the forefoot, allowing my foot to slide a bit."
"I really liked the stability at the beginning of the playtest," said Brittany, who put more than 20 hours on the shoes during the testing period. "The shoe had a glove-like fit that fully supported my ankle and foot. Unfortunately, when I got deeper into the playtest the upper really loosened up and my foot started to slip around in the shoe. My narrow foot width played to my disadvantage, and by the end of the playtest my foot was moving around when I was playing."
Also having sizing issues was Chloe, who said, "I thought this shoe did a pretty good job of holding my foot in place. I found that I was between an 8 and an 8.5, so my foot slid around a little bit in the shoe. I didn't feel like my ankles were going to roll over, but I did slide around on the court a bit because the traction wasn't the best."
Tiffani felt a wider fit worked to her advantage. She offered, "The first couple of times on the court I felt the shoe was getting pushed to what felt like the tipping point, but thankfully the shoe's stability features were enough to keep me up on my feet. The fit of the shoe was also good for my wider feet. I tend to ride on top of shoes instead of inside them because my feet are simply too wide. However, I sat low in these shoes, so I could benefit from the support and stability aspects of the 1187."
The 1187 bolstered Kana's confidence. She said, "I was able to be very aggressive on the court due to the support and comfort this shoe offered. I didn't feel like I was going to roll my ankle."
Sole Durability - Score: 3.7
The shoe features the New Balance NDurance outsole, which also comes with the NDurance guarantee. Our playtesters had a range of experiences. Pleased with durability, Suzie said, "I think the sole durability was one of the best things about this shoe. After hours of hitting, the soles still looked brand new."
Chloe added, "I thought that the shoes had fairly good durability. While definitely not the best compared to some shoes, they were much better than Nike shoes. The sole of my shoe wore out on the inner side of both shoes because I stop and then drag the medial side of my foot a little. I didn't find much wear anywhere other than on the bottom front of the shoe."
Tiffani, however, was skeptical. She said, "I was somewhat disappointed with the outsole durability. I've been back on the court after pregnancy for a couple of months now, but I'm still not moving as aggressively or playing as much as before. I would have expected to not see wear on my outsoles, but the tread in the medial forefoot started to get smooth within a month of just playing a couple of days a week."
It was a similar experience for Kana, who said, "I rarely put any wear on my shoes, only when the sole is softer than most, meaning there's a lack of durability. That's how the 1187s were. There was wear showing earlier than normal, causing the traction to lessen at a faster rate than usual."
Brittany said, "I would say this shoe has average sole durability. After a couple of hits I could see some smoothing in the forefoot. I am glad that it comes with an Ndurance outsole durability guarantee, as I would definitely take advantage of it."
Toe Durability - Score: 4.1
The Long-Wear Drag Tip withstood the abuse of our toe-dragging testers. Brittany said, "The thick toe bumper held up to my toe dragging, with ease. I liked that the silver colored bumper showed no sign of wear, and it came up high on the shoe to protect the shoe from any damage."
Suzie agreed, saying, "There was a really great guard on the shoe, so I had no problems with toe dragging."
"In contrast to the outsole, I was extremely pleased with the toe durability," said Tiffani. "Though I wasn't a fan of what the toe guard did for the cosmetics, it really did the job. The upper was completely protected, and I didn't do much damage to the bumper either."
Traction - Score: 3.5
The outsole and its modified herringbone tread pattern earned passing marks from the team. Chloe said, "These shoes tended to slip a little when I was starting up and changing directions. I actually only slipped twice, but I haven't done that before with any other shoe. The bottoms are a little slippery, but definitely not the worst that I've played with."
Tiffani, too, slipped some on the court. She said, "For the most part I was happy with the stick I was getting from the outsoles. However, I had some slippage issues when I was trying to take my first step to move in another direction. This seemed to be an issue of how the shoe was flexing more than lack of grip from the outsole, though. I say that because I never had issues with quick stops and because of something I noticed when I was just walking around. The shoe tended to slap down onto the ground rather than roll with my foot. This makes me think it was an issue of the shoe not making good contact with the court rather than poor grip. Still, I have to knock it down a couple of points in this category."
The shoe got it done for Brittany, who said, "I felt the traction of this shoe was adequate. The shoe had good grip when I was starting and stopping on the court. There were a few times when I was changing directions that I had a slight slip, but nothing out of the ordinary."
