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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > New Balance Trail Runner 1110 > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes

New Balance MT1110GT Trail Runners
Test Report Series by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: April 10, 2008
Field Report: June 19, 2008
Long Term Report: August 18, 2009

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New Balance MT1110GT

Tester Coy Starnes
Gender Male
Age 45
Weight 238 lb (108 kg)
Height 6 ft (1.8 m)
Location Grant, Alabama, USA

Tester Biography
I live in Northeast Alabama.  I enjoy biking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and most other outdoor activities but backpacking is my favorite pastime.  I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo.  I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer.  My style is slow and steady and my gear is light.  However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability.  A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.

Initial Report: April 10, 2008
Product Information
Item New Balance MT1110GT
Manufacturer New Balance
Year of Manufacture 2008
Size I'm Testing Men's 12 EE
Listed Weight size 9D = 13.5 oz (383 g) each and 27 oz (765 g) for the pair
Measured Weight size 12EE = 15.05 oz (427 g) each and 30.1 oz (853 g) for the pair
Color grey/orange
MSRP not listed

nb 2Product Description
The New Balance MT1110GT shoes (referred to as the NB 1110 or shoes in the rest of the report) are listed under Running: Trail/Off Road on the manufactures website.  They are basically an improved version of the NB 808s and other NB trail running type shoes.  The most notable improvement is the addition of Gore-Tex® XCR®, which is incorporated into the liner.  The shoes are very low cut so this addition will not help all that much in stream crossings but should help when walking in dew covered grass etc.  

After a close visual inspection the most noticeable difference is the new type shoe lace the NB 1110 uses.  It almost looks deformed but the best way I can describe it is to say it is not a continuous smooth lace but rather a bumpy one.  The lace is one of the listed features and is called Sure Lace™.  I can only surmise that the bumps will make the laces less likely to come untied (see photo on the left).

The shoe also features Abzorb® FL which the website says is "NB’s top of the line midsole material with excellent cushioning and compression set properties. A blend of Dupont™ Engage®, Isoprene rubber and proprietary materials provides the ultimate ride." 

The tread on the bottom features Ndurance® which is described as a "Rubber compound for maximum durability used in high wear areas."  The tread is fairly aggressive looking.
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Tread Design of the NB MT1110GT

Other features include Rock Stop™ 2 (I think this is the raised heel area), Engineered seamless upper and a Toe Protect.

Initial Impression
Having worn many NB shoes over the last several years, (see image below) and after viewing and reading about the 1110s on the New Balance website, I got pretty much the shoe I was expecting.  Which is to say; a very light weight but comfortable shoe suitable for my hiking and trail running needs.

I think a 12 EE is just about my perfect shoe size and this shoe is no exception.  It fits snug enough that I don't expect my foot will be sliding forward inside the shoe when walking down steep hills but it is still roomy enough that my toes don't feel cramped.  Of course the proof will be many miles down the trail but I will be reporting on that before long.

Future Testing
I plan to wear these shoes early and often...In fact, I thought it might be kind of cool to look at some of my older NB shoes to get a glimpse of what the NB 1110s have to look forward too.  The 2 photos below are not even close to a representation of how many NB shoes I have owned over the past decade or so but show all I could find.  And no, I don't have a NB shoe fetish...
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3 of my old pair of NB shoes (804s, 806s, and 808s)
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 and 2 more pair of my NB shoe collection (700s and the nearly new 808s) along with the NB 1110s pictured on the right

So why am I so eager to test the NB 1110s when from the looks of some of the shoes in the photo, they wear out?  The above photos do not really do justice to how worn looking some of the shoes look nor does it show the many tough trail miles each pair has seen.  I have worn a few other brands of similar trail runners and found all wear out rather quickly.  After all, it is my hard earned money on the line when I purchase a pair.  In fact I bought the other brands when I found them on such a good sale I couldn't resist.  However, I have always come back to wearing my NB shoes

But back to testing the NB1110s.  I normally hike a lot of miles for exercise as well as somewhat fewer miles backpacking.  I plan to wear these shoes for all of this.  I don't plan to wear them while working construction or gardening because they are not intended for such use.

I am mainly interested in how comfortable the shoes will be after a long day of hiking and also if the Gore-Tex® XCR® keeps my foot dry but not overly hot.  I will be monitoring the tread wear as well as how the uppers hold up.  And of course how well the Sure Lace™ work?  This concludes my Initial Report.  Please check back in approximately 2 months to see how they are doing.

