World Balance is a familiar footwear brand in the Philippines dating back years that if you grew up in the country, chances are you had tried their pair at least once when you were a kid (including myself). World Balance is known for providing reasonably-priced footwear for different audiences but not the running segment—until recently.
I was lucky enough that the people behind World Balance stumbled upon yours truly and offered me a chance to try out their latest offering for running. They showed me their lineup and I was impressed that they have many models of varying price ranges to choose from. And the best part about the lineup was the price—the top of the line goes for an SRP of only ₱1,999! My jaw probably dropped in astonishment! I think I have running shirts that cost more than that!
After much deliberation in my head on which model I’d like to review, I picked the Topnotcher. With a name like Topnotcher, you can expect it to be the best in the lineup. And I really liked its design and the black and yellow color combination. The question now is, how would a ₱1,999 shoe fare against shoes three or more times its price?
My first test of the World Balance Topnotcher was on the treadmill. It rained during the day I decided to test it so a quick 1K on the treadmill was the first quick test.
Initially I was really skeptical on the quality of the soles. Shoe brands have always associated technical terminologies and complicated technologies with their soles to justify their exclusive price tag so you have to wonder how a much cheaper one would stack up against it. Visually speaking, Topnotcher’s soles don’t look very much apart from those of popular shoe brands so it would really have to boil down to an actual run.
To my pleasant surprise, Topnotcher’s soles were actually very much similar to my much more expensive shoes! To tell you the truth if I wore this without knowing the brand beforehand, I wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s from World Balance! From the weight to how the soles bend, it’s practically the same!
In terms of materials, it looks a bit heavy and not so breathable but when you actually wear it, it’s not. The black color of the shoe makes it look like one thick, heavy, and hot material, but if you looked at it closely, you can see light coming through it! And the overall weight of the shoe is actually very competitive with the lightweight trend other shoe companies are coming out with. I have more expensive shoes that are heavier than the Topnotcher!
In terms of comfort, Topnotcher exceeded my expectations. Like I previously mentioned, I thought it was going to be hot and heavy, but it was on the contrary. Topnotcher was fairly breathable, light, and most of all, very comfortable. I didn’t have any issues running with it at 15kph on the treadmill! No slips, no blisters, no discomfort!
The real test for any running shoe would of course be on the road. And it can’t get any real than running it on the open roads of Makati and Bonifacio Global City. This test included brisk walking and running on different surfaces—from the tiled pavement of the business district of Makati, to concrete, asphalt, and everything in between of the roads leading to BGC.
Walking was quite comfortable. The shoe fits snugly without being tight. It’s not heavy so you probably won’t consciously think about it. Running was equally pleasant. It grips the road quite well at par with other brands. To be honest, I didn’t even feel that I’m wearing a ₱1,999 shoe! I felt that I’m wearing some good and comfortable shoes. Period.
To summarize, here are my overall impressions on the Topnotcher:
- Very affordably priced at ₱1,999
- Good traction
- Only a single color option: Black/yellow
World Balance Topnotcher can live up to its name as being a topnotcher. It is an unexpectedly great shoe. As World Balance mentioned, “it is for those who are looking for quality-made shoes for these activities at a very reasonable price” and with the case of the Topnotcher, reasonable doesn’t mean of questionable quality. I have more than a dozen pairs of running shoes, all much more expensive than the ₱1,999 Topnotcher, but I can safely say that Topnotcher can proudly join their ranks! World Balance really outdid themselves with the Topnotcher by creating a shoe that can seriously match much more expensive shoes. Why buy “old” shoes during sales when you can buy a new pair at an even cheaper price? This is a great deal for those who have just started or are just planning to start running. Even seasoned runners may be surprised on how well this shoe performs. I won’t hesitate giving World Balance Topnotcher my seal of approval!
The Topnotcher is available at World Balance boutiques and leading department stores nationwide.
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