The Reviewer:  My name is Brett Hornig and I have been running for 12 years.  As well as being a Trails and Tarmac coach, I work at Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland, Oregon.  Ever since I started running, I have always been fascinated with what makes shoes so vastly different, and have continuously been on the hunt for that perfect shoe.  I’m very excited to be writing my first ever shoe review for the Vazee Summit, as it was a blast to run in and test out.  Perfect Shoe? Almost, and here’s why.
One thing to keep in mind when reading this review, is that I am 5’8″, 130lb, and have a size US9 foot that is slightly on the narrow side (C width).  I am a neutral, midfoot striking runner, so some things I describe about this shoe may need to be tweaked slightly depending on who you are and how you run.

Way Too Cool 50k March 2016


About the Shoe – The Vazee Summit is a brand new shoe coming from New Balance available April 2016.  This shoe hopes to fill a gap in their trail line that sits somewhere between their MT101 and MT1210 Leadville.  While I didn’t have a scale to weigh my size 9.5s, multiple sites stated that in a US 9, the Summit weighs in at just under 9 ounces, which is pretty light considering how sturdy this shoe felt.


The forefoot and heel measure in at 17mm and 27mm thick, giving the Summit a 10mm drop from heel to toe.  While I haven’t found anywhere that states this, I assume the measurements are taken with the outsole lug height included, because the shoe would not be that thick otherwise.

The Upper of the Vazee Summit is incredible.  It has a single layer of mesh that wraps around the entire shoe, with plastic welded overlays throughout.  The overlays are thin, and while they cover a good portion of the midfoot and all of the heel, it does not feel stiff or uncomfortable at all.  The mesh is a relatively tight knit material that keeps debris and fine dirt out nicely.  To my pleasant surprise, it drains water incredibly well as I got to test that out about a dozen times at the Way Too Cool 50k in the beginning of March.  Where this upper shines is in the FantomFit midfoot wrap that New Balance has started implementing into a few of its models.  The wrap in the Vazee Summit however, is a little different in that it is the same, thin, stretchy material throughout the entire wrap and tongue.  The pictures below should give a little better idea as to what I’m explaining.


There is a plastic heel cup and a thin layer of foam around the top of the heel/ankle collar to make for a secure fit under foot.  It isn’t a plush or cushy feel by any means, but it is secure and gets the job done.  The overlay surrounding the front of the shoe is stiffened up a good amount to make a very protective toe bumper.  New Balance labels this as the “Toe Protect” on the side of the shoe in case you didn’t notice by just kicking something.

The fit of the Vazee Summit is snug and secure to say the least.  The fact that it actually fits my foot well and isn’t too wide or sloppy means this shoe will fit pretty tight on a lot of feet.  With that being said though, this shoe is built off of the popular New Balance 1400 racing flat last, so it was intended to be a performance oriented fit.  Especially with the technical terrain this shoe was intended for, a secure, locked down fit is necessary to keep the shoe directly under foot.  Length-wise, the shoe fits very true to size.  I have about a centimeter of space between my toe and the front of the shoe which is perfect for my foot.


Below My Feet consists of a single density RevLite piece of foam and a forefoot protection plate.  This combo of firm RevLite and plastic plate under the forefoot gives the shoe a very springy and responsive feel.  The type of feel that I wouldn’t want on a recovery day.  This midsole makes you want to run fast, catch air, and feel like a mountain goat.  Speaking of mountain goats, that brings me to the outsole.  It is one piece from heel to toe of New Balance Hydrohesion rubber.  Definitely on the softer side, which is by no means a bad thing.  The softer rubber cushions the impact slightly on firmer trails, as well as contours around any rough spots to ensure a solid grip.  There are directional lugs for both climbing and descending and they are placed wonderfully.  I have yet to slip once, nor have I had to stop to scrape mud from the shoe.  They shed mud and debris without a problem, yet are pliable enough to where I don’t feel them when I run on hard surfaces.


Durability – I have obsessivley logged every mile in these shoes, whether it was trail or road, as well as how much climbing I did.  Here’s how much I used the Vazee Summit. 77 miles total.  8 miles road, and 69 miles trail.  14,000 feet of vertical gain, and about 12 hours on my feet.  In that time, I noticed virtually no wear on the outsole or upper.  The only spot that showed some wear was on my left heel which I scuff slightly.  No rips or tears, or even stretching of the upper, and I definitely did not treat this shoe very nicely.  It handled every run I threw at it no problem.  The Vazee Summit should definitely handle a season in the mountains without much issue.


Testing out the drainage features at the Way Too Cool 50k

Ideal Terrain for this shoe has a pretty wide range. It excels in anything technical.  Whether it is wet or dry, the more technical the better. It was great on the incredibly wet Way Too Cool course this past month, and has been solid in Ashland where the trails are rarely wet.  I would say this shoe is just alright on hard packed trails or dirt roads.  For me, the cushioning was just a little too firm for anything over 10-12 miles on harder surfaces.  The Vazee Summit is not very good on the roads, but that’s expected.

Overall, the New Balance Vazee Summit has absolutely found a spot in my shoe rotation.  For some, this might be the everything shoe you have been looking for.  If you prefer a little firmer cushion and a very secure fit, you will love this shoe for everything you throw at it.

Competitor shoes:

Salomon Sense Pro 2 $130

Innov-8 Terraclaw 250 $130

Pearl Izumi Trail N1 v2 $115

Saucony Peregrine 6 $120


Author: Brett Hornig The newest member of the Trails and Tarmac coaching team!