Monday, October 26, 2009

New Balance 790 vs 100

New Balance has replaced the old NB790 trail running shoe with the new MT100 trail shoe (new model to left, older model at bottom). They are both meant to be light-weight, racing-flat style trail shoes. I loved the old 790 and was looking forward to the release of the 100. Well, I bought a pair of the MT100s and already sent them back for a refund. They are too narrow in the forefoot and too rigid. The new forefoot rock plate in the 100 certainly does seem to provide greater protection than the 790 had, but it also makes the shoe less flexible. I prefer less protection and more flexibility. The slightly more narrow forefoot also forced me to go back to the wider 790. One last big difference between the 790 and 100 is the heel area--the new 100 has a weird material that covers the top part of the heel counter and achilles. It's like a dense foam rubber. I didn't get a chance to really test this new material on any significant runs, but it could bother some folks...or not. The shoe was designed to accommodate sockless running so I would think this new heel material would have been tested thoroughly with many sockless runners during development. Maybe it's better than the traditional heel covering.

I already ordered another pair of the 790s on sale. They are a GREAT trail racing flat. One feature that did seem like a great improvement in the newer shoe was the tread. The 100 has much better traction/tread than the older 790. If New Balance made that one change to the 790 it would be a "perfect" shoe!

Both shoes are lightweight, low-to-the-ground, and have minimal cushioning & support. They are also very breathable and allow water to drain out quickly. Anyone looking for a "minimalist" trail shoe should give the new MT100 a try...or maybe go with the original 790 available at closeout sales across the internet. You can always buy the new model when it eventually goes on sale.

NOTE: I had a size 13 in both models. Maybe a size 14 (there is no 13.5) in the new MT100 would have helped in terms of foot narrowness. Not sure. Still, I would have had the issue of rigidity to deal with in the new shoe. Buy the new 100 from a local shoe store where you can try it on before purchasing...or from an online vendor that allows free returns.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I wonder how they compare to the old 800's they replaced along with those 790's. My only gripe with the old 790's was the lack of traction. I've ran the same 800's for a couple years and havn't been able to find a discontinued pair online anymore. I thought the 800 and 790 were the best trail runners on the market til' they modified them into a hiking boot they pass off as a trail runner. Since then I moved on to Inov8 which are nice but my 800's fit better.

Heidi E. Carpenter said...

I have both...I am seriously in LOVE with the 790's. I wore them for Farmdale and they were perfect for me the entire day, bless their little synthetic hearts.

Funny you mention the heel/archilles area of the NB 100's. When I first put them on I felt this irritation and while it didn't bother me, I only ran 3-4 miles a couple times in these shoes so we need to see what happens over longer distances.

Also agree on the width; one reason I love the 790's is because I feel more "stable" in them due to the width.

I haven't noticed the differences in flexibility but I might over long distances. Then again, I might not notice it at all due to my light weight.

Tom Rice said...

Hey Chris, this morning I ordered a pair of Adidas Adizero XTs. They're a lightweight trail shoe, and have been highly rated. We'll see how they do in my training for the Tecumseh Trail Marathon in December.

Chris Ⓥ said...

I had a pair of Adidas Adizero XTs a couple years ago (when they first came out). Nice light shoe with great grip...but too narrow for me in the forefoot area. You need to try a pair of the Vibram FiveFinger shoes (available at Champaign Surplus).