New Balance Summit Unknown

8.5 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.5)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
1 star
2 star
3 star
4 star
5 star
Add your Rating
New Balance Summit Unknown Review Facts

One thing that most trail runners know about trail shoes is that they are unfashionable, bulky, and totally not the most attractive shoes to wear. This is mainly due to the fact that such shoes were intended to be on the type of terrain that more sleek and fashionable shoes would never survive on, but still, the fact remains that most people enjoy looking and feeling good whenever they can.

New Balance took this into consideration when they created the Summit Unknown trail shoes. These completely shatter the stereotype that a pair of trail shoes have to be ugly and bulky. The shoes manage to look sleek and stylish while managing to keep all the important components of a good trail running shoe: good breathability, stability, traction, durability, and more.

While these shoes are more expensive than you might expect for a pair of trail shoes, many people were pleased with the way the Summit Unknowns performed. Let’s look at some of the features these shoes have and why they may be a good choice for you if you are on the hunt for some trail running shoes.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • The shoes are very lightweight and comfortable, and they provide a lot of flexibility

  • The outsole of the shoe provides great traction

  • The midsole of the shoe has enough cushioning to ensure that the shoes are responsive

  • Since the shoes are made to be run on trails, they are also highly durable


  • The tongue of the shoe tends to slip often and runners notice that they have to adjust it frequently


The outsole of the shoe is made with HydroHesion rubber, which is meant to help the shoes get a good grip in wet environments. This means that the shoes will also hold up very well if you intend to be running after a rainstorm or in a place that is rather wet. It also makes the shoes a great choice right away if you are looking for a pair of trail running shoes that will suit any situation. And, the lugs in the outsole are in a multi-dimensional pattern, which means that you will be able to run uphill, downhill, and on all different kinds of surfaces easily and swiftly.


Just like many other running shoes made by New Balance, the midsoles of these are made with REVlite EVA foam, which helps to prevent the cushioning of the shoe from losing its original shape. People have said that the midsole takes a while to get used to, but the run eventually begins to feel comfortable thanks to this cushioning. There is also a Rock Stop material in the midsole of the shoe towards the forefoot, which will allow your foot to be protected from any of the surfaces you are running on and will help to absorb some of the shocks of your run. If you are someone who likes to run on trails and do shorter marathons, then the cushioning of this midsole is great for you. Some people did use the shoes to run longer marathons, however, so at the end of the day, it depends on the way you like your shoes to feel as you run. The shoes are durable enough for what you choose.


The New Balance shoes have an upper that has both synthetic mesh and a removable insole. The upper part of these shoes provides ample breathability while also remaining highly durable, which is necessary for such shoes. If the upper were made of the same material and in the same fashion as it is in regular running shoes, it would never survive on the terrain that these shoes were designed to be used on. There is a rubber section near the heel and the forefoot, called Toe Protect, which will help to protect the corresponding parts of your feet from any sharp branches or other things that could hurt you on your run.

The one issue that some people had when it came to the upper of this shoe was the tongue. They said that the tongue will end up bunching up and causing some discomfort after running a mile or so, and it sometimes even slipped around. This is not the worst problem that the upper could have, but it is annoying for people who intend to use these shoes for running long distances without having to stop to adjust it.


There is a difference between the weight of the women’s shoes and the men’s shoes- 8.85 ounces and 9.1 ounces respectively. This means that these shoes are very lightweight, especially considering the fact that they are meant to be run on rough surfaces, and such shoes tend to be a lot heavier. It’s important that running shoes be as lightweight as possible without feeling cheap or flimsy because feeling like you have something weighing down on your feet could greatly hinder your performance. The reason why these shoes are so lightweight is due to the material in the midsole, which is lighter than the material used in the midsoles of other similar shoes.


Something that you might find is that a pair of shoes which are meant to be used on rough terrain is that they don’t have the breathability that other shoes do. This is because the upper has to be made out of a tougher material so that the shoes don’t tear apart as easily. However, with the no-sew upper on these shoes, you as the runner are provided with enough breathability. These shoes will help to prevent blisters on the trail thanks to this great ventilation, which will help to give you a much more efficient run. And, the shoes dry quickly, so if you are running in a wet environment, you won’t experience discomfort.


Many people agreed that the shoes are comfortable and they are true to size. If you have wider feet, the shoes are available in both wide and standard sizes. They do feel tight in some areas, but there is enough room for the toes and for your feet to wiggle around.


