New Balance Vazee Summit
As a decidely lightweight neutral daily trail trainer/runner/racing shoe, the New Balance Vazee Summit seems to bundle up all a trail runner could desire to feel confident to achieve peak performance. Preceded by the much loved but retired MT110 series, the Vazee Summit was released but not with just some minor tweaking to the original MT100 design. One review suggests that the entire blueprint seems to have been scrapped in favor of modeling one of New Balance’s respected racing flats, the RC1400, as the building block. With some of the more renowned names in the trail and ultrarunning arena nailing some great races while sporting long distance racing flats, a lightweight shoe with extra protection and grit for the trails seems like a great progression. So New Balance stepped in and took this concept and adapted it to incorporate protection adequate to cover any trail terrain.
Garnering mostly favorable feedback, the New Balance Vazee Summit seems to have found a place in this niche but there are still some areas that could be built upon for an even greater experience for the runner looking to tackle the trails. Some feel that, initially, the upper is tighter and more narrow, but found it later to loosen up a bit to fit well while still locking down the foot. This security of fit is a huge plus when racing downhills when the foot can jam against the front of the foot or sway laterally setting one up for injury and at least discomfort. And, some found that the support offered did not meet the needs of the high arch runner and with a narrow fit it left little room for orthotics. But, by and large, with all it has to offer, it looks like New Balance is on the right track … or trail.
Overwhelmingly positive feedback yields favorable reviews for the New Balance Vazee Summit's performance claiming it is durable, comfortable, and tough making all terrain its playground.
The oustole incorporates hydrofusion rubber that is exceptionally good at handling wet conditions.
The large lugs of the outsole are also made of this hydrofusion rubber and prevent slipping by not accumulating mud and debris.
Most find the FantomFit wrap inside the upper and its breathable mesh to feel very comfortable.
The 3/4 rockplate provides additional protection against rocks and roots but because of the soft sole unit, the shoe does not lose flexibility making this shoe feel extra responsive.
This trail runner is very lightweight and fits securely making for a swift ride.
For all its features, the Vazee Summit is considerably more affordable than comparable models.
The New Balance Vazee Summit seems to have a more snug feel. Even, if by design for security, some feel it is too narrow to be comfortable.
Some feel the new fit offers little support to those with high arches and the snug fit precludes the use of orthotics.
With a higher drop of 10mm concerning some, most found it to feel significantly lower and more comfortable than expected.
FantomFIT wrap is a thin, stretchy material that encapsulates the foot within the walls of the upper, creating a sock like fit. The plastic heel cup helps keep the foot in place and the lined collar helps it do so comfortably.
lightweight socks, really helped them feel more comfortable with the shoe as it gradually seemed to conform somewhat to the foot. Still, some found the shoes to still feel too small despite the upsizing and lamented having to return them as they liked the shoe otherwise. But, with its softer than expected sole unit and the soft padded collar and tongue and the FantomFit wrap of the upper, many felt that comfort was acceptable and some reviewers even claimed that these shoes temporarily alleviated the pain of plantar fasciitis.
There were a handful of reviews singling out concerns with the sole separating from the heel and a little tearing of the upper but, by and large, the feedback was exceedingly positive in this area. Beyond its sole unit built for toughness and its well constructed upper securing the foot, the upper also contributed to the shoe's longer life with its ability to drain water well too.
Also protecting the foot is the construction of the upper, with its multiple synthetic overlays and toe cap that protect the feet from debris. The upper is also crafted with breathable mesh that has been cited as draining water well which precludes the wearer from enduring sweaty and wet feet that could lead to discomfort or injury. Most seem to find this shoe moderately protective.
One of the highlights in the New Balance Vazee Summit is its FantomFit upper. Lightweight, thin, and soft, it fits the foot like a wrap-around slipper, helping to keep it from moving as it glides over the trails. Most found this feature to be a welcome addition. Despite this, the secure fit did not offer enough support to meet the needs of the high arch runner - and the already narrow fit left little room for orthotics.
Protecting the toes from damaging impacts is the Toe Protect toe cap with added welded overlays in the area. Some felt this did not really stand out as offering much additional protection.
Additionally, another support feature is the inclusion of traditional flat laces with a stability hole in the upper. A few wearers thought they could be longer, some thought they were unremarkable, and some were pleased by the simplicity of the laces.
Based on the last of the New Balance RC1400 racing flat with the protection and grit of a solid trail kick, this shoe really is an amalgamation of the best of both worlds. With its hydrohesion rubber, it gains the ability to run with confidence in wet conditions, the strategically patterned 4.5mm lugs are well-suited to tackle more tricky surfaces, the 3/4 rockplate that still retains flexibility of movement allows for trickier terrain with roots and rocks, its snug-fitting upper works to hold the foot in place while barreling downhill. It seems this shoe can handle however the trails challenge it.
The hydrohesion rubber compound of the sole contribute to its effective handling in wet conditions.
The outsole's 4.5mm lugs are perfect for not trapping mud and debris and provide a stable and gritty base for technical terrain.
After an initial break-in period, most found this shoe to be very comfortable and responsive.
Tending to run small and narrow, it aims to lock the saddle of the foot in place, but this sizing makes it not the right shoe for those with wider feet.
Most are pleased with the overall style.
There may be some that have legitimate concerns over sizing despite the shoe's availability in normal and wide width, but overall, it is well-received. There are those that lament that the MT100 series has been discontinued and were hesitant to give this shoe a try. By and large, most did not regret it: this is no replacement, but rather a whole different shoe that many feel really improves on what a trail shoe should be. It's racing flat inspired blueprint and rugged trail features make it a standout. Add in its reasonable asking price and this is a must try!