New Balance Nitrel V4 Trail Running Shoes
New Balance has launched a new version of its shoes for the initiation in the world of trail running in 2021. This is the new edition of the New Balance Nitrel, which brings with it important changes in the upper and midsole with a new compound.
The New Balance Nitrel V4 are the most versatile and polyvalent model from the American brand, being especially suitable for those who don’t get into trouble in the mountains and prefer wide and easy trails. Although they are oriented to this type of user, they have protections and reinforcements that are typical in more technical trail shoes. On which type of surfaces can you get the most out of them? It’s something we’ll try to find out and then it’s up to you to decide.
At first glance, the upper of these trail running shoes doesn’t look like a trail running shoe. It looks very fine, well worked, but with few overlapping or heat-sealed elements. If we look at the toe cap, we can intuit that this is a shoe for trails, away from the more technical trails where there are lots of stones, rocks and branches. That’s why New Balance has looked for a no-frills solution for the upper of the Nitrel v4, just a mesh with some reinforcements.
This part of the shoe has been made, as we say, with a technical mesh, without any visible stitching, which guarantees excellent breathability. They wanted to keep the design “durable enough to withstand daily use both on the street and on uneven terrain,” according to the brand itself.
The brand’s logo with the N occupies both the inside and the outside of the midfoot, strengthening two of the four eyelets they have. Why only four eyelets? Because they are doubles. We have to look at them and look at them again to realize that they are very well concealed.
Finally, we have a high tongue, sufficiently padded and wide enough so that the laces do not bother and prevent the entry of sand and / or stones.
The midsole or cushioning of the New Balance Nitrel v4 is provided by DynaSoft technology, leaving aside the old compound used in the previous version of the Nitrel, the REVlite.
The DynaSoft is the grey foam that is found from the front to the back of this model and has the same structure in almost all of it except for some small grooved marks in the heel area.
According to the American brand, DynaSoft offers 15% more energy return than REVlite and is 60% softer, prioritizing comfort in addition to energy return for a more energetic transition.
As for the sole, it has no major identifying features. The AT Tread outsole is simple but effective, although that depends on the terrain you’re running on.
It is a rubber that covers the entire surface and only leaves small cracks between the toe studs in order to bend the shoe a little and not make it so stiff when we run. We have three rows of well differentiated lugs in the front area that are oriented in two directions: the central row towards the front and the two lateral ones, the outermost ones, towards the rear. These lugs have grooves to prevent mud from sticking to them. On the other hand, in the heel area, the lugs give way to longitudinal stripes to increase grip when going downhill.
And also, we find some different lugs in the perimeter of the whole front area as well as in the toecap. These are forward facing half heels and a predominant central heel at the toe.
Putting in the miles
We have gone out for a walk with the New Balance Nitrel v4 with a first and last kilometre on asphalt and then we got into easy trails and some areas with a little more difficulty.
In the first kilometres we noticed the energy return that the DynaSoft foam offers us, as well as the excellent fit and breathability of the mesh. Plus, the flat laces along with the eyelet arrangement make it easy to squeeze for maximum fit, which is necessary if you have narrow feet.
On first contact with land has made us some strange, in this sense, we have missed something more grip or retention in the descents.
The fit and comfort of the upper combined with the performance of the midsole has been, on the other hand, the great success of the American brand in these Nitrel v4.
Our verdict is clear and compelling. The New balance Nitrel V4 are very versatile shoes, offering good grip and traction on easy surfaces but not as good in more technical areas. The upper is very supportive thanks to their synthetic mesh, so ventilated and with so many holes, although this makes it easy for water to get inside the boot and soak your feet. In contrast, the breathability, very high and that we will not miss on the hottest days of the year.
The new New Balance Nitrel v4 is a shoe halfway between the asphalt and the mountain, a shoe with which you can leave home if you have a first few minutes of pavement and then get into the roads. Ideal for runners who want to start in the world of trail running, of medium weight with a neutral tread and looking for a model with good cushioning for their daily training of short distance, 10k and even for half marathons at an intermediate to slow pace.
Sole with only a little bit of grip in technical areas
Engineered Mesh with Toe Protect
DynaSoft and EVA
6mm -8mm toe and 14mm heel-
From 40 to 50
292g (size 43)
Black and light blue; Red, maroon and grey; Black and grey; Grey, black and red; Black and blue
More info here