Saturday, October 03, 2020

New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1 Multi Tester Review: Comfortable, Plush,Max Cushion Trail Cruiser

Article by Renee Krusemark, Don Reichelt, Jeff Beck, Dom Layfield and Sam Winebaum

New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail ($165)

 


Introduction

Sam: The all new Fresh Foam X More Trail is clearly New Balance’s entry into the high performance, max cushioned trail run sweepstakes. Light at 10.1 oz / 286g with a 4mm drop it is taking clear aim at shoes such as the Hoka Speedgoat, Saucony Xodus 10, Nike Pegasus Trail 2, Altra Olympus, Brooks Caldera and Salomon Sense Ride 3. 


It features the new Fresh Foam X midsole foam which has been very well received in road shoes, a  decently aggressive multi terrain outsole, and a very soft, roomy and quite pliable upper (for a trail or even a road shoe). Its underfoot geometry includes high midsole sidewalls and a medial wrap around outsole for stability with a more aggressive rocker than its road cousin More, along with forward flex for climbing.  

All the elements are there for a max cushioned high performance trail run shoe. So how did it all come together? We set out to find out on trails, dirt roads, and even pavement in Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska.


Stats

Approx Weight:  men's 10.1 oz/ 286g (US9) 8.92 oz /253g women's / (US8)

  Samples: men’s 9.84 oz / 279g US8.5, women’s US8 8.92 oz /253g, Men’s 12.5 13.0oz, Men’s 10.5 11.3 ounces / 319 g

Offset: 4mm

Available  $165

Pros:

Renee/Don/Sam/Jeff: Feels much lighter than it looks

Don/Jeff: The upper fit very well, including an accommodating toe box for my wider forefoot

Sam: Lively very well softer cushioned ride with an effective rocker along with climbing toe flex. 

Sam: Smoother transitioning on road than More v2 road if with more noticeable heel rubber

Sam: Secure enough, very soft and plush upper, particularly at the roomy toe box. Somehow it mostly pulls off a plush road shoe feel translated to trail. 

Sam: An ideal smoother trails ultra fit and ride

Sam: The rear midsole sidewalls and  wrap around the medial side outsole make for a super stable rear of the shoe and with no sense it is a 4mm drop shoe, 

Renee: Soft, comforting, rocker-ride is suitable for short or long distances

Renee: Good choice for road to non-technical trail runs

Don: Rides extremely smoothly for size

Don: I love the subtle topographic style lines throughout the shoe, including the tongue, upper, and outsole. 

Jeff: Versatile shoe that’s ideal for smooth trails, and decent in light technical terrain

Jeff: Great underfoot protection



Cons

Sam/Renee/Jeff: Clearly premium materials, fit and ride as well as pricing at a relatively steep $165

Renee/Sam: Not well-suited for super technical trails

Renee/Sam: Low-volume/narrow feet may struggle to maintain a secure fit

Sam: The luxurious toe box,, while well supported by the stout toe bumper is a bit too unstructured for more technical terrain.

Sam/Jeff: Annoying rotating tongue especially on my lower volume right foot, affects foot hold

Same rotating tongue issue as Sam, even with my higher volume foot


Tester Profiles

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She runs a half marathon around 1:40 and hopes to get a full marathon at 3:30(ish) some day. Not today. But some day!

Don is a competitive ultra runner with all kinds of races under his belt including a 16:27 100-mile trail PR and a third place finish at the 2018 Badwater 135. He primarily runs trails in Colorado but also holds a marathon PR of 2:45. 

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39. In December he raced his first 50 mile trail ultra. 

Dom 47, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California running about 3000 miles and 500k ft of vert per year.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  2019 was a quiet year, with his only notable finish at the multi-day Dragon Back race in the UK.


Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 163 lbs.


First Impressions and Fit

Renee: My first impression was literally “Whoa, big mama shoe,” which was quickly followed by “These are not as heavy as they look.” I need a maximum cushion long-distance shoe in my rotation to prevent injury, but I struggle to like them or use them because I hate heavy shoes. 


My first run in the More Trail went surprisingly well. As I write this review, I have run them on hilly dirt/gravel country roads, one technical trail, and one buffed-out, flat, crushed rock path. My shortest run was 4 miles and the longest run was an easy 22 miles. 

