New Balance 610 v4Review Facts
“Be ready when adventure calls,” is the slogan for the New Balance 610 V4. Technically, this is a trail runner but New Balance sells it as an “all-terrain” running shoe. The design and construction of the 610 V4 makes for a versatile running companion. Runners with diverse needs will appreciate it for its ability to handle different types of terrain and offer the right amounts of cushioning and protection. The New Balance 610 V4 is like your all purpose SUV. It performs well on the mountain but still looks good on city streets.
Let’s dig into some of its finer details.
The AT (all terrain) outsole is designed for easy transition from various terrains: trail, dirt, road, gravel, etc. It contains directional lugs that offer plenty of bite on the trail but won’t get in the way when you’re running on the road
or any other flat surface. The outsole is constructed from sturdy rubber material that helps with traction and prolongs the lifespan of the shoe.
There are numerous ways to produce midsoles and a few brands have even patented their own techniques. Two common methods are compression and injection. Compressed midsoles, as the name suggests, utilize a compression method for production. Think of it as baking your favorite holiday cookies: once you’ve made your cookie dough, you spoon a measured amount into a mold that has the shapes of Christmas trees and other holiday emblems. Compressed midsoles are made by spooning a pre-measured amount of EVA material into a mold.
The injection process differs in that the EVA material is injected rather than compressed. It may not sound drastically different but the difference lies in the amount of used EVA material; the injection process uses less. The mold for injected EVA is 1/2 the size of the actual midsole (the mold in compression is the same size as the midsole). After some time, EVA material plumps up like a balloon with the end result being what you’ll find on the 610 V4 — a midsole that’s soft but lighter and bouncier than a standard compressed sole.
The upper consists of a no sew material application and synthetic overlays. These features ensure a snug and secure fit and help prevent any problems with slippage. You’ll also find protection and comfort features like breathable mesh, a padded tongue and padded collar, and overlays to provide support and structure for the top of the foot.
Keeping in mind that this is not your normal running shoe, the New Balance 610 V4 weighs a bit heavier than most standard running shoes, despite the fact that it’s advertised as a light-weight
trail runner. A pair weighs about 1lb. and 7 oz., or a little over 11 oz. for each shoe. It’s not exactly feather weight status so this is not the shoe for the competitive speedster. It works best for slow, long, and steady. For this reason, it’s a popular choice for ultra-marathoners and trekkers.
It’s not common to find a trail running shoe that can breathe deeply, as most of them emphasize traction and protection. Fortunately for us, New Balance made sure that this aspect was not neglected. The evidence is in the mesh material that surrounds the entire upper. The visible perforations go to show that there will be a steady supply of air flow to help your feet to stay cool and dry.
The injected EVA midsole provides cushioning support in order to give you a smooth and painless ride. It features a removable 5 mm footbed for added comfort. The interior is lined with thick padded fabric that is soft and pillowy, with added protection on the heel counter and tongue.
The 610 V4 sticks with a classic sneaker style look while still holding contemporary appeal. A saddle overlay construction provides the shoe with smooth and clean contours. There aren't a vast array of color options but sometimes less is more, and each available option provides enough personality to keep you looking stylish on the trail or elsewhere.
When you purchase a trail runner, you’re generally going to end up with better than average durability. Trail running calls for greater emphasis on protection and resiliency. The 610 V4 is no exception. It showcases a solid construction at every angle, and it's a shoe that's not going to wear thin on you.
Based on appearances alone, it’s evident that there’s aggressive protection as a whole. The 610 V4 has an elevated profile, especially on the rear where it has a raised heel cup. Protective features are found inside and outside. Interior protection is characterized by thick padding on the sides and heel, and outside protection is shown through tough synthetic overlays strategically placed to protect against nature’s elements
A piece of synthetic strip surrounds the split between the midsole and outsole. This layer protects against small fragments like rocks and it also helps to keep water out. The front part of the shoe is protected by a wide toe cap that covers the entire toe region.
Trail runners are not commonly known for being responsive. As a multi-purpose terrain shoe, it’s nice to know that New Balance did not ignore this detail. It was pointed out earlier that one of the differences between a compressed midsole and an injected midsole is in how the injection process creates a lighter platform with greater bounciness.
