Training day, race day … and all the trail miles in between.  The New Balance Vazee Summit is built to handle them all.

New Balance Vazee Summit Features:

  • Weight: 9.3 oz (265 g)
  • Stack heights: 27mm heel, 17mm forefoot
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10 mm
  • 3/4 Rockstop plate
  • Breathable no-sew mesh upper
  • Hydrohesion rubber outsole
  • Toe protect abrasion resistance
  • Two color options
  • MSRP $100

The Vazee Summit can handle all trails

new balance vazee summit outside

Vazee is New Balance’s collection of lightweight, moderately cushioned trainers that are built for speed, which debuted in road models in 2015.  The Vazee Summit was originally billed as a successor to the MT110 series of trail shoes, but the resulting product bears little resemblance to that somewhat clunky predecessor.  Instead, the Vazee Summit strikes a nearly optimal balance of light weight, comfortable cushioning, great traction, and strong overall trail protection.  We’ve tested it in muddy forests and on mountainous terrain, at distances up to 50 miles, and we’ve been impressed with its overall comfort and performance.

Rounded toe box; Toe Protect perimeter overlay

Rounded toe box; breathable mesh upper;Toe Protect perimeter overlay

The overall fit of the shoe is comfortably snug, with a nicely rounded toe box in the front to prevent chafing on long trail days.  Moderate padding around the ankle collar is just right for fit and comfort.  Instead of a conventional tongue, the Summit uses a flat neoprene-like sleeve that lacks structure of its own, which requires cinching the laces fairly snug in order to lock down movement of the foot on the midsole.  Even with the laces cinched tight, we noticed forward slipping of the foot on very steep downhills, but under the vast majority of circumstances the fit stays in place.

An open mesh upper ventilates the foot well, even in the forefoot area where New Balance employs a protection system called Toe Protect that consists of thicker overlays around the toebox perimeter to help maintain shape as well as augment protection.  This structure doesn’t impede ventilation or drying time significantly, as the Summit drains and cools effectively as needed.

New Balance Vazee Trail Review

All New Balance Vazee shoes use REVlite midsole foam which has a nice balance of cushioning and energy return.  The platform has a 10 mm drop, which is steep for a speed trainer, but allows for increased heel impact when bombing downhill.  A three-quarter-length flexible rock plate is positioned between the midsole and outsole to further smooth the ride when running fast on sketchy terrain.

New Balance Vazee summit outsole

Further enhancing stability on trails is an aggressively lugged outsole made of a proprietary Hydrohesion rubber that maintains its grip well in wet conditions.  The 4.5mm lugs are ideal for sloppy trails, but they are durable enough to log some road miles on the way to or from the trailhead.  In our opinion this is one of the most stable and secure outsole designs New Balance has ever offered with its trail runners.

new balance vazee summit post run

The Good

  • Strong overall comfort — good balance of cushion/energy return
  • Excellent underfoot protection
  • Outstanding trail grip — especially when wet

The Bad

  • Slight forward slipping on steep downhills
  • Heel-toe drop seems excessive for a speed trainer

Bottom Line: New Balance Vazee Summit

The New Balance Vazee Summit is very strong trail shoe that is built for speed but durable enough to handle long hard mileage.  It’s also a very attractive option if you’re looking for one trail shoe to handle a wide variety of conditions.

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In Summary

7.8 Awesome

Built for speed, yet capable enough to handle long days on the trail, the Vazee Summit Trail has a lot to offer. With excellent traction and comfort, these are easy shoes to recommend -- just keep in mind that they do have quite a heel/toe ramp for a speed-oriented shoe.

  • Comfort 8
  • Responsiveness 7
  • Traction 9
  • Speed 7
  • Versatility 8

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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