My new shoes arrived! The New Balance MT310. I ordered them online for only $49.95 (+$7 postage).
They look great out of the box. Very light, and no apparent quality/construction issues. Well, except that the sole is marked with the words “ROCKSTOP(TM)”, however the yellow in the holes looks just like regular EVA to me – I have heard this in a forum on runblogger as well. So it appears that they are using the same mold for the sole as the MT101, but not the materials. Makes me wonder whether the sole material itself is some cheaper version. It will be interesting to see what the durability is like…
Unfortunately, the fit is a little tight for the size – I am a US 12, but have had to go to a 13!. I initially tried to loosen the laces and keep them tight around the collar using that loop-lacing technique, but they were just too narrow, and my toes were tickling the ends. As I will be using these for hilly trail running, I want a bit of room up front for those toe scrunching downhills. So I sent them back and exchanged for a the size 13 – add another $9 to the total bill so far = $65.95…
My first run was a flat 10km on a gravel road. I took it pretty easy (5min/km) and these felt pretty good. A little long, but that is due to my having to go up a ful size (a 12.5 would have been ideal). Still not sure about the RockStop – I felt quite a few stones. One thing I did notice was the strain on my lower calves towards the end. I am not sure whether this is because of it being my first run in 10 days (nursing a ankle strain) or the 4mm drop (which is lower than what I am used it), or probably some combination of both.
The next outing was a 9km hill run two days later, which gets to about 250m over 4km – with some pretty steep parts. Traction-wise, these were great. Could bomb the downhill without feeling as though I would slip. However, the issue I still have is feeling the rocks in the midfoot. I am convinced there is no RockStop. I will try and replace the cheap thing foam insole for something a bit more substantial – maybe use my Free insole for both shoes.
Still, all-in-all a great buy. Just got to be careful where I tread!
Just had a reply from NB as to the presence/absence of RockStop:
The 310s do feature a Rockstop ‘plate’ but they use a firmer density foam instead of a layer of TPU as with the MT101. So technically there is a Rockstop plate in the MT310BY but it won’t work as well as that on other more expensive shoes.
So basically the ‘RockStop plate’, is not the TPU RockStop material. Maybe it is firmer than the midsole EVA, but I doubt that…