New Balance Summit KOM Trail Shoe Review

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New Balance Summit KOM Trail Shoe Review Review Facts
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The New Balance Summit KOM, or King of the Mountain, was designed to handle the most rugged terrains. With a wide range of protective features, this trail running shoe can handle everything from harsh rocky trails to heavy rain and snow.

Its Vibram outsole runs the full length of the underfoot for highly durable and secure traction, and its REVLite midsole provides the runner with highly enhanced responsiveness. Sandwiched in between these units is a ROCKSTOP layer, which acts as a shield against sharp and jagged surfaces. And its breathable mesh upper is outfitted with multiple synthetic overlays, a stabilizing outer panel, and a Toe Protect forefoot guard to further prevent possible injuries.

While all of these features sound impressive, multiple reviews show that it does lack in certain areas. Buyers claim that it’s uncomfortably stiff and heavy, and its fit is much narrower than they expected.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Highly durable

-Incredible traction

-Responsive midsole

-Supportive cushioning

Cons

-Very stiff wear

-Feels unusually heavy

-Narrower than average

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Many footwear brands have relied on Vibram to create outsoles for their trail running and hiking models since they’re known for their enhanced durability and traction. New Balance has done the same with their Summit KOM, providing a full-length unit that completely protects both the midsole and the rest of the underfoot.

Its tread pattern is comprised of a series of multi-directional gripping lugs, which are more tightly clustered at the forefoot and heel, for an incredibly strong grip on multiple surfaces both wet and dry. Deep flex grooves are also added to the forefoot area, although reviews indicate that they do little to make its wear less stiff.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

New Balance utilizes its trademarked REVLite technology for the Summit KOM’s midsole unit. According to several listings, it’s engineered to be at least 30 percent more responsive and durable than standard materials. This, in turn, makes it excellent for trail runners, as they’re afforded long-lasting support that can keep them powered-up for longer.

Added protection comes in the form of a ROCKSTOP plate, layered between the outsole and midsole, which prevents sharp or jagged objects from penetrating the underfoot. A removable insole also provides an added layer of cushioning, and it can easily be replaced with a custom insert if the runner prefers.
Upper
Upper

Upper

A breathable mesh fabric is used to construct the Summit KOM’s upper, ensuring plenty of ventilation while also keeping out dirt and debris. While printed-on overlays ensure structure and increased durability, a synthetic panel wraps around the sides and heel and integrates with the lacing system to ensure a more secure and stabilizing wear.

The brand’s specialized Toe Protect forefoot guard is secured to the front to safeguard against accidental impact. Finally, a padded tongue and collar aid the lacing system in keeping the foot locked into place.
Weight
Weight

Weight

On the surface, the Summit KOM doesn’t seem like it would weigh any more than the average trail running shoe. Multiple listings claim that it only weighs around 11 oz., which is quite standard for shoes with its exact same function. And the fact that it looks like a typical running shoe leads buyers to believe that it would be very easy to wear.

However, multiple reviewers have stated that this model feels quite heavy when it’s worn. Normally this would lessen after some time, but buyers have noticed it continuously no matter how long they’ve worn it. Furthermore, its clunky and cumbersome wear leaves them with a great deal of pain by the end of their runs.
Breathablity
Breathablity

Breathablity

The Summit KOM’s mesh upper allows it to provide the runner with an incredible amount of breathability. It’s completely exposed along the forefoot as well as parts of the sides and around the ankles. With help from the shoe’s inner lining, air can reach hotspots where they occur most often and help keep the foot cool and dry during warm weather and high-intensity runs.

Of course, this quality is restricted quite a bit by the shoe’s overlays as well as the wraparound panel. Still, reviewers don’t seem to mind, as air is able to reach the areas where it’s needed most.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

One area where the Summit KOM falls horribly short is its overall level of comfort. Reviewers are clearly satisfied with its midsole’s responsiveness and support, and they greatly appreciate how breathable its mesh upper is. They have also taken note of its stabilizing wear and how much it reduces the likelihood of injuries and accidents.

However, a large number of buyers claim that its bulky and heavy wear leaves them with a great deal of pain by the time they have completed their runs. And despite the fact that it’s available in different widths, others have stated that it fits much narrower than average. Needless to say, it's highly recommended that the buyer try this shoe on first before they decide to make a purchase.
Style
Style

Style

While many reviewers are unhappy with its wear, they are at least impressed with its overall style. Its various materials provide an incredible combination of textures, and the paint-splatter effect near the back make this shoe particularly eye-catching to buyers. And as with all New Balance shoes, its ‘N’ logo is featured prominently on both sides.

This model is also available in four separate colorways, all of which could pair well in both athletic and casual environments. Buyers can choose between Magnet/Hi-Light, UV Blue/Pigment, Phantom/RGB Green, and Flame/Black.
Durability
Durability

Durability

According to multiple online reviews, one of the Summit KOM’s greatest selling points is how durable it is. Its Vibram outsole can take most of the credit for this, as it’s been specially engineered to withstand multiple runs on harsh surfaces. Its REVLite midsole is also created to be 30 percent sturdier than standard materials, and the inclusion of a ROCKSTOP shields against trail hazards to help it last even longer.

And while the mesh upper would typically be unfit for trails, this one has been heavily outfitted with printed-on overlays and a wraparound panel to ensure that it resists wear and tear. All of these features combined means that runners can confidently take this pair out into all types of rugged environments without having to worry about any kind of premature damage.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Almost all of the Summit KOM's features offer protection in some way, shape, or form.

