New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review

Totally synthetic, solid soles with a good tread and a range of width fittings, a Gore-Tex 'Extended Comfort Footwear' lining, but a slightly stiff sole.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

These have a wide fitting and a solid sole. The outer and the sole are more robust than the MT875 shoes, but the weight is slightly higher. The shoes have a Gore-Tex lining in the hope of keeping your feet dry (but they will still go pruney).

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by Roger Caffin |

Overview

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review - 1
Photo courtesy of New Balance.

We recently reviewed the New Balance MT875OR shoes which, while very light (385 g each), proved to have quite good life and performance. These MT910GT shoes go up-market from the MT875s with a more robust sole and a Gore-Tex 'Extended Comfort Footwear' lining. There is a weight increase with all this, with the reviewed pair (size 10, 4E) coming in at 424 g each. We will use the MT875s as a comparison point for parts of this review.

The new Gore-Tex 'Extended Comfort Footwear' lining appears to be the same old Gore-Tex membrane. The 'extended comfort' bit seems to mean that they don't put a heavy leather cover over the shoe but use a breathable mesh instead. This should let the Gore-Tex membrane breathe a bit more.

New Balance have used a new last for the MT910GT shoes: the PL-1 replaces the SL-1 used in the 875s. According to New Balance: 'With less forefoot volume and a more contoured fit through the heel and arch, the shoes built on this new performance last provide a comfortable, secure fit to help you be your best.'

Company marketing said the shoes run true to size, but we found that it was necessary to go down half a size to get the right fit. This was checked fairly carefully: the company sent both size 10.5 and size 10 shoes for testing. While I have happily worn size 10.5 and even size 11 with other shoes, I had to wear the size 10s in this model. Otherwise there does not seem to be much difference in the new last.

Product Details

A small problem we found with the MT875s was that the light sole had widely-spaced shallow lugs, which wore down a bit after two weeks in the Australian Alps and six weeks in the Swiss Alps. The foam layer was not all that thick either. I could feel the stones through the sole a bit by the end of the field testing. The sole on the MT910s is a bit more robust (with an internal hard PU layer) and the lugs are a bit deeper (about 4 mm) and a bit more densely packed. Vibram soles they are not, but they are a bit closer to that design. This means the sole is a bit stiffer too.

The uppers on the MT875 used a light mesh and some plastic strips sewn over the top. The mesh did get damaged after many weeks of rough terrain. The use of mesh and plastic strips has carried over to these NB910s, but the mesh seems more robust and is a double layer in places. The 'plastic strips' on the NB875s proved to be extremely tough stuff, and the same material seems to be used on the MT910s. Expect this stuff to last! The toe bumper on the MT910s is a lot more robust than on the MT875s: it is quite a solid construction. Whether that is necessary is debatable: the lighter construction on the MT875s lasted quite well in the field.

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review - 3
The plastic trim on the MT875s had some corners facing forwards. That was a bad idea which caused a problem in the field: the stitching holding the corners was not strong enough, and it broke, with the corners peeling backwards. I had to sew the 'trim' back on. The design of the MT910 shoes seems to have partly removed this problem: the only forward-facing corners (see blue lines) are higher off the ground and further back out of the way. Unless you are really bashing through a lot of very rough scrub at foot level, this should be OK.

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review - 4
The inner sole is the standard New Balance 'Ortholite' and the laces are the now-standard New Balance lumpy ones. They seem to hold a knot OK. The holes and lugs for the laces are a bit strange at the front: there are tape loops (which seem pretty reliable) and a few holes. Two of the holes have a bar tack around them for reinforcing, while the third hole does not. However, the bar-tacking is so dense that the needle holes through the plastic coating may prove a weak point. The distribution of all these forms is a bit strange.

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review - 5
The top edge of any light jogger usually has a fabric surface rolled over, as shown here. This can be hard to get just right: if the fabric is a shade too tight the corners point in and can poke into your foot. This has been seen at the heel points on quite a few shoes. The MT910GT shoes do not have this problem at the heel, but the corners at the top lacing points do have it slightly. The blue arrow points to the slight bend in the plastic trim which marks the inwards curve. In theory the tongue should buffer your foot from these corners - just.

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review - 6
A serious problem encountered with the New Balance MT1110GT shoes was that the front of the tongue had not been sewn together properly, and there were holes through which sand could enter into the body of the shoes. It could collect between the Gore-Tex lining and the outer shell. This did happen with one pair while river walking, making those shoes immediately unusable. This construction problem has not been completely solved on the MT910GT shoes: one side of the tongue still could allow sand to get in, as may be seen here. However, the flap over the top of the 'gap' is more pronounced and this should limit possible ingress.