I wear a women’s size 8. Sometimes I can wear a 7.5, and the More Trail is one of those shoes where I am in-between sizes. Compared to my 2020 New Balance road shoes (the 880v10 and the 890v9), the More Trail is longer in the same size. 


Sam: A wild look when new with a dark upper with contrasting thin blue “N” highlights, yellow cord lace loops and front outsole and especially contrasting orange highlighting the massive rear midsole sidewalls. It all says rear stability when fresh out the box in images or on a shoe wall.. After a few dusty runs everything got nicely muted in my pair. 

The fit is true to size with the front of the shoe relatively unstructured and the toe box super accommodating and soft. 


The rear collars and not particularly stiff heel counter are all well held and locked down by those midsole sidewalls and thick heel rubber. Walking around there is definite “squish” to the Fresh Foam X and a pleasant rocker sensation with a definite sense of heel stability from the sidewalls and rear rubber. Out of the box they were quite stiff but after a few runs developed a snappy forward flex point at the second groove through the outsole,  


Don: This isn’t the prettiest shoe coming out of the box, and looks like it’s going to weigh a ton. Actually taking it out of the box and on the scale shows that the weight is extremely reasonable. Step in comfort is top-notch, immediately elevating my curiosity for how it will run.  My first impressions tend to focus on what might be a negative about the shoe, and other than aesthetics (which matters about 0%) I don’t have anything to complain about coming out of the box. Let’s run! 


Jeff: I usually try to run in shoes within a day or two of receiving them, but due to scheduling and unhealthy levels of smoke, these sat around for nearly a week before I put any miles on them. While they were sitting around the house, I mistook them for Hoka Speedgoats about a dozen times. That’s a compliment, the Speedgoat is an incredible trail shoe, and at first glance they share a lot of DNA. Much more than the Fresh Foam More, the road version from New Balance that had a variety of issues. When I finally got to take these bad boys into the dirt the first time I was truly impressed by a variety of aspects of the shoe - and I was expecting to be underwhelmed. 


As for Fit? Really nice for my slightly wider than normal foot, and spot on lengthwise. When I think about it, I’d like a wider toebox (I almost always do), but out on the trails I never once thought of it as an issue. Not every shoe can be a Topo, and not every shoe needs to be.


Dom: After experiencing the NB Hierro, which was (by a good margin) the heaviest shoe I’ve ever tested, I had low expectations for the More Trail, anticipating that it would be clunky and overbuilt.   But the More Trail was a very pleasant surprise.  I found the More Trail very pleasurable to run in (especially when I was recovering from a recent hundred-miler).  There’s tons of cushion and protection, without all ground feel disappearing, and without the instability that plagues many high-stack shoes when used on uneven terrain.   The ride is smooth and unobtrusive, in a good way.


Upper

Sam: The upper is super plush with soft thin and extremely pliable mesh in the toe box. As soft and pliable as any premium road shoe and then some..

The toe bumper is also quite pliable, rugged feeling and woven of a ballistic type material. Front wear should  be excellent and rock bump protection fine.


As long as your trails are of the smoother variety with not many sharp angled rocks and quick agility needed the front of the shoe comfort and room is sensational if not of the most lockdown of front fits for me. It is for sure a fit that favors higher volume feet.

The midfoot has a saddle overlay that provides sufficient support when combined with the rear rising midsole side walls and wrap around medial outsole. But… all  of that goodness at midfoot is hampered by a miss on the tongue,

The tongue is relatively thin and very soft and while the suede like top material leads to no lace bite I think it is not only too pliable for trail use but is strangely only attached, and quite far down from lace up, to the eyelets. It is not a bootie type tongue which this pliable upper seems to call for.

It wants to, and invariably does rotate, on my narrower right foot hampering the overall stability/security of the upper on more technical terrain.  Why NB didn’t include some center of tongue loops to run the laces through and center it or a more substantial tongue or bootie I have no clue  Given the relatively pliable saddle and trail use this shoe cries for either a bootie tongue, a more substantial tongue, or more rigidity to the upper. 