Field Report June 19, 2008
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Author testing waterproofness at the Walls of Jericho

Testing Locations and Conditions. 
I have worn the New Balance 1110s on 2 overnight hikes and several day hikes.  Trail conditions were usually dry except for a few hikes during or right after some rain.  The trails were steep in places and sometimes slick depending on whether the ground or rocks were wet.
The first overnight hike was very nice with a high of 73 F (23 C) hiking in and a crisp 51 F (11 C) early the next morning.  The next overnighter was much warmer.  I intentionally made it a short 2 mile (3 km) hike each way because it was too hot to hike much. It was 88 F (49 C) when I set out hiking at 6 PM and still 81 F (45 C) when I turned in at 10 PM.  It slowly cooled down to 77 F (43 C) by 5 AM and 81 F (45 C) by the time I got home around 9 the next morning. 

My day hikes were a mix of temperatures and conditions.  Some were very warm at around 90 F (50 C) and some were in cooler weather and even during rain.  Most day hikes were anywhere from 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 km).  My longest day hike was the 7 mile (11 km) round trip to the Walls of Jericho.  I probably put around 70 miles (113 km) on the shoes during dayhikes and another 10 miles (16 km) during backpacking trips.

My day hikes typically saw at least 400 ft (122 m) elevation change each way and the one dayhike to the Walls of Jericho saw 1000 ft (305 m) change not counting the ups and downs that were wasted...That is 1000 ft (305 m) down and 300 ft (91 m) up the other side, plus other ups and downs.

Field Test Result
So far I am very pleased with the NB1110s performance.  I was wondering how well they would do when the weather turned hot considering they are Gore-Tex® XCR® lined.  I can honestly say, I didn't see much difference in these shoes and several non Gore-Tex trail runners I wear.  I was even surprised that they seemed to dry out about as fast as regular trail runners, even after getting water over the tops and thus down inside the shoes when wading a few times. 

As for how they felt, I found them extremely comfortable under all conditions.  For example, the hike to the Walls of Jericho was a long continuous down hill hike the first couple of miles.  I had my day pack weighed down with almost 15 lb (7 kg) of food (not backpacking food) and lots of drinks for lunch.  But even with the somewhat heavy pack I had no trouble with my toes feeling smushed on the steeper downhill sections.  I also experienced no hot spots.  My feet were weary by the time we made it back to the car some 6 hours after the hike started, but this was not really due to the shoes.

I tested the NB1110s waterproofness several times by walking in wet grass and along muddy trails.  I never had a leak.  Since this seemed a little tame, I also wore the shoes in water in a few shallow sections along the several creeks I hike around.  I never felt any water leak in but to be sure I took my shoes off several times and found the insides were in fact still dry.  Of course in the hotter weather they were a tad damp from sweat so it was not a 100% sure fire test.  I did however, take them off and hold them down in the same water and never saw any signs of water penetrating.

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Closeup of New Balance 1110's doing their thang down in the holler!

Laces and Traction
I wanted to just briefly comment on both the laces and traction.  The first few times I wore the shoes I did not like the feel of these laces when tying them.  And even though it has gotten better as the laces have become less stiff, I still am not crazy about how they feel when tying them.  It just does not feel right and feels like I may not have them pulled snug enough.  However, in actual use, they have yet to come untied, so I have to give them credit for doing what they are intended to do.

The traction of the shoes is superb.  I found they were solid on all but the slickest moss covered rocks.  I also never had any trouble with mud caking up much at all on the bottoms.  I did notice that one time I left some mud crumbs on the kitchen floor when I put the shoes on for a walk after they had dried with some mud on the soles.  I generally take them outside and knock them against the steps if mud had dried on the soles but forgot that one time. 

To be honest, I haven't put in enough miles to really have a good opinion on the shoes durability. I did make one interesting observation as I sat down to inspect the shoes for this report.  It seems that the writing on the insole is much more worn on my left foot.  I have a bad right knee so perhaps I favor that leg more than I realize.  Other than that, there is not a great deal of wear showing up yet.  The soles are also still not worn away very much.  Regardless, here is a photo of the difference in the print inside each shoe. 

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Summary Thus Far
I couldn't be more satisfied with the NB1110s unless they had a motor in them.  Honestly, these are just as comfortable as my other NB shoes but I really appreciate having dry feet in the mornings when there is a heavy dew in my yard.  With high gas prices I have let my grass go longer between cuttings and it has been quite tall a few times, but the NB1110s never seemed to mind.  The wife is a different story...  This concludes my Field Report.  Please check back in approximately 2 months to see how they are doing.

