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New Balance MR740TR Review

Another fine member of the lightweight low-cut New Balance jogger family.


Overall Rating: Recommended

Can you give a pair of joggers a Highly Recommended rating? If the lugs were a shade bigger on these shoes, I would consider it.

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by Roger Caffin |

New Balance MR740TR Review - 1
New Balance MR740TR


These come after the MT876OR shoes we reviewed recently, but they have several differences, apart from the normal cosmetic changes. We received two pairs, both size 10 4E, so my wife and I could both try them out.

New Balance says of them "Especially well-suited for distance runners in search of mild stability, the 740 trail runner features a medial post for pronation control and ABZORB cushioning in both the heel and forefoot." I am not sure what that really means, but the 'mild stability' bit suggests that the shoes are not designed to take control of your foot and distort it into a shape or motion some 'expert' thinks you should have. Needless to say, I approve of the reluctance to interfere with your natural foot mechanics.


Manufacturer New Balance Inc (
Model MR740TR
Last PL-1
Sizes available US 7 - 13 in half sizes, 14, in D, 2E, 4E widths
Size supplied US 10 4E ('extra wide')
Weight (quoted) 317 g (11.2 oz) for unspecified size and width
Weight (measured) 339 g (12.8 oz) for US10 4E
Manufactured in China
MSRP US$90 (but now mainly from distributors)

Starting from the bottom, there is a small change to the lug pattern. I am not sure whether the pattern is better or worse: it certainly grips well and has given good traction to both of us. The photo here shows us at the top of a steep gully on a very wet day - the river went up by 10 metres. I had no problems.

New Balance MR740TR Review - 2
Gripping in the rain.

There has been a trend in recent years towards a heel with air space inside it. You can just see this in the first photo as hollows going in from the side. The hollows are meant to provide more spring or cushioning. You can go to extremes with this in the form of gel inserts, but they destroy the 'feel' your heel has for the ground, and as a result can lead to ankle injuries. Fortunately the heels on the MT740TR strike a nice balance and do not interfere with feeling the ground.

The internal sole is definitely different from some of the recent joggers reviewed. It feels much firmer. This gives much better traction on loose and muddy surfaces, although it probably 'smears' (rock climbing term) less well on extreme rock. It also blocks sharp rocks from poking your sole around. As I am more concerned about wet and mud than rock climbing, this is a plus for me.

Then we come to the external trim. I was critical of some previous models as they had a bit of the trim pointed forwards, so it could catch on stuff and get pulled off. The rand and trim on these MT740TR shoes avoids all those problems, and is very well designed. Has New Balance taken heed of our comments? Who knows?

Some previous versions have had a hard PU bumper at the front, which is fine except that it makes the front of the shoe just a bit heavy. That can make for a bit of toe dragging when you are tired or running. These shoes do not have that problem: the toe is light.

The lacing is designed with two sets of holes at the ankle region: you can see the holes in the first photo. With our high arches, the highest hole - the one nearest the back of the shoe, is completely superfluous! I tried using that hole for a couple of minutes, but the pressure on my arch created pain in that short time. Only using one hole and having the laces fairly loose gave me good retention and no discomfort.

The tongue is fairly conventional in shape, but not quite minimal in size. In practice, it is fine: I just worry about it slewing sideways after a few hours. Some tongues do that, however, this tongue seems to stay in place.

Some shoes give a bit of a problem at the top of the rim at the back. This happens when the top cuts in too much at the back. The idea seems to be that if the back curves in lots it will grip your heel well, but that assumes you have a really pointy heel. We don't: we have fairly straight Achilles tendons there. However, these shoes were not loose at the heel and did not give us any rubbing at the top either.

There is the usual moulded footbed inside the shoe. It is fairly basic with a not very prominent curl up at the arch. That is not enough to create any problem for those who abhor arch supports. It is thin: perhaps a little more thickness and quality would be good?

The interior of the MT876 shoes had a problem with the lining being not fully attached. These MR740TR shoes have a different interior that has none of those problems: it is smooth and comfortable. Both the lining and the removable footbed are quite comfortable.

New Balance MR740TR Review - 3
Lunch time, mid summer.

Field Testing

We have worn these in the wet and in the dry. In the very wet in fact, as you can see in the second photo! Yes, of course our feet got wet, but it really didn't seem to matter, and the mesh body allowed the water to drain out easily.