This all sounds dire but if your trails are not overly technical the upper is just fine, truly superb in its comfort and easy going plush feel. I just cruised 8 miles in Park City on a newly built trail and for 7 miles everything was just superb. There was a solid mile of rock garden pointy rocks embedded in the trail and the upper’s hold made me for sure hesitant there. A 13 mile day hike over similar rocky terrain was no problem.

Renee: Overall, the upper is comfortable. The heel and heel counter have a good amount of cushion without being too plush. The height of the heel and heel counter worked well for me. 

The toe bumper is helpful for gravel and the occasional tree root, although I am not sure how much protection it will offer for mountain running. 


The tongue is minimally  gusseted in that it is attached to the eyelet area but is not a full bootie. I had an issue with the tongue staying in place during all my runs, from 4 to 22 miles. The tongue strongly pulls to the outside/lateral side for me. The upper is generous in volume, which is great for runners with wide or voluminous feet. My feet were swimming around more than I would like. That said, during my 22 mile run, I did not feel the need to stop and move the tongue back. I think if I half-sized down to a 7.5, I would have a better, more-secure upper fit. I like the upper;. This said at $165, I am not sure it has anything particularly special. 


Don: I love the lacing system on this shoe. It was super easy to dial in my ideal fit, and paired with a well designed upper, I found this to be a real highlight of the shoe. The upper isn’t groundbreaking by any sense of the imagination, but it’s also not over (or under) engineered as many shoes are these days.


The toebox was accommodating for my foot, which usually fits best in wider shoes. I’ve been known to opt for 2E in New Balance in the past, but felt like I had plenty of room in the standard D width of this upper. On runs up to 20 miles, I found no concerns of rubbing or chafing anywhere.


Jeff: I had a similar experience to the others. This upper is very comfortable, and there are a number of really nice little touches. Even the little heel pull-tab is well thought out. I can see where Sam and Renee could experience some fit issues, because like Don my foot is on the wider side, and I felt like I had plenty of room. The heel collar is very plush and comfortable without going too far in that direction, another feather in the shoe’s cap. The tongue is odd, in how quickly it likes to twist to the lateral side of the shoe. It didn’t ruin any run for me, just seemed like a glaring flaw in an otherwise outstanding upper.


Dom: Like Jeff and Don, I enjoyed the roomier toe box, and didn’t feel any lack of security.   Midfoot hold is excellent, and even on steep descents (and without tightening the laces more than usual) I didn’t experience any toe bang.  The upper construction is well thought out and nicely functional, with the possible exception of the yellow string that threaded around the lace collar, which looks fancy but doesn’t have an obvious utility.


Dom:  But like Sam, I thought the tongue was an unfortunate misstep.   I had the same problems with the tongue migrating laterally, with the result that the laces eventually rubbed my skin raw.   The tongue is gusseted on both sides, but the gusset is stretchy and low, and (while it may keep grit out) doesn’t hold the tongue in place.   This could easily be remedied by adding retaining loops on the tongue, by converting the tongue to a burrito-style, switching to bootie construction or any number of solutions.


Midsole

Renee: The midsole is my favorite part of the More Trail. I do not like plush midsoles or heavy shoes, but the Fresh Foam is so comfortable, it’s hard not to like!  The rocker allows for good movement toward in contrast to some other maximum cushion heavy shoes that can feel like dead weight. I can’t run fast in these shoes, but the midsole allows for a slow day pace to move into an easy day pace. 

Sam: If you are familiar with New Balance Fresh Foam in road shoes here we have the new X flavor which has more rebound and softness than the older versions. This is a super pleasant soft and lively midsole. Those last words usually mean in a trail shoe one or more things… a lack of rock protection from the midsole alone and/or shaky stability underfoot.

The More Trail midsole delivers the pleasant soft feel while not compromising stability or protection but as said above it is equally plush and comfortable upper that lets it down a bit in delivering an any trails secure and stable fit and ride. 


There is a big smiles, cushion for days, long days feel here. This is not a more inert dense feeling slab of EVA as found in many trail shoes. The rocker is far more effective even on road than the stiffer More v2 Road and the rear of the shoe with its high midsole sidewalls and medial wrap of the outsole up the sides gives it superb rear security and stability,


The front has plenty of plateless rock protection for all but super technical trails, nice forward climbing flex, and decent but not great torsional rigidity. 


