The outsole of the 610 V4 is made of AT (all-terrain) technology, which has been designed for easy transitions between various terrains while also enhancing stability. It features multi-directional lugs that offer plenty of bite on the trail but won’t get in the way when you’re running on any flat surface
. This aggressive outsole is divided by a large vertical groove that runs through the center, while the lugs have an arrowhead-like arrangement, with the front and rear lugs facing in opposite directions to ensure enhanced traction on difficult terrains. The outsole is constructed from a sturdy rubber material that helps with traction and prolongs the overall lifespan of the shoe.
There are numerous ways to produce midsoles, the two most common methods being compression and injection. Compressed midsoles are made by spooning a pre-measured amount of EVA material into a mold. The injection molding process differs in that the EVA material is injected directly into the midsole area of a shoe rather than compressed. The most significant difference lies in the amount of EVA material used; the injection process uses less. The mold for injected EVA is half 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 is found on the 610 V4—a midsole that’s soft but lighter and bouncier than a standard compressed sole. In particular, the EVA compound used in the 610 V4 is Acteva Lite, a proprietary compound with excellent cushioning
, compression, quick recovery, and overall durability. Not only is the midsole of the 610 V4 one of its highlights, but it’s a rather unique approach to cushioning technology that has paid off in this edition.
The upper of the 610 V4 consists of a no-sew material application and synthetic overlays. The overlays ensure a snug and secure fit after lace-up gives structure to the upper and helps prevent potential slippage. The breathable seamless mesh of the upper is both comfortable and offers great ventilation, while its padded tongue and collar help secure and cushion the foot in the foot chamber.
Keeping in mind that the 610 V4 is still a trail shoe at its core, it weighs a bit heavier than most standard running shoes despite the fact that it’s advertised as a lightweight trail runner. Weighing in at 10.5 ounces/298 grams, it’s not exactly featherweight status, so this is not the shoe for the competitive speedster. But for long, paced runs and for those looking for a sturdy all-terrain shoe, this weight will not be a problem.
It’s uncommon to find a truly breathable trail running shoe, that can breathe deeply, as most emphasize traction and protection over ventilation. Fortunately, the 610 V4 did not neglect this much-needed element. The evidence is in the mesh material that comprises the upper. Its visible perforations guarantee a steady supply of air flow to keep runners’ feet cool and dry.
The injected Acteva Lite EVA midsole provides a great amount of cushioning and support that provides a smooth and painless ride. Besides this, the 610 V4 features a removable 5mm footbed for added comfort. The interior is lined with thick padded fabric that is soft as a pillow, with added protection on the heel counter and tongue.
The 610 V4 sticks with New Balance’s classic sneaker look while still holding contemporary appeal. A saddle overlay construction provides the shoe with smooth and clean contours. There isn’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. In other words: it’s a trail shoe that looks like a sneaker but performs like a trail runner.
When you purchase a trail shoe, in general, it’s going to have better than average durability. Trail running calls for greater emphasis on protection and resiliency in the shoe’s overall construction and 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 out quickly.
For a (relatively) lightweight trail runner, the 610 V4 features a fair amount of protection. With its elevated profile, especially on the rear where it has a raised heel cup, runners will feel safe from detritus and hazards on the trail and road. Protection inside the shoe is characterized by thick padding on the sides and heel, and its outside protection is found in its 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. However, this is not as rugged as many other trail shoes.
Trail runners are not known for being responsive. But as the 610 V4 is a multi-purpose terrain shoe, it’s nice to know that New Balance did not ignore this detail. As pointed out earlier, 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 610 V4’s injected midsole gets high marks from many runners for its responsiveness. This is significant because as an all-terrain shoe, the 610 V4 must be able to transition seamlessly over a variety of terrains. In order to accomplish this, it must be responsive and provide the runner with good surface control and feel.
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. The same can be said for lateral support based on the shoe’s elevated enclosures that help keep the foot locked and secure. However, this shoe is built for neutral runners in mind, so those that suffer from under or overpronation may need to insert a separate insole to address these problems.
Is it a trail shoe or just a regular running shoe? The answer is both. The 610 V4 is a little bit of everything. Categorized under the “trail” genre, this all-terrain shoe is suitable for hiking trails, dirt trails, hybrid 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 very steep inclines, heavy rocks, logs, etc). There are other trail running shoes
better suited to handle such terrains. But outside of the extreme, terrain-wise the 610 V4 is one of the most versatile trail runners in recent memory.
Perhaps the best motivator for anyone considering the purchase of the 610 V4 is its outstanding price point. While its introductory price is itself moderate and highly affordable since some time has passed from its first release the price point has dropped significantly. This means that anyone in the market for a (relatively) lightweight, durable, breathable all-terrain shoe will find—dollar for dollar--the New Balance 610 V4 their best option.
The traction of the 610 V4comes from its directional lugs on the outsole. The lugs placed in the forefoot are pointed forward while the ones on the heel are pointed backward. An arch plate divides the center of the outsole. The opposing directions of the front and back lugs help for traction as your foot transitions through the gait cycle. Therefore, as the foot hits the ground, the rear lugs grip and act as a barrier to protect against unsteadiness or any small particles that could cause the runner to lose your footing. The same idea applies to the front lugs. Its traction is all-terrain, suitable for both paved surfaces and trails alike.
The flexibility of the 610 V4 is mostly centralized in the forefoot, where the height is lower. The higher elevated heel is thicker and bulkier, making it 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, but on paved surfaces, this may be an issue and may be noticeable on such terrain.
It’s a given that most trail runners provide more aggressive stability than traditional running shoes. Trail conditions make it necessary for additional stability because the runner’s feet will be doing more twisting, turning, and bending as they tread upon uneven surfaces. The 610 V4’s aggressive stability system is due to 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. This sort of aggressive stability
could be a significant issue for mid-foot and forefoot strikers.
The drop on the New Balance 610 V4 measures 12mm. 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 midfoot or forefoot, and this can increase your chance of injury
•Injection molded Acteva Lite EVA midsole provides great cushioning and responsiveness
•AT (all-terrain) outsole for terrain versatility
•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 pass up a trail shoe that’s so affordably priced, especially one as versatile as the 610 V4. Its comfortability, breathability, relatively lightweight, and all-terrain appeal make it a viable option for anyone who logs numerous miles both on and off the trail. 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. While its height drop and somewhat bulky nature may not appeal to all runners, its responsiveness and—again—price make it a trail runner that’s tough to walk away from. For runners that enjoy the trail, hikers looking for a lighter option, or runners that are looking for a little adventure, the New Balance 610 V4 strikes a great deal and follows through every step of the way.