Climbingjourney scoop after several long training hikes through muddy, rocky and smooth terrain and all kinds of weather.
When I started rock climbing, I was already an avid hiker; fit in back packing trips and loved anything outdoors for years. As a hiker, I always sought out long hiking journeys over a lot of interesting terrain and weather. When I started climbing, I learned hikes were called ‘approaches’. And these approaches were much shorter than the hiking I was accustomed to. As I climbed, I yearned for a light weight approach shoe that were easy to take on and off while climbing yet could get me through technical hiking around rocks. If I was not asking for too much, I also wanted super comfortable approach shoes. I bought a pair of Merrills that ran me about $150 and it took no time for my Vibram® rubber to wear out because I used them for everything and anything.
Now that I have more experience under my belt I have a few La Sportiva approach shoes I am researching (review to come soon), but in the meantime, I have been researching trail running shoes too. Why? I want those expensive approach shoes dedicated to climbing approaches only in order to have the rubber and shoe last longer and hopefully get more bang for my buck. The cheaper trail running shoes will be for everything else. I chose trail running shoes because of their name….by default they should have decent traction, and support, perfect for training hikes in various easy to moderate terrain and for running. I generally run 2-4 miles at a time thus I have no need for super technical and pricey running shoes.
In my research, I found that the 610 models from New Balance to be a pretty awesome shoe. If you look at various reviews they are mixed, but I tested out last season’s WT610GP model and here is why they work for me.
- You can find the current season’s model priced under $70 right from the New Balance website.
- You can find last season’s model at discount shoe stores well under $50.
- Even though they do not have Vibram® rubber soles, they have an amazingly good traction and grip for training hikes. I hiked recently a lot in California and also in the rain in various terrains and I felt pretty stable, and experienced no slipping. The reason for this is because they have an AT-tread design, which allow for decent traction in various terrains. I also read they have what New Balance calls N-Durance rubber which is supposed to last longer (fingers crossed!).
- They provide incredible stability even though they are not ankle height. I noticed the bottom frame of the shoe is wider which I think helps with stability. I hiked all over with these over rocky terrain and no ankle rolling nor did I feel at risk of hurting my ankles.
- They are really comfy yet do not feel bulky. I just did a 7 and 10-mile training hike with no discomfort during or after the hike. I researched this and it is because they outsole is designed with N-FUSE® foam which has a top softer cushion and a more dense bottom foam. Also they have IMEVA (injection-molded EVA foam) midsole, which provides flexibility. And lastly, they are a mixed mesh and synthetic material which makes them light weight. So with these 3 design components, you have a super comfortable, supportive yet lightweight shoe.
- I have medium to slightly wider feet and these shoes fit just right, not too tight, not to large, just right. I noticed a couple reviews that indicated they run small or narrow, but I have not run into this yet and I certainly do not have narrow feet. I wear an 8.5 with just about everything and that is the size that fit perfectly with these New Balance shoes.
- I noticed in my research this model generally comes in cool, darker colors. I have the model that is various shades of grey and a hint of pink. After hiking muddy, rainy terrain, my shoes still look great.
- And last, this may be insignificant, but I hate it when I have to double tie my shoelaces and when they either come undone or feel loose. After several long hikes with these shoes, I noticed I only tie them once and they stay on tight and have not come undone yet.
Hope this review helps, make sure to check out the newest 610 model trail running shoes at www.newbalance.com. Meanwhile I will continue enjoying these NB shoes and will be sharing a review soon on my favorite approach shoes.
Thank you New Balance for providing awesome shoes!