Don: The midsole is where this shoe will ultimately make its money. It’s big. It’s beefy. And it’s got a ton of cush. 


But, it actually doesn’t ride at all like a big, beefy shoe. On longer days when pace is no concern, the midsole can work it’s magic on just about any terrain. I was highly suspect of the stability before running, but those concerns were quickly squashed during a long, rocky run where I never once felt unstable. As Sam mentioned, that midsole foam wraps a good bit up over the heel, giving you a nice soft bit of structure for stability when you need it.


Jeff: Very few highly cushioned (but no rock plate) trail shoes give me enough forefoot protection. I’ve reviewed what seems like dozens (but is probably a dozen or less) shoes that promised plenty of midsole protection - only to underdeliver. The More Trail does not join that list. I found myself aiming for rocks to see if I could feel anything, and I very rarely could. This normally is reserved for massive trail cruisers like the Hoka Stinson, but the Stinson doesn’t have nearly the versatility or far lighter weight of the More Trail. Plenty of squish without feeling like a boat, New Balance got this one very right.


Dom:  New Balance aces this part of the quiz!  As the other reviewers have remarked, the midsole is thoroughly excellent, with everything right in the sweet spot.   The underfoot feel is bouncy and pillowy but still remains impressively stable.  


The cushioning is spot on: when reviewing trail shoes, I deliberately stomp on pebbles and pointy rocks to see if I experience any discomfort.  The More Trail provides plenty of protection without involving rock plates, but the sole stack is not so high, nor the midsole so soft that the shoe feels unstable and tippy in technical terrain.   I’m generally not a fan of ‘bathtub’ heel construction, since wide heels often feel cumbersome and ungainly.   But in the More Trail, I found this unobtrusive.   Given its considerable girth, the More Trail feels much lighter and more energetic than you would expect.

 

Outsole

Renee: The outsole is . . . there. I cannot find anything fantastic or horrible about it. The lugs are small, broad enough and soft enough to be used on pavement. During a 10-mile single-track trail run, I had about 1 mile total (in separate areas) of pavement. The More Trail would be a good choice for a road-to-trail shoe. I had enough grip and traction to run sharp inclines/declines on single track trails, but I was not confident in the downhills. I was able to run on my toes uphills, which does not happen with most maximum cushion shoes. I thought the outsole (and general ride) worked best on hilly dirt/gravel country roads. 


Sam: The outsole has large contact hexagonal lugs. The outsole appears to be of all the same density rubber but as the rear lugs are higher they end up firmer to pressing and produce a firmer rear feel than the front on the run, no so much noticed on trail as on pavement.  


The front lug height appears to be 3.5-4mm in height while some of the rear clearly are closer to 5mm or more on the outer perimeter of the heel.  

There are flex grooves up front, for a nice forward climbing flex, reminding of many La Sportiva and as the lugs are well spaced out but high contact lots of get up and go.

The “firmer” rear lug landing areas and a pronounced wrap around of the outsole on the medial side make for an extremely stable rear of the shoe but even with all that rubber not a harsh ride at all in the rear on trail as above there is all that soft Fresh Foam X. It is an extremely well executed rear outsole midsole combination geometry. 


The large contact areas favor smoother trail and some even some road. My testing has all been in dry conditions so until it rains I cannot comment on wet grip.


I am a bit surprised at about 30 miles in to see the forefoot lateral side lugs nubs and patterning worn off and some very small “chipping” of the lugs(see photo above). The rear outsole is essentially like new. I think the relative flexibility of the front outsole may be contributing to this wear as this shoe loves to climb. I would not call the wear a big concern at this point but something to watch. 

Don: This isn’t the world's most technical outsole for a trail shoe. It’s clearly not meant for the hardest of days in the Rocky Mountains, as the quick wear mine have seen indicate. This outsole is going to be much better suited for smoother trails, and gravel roads when you are looking for something grippier than a road shoe. 


