Light, Fast & Free: 2014 Summer Trail Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

New Balance NB Zero v2

New Balance NB Zero v2, $110

8.8 oz. (men’s), 7.1 oz. (women’s)

21 mm (heel), 21 mm forefoot


Fit: The fit is reliably secure from heel to toe, with a standard-sized toe box.

Feel: This low-to-the-ground model is light on cushioning, but it has a moderately reinforced upper and an aggressively lugged outsole that helps keep the foot slightly out of harm’s way. It’s fairly light and runs well on a lot of types of terrain, but the zero-drop profile and rather thin amount of material under the foot renders this shoe best for strong, agile runners.

Ride: With it’s fell-inspired knobby-lugged outsole, the Zero is right at home running over loose gravel and dirt, as well as wet, sloppy terrain. The lugs are grippy enough on rocky terrain, too, but the shoe’s lack of built-in stability and cushioning becomes pretty apparent on longer runs on technical terrain. The ride isn’t quite as smooth on hard-packed trails like some true hybrids, but it can still get the job done. “Amazing traction,” said one wear-tester. “I love the fit and the grip of this model,” said another tester.

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