With the Vazee Summit, New Balance has developed a speed-oriented trail running shoe that allows runners to zip over the trails with few inhibitions. Those who remember the sleek and low-to-the-ground 790s shoe from almost a decade ago will appreciate the Vazee Summit, which has plenty of giddy-up-and-go but also a bit more under the foot than some previous New Balance trail racers. The erstwhile 790 more or less morphed into the very minimal New Balance 100, which then turned into a not-quite-so nimble MT 101, which went away for a few years and then came back last year. The Vazee Summit shares some of the low-to-the-ground and minimal qualities of those previous shoes, but only to a point. It’s built off the same performance-oriented last as the Vazee Pace, which means its light, flexible and snug in the heel and midfoot and a tad wider in the forefoot.
What makes the Vazee Summit so special though is that it has just enough lightweight cushioning and purposeful protection to be a versatile shoe for most types of conditions for most types of runners. (Think of it as a smart midpoint between the minimalist 101 model and the more burly Leadville v3 shoes.) The three key features of the Vazee Summit are the breathable mesh upper that’s reinforced by a durable film overlay, a flexible rock plate that runs from the tip of the toes to under the arch and an outsole rubber and medium-sized lugs that are equally tacky on both wet and dry surfaces. The Vazee Summit is an ideal racing or fast-running trail shoe for distances from 5K to marathon. Its sweet spot is fast-cadence running on smooth to mildly technical terrain, although it can hold its own on extremely rugged terrain for short periods of time.
This is the shoe for you if … You’re looking for a fast, go-to trail shoe for most types of off-road running.
Weights: 9.3 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 7.5 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm; 27mm (heel); 17mm (forefoot)
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