The little bit of wetness I encountered shows these are just average in wet conditions. A little bit of sliding but not terrible. However, this was just a few light creek crossings so more testing would be needed to feel confident. 


Jeff: I was also impressed, but not blown away by the outsole. The lugs provide really good grip in dry dirt, and the breaks in the rubber up front give the shoe more than enough forefoot flexibility. I don’t mind or appreciate the exposed midsole just in front of the heel, I couldn’t tell if it was helping or hurting anything. Durability seems to be pretty good 25 miles in, and I had several road-to-trail runs in the More Trail that proved this shoe wasn’t awkward on the road. And yes, the very subtle topographical lines on the outsole are a subtle touch that are cool if you see them, but not overt about it.



Renee: The ride is comfortable. The midsole is plush, but the rocker allows for a good movement forward. The upper, midsole, and outsole all work together to make the More Trail a good option for road to easy-trail runs. I liked the More Trail best on hilly country roads as opposed to flat buffed out paths. I did run one technical, single track trail with the More Trail and it wasn’t horrible. My inner ankles were hurting on some of the intense climbs, but I would have that problem with any high stack shoe.


Sam: Renee says it just right: plush, comfortable, with a very effective rocker and climbing flex in the mix. My legs were never trashed after any run and ride feel during runs was lively, soft and gave back with a pleasant softer rebound than most trail runners. This is clearly a maximal cushion ride that blends enough get and go with all around top to bottom comfort. 

This said the More Trail’s favorite territory is more dirt than rock. Sure the ride is also fine on interspersed rock between dirt but it is not a shoe for rocky or technical terrain and lots of off camber taken fast and this I think almost entirely due to given the pliability of the mid foot and toe box upper, that “overly” comfortable and soft toe area and the tongue/bootie execution.  Dial those in and I believe its technical terrain capabilities would dramatically improve.


I found the ride best on smooth fast mostly obstacle free western single track, for slower pace long hikes on somewhat rockier terrain and runs mixing pavement and dirt gravel roads and trails. 


Don: I was quite impressed with the ride during slower, longer runs. These would be perfect for a group run (remember those?!) where you’re just getting in some miles without really worrying about the pace. 


I took these up to 20 miles, and they answered that call extremely well. I tried picking up the pace once or twice, and  to be honest that felt a little cumbersome. 


I think Sam put it perfectly when he said, “...the More Trail’s Favorite territory is more dirt than rock.” I would also add that its comfort zone is going to be more slow or casual paced than fast. 


Jeff: I’d agree with my colleagues about its strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great shoe in the dirt, and an okay shoe in rocky conditions. The only spot I’d disagree with, is where Don didn’t like it when the pace picked up - and I thought they felt good at faster speeds. That said, my uptempo speeds are slower than Don’s easy speeds, so that’s probably the biggest factor.


Dom:  The outsole was another pleasant surprise for me.  The full-width cuts across the outsole allow the shoe to flex nicely, and permit a nice compromise between decent ground feel and solid rock protection.  On dry dirt, traction was excellent, and the wide, evenly-distributed lugs give the shoe excellent manners on-road too, making the More Trail a capable road-to-trail hybrid.  While not obviously its design focus,  I was additionally impressed at how well-behaved the shoe was on more technical terrain.  (I notice that several other reviewers were more lukewarm in this respect, and my guess is that this is largely due to foot lockdown: the More Trail was a good fit to my feet, and I was able to get excellent foot retention without cinching the laces tightly.)


Dom:  In the wet, the outsole traction is only okay.  I tried shimmying around on slick, wet, algae-covered rock (admittedly a worst-case scenario), and found the grip noticeably worse than recently-reviewed class leaders in the area: Vibram Megagrip (in Topo MTN Racer and Hoka Speedgoat), and Inov-8 G-grip (in Inov-8 Terraultra G 270). I also have concerns about durability.  Like Sam, I observed that edges of the lateral lugs had been torn off, rather than abraded.


Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Max cushion, plush and premium top to bottom, and priced that way, the More Trail while it has its limitations for sure in terms of terrain is one of the most comfortable and pleasant “trail” rides of 2020 for me. It can perform for sure on smooth terrain and should be considered as a strong new ultra contender for that kind of terrain, for door to trail runs, long hikes on moderate terrain and for casual wear.