Kana added, "The traction wasn't the worst, but it wasn't the best. For me it hit the mediocre mark. It seemed like the sole had a soft construction, which contributed to wearing down the traction a little faster than I'm used to."
"I felt like I moved pretty well on the court," said Suzie. "I could move laterally, up and down, and stop and start without any major problems. The only thing I didn't like was my foot sliding around a bit inside the shoe."
Weight - Score: 3.7
At 12.4 ounces (size 8.5), the WC 1187's weight is about average, which satisfied our team. Kana said, "Usually the heavier the shoe the slower I feel. The weight was more than I liked, but the comfort made it feel like it was a part of my foot. I ended up feeling faster on the court in comparison to lighter shoes."
Brittany thought New Balance got it right in this category. She offered, "I liked the weight of this shoe. I would not consider the shoe super lightweight, but it felt quick on the court. I thought there was a perfect balance between being lightweight and maintaining stability."
Agreeing Chloe added, "I thought the weight was pretty good. This is a heavier shoe than the Nike Lunar Speed 2, but you could tell that they were stable and didn't feel flimsy. They weren't heavy to the point where they hampered speed, though. I thought there was good stability at an optimal weight."
Suzie also had no complaints, saying, "The shoes didn't seem heavy, nor did they seem light. It seemed like a mid-range weight, which I didn't mind."
"I'm rarely one to complain about weight," said Tiffani. "I comfortably play in the adidas Barricades, some of the heaviest shoes on the market. The WC 1187 didn't bother me at all. They didn't feel bulky on my feet, either."
Overall - Score: 3.6
Brittany - "I thought the toe durability was exceptional, and I liked the arch support."
Chloe - "I really enjoyed the cushioning and support that the shoe offered for my arches and wide feet. I also enjoyed the weight of the shoes. I found that they were pretty stable and comfortable while moving around the court."
Kana - "The comfort was excellent. The shoe felt like it was a part of my foot, making me feel faster on the court."
Suzie - "I liked that the shoes were comfortable, but also gave me really good and tight support around my ankles."
Tiffani - "These shoes were really comfortable. They offered a good fit with solid support for my wider feet."
Brittany - "The ventilation and the outsole durability were not up to par."
Chloe - "The only thing that I disliked about the shoes was that they got really hot and didn't allow for ventilation, while I played in the heat of Arizona. The traction could have been better on them, but it wasn't terrible."
Kana - "There was a lack of ventilation, making this shoe a bit hot."
Suzie - "The worst part about these shoes was the shoelaces breaking after about five sessions on the court. It was frustrating to play with long, broken shoelaces."
Tiffani - "The lack of ventilation was stifling."
Comparing the WC 1187 shoes to others they have played in, our testers said:
Brittany - "This shoe was about average for me. There were definitely parts I liked and disliked about it. The fit was a little wide to me and similar to the KSwiss BigShot. The durability was similar to the Asics Gel Resolution 3, showing wear around the toe area. Overall, I prefer the more narrow fit of the Nike Lunar Speed 2 or 3s."
Chloe - "I really enjoyed the fit of this shoe because they was really comfortable and supportive, especially if you have arch problems, compared to the Nike brand. I also thought they had much better durability than Nike shoes. They were comparable to the adidas Barricade II in terms of durability. I definitely love New Balance shoes, and I really enjoyed wearing and playing in this specific shoe because of how comfortable and easy it was to move around the court. The only negative I found is that they weren't as breathable as Nike or Asics shoes. I do prefer this shoe to most others."
Kana - "I rarely put any wear on my shoes, but I could see the sole wearing down faster than normal on this one. The ventilation wasn't as bad as the Asics Gel Resolution 3, but would be questionable on a hot day. Nevertheless, this shoe comes in at a very high overall rating because of the comfort and how fast I felt on the court."
Suzie - "Due to the broken shoelaces I wouldn't pick this shoe over any other shoe I've playtested. They really bothered me when I was playing If the shoe laces were changed in the next model I would give them another shot."
Tiffani - "These shoes remind me of the Prince T20s. They both have a slightly wider than medium fit and have loads of cushioning. I think they are equal in comfort, but the Prince shoe has the edge in durability. I think the New Balance takes it in the looks department, though."
Playtester Foot Types:
Brittany - Narrow width / Medium arch
Chloe - Wide width / High arch
Kana - Wide width / Low arch
Suzie - Wide width / Medium arch
Tiffani - Wide width / Low arch
Review date: August 2011. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
All content copyright 2011 Tennis Warehouse.