The injected midsole gets high marks from many of its users for its responsiveness. This is significant because as an all terrain shoe, it must prove that it can transition seamlessly through a changing landscape while not losing its ability to communicate with the ground. In other words, runners that transition over different types of terrain must feel like their shoes are working with them, not against them, to maintain a constant steady pace.
Users of the 610 V4 will feel supported in every direction: top to bottom and laterally. The midsole unit helps to maintain upright support while getting a boost from the removable footbed on the interior. We can gauge the level of upright support based on thickness of the midsole unit. The same can be said for lateral support based on the shoe’s elevated enclosures that help keep the foot locked and secure.
is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a trail shoe? or just a regular running shoe. The 610 V4 is a little bit of everything (minus any flight capabilities of course). Categorized under the “trail” genre, this all-terrain shoe is suitable for hiking trails, dirt trails, gravel, and paved roads. They can even be used as hiking shoes — and why not, considering you get great traction for a fraction of the weight of a typical hiking boot. One word of caution, however, would be to refrain from wearing these on highly rugged terrain (anything involving things like steep hills, heavy rocks, logs, etc). There are other shoes
better suited to handle such circumstances.
Upon reviewing opinions of other runners, there seems to be a significant consensus that you get a lot of bang for your buck. Price runs between the mid $50s to mid $80s; and we’d consider this to be quite a bargain, considering the amount of features and durability that you get in a pair. You also get the brand recognition and familiarity of a New Balance
shoe as icing on the cake.
Traction capabilities come from the directional lugs found on the outsole. The lugs on the front are pointed forward while the ones on the rear are pointed backwards. An arch plate divides the center of the outsole. The opposing direction of the front and back lugs help for traction as your foot transitions through the gait cycle. Therefore, as your rear foot hits the ground, the rear lugs grip and act as a barrier to protect against unsteadiness or any small particles that could cause you to lose your footing. The same idea applies to the front lugs.
Flexibility is mostly centralized on the front part of the shoe, where the height is lower. The higher elevated rear is thicker and bulkier, making it more difficult for the shoe to be malleable from this location. Flexibility might not be much of an issue if you’re pacing along a mountain trail. Under such circumstances, you’ll be more gracious for added cushion and protection. However, the 610 V4s limited flexibility will be noticeable on the road or on any flat surface where a runner is more likely to pick up the pace.
It’s a given that most trail runners will provide more aggressive stability than traditional running shoes. Trail conditions make it necessary for added stability because your feet will be doing more twisting, turning, and bending, as you tread through uneven surfaces. From the looks of it, you can confirm an aggressive stability system in place by the midsole’s thickness and high arch support. However, some users may feel that it’s a bit much and will feel restricted in their running motion. The aggressive stability
could be a significant issue for mid-foot and forefoot strikers.
The drop on the New Balance 610 V4 measures 12mm. There is a significant difference between the heel height and forefoot height. The major drawback of a high drop measurement is that it encourages bad landing habits. A high drop means your natural inclination will be to land on your heel rather than on your mid foot or forefoot, and this can increase your chance of injury.
•Injection molded EVA midsole provides cushion and responsiveness
•AT (All Terrain) outsole for terrain versatility
•Durable construction all throughout
•Directional lugs for improved grip and traction
•Synthetic and lightweight mesh upper for improved breathability
•Plush interior padding
•Elevated profile for increased stability
It’s tough to dissuade anything about a shoe that comes priced so cheaply because there are terrific things about the 610 V4 that should make anyone consider it as a viable option, especially anyone who logs many miles out on the trail. Let’s start off with some positives: It's well cushioned, supportive, and will keep you protected throughout your runs. It’s nice to have a shoe that’s heavy on protection but manages to feel comfortable and breathable at the same time. The best part is the outsole's "all terrain" versatility that can function as both a running and hiking shoe.
As far as drawbacks are concerned, it’s high drop measurement, weight, and bulkiness make it a questionable choice. It’s responsiveness could be seen as a negative but as we pointed out before, it might only be a factor if you intend to run with this shoe on flat even surfaces, which is not the wisest way to enjoy a pair of the 610 V4s. In sum, given it’s eye-popping price tag, the New Balance 610 V4 deserves your attention not only if you hit the trails on a regular basis but for anyone who might be interested in adding an extra pair of running shoes (or hiking shoes) for when the occasion calls for it.