Dial in the front fit some and away from max toe box comfort to a more secure lockdown upfront, fix the tongue and beef up the mid foot hold a touch and it would be more mountainous trails worthy and thus more versatile and a better value.

Sam’s Score: 9.0/10

Ride:  9.4 (30%) Fit: 8.7 (30%) Value:  8.5 (10%) Style:8.5 (5%) Traction:9 (15%) Rock Protection: 9.3(10%)


Renee: If you like maximum cushion, high-stack shoes, the More Trail is a good option and particularly if you like Fresh Foam from New Balance. The midsole is comfortable. I enjoyed every step of a 22-mile run in these shoes and I felt like running “more”. The More Trail, in my opinion, is best for easy, buffed out trails or road-to-trail runs. I enjoyed them on the hilly country roads more so than flat terrain. They can handle a short amount of technical terrain, at least in woodland areas. I struggled with a good lockdown on the upper, but a runner with wide or high volume feet might differ. Even with a slightly loose upper, I thought the stability was good especially given the cushion and stack height. Compared to the four other “big mama” maximum-cushion trail shoes I have, the More Trail is my overall favorite. 

Renee’s Score: 9.15/10 

(-.20 weight, -.20 price, -.15 shifting tongue, -.15 limited to easier trail terrain, -.15 lack of lockdown on upper)


Don: This is a good shoe, if you limit it to what it’s trying to be. This is a smoother trail, long distance cruiser of a shoe. It’s also important to highlight what it ISN’T: a fast shoe, a technical terrain shoe, or a particularly durable shoe. 


I have enjoyed my miles in the More Trail. But I am honestly hung up on finding the value in this shoe, especially with the amount of wear it’s showing based on some rockier runs. That being said, if the runner were to keep it to mostly easier trails and dirt/gravel roads, I think you’ll be extremely happy with the shoe. 

Don’s score: 9.10/10 

(-.15 weight, -.25 price, -.50 limited definition of “trail” shoe)


Jeff: Surprisingly fun shoe that shines on tame trails and has a “pretty good” to “great” upper, outsole, and midsole. The midfoot rocker and midsole density work together to provide a great ride, and the midsole depth is one of the rare instances of pure foam actually protecting the forefoot from rocks. It’s not quite a master of all terrain, but is passable in technical terrain - if you go slow enough - and the toebox is just good enough. My biggest gripe comes with the price tag. $165 is a lot of money, and while this is a good shoe, it doesn’t scream great value. But at least if you stick to primarily dirt, you should get plenty of fun miles.

Jeff’s Score: 8.7 / 10

Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 7 (15%) Style: 8 (5%)


Dom: For me, this shoe is greater than the sum of its parts.  The midsole is unequivocally excellent, and while the shoe does everything well, nothing else stands out.   And I don’t generally like ‘maximalist’ shoes outside of very long (>100 km) races, or when I ramp up training volume to my body’s breaking-point.   But I really enjoyed running in the New Balance More Trail.   It has a pleasing, forgiving ride in a shoe that can go anywhere, yet feels much lighter and more energetic than its considerable size would suggest.   My gripes: like Sam, I felt the tongue needed fixing; and like everyone else, I thought the price was hard to swallow, particularly for an unproven first-generation model.

Dom’s Score:  Overall 9/10

Ride: 10, Fit: 9, Traction: 8, Cushioning: 10, Weight: 8, Value: 5


Watch Jeff and Sam's Video Review (9:00)


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Hoka Speedgoat 4 (RTR Review)

Renee: I wished the Speedgoat 4 worked for me, but the toe box was too uncomfortable/narrow. The Speedgoat retails for less than the More Trail, which I find odd. The upper of the Speedgoat seems more secure and the outsole is better suited for technical runs. The midsole of the More Trail is much more comfortable. The Speedgoat is slightly heavier. I prefer the More Trail because of the toe box, although I think the Speedgoat is better suited for race paces and technical terrain. Size to size, the Speedgoat might run a half size smaller than the More Trail. 