Field Testing

Both my wife and I have used the MT910s on walks over a wide range of terrain, include wading in some rivers. I have to report that the MT910s have worked very well. The new PL-1 last is not hugely different from the SL-1 last and it fitted me OK - but your feet will be different, so do check! The corners on the trim presented no problems at all, being well out of the way. All the holes and loops for the laces have survived very well, with no signs of stress. The potential leaky hole shown above (where the biro goes) did not seem to let any sand in at all when wading in rivers. The rolled-over top corners yielded to use and (more or less) straightened out enough. My feet still ended up like a wrinkled prune at the end of the day - Gore-Tex is not that breathable!

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review - 7
The soles are a mix of good black rubber and two other materials. The black rubber worked well. The orange arc with the green arrow at the heel seems to be a similar rubber and has not given any problems. However, the bits pointed to by the blue arrows seem to be a hard polyurethane (or a similar composition), and I am less keen on these. I suspect the idea was that being so hard they might act as spikes or grippers (crampons, anyone?), but in reality they are far too small to provide any real benefit this way. However, I did notice that at times on tricky rocks and greasy logs they seemed to interfere with grip a bit. This was especially so in the wet (which is always a problem). So my first conclusion is that letting the orange PU protrude through the sole this way is not a good idea and should not be repeated.

The orange PU can be seen at the sides of the shoe as well, especially around the arch region. I suspect it serves as the stiffening plate for the whole sole. Frankly, I felt that the stiffening was overdone. I would have preferred a slightly more flexible sole. However, the effect is not huge by any means: I am being a bit fussy here. I suspect the stiff sole might go quite well in the snow and on snow shoes.

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review - 8
Govett Ridge, Kuringai Chase National Park, Australia.

While the shoes are very robust, this comes at a cost. I have just mentioned the sole - the sides of the shoe are also a bit stiff. The plastic trim at the sides adds to this stiffness. This did not worry me, but my wife found that the stiffness was a bit noticeable at the sides of the ball of the foot - by the big toe and the little toe, right where there is some of that heavy synthetic reinforcing. Her feet are a bit delicate just there (some old injuries), and she found the stiff side-walls just a bit aggravating at times, even though she was wearing a very wide EEEE fitting. If you don't have this problem then you probably would not notice anything - if you have the right (i.e. wide enough) fitting.

Over all the rate of wear has been low, so I expect that these shoes will last quite a while.

Specifications

Manufacturer New Balance
Year/Model MT910GT / 2009
Country of Manufacture China
Materials Synthetic fabrics and rubbers, no leather
Last PL-1
Sizes Available
7 - 13, 14, 15 in D, and EEEE fittings
Weight Quoted 420 g (14.89 oz) each
Measured 424 g (14.9 oz) for US size 10 EEEE (BPL measurement)
Colour Grey with orange trim: what you see is what you get
MSRP US$130

What's Good

  • A lowish weight
  • A range of width fittings (including 4E)
  • A flat inner sole and footbed (no 'arch support')
  • Good friction (mostly) and fairly good lugs on the sole
  • No leather or suede anywhere
  • No air cushioning to destroy 'ground-feel'

What's Not So Good

  • Sand might get into the shell between the layers
  • The orange PU sole layer is too stiff
  • The sides of the shoe are also a bit stiff
  • The orange protrusions through the sole don't help traction at all
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the manufacturer under the terms of this agreement.


Citation

"New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review," by Roger Caffin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/new_balance_mt910gt_joggers_review.html, 2010-04-13 00:00:00-06.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review on 04/13/2010 15:25:19 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
New Balance MT910GT Joggers Review on 04/13/2010 17:03:44 MDT Print View

Great review Roger.
Been using these on winter backpacking trips since mid. January and have held up great.

Can confirm stiff sole is pretty solid on snow/ice. Have about two hundred trail only miles on them and just switched out for mesh since GXT was a bit warm and pruning effect was getting annoying/causing blisters.

One thing noticed was GTX membrane seemed to almost collapse on a very wet 4 hour trek, have not experienced this before with that type of fabric, guessing conditions were pretty challenging for any footwear.

Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
Recommended? on 04/13/2010 20:34:33 MDT Print View

I know this isn't an exact science, but I just can't figure out why this shoe gets a recommended rating. I'm not familiar with the MT875 that the reviewer uses as a comparison. What else should I compare these shoes against? Is a $130 a good value for the performance these shoes give? Should this be considered a specialty shoe for those with wide feet? With all the mentioned downsides, I don't understand how it would beat other shoes in its class.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Recommended? on 04/13/2010 22:21:07 MDT Print View

When you boil it all down, I guess it gets a Recommended rating because that's what I thought it deserved.

> I'm not familiar with the MT875 that the reviewer uses as a comparison
The URL to the Review is in the article. Read it?

> Is a $130 a good value for the performance these shoes give?
Hum, well, it seems about 'normal' to me.

> Should this be considered a specialty shoe for those with wide feet?
Not at all. It comes in a D fitting and a 4E fitting, so it may not suit someone with a B width. But I can't test those!

> I don't understand how it would beat other shoes in its class.
A Recommended rating does not require that it beat all the other shoes in its class. I found it a bit above Average, but not at the Highly Recommended level.