There are two options you can choose from when it comes to color for these shoes: black and green or orange and black. One of the great things about these shoes is the fact that they look sleek and modern, which is not a usual feature of shoes that are meant for use on rough terrain. They don’t look too bulky and will suit your feet nicely.


Any pair of shoes that are meant to handle tough terrain need to be able to last a long time. The Summit Unknown shoes will get you through any running conditions you can think of and last. The midsole of the shoe is made with a material that will not flatten out quickly, and the rubber that is surrounding the toe area will help to protect the mesh that the upper is made out of from tearing, too. Many people were pleased with the longevity of these shoes.


The New Balance shoes have multiple mechanisms which will help to protect your feet. First, they have a bumper in the front which is meant to protect your toes from any of the rough terrains you might encounter. The shoes also will dry quickly, so should you happen to run in wet areas, your feet won’t get too wet. And, there is also Rockstop protection in the midsole, which is meant to help protect your feet from any sharp rocks that you might step on.


The shoes have great responsiveness because of the EVA foam that’s in the midsole. The comfort of the midsole is exactly where it needs to be for a runner- not too plush, but not too hard, either. The foam will absorb the shock of your run and send the energy back to you.


One of the best parts about these shoes is their versatility in the outdoors. No matter where you want to go to exercise, the Summit Unknown will be perfect for that terrain. You can run on trails, go off-roading, run on paved roads, gravel, mountains, rocks, and wet and dry areas. The shoes are one of the best ones on the market for wet conditions because they are able to dry very quickly. The only places where some people noticed problems was in snowy or muddy conditions. This is due to the fact that the shoes do not provide much heat for the wearer, and mud will get in between the lugs of the outsole. However, they also said that the shoes can still be used in such conditions- they just might not perform their best.


You might look at the price of these shoes and gasp, but in reality, these are very well-priced for a pair of trail shoes that boast all the special features that these shoes have. The shoes officially retail for approximately $130, but you can usually find them online for a lot cheaper. If you want a pair of trail running shoes that have all the features that these have, you will have to shell out a lot more money in order to get them.


If these shoes are meant to be used for trail running, then it means that they must have great traction. You can use these shoes to run on many different surfaces, including grass, dirt roads, concrete, gravel, and more. The shoes are especially great for running in wet areas, so you will be completely fine should the day you choose to go running be a rainy one. The rubber in the outsole was specifically made to be suitable for wet surfaces, and these shoes, in particular, are one of the best ones on the market for running in wet places. The only thing that some people noticed when it came to the traction of these shoes was that a lot of mud tended to get into the lugs of the outsole, but that did not make the traction of the shoes any less efficient.


Trail shoes are not necessarily the most flexible of all running shoes, and the Summit Unknown is certainly no exception. The midfoot of the shoe is made out of a material that is too firm for the shoe to be flexible. However, the forefoot of the shoe is rather flexible when comparing it to other trail shoes, which means that you will be able to run faster. The added flexibility will also require less effort on your part, and it will also help you when you are running uphill. While trail shoes aren’t marketed as being flexible shoes, these in particular seem to be rather flexible in comparison to others.


These shoes have a 10mm drop, which is a good drop for many different runners. This also means that your foot will be close enough to the ground for you to feel what kind of surface you will be running on, but it will be far enough to not get hurt from any of the debris or anything else that might be on the surface.

Key Features

-The shoes are lightweight thanks to the cushioning in the midsole, which is made out of REVlite foam
-The shoes have a 10mm drop
-The outsoles are made out of HydroHesion rubber
-The shoes provide great traction due to the lugs that are in the soles of the shoes
-The upper part of the shoe is made with a no-sew mesh material that provides adequate breathability
-The shoes dry quickly, allowing you to run even in wet environments

Bottom Line

It seems that the only real downside of the New Balance Summit Unknown trail running shoes is the fact that the tongue slips around a lot, but this is not the biggest problem in the world when taking into consideration some of the other flaws that running shoes could have. These shoes not only will provide as much breathability as possible, but they also will be comfortable enough for you to run as much as you’d like. And, since these shoes are meant to be used on rough terrain, they are made with material durable enough to withstand this. Your feet will be completely protected no matter where you choose to run. And, to top all of that off, the shoes, when compared to other trail running shoes, have a sleek and stylish design. What more could you ask for in a pair of trail shoes?