Don: I was a big fan of the Speedgoat 4. I found the sizing between these two to be similar, where I’m comfortable in a 12.5 in each. Based on initial testing and miles, the SG feels like it will be more durable over the long haul than the More Trail. 


I also echo Renee when it comes to picking the SG at faster or race paces over the More Trail, especially in rough terrain. I would pick the More Trail for slower, more casual runs. 


Jeff: Both shoes fit me true to size. The Speedgoat has a slightly wider platform, but a much more narrow forefoot. The Hoka outsole is definitely more durable and has more traction, but the New Balance midsole provides a little more cushion and protection. Both solid if you want one shoe that does most trails, but if you hit technical stuff more go Hoka, if you usually run in the dirt, stick with the New Balance.


Hoka Speedgoat EVO  (RTR Review)

Sam: The EVO Speedgoat is closer in weight and ride to the More than the regular Speedgoat. Unlike the regular Speedgoat and similar to the More it has some forward flex for climbing. The EVO comes in close to an ounce lighter than the More has a more secure upper if not as plush and roomy, is more stable, about as protective underfoot  and has equal if a bit less pleasant cushion. The More is a slightly better choice for non technical trails with the EVO clearly more versatile as it can range into more technical terrain.


Hoka Challenger ATR5 (RTR Review)

Dom:  Of the Hoka line-up, the obvious comparison is not with the Speedgoat (and variants).   The Speedgoat is really a pure trail shoe and feels pretty awful on road.  Instead the better comparison is against the Challenger ATR5, which is lighter, softer, more comfortable, and intended explicitly to be a road-to-trail shoe.   Here the Hoka has a huge advantage of experience: Hoka have been making maximalist footwear for a decade, and have had the opportunity to iterate and refine over many generations of shoes.  What’s really impressive is that New Balance have been able to produce a worthy competitor right out of the gate.   Compared to the ATR5, the More Trail is heavier (11.1 vs 10.4 oz per shoe in my size ), stiffer, and provides more support and more underfoot protection.   Both shoes provide a roomy toe box.  (If you have narrower feet, the forthcoming ATR6 is a better choice.)


Brooks Caldera 4  (RTR Review)

Sam: The Caldera serves similar all-purpose trail and door to trail needs. It has a denser somewhat firmer midsole, a slightly wider and more stable platform and a more secure upper. It  has a similar all purpose outsole.  It leans a bit more technical terrain and has a fine but less exciting energetic ride feel on smoother terrain.


Jeff: Both shoes fit true to size. Sam nails it. The Caldera is a little more capable, but the More Trail is more comfortable.


Salomon Sense Ride 3  (RTR Review)

The Sense Ride 3 is better suited to more mountainous terrain while the More is for smoother terrain. Both are long distances offerings from their respective brands. Almost 0.5 oz / 16g heavier with denser cushion the Sense Ride 3 provides somewhat more underfoot protection and plenty of cushion but has a duller stiffer and more muted ride. The Sense Ride has a very secure front to back upper with less front room and comfort. At $35 less than the More Trail the Sense Ride 3 should be a more durable and versatile value but not as lively and fun to run. 


Adidas Terrex Two BOA  (RTR Review)

The More is substantial lighter, 1.2 oz / 34g lighter, has softer cushion with more rebound but the combination of Lightstrike and softer but very durable Continental outsole is not very far behind and has the advantage of a far beefier more supportive upper with an excellent BOA closure and mid foot wrap. Both can play in door to trail with the Terrex able to go more technical than the More. At a very fair $120 BOA and all the Terrex is clearly a better value.


Saucony Xodus 10  (RTR Review)

Sam: At 11.8 oz/ 332g so almost  2 ounces more than the More the Xodus 10 is more versatile as it can handle everything from the roughest trails to roads equally well. If you want a single heavy duty shoe for anything it is the clear choice but if you want lighter and for lighter duty trails the More is a better option.


Jeff:The Xodus 10 fits true to size. Both shoes have similar levels of underfoot protection, while the More Trail has a softer ride. The Xodus traction is top notch, and the upper holds the foot much better. Both can be great road-to-trail shoes, if you are running primarily on dirt, the More Trail should be considered, but if there's a lot of rocky terrain near you, the Xodus outclasses it.


