In past years, New Balance has been at the heart of the minimalist trend and it seemed for a while that they would remain there. As the interest of runners everywhere began to spread out, the team over at New Balance came out with two shoes to give that plus, smooth, maximal feel. The original 910 and 1210 were shoes that would go the distance and not punish the body. In this second evolution of the 910, the concept of being comfortable for a long time remained the focus, but speed also was taken into consideration.
The 910v2 is your classic everyday trail trainer. The outsole tells the story of a shoe ready to grab hold of all sorts of surfaces for maximum efficiency. A sticky rubber compound in the outsole is put in place for more security on wet rocks, and the numerous triangular-ish shaped lugs handle everything from soft, wet ground to packed trails like a pro. The multi-directional lugs also make sure you are as surefooted on ups and downs as you are on the flats.
One of the best features about this shoe is the protection it provides. Buried within the midsole is a protective layer called the Rockstop. Many trail shoes have their own form of thin, protective membrane but the underfoot fortification of the 910v2 is very significant. Even on some of the gnarliest, sharp rock-filled trails, you wont have to be concerned with underfoot bruising. This aggressive rock plate does add a bit of stiffness to the shoe, and can cause the heel to slip in the first few runs. Once the shoe is broken in a little, the forefoot flexibility loosens up a little.
Sometimes these everyday trail shoes can feel clunky and weighed down, but fortunately this doesn’t fit into that trend. The reason the 910v2 feels light and snappy, even with it’s extensive and protective construction, is because the midsole is made of New Balance’s REVlite cushioning. This is the same material used in many of their road racing and lightweight training shoes. REVlite provides a snappy feel that pops off the ground, and in this case, off the rocks and roots too! Sitting on an 8mm heel-to-toe offset, the 910v2 is adaptable for someone coming from a traditional shoe as well as still nimble enough for someone used to a more reduced shoe in search of extra protection.
To create the upper of the 910v2, New Balance used layers of durable mesh secured by thicker, solid-material overlays. Along with the stiff heel counter and toe protection that wraps around the sides of the foot, the upper holds in place well. Some runners with a narrower foot may feel that the 910v2 feels a little boxy, however. After a few runs the upper loosens up a little to make the fit slightly more pliable. New Balance also provides us with a back eyelet on the lacing to secure the heel fit, just in case the foot feels some of the aforementioned heel slippage.
Ultimately, this is a very progressive shoe by New Balance. Just ask Elizabeth “Liza” Howard; this year’s women’s winner of the 2015 Leadville Trail 100 Run. The New Balance 910v2 was one of her chariots to victory, and a 6th place overall finish! It is comfortable for the long haul but can still handle the speed. This shoe is not just for ultrarunners, but if you are looking to go the distance, it’ll handle the terrain with ease.
Comparable shoes: Brooks Cascadia, Asics Fuji-Trabuco, Montrail Bajada.