Yeah, objectively grading shoes is almost impossible. But better a Review of some sort than none?

Cheers

Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
Re: Re: Recommended? on 04/13/2010 22:59:49 MDT Print View

I'm curious and confused. Why not rate it 'Above Average' if you found them a bit above average, especially if value is only normal?

Yes I read the review, haven't held or tried them on though. What are other competitors to the mt910?

I don't expect a Recommended rating to signify best in class. But again, 'Above Average' would mean that similar products should also be considered. Shouldn't 'Recommended mean that these shoes have a little extra mojo over at least some of the competition. I'm really just curious as to what that is?

Also, how much heel lift is there?

Edited by xavi1337 on 04/13/2010 23:08:17 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Recommended? on 04/14/2010 00:56:18 MDT Print View

Hi Ross

> What are other competitors to the mt910?
Hum, well, many I would think. We now have 4 reviews of new balance, plus reviews of other footwear. But given how fast the industry changes models (Herblock's Rule), it is impossible to keep up. I wish they would slow down a bit!

Recommended, or Above Average? Good Question. Quite definitely well above Average though. Maybe borderline between Above Average and Recommended, tending upwards? If I don't have an urge to take the shoes off as soon as the tent is up, I tend to look very favourably upon them.

> how much heel lift is there?
Ah. I was not able to detect any significant heel lift on my feet. There is always a bit of movement - otherwise your feet would be really jammed, but my Darn Tough Vermont Full Boot Socks meant I felt nothing.

Cheers

Pieter Kaufman
(Pieter) - F
910s on 04/14/2010 09:30:22 MDT Print View

I've praised these shoes before on this site.

These aren't even my preferred shoes, and yet, through this last winter of mostly California desert and LA local hills backpacking/hiking, I keep reaching for them first. Extensive sand/gravel in desert washes posed no challenge for these, with a low gaiter. Heavy, cold, albeit brief rain in Joshua Tree soaked the uppers, but my feet remained very dry and comfortable.

I've come to think of these as pretty much the ideal southern California winter backpacking/hiking shoe, where there is the possibility of some rain, but mostly, it's cool and dry, verging on cold, with nights hovering around freezing in the deserts. I've never really used them in truly warm weather, so perhaps they would get a little sauna-like, but for cooler, drier conditions, they're great.

On desert off-trail scrambles, the stiffness is a plus. I've done plenty of class 3 in these, and they work okay, although there's definitely too much deflection in the sole. But, that's no fault of the shoe; in that regard, it's wrong tool for the job. The onus is on the wearer to pick good lines and use good foot placement.

Too, the cheese-grater rock of Joshua Tree is certainly chewing these up, but not as quickly as I expected.

Personally, for the conditions I use these in, as stated above, I'd consider them highly recommended. YMwillcertainlyV.

Steve Hinkle
(sah22644)
Main hiking shoe? on 04/14/2010 20:43:16 MDT Print View

Would you consider wearing these as your only hiking shoe on a week long John Muir Trail hike? I'm concerned about ankle support and stone/root bruising through the sole. Comments?

Daniel Benthal
(DBthal)

Locale: Mid-Coast Maine
MT910 on 04/15/2010 10:45:05 MDT Print View

FYI - The MT910 is available without Gortex (which I prefer). I purchased a pair from Zappos. Look for the version without GT in the name..

Edited by DBthal on 04/15/2010 10:46:33 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Main hiking shoe? on 04/15/2010 16:35:21 MDT Print View

Hi Steve

I wore lighter shoes (MT875OR) than these on 2-month long trips in Europe. See Review.

My ankle support is my tendons. Hard-line!

No bruising through the sole at all.

No worries!
Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 04/16/2010 05:50:51 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
JMT shoes on 04/15/2010 18:44:22 MDT Print View

I wore Nike running shoes on my jmt hike. It's not that tough of a hike on shoes. MHO

donald buckner
(toomanyarrows)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
Socks on 04/15/2010 22:28:27 MDT Print View

On your recommendation, I purchased the Vermont Darn Tough full cushion boot sock. I wore them on a training hike (6 miles half woods trail half subdivision street) and I really liked them based on that brief trial. I thought they would be much thicker and that they would be mostly good for hunting in the winter. To me they are a medium thick wool sock and take up about 1/2 size up from a thin nylon sock when fitting with runners. (I wear 9.5 with thin socks and 10 with thick socks) I have some thicker wool socks that I have used while hunting, so I'll be anxc
ious to see if these are as warm when used in that capacity. I have some NB 8505s I picked up at Ross for $25 that may not be perfect but at that price I will compromise a bit. They have very good comfort, cushioning and reasonably light weight. They have a strange gap in the heel sole that some rocks stick into and traction has not been tested in difficult conditons, but did I mention they are comfortable, cushiony and reasonably light at that $25 price? Works for me.

Edited by toomanyarrows on 04/17/2010 12:24:42 MDT.