Saucony Canyon TR  (RTR Review)

Renee: The Canyon TR is a heavy (almost 1 oz heavier than More)  high-stack trail shoe that does not offer the soft cushion of the More Trail. The Canyon TR is 9.70z in my women’s size 8, which is heavy, and it feels heavy. I like the Canyon TR and I can run comfortably for 20+miles, but not fast. My foot hits the ground like a brick. The More Trail is softer underfoot and allows for a somewhat faster pace given the lower weight and rocker. The Canyon TR is more stable and has a better fitting upper. I wore a women’s size 8 in both. The Canyton TR fits me perfectly and I have a bit more length than I would like in the More Trail. Both shoes are options for road-to-trail runs, although the outsoles are very different with the Canyon TR having smaller, harder lugs and a rock plate. 


Sam: Hands down one of the best trail shoe uppers of 2020 but one with a more narrow and more secure upper and narrower lower volume and less pliable toe box than the More. As Renee says above the Canyon cushion is denser if plentiful with the rock plated ride stiffer and more rocker based. Get rid of its rock plate really unnecessary given the stack and it would be much improved. 


While the More makes up for most of its easy fitting soft and pliable upper sometimes shaky with great underfoot stability,  the Canyon relies on its excellent upper to make up for what is clearly a less than super stable underfoot on more technical terrain. While Canyon at a very fair $120 is a great value, the More is a more versatile and pleasant riding and fitting shoe in the non technical smoother trails and door to trail sub category with the Canyon leaning more road for me.


Nike Pegasus Trail 2  (RTR Review)

Renee: The Pegasus Trail 2 has good parts that just didn’t work for me as a sum. The midsole is great because it is soft when I need to run slower yet responsive when I want to push the pace. I can run faster in the Trail 2 than the More despite it being a heavier shoe. However, I found the upper too loose and somewhat sloppy. I also thought the Trail 2 felt unstable even on country roads (I did not take it on a technical trail as I did the More Trail). I prefer the More Trail for its comfort, stability, and better fitting upper. I do think the Trail 2 has potential to be a great shoe depending on the runner. I have a women’s size 8 in both shoes. The Trail 2 is slightly longer. 


Jeff: Renee defines the PegTr2 really well, though I think I like it more than she does - my high volume foot fills the upper well enough to get a good hold. My complaint about the Nike is that the cushioning is great for running, but not great for rock protection. It’s a thin rockplate away from being one of my favorite trail shoes. On dirt, they are both fun shoes but I have to give the edge to the PegTr2, on rocky terrain the extra protection of the More Trail shines.


Altra Olympus  (RTR Review Olympus 4)

Don: While I have yet to run in the 4, the Olympus 3.5 was one of my favorite “big” shoes from the past few years. The Olympus and the More Trail actually run similar to me, in that they feel to be intended for slower, easier runs. The tread on the Olympus is far superior, while all other metrics (again comparing the 3.5) feel similar to me. If you can run in a zero drop shoe, the Olympus is the better choice in my opinion. I’m a 12 in the Altra and was a 12.5 in the More Trail. 


Jeff: Don is right, both are great long, slow easy shoes. I would disagree on the outsole, I’d give a very slight tread advantage to the More Trail (mostly due to the extensive exposed midsole of the Olympus that only offers a single lug on each side for 40% of the shoe), but both are decent. Worn side-by-side the Altra makes the New Balance feel restrictive up front. Despite their visual differences, the Olympus 3.5 and 4 run very similarly. I felt both are true-to-size for me, but if the Altra was a half size down they’d still fit. Don is right, overall the Olympus has the edge.


Nike Wildhorse 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The Wildhorse 6 was a big overhaul after years of slight adjustments, and while the changes were striking, they weren’t great. The segmented rock plate provides inconsistent protection. The toe bumper made an adequate toe box feel tighter than it should. And the React midsole felt unstable even on flat terrain, but the inflexible overbuilt heel made them even more unstable. For a lighter, more cushioned, better protected, and more comfortable shoe, get the More Trail and don’t think twice about it.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.

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1 comment:

70's Teen said...

How would you compare it to the EVO Mafate 2, particularly in terms of ride?