The full-length Vibram outsole not only ensures durable and secure traction on challenging terrains, but it also safeguards the rest of the shoe from potential damage. Its ROCKSTOP plate enhances this further by acting as a shield against sharp and jagged surfaces. And the REVLite midsole provides substantial cushioning and support while also lessening the overall impact.

While the upper's breathable mesh material reduces foot odor and irritation, yet also blocks out debris, its overlays work to prevent premature wear and tear. Even greater protection is provided by the wraparound panel, which hugs the foot tightly and integrates with the lacing system to prevent accidental removal. And, of course, the Toe Protect forefoot guard acts as a bumper against possible impact.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Despite all of its faults, multiple reviewers have praised the Summit KOM for its highly responsive wear. New Balance’s REVLite midsole technology is engineered to have up to 30 percent more shock absorption and energy transfer than standard materials. This means that runners are likely to experience far less pain and fatigue by the end of their runs and are able to keep going for much longer than they would with EVA foam.

With that said, however, this model’s unusually bulky and heavy wear may lessen this quality for some. This would be especially apparent for those with a smaller build or those who are new to trail running.
Support
Support

Support

Along with its responsiveness, the Summit KOM’s REVLite midsole also provides runners with a great deal of underfoot support. With a heel height of 24mm and a toe height of 16mm, it’s substantial enough to cushion for hours and safeguard against potential hazards. This is enhanced greatly by the protective ROCKSTOP plate as well as the removable insole.

Even the upper offers a decent amount of support thanks to its wraparound panel, padded collar, and lacing system. All three of these features work together to prevent over-flexing and keep the foot as steady as possible.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Considering its name, the Summit KOM was clearly designed to be used frequently in rugged environments. Not only is it able to carry the runner across uneven or sharp rocky trails, but it also works just as well in thick forests. It can transition easily onto paved roads and keeps the runner safeguarded against jagged hazards and outside debris.

Buyers are relieved to know that this model works in various forms of weather. It maintains its grip in both rain and snow and can even keep the runner balanced as they move across muddy surfaces. In addition, there are some reviewers who claim that this shoe has a decent amount of water resistance against puddles and various splashes.
Price
Price

Price

The Summit KOM is definitely on the lower side of average when it comes to its pricing. Across all online retailers from Zappos and Running Warehouse to the New Balance website, it’s listed for only $120. Even lower prices can also be found on Amazon or eBay for those who are looking for a better deal.

Based on this shoe’s reviews, however, it’s unclear if it’s actually worth the price. While buyers do love its responsive cushioning and dependable traction, they’re unhappy with its heavy and unusually stiff wear. Therefore, it would definitely be wise to try this shoe on before going ahead and making a purchase.
Traction
Traction

Traction

All trail running shoes have to provide an incredible level of traction, and the Summit KOM definitely does not disappoint. Its full-length Vibram outsole has a tread pattern that’s comprised entirely of tri-pointed, multi-directional gripping lugs. They are most tightly clustered at the forefoot and heel to ensure a particularly strong grasp where it’s needed most.

Thanks to this design, runners have been able to run securely across both rocky and forest trails in various forms of weather. The only downside that some have pointed out is that rocks have been known to get caught in its crevices.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

While it’s not uncommon for trail running shoes to be more on the rigid side, reviewers claim that the Summit KOM is uncomfortably stiff. Even after attempting to break it in for some time, this shoe still feels unusually difficult to move around in. Although this can be attributed to both the Vibram outsole and the wraparound synthetic panel that covers much of its upper, there are plenty of similarly designed shoes on the market that don’t have this exact same issue.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Summit KOM’s stabilizing wear starts off with its Vibram outsole, as its multidirectional gripping lugs are able to keep the runner secure even as they move across challenging terrains. Its REVLite midsole’s responsiveness also works to steady the runner by lessening the overall impact and ensuring that they stay powered up for longer.

Most of this shoe’s stability seems to come from its upper, which is outfitted with printed-on overlays and a synthetic panel that completely hugs the forefoot and sides. Furthermore, this feature is integrated with the lacing system to ensure an even more lockdown fit that won’t budge at any point during a challenging run.
Drop
Drop

Drop

Like many other trail running shoes, the Summit KOM features a heel-to-toe drop height that’s lower than the average 10mm measurement. With a heel height of 24mm and a toe height of 16mm, this shoe’s 8mm drop provides plenty of heel support without interrupting the runner’s natural gait cycle.

Those who are more athletic typically prefer a lower drop platform, as it encourages better posture and provides a greater sense of balance while moving across challenging terrains. Even so, the size of its midsole means that it still gives them a great deal of underfoot cushioning.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-Durable Vibram outsole
-Responsive REVLite midsole
-ROCKSTOP plate for added protection
-Mesh upper with printed-on overlays
-Synthetic wraparound panel
-Toe protect forefoot guard
-8mm heel-to-toe drop height
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

New Balance definitely had the potential to create something amazing when they designed their Summit KOM trail running shoe. It's highly durable, provides incredible traction and protection and ensures a supportive and very responsive wear. And the fact that all of this is wrapped up in such an appealing design is an added bonus.

Unfortunately, the brand missed the mark on a number of important qualities. Not only is this model uncomfortably narrow for a number of buyers, but its wear is also unreasonably stiff even after weeks of breaking it in. And its unusually heavy wear leaves runners feeling a great deal of pain by the end of the day.

All-in-all, this shoe has proven to be quite polarizing amongst buyers. Those who love it consider it to be a staple for their trail running. And those who hate it have immediately switched to another model altogether.