After a very unpleasant hike in the middle of a half baked temperature in Rinjani with heavy leather boots, my feet finally had enough. I started looking for new shoes that should have at least four categories: NOT boots, light, quick drying, and a wide toebox. I realized that the categories (almost) exclusively belong to the trail running shoes. After a few weeks, I found the shoes that fit those categories, a grey New Balance 300 V2 (MT300RG2), size 45 with 2E width (wide), it was used but still in a very good condition. I bought it without hesitation, then tested it on the field, which was on the trail of course, not to the malls like a bunch of fancy hipsters.
Design & Material
Upper material: Thick mesh with synthetic leather toe guard. There’s a thin layer of foam under the mesh.
Underfoot Cushioning: XLT footbed. After several tests on the trail I can confidently saying that this is the key component that makes this affordable shoes so good. The shoes have compression-molded EVA insoles, thin but surprisingly comfy.
Outsole: An aggressive diamond-shaped pattern rubber that looks like it would eat any trail on its path. Like cookie monster with….cookies.
