Courtesy New Balance.
These were covered briefly in a Spotlite Review, and a promise was made to provide a full review after they had been well exercised. I will assume you have just read the Spotlite and not go over the stuff mentioned there.
Field Testing - Locations
They have been tested under a rather wide range of conditions: everything from extreme winter snow conditions through mild three-season conditions in harsh rocky country to lazy river walking. In general they have been very good, with one exception.
Day two of the winter trip.
These shoes were worn by both the author and his wife in a winter snowshoe trip which went 'slightly off-course'. You can read all about the trip at When Things Go Wrong.
While things did go rather wrong over all, the shoes did not. Both my wife and I had got them half a size too big - partly by accident, but this allowed us to wear two pairs of thick wool socks inside the shoes. That extra padding, plus the Gore-Tex lining and the Gore-Tex gaiters, meant we had nice warm feet every day of the trip.
My wife did try wearing just one pair of socks inside the shoes, but found that the reduced padding allowed the straps of her snowshoes to be felt by the top of her arches. The tongue of the shoes is not all that padded.
Some people worry that joggers are only good for wearing with light packs. This is a silly argument, as the difference in total weight on your feet between a pack of 10 kg and a pack of 20 kg is really only the difference between, say 80 kg and 90 kg on your feet. You have to include the weight of your body.
Portering in to a remote ski base camp.
Anyhow, on a subsequent skiing trip we used the joggers for the walk in to a hut with rather heavy loads. The creeks were all flooded, and we could not safely drive in. When you are carrying full winter gear, plus skis, plus base-camp food, your pack does get heavy. The joggers coped just fine.
Portering back out of the remote ski base camp, with rubbish.
Coming back out we weren't carrying as much food (of course), but I was carrying a large load of rubbish. We had spent some time cleaning up the area. The New Balance MT1110GT joggers went just fine on my Yowie snowshoes. Very little wear was visible on the shoes at this stage.
Low down in the rainforest at Barrington Tops.
My wife wore her New Balance MT1110GT joggers on a multi-night trip around the Barrington Tops in mid-summer. This is an isolated plateau region based partly on volcanic basalt. The vegetation ranges from dense rainforest, as shown above, to near-alpine conditions.
Bad weather on top of Barrington Tops.
Unfortunately some of the weather up top was a shade damp, but my wife's shoes functioned very nicely despite that. Yes, her socks did eventually get wet, but we are fairly sure that the water got in by wicking down her trousers, not through any leak in the Gore-Tex liner. Well, if there was a leak, it wasn't noticed. The soles gripped nicely in both the mud at the bottom and the wet alpine conditions up top.
Rough country in the Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness area.
Another trip we used the New Balance MT1110GT joggers on was a traverse of five peaks in the Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness area. It was an extension of a classic 'Three Peaks' trip. This is harsh rough rocky country with no tracks. The joggers had to cope not only with the rock underfoot, but with the scrub brushing against the mesh top layer.
The soles gripped well and showed little wear. The uppers also showed little wear. That 'cosmetic mesh' on top is not fragile! In fact, after being worn on many rough walks, the joggers continued to function very well and to show little wear.
The gentle Coxs River valley.
However, the life of one of the pairs of shoes came to an abrupt end in a most unexpected manner, while we were on a gentle walk down the Coxs River. Well you might ask, how this could be? The problem is that walking parts of the Coxs River means you have to cross it many times as one side, then the other, becomes impassable. We have been up and down this river many times and are used to doing this: we just walk across the shallow water without worrying about it. 'Cross early and cross often' seems to be the message.
Gaps in the sewing.
But we had not allowed for what can only be described as a bungle at the factory in China. The shoes are well made, and the Gore-Tex liners are well done. But around the base of the tongue on each shoe there were gaps in the sewing. You can see the gaps in the photo here: they are where the screwdrivers disappear inside the shoes. The tips of the screwdrivers are in between the Gore-Tex liner and the outer structural parts of the shoe. The thin blue lines show where the sewing is missing on each side of the tongue.
Walking across the Coxs River.
We waded across the river many times, kicking up the sand at the bottom and flexing the shoes. As we did this, the sand was able to creep through these gaps and inside the shoe, in between the GoreTex liner and the body. It settled down at the edges of the inner sole, mixed with the glue which bonds the inner sole to the foam sole, and formed hard lumps along the edges. They appeared especially around the ball of the foot where it flexes. They were extremely uncomfortable and made the shoes unwearable - like having small stones in your shoes.
Opening the shoes up for cleaning.
On the Coxs river trip, I was wearing my favourite summer joggers, Dunlop KT26s, and had no trouble. My wife was wearing her MT1110GT joggers, and it was those which filled up with sand. When we got home I pulled her shoes apart to see what was going on, and saw enough to verify the claims made above. There were little lumps of sand scattered all along both sides where the purple lines are. I tried to remove all the sand, but I found that unless I really 'deconstructed' the shoes I was just not going to succeed. The sand was too stuck in place. I gave up, as I was not sure I could reconstruct the shoes afterwards.
The New Balance MT1110GT shoes are very nice, hard-wearing but fairly light joggers with a good Gore-Tex membrane. Being available in half sizes and a 4E width fitting (as well as narrower versions), they should fit most walkers. Bought a half-size too large to allow for extra socks, they make excellent winter walking and snowshoeing shoes.
They also make excellent walking shoes for harsh rocky country. Both the soles and the uppers seem to be able to take harsh treatment. The Gore-Tex membrane seems to handle early morning dew very well.
But unless you modify the shoes by hand-sewing across the blue lines in the photo above, you should not take these shoes into the water or even into very sandy places. If you do sew them up they should be OK - I think. I have sewn my pair up and they continue to provide excellent service.
|synthetic fabrics and rubbers, no leather, plus XCR membrane|
|SL-1 (see New Balance's site for their definition)|
Size: - 6
|13, 14, 15 in D, EE and EEEE fittings|
|Quoted 385 g (13.5 oz) each, measured 406 g (14.3 oz) for US size 11 EEEE (BPL measurement)|
|what you see is what you get|
- A fairly low weight
- A wide range of width fittings
- A flat inner sole and footbed
- Very good friction on the sole
- No leather or suede anywhere
What's Not So Good
- Sand can get inside the body through gaps in the stitching