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8.5 oz | 4mm drop | $110 | newbalance.com
The Dirt: Designed to be worn with or without socks, this second rendition of New Balance’s popular trail shoe stays true to its minimalist roots with lightweight materials and a supple midsole.
The Vibram outsole pods shave weight by providing traction only where needed; a low ride maximizes “ground feel.”
A gusseted tongue to fend off trail debris and integrated rock plate boost the 1010v2’s ability to handle technical terrain.
Best For: Short-to-medium-distance runs in dry conditions, on a variety of trails. The 1010v2 is not ideal for pavement or hardpack.
Traction: Sticky Vibram outsoles do a stellar job gripping every kind of terrain. “I could land even the sketchiest footfall and stick it,” said one tester, “even on dust-covered or slick rocks.”
Fit: While the length of the 1010v2 fits true to size, the instep is quite snug and the toebox extraordinarily wide.
The Downsides: The super-wide toebox and subsequently sloppy fit was an issue for some testers who reported blisters on longer runs.
Tester-Monial: “This shoe really shined on steep stuff with loose rock. It made me want to find even steeper scree to see where the limit was.” –Nicole Blouin, Santa Fe, NM