Long Term Report: August 18, 2008

Field Locations and Conditions
Testing was done on several more day hikes in local woods, a couple more overnighters in the same woods and on an overnight tour with my recumbent on which I wore the New Balance exclusively.  I also wore them on several of my short rides when I was just after a quick workout.  Conditions have been much drier and hotter with higher humidity.  I saw near 100 F (38 C) on several day hikes but tried to avoid the hottest parts of the day.  I know it was 96 F (36 C) the afternoon I went for the overnight tour.

Long Term Test Results
My opinion has not changed since the Field Report as these are very comfortable shoes.  I will say that in the hottest weather I do believe the Gore-Tex liner does make the shoes slightly hotter than similar shoes without the liner.  In fact, my old NB 808's I wore last year were so breathable I often came home with very dirty socks.  And this was most noticeable when I wore white athletic socks which I wear often.  The NB 808s are not torn but they do let air right through and apparently dirt.  I notice right away that the NB 1110s did not let my socks get dirty in this manner when I wore the same type low cut athletic socks which by the way, can be seen in the photo below.

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NB 1110's worked great for riding as well as hiking

The above photo was taken on my first ever overnight tour on my recumbent.  I normally wear bike shoes but I knew I might end up walking a lot of the climb back up the mountain so I just wore the NB 1110's for the ride.  Turns out I did have to walk about half the mile (0.8 km) climb so unfortunately, I was right. 

I also went on a hike of around 4 miles (6 km) at the State Park where I was camping.  The trail was dry and dusty in places but went up the side of the mountain.  The leaves were slick where they lay over some of the rocks, but as before, I was impressed with the traction of these shoes.  They were also quite as I startled a couple of deer and perhaps the same two again not much further along the trail.  

I also walked on rather dusty trails on my hikes to the hollow as the summer wore on.  In fact, the creek was low enough that I had to hunt places to test the waterproofness of the shoes.  I have found the shoes continue to excel in steep up and down hill situations.  

I put several more road miles on the shoes walking the 3 mile (5 km) loop around our neighborhood.  I walked it with my wife several times and by my self a few more, and while not a good test of off-road (trail) abilities, the comfort was appreciated.  I also wore them at work several times.  I am often using a leaky water hose spraying off various equipment but the NB 1110's kept my feet dry.  Standing on concrete is tough but these shoes made it easier.

The one area I feel the shoes could improve is odor control.  I have some shoes that don't seem to develop an odor and others that do.  The NB 1110's are definitely in the later camp.  I even washed them a few weeks ago and this helped but as soon as I wore them a couple of times the odor was back and much quicker than the first build up.

Care and Durability
The NB 1110's are a very durable shoe.  I know trail runners don't typically hold up as long as more substantially built boots which is to be expected but these are still looking and feeling great.  The wear on the lettering on the insole I mentioned in my Field Report is still more pronounced on the left shoe but not as much now with a few hundred more miles (322 km) on the shoes. 

As I mentioned earlier, I did wash the shoes one time. I did not have any Gore-Tex specific sports wash on hand so I used some Woolite I keep handy for my wool garments.  I just mixed a few teaspoons in a bucket of warm water and let them soak an hour, swished them around a bit, then rinsed well and set them out in the sun to dry.  I did have to lay a wet towel over them in the bucket to keep them submerged as they wanted to float.

The shoes came out looking practically new again.  They dried fast sitting out on my deck in full sun and 95 F (35 C) weather.  I wore them back to the hollow a few days later and waded in the creek a little to see if they were still waterproof after the washing. So far they are.

The NB 1110's build on the already popular trail runners they make.  I think the addition of Gore-Tex is a big improvement for many of the hiking situations I run across.  Dry feet are always nice and I am looking forward to hiking with them this winter when dry feet are even more important.  The odor I experienced is typical of athletic shoes but I feel that some of my more breathable shoes do offend a little less but this is very subjective.  That said, I feel the waterproofness is worth any negative aspect and that these shoes are about as close to perfect as any hiking shoe I have ever worn.  I don't do high mileage due to bad knees but the NB 1110's never seemed anywhere close to making my feet feel fatigued or hurting at the end of the day.  This concludes my testing of the New Balance MT1110GT Trail Runners.  My thanks to BackpackGearTest and New Balance for the opportunity to test these great shoes.

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