We have also worn them in the dry. The photo above shows a late lunch after a long morning spent bashing down a small valley to the ocean. You wouldn't think such an inconspicuous valley could present such rough country, but it sure did! I have to say that at no stage were we really conscious of our shoes: they were light, gripped well, and were comfortable. The scrub and the cliffs were another matter...

Will Rietveld also had a pair of these to test in size 12 4E. Unfortunately size 12 was a shade large for Will, but that's better than a size too small! Will's notes include the following:

“I normally request a size 12 in most shoes to get the extra width, but I find with wide NB shoes I am better off to request the exact size I need, which is 11.5. The size 12 has too much volume for my feet, so I have to wear two pairs of socks in them, or real heavy ones plus a liner, to fill them up. Then they fit snugly and do very well on the trail.

I wore them on two day hikes and one six-day backpacking trip. They are more flexible than the 814 [which will appear in a later Spotlite] and have the same aggressive tread. I wear them with thick cushy socks for a dialed-in fit. I like them better than the 814 because they don’t have as much heel lift. The heel cup is a bit loose for me. Trail dust does go through the mesh outer, so my feet get dirty. I wore them a lot while hiking off-trail and they did as well as any of the mid-height boots [we were field testing at the time, except for the Salomon Fastpacker].

Overall, it is refreshing to wear shoes that really are wide, rather than pseudo-wide, and also very light. They have good cushioning, good support, good motion control, and great traction.”

What’s Good
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent sole
  • Soft fabric sides
  • Not too much dust or debris penetration
  • Comfortable with loose laces
What’s Not So Good
  • Thin footbed

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.


"New Balance MR740TR Review," by Roger Caffin. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2011-06-28 00:00:00-06.


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New Balance MR740TR Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
New Balance MR740TR Review on 06/28/2011 13:33:31 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

New Balance MR740TR Review

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Trail Runners! on 06/28/2011 20:37:52 MDT Print View


Thanks for the review. And thanks for posting Wills comments. I like that he compared them to other shoes and also mentioned that they are wide. I've only started wearding trail runners a few months back, but don't plan on wearing b**ts any time soon or again if I can help it. I now have two pairs and one is wider and it feels much more stable and grippy. I haven't worn the narrower pair anywhere except the gym, but for the ounce or two per shoe they save, they don't feel as reassuring. BTW, the mesh on mine also lets the dust in but I guess that's what you get when you have such a breathable fabric. Also, I like the black color with accents much better than the previous shoe you reviewed that was red. I'd much rather have less attention brought to my feet.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Trail Runners! on 06/29/2011 05:21:44 MDT Print View

I get Rodger and his New Balances. I have been an Asics fan forever.
But what I get out of this website is getting reviews of items that no other website would. I get a unique spectrum of items that would push the U/L movement and help lighten my load. On top of this, this site also gets out in left field sometimes with some unique pieces of gear.

So what am I getting at? I can go to Zappos and read 20 reviews about the NB MR740's.

I would like that something unique, especially if it going to be a pair of hiking boots/ shoes tested.
I get a huge base of gear tests outside the shoe realm here but not much in this dept.

Just once I would like to see a review on something as abnormal as the Hoka Mafate Trail Boot, or some similar "different" than the run of the mil shoe review.

Edited by awsorensen on 06/29/2011 05:23:25 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Trail Runners! on 06/29/2011 05:43:20 MDT Print View

> I can go to Zappos and read 20 reviews about the NB MR740's.
I've read them too at times. Yeah, well ...

> I would like to see a review on something as abnormal as the Hoka Mafate Trail Boot
Ah, but are they worth reviewing? We prefer to focus on UL stuff which is going to work. More value to our readers.


Paul Melzer

Locale: SoCal
heel to toe drop on 06/29/2011 11:46:22 MDT Print View

Just a thought, since many of us are interested nowadays in the amount of mm drop from heel to forefoot, could you consider adding this info to shoe reviews? For example, the New Balance MT101 has a minimal 4mm drop. Thanks, Pawl

Paul Melzer

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: Trail Runners! on 06/29/2011 11:53:44 MDT Print View

>Ah, but are they worth reviewing? We prefer to focus on UL stuff which is going to work. More value to our readers.


I don't mean to sound snarky, but at 13 ounces the MR740TR is anything BUT an UL trail running shoe; in fact, it's on the heavy side. (sorry)

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Trail Runners! on 06/29/2011 15:08:02 MDT Print View


I don't believe these are touted as running shoes, but rather hiking shoes.

However, I'll bite...

What are your 3 preferred UL trail running shoes?

Edited by greg23 on 06/29/2011 15:11:01 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: New Balance MR740TR Review on 06/29/2011 19:38:39 MDT Print View

These sound a lot like my favorite hiking shoe for rough terrain, the New Balance 909's. I use the NB 100's on mild trails but, for me, the extra support of a shoe like this is welcome on rocky, mountainous trails.

Thanks for the review!

It seems that these have been discontinued, although a few are available in outlets if one is lucky enough to find their size.

Edited by mad777 on 06/29/2011 19:44:31 MDT.

Paul Melzer

Locale: SoCal
reply on 06/29/2011 19:55:04 MDT Print View

>I don't believe these are touted as running shoes, but rather hiking shoes.

>However, I'll bite...

>What are your 3 preferred UL trail running shoes?

I've not worn the MR740TR, but the review suggests they're well-suited to the distance runner. And, being one who is interested in fastpacking, I'm interested in what works for trail running with light packs. If a shoe can withstand that test, for me they can withstand a hiking pace.

As an "experiment of one," my favorite shoes right now——focusing on the trails I'm training on——are the MT101s of New Balance, which provide enough protection [for me] against rocks, yet are quite light (7.2 oz at size 9). I've turned away from all the extra support/protection/motion-control found in most running shoes these days.

I'll admit—-though I'd not assume as much—-that it might be a different thing if I were carrying 40 pounds for 3 weeks...then I might welcome a little extra support.

As for another two preferred shoes, I like Inov8s (Flyrocs and a couple of other styles), but my focus for the past year or two has been to work towards a more minimal shoe. I have some other zero-drop shoes, Merril Trail Glove, but have not really worked my way into using them.

tom lakner
(lakneremu) - MLife

Locale: midwest
mr740tr on 06/29/2011 20:04:41 MDT Print View

ya know, every time i follow these threads and find out about a shoe that might fit (13 4E) I am unable to locate any. Is this site so closely followed? Whats the story?. It's akin to reading about a fabulous hike but sorry, there's no shuttle available.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: mr740tr on 06/29/2011 21:02:41 MDT Print View


2nd hit on Google.

Christopher Holly
(climber72) - F

Locale: At my desk
Useless Lace Hole on 06/29/2011 21:04:42 MDT Print View

"The lacing is designed with two sets of holes at the ankle region: you can see the holes in the first photo. With our high arches, the highest hole - the one nearest the back of the shoe, is completely superfluous!"

I agree with this, but for very different reasons. In my experience, a lot of footwear makers include this troublesome hole as a way to lace a heel lock - which simply does not work. On the flip side, some makers argue that the hole is there to take up extra volume in the shoe, which is total BS too. If the shoe is too high volume for your foot - buy something else!

As to the rest of the review - I agree that most of the information can be had at Zappos or any number of other online retailers. But, as I am in the market for some trail runners for use on the JMT next month, I welcome this review. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to shoes obviously, so where are the Reader Reviews of something like the above mentioned "Hoka Mafate Trail Boot"? Please tell us why this boot should be spotlighted in a BPL review!

To wit - I acted on good reviews from a number of sources (none from BPL mind you) and secured a pair of TrekSta Evolution Mids that ended up eating my heels alive. Now, would these boots work for someone with a more robust heel and a higher volume foot? You bet!

That said, this input on the NB line of trail runners is just another data point as far as I am concerned, and a very welcomed data point. Personally I am leaning towards the Saucony ProGrid Xodus 2.0 for my hike, but to each their own.

OK - done ranting - back to lurking.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: mr740tr on 06/30/2011 04:44:39 MDT Print View

Hi Tom Lakner

True, the extreme sizes are all gone. My apologies - this review is seriously late. It was held up too long.

Instead, have a look at the New Balance 814s. They are currently available in a 13 4E. A review should be published Real Soon Now.
Summary: I LIKE them.


tom lakner
(lakneremu) - MLife

Locale: midwest
reNew Balance MR740TR Review on 06/30/2011 21:08:03 MDT Print View

roger, thanks, i ordered a pair today. i've had heel problems with inov8 roc 295 and needed to find somethiong asap. big feet take forever to find gloves for.thanks for your articles and the hard work you put into them.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Useless Lace Hole on 07/01/2011 04:20:23 MDT Print View

> I am leaning towards the Saucony ProGrid Xodus 2.0 for my hike
That comes in a Medium width, which probably means a C or a D. That's a far cry from 4E in width. If that width fits you, great; if it doesn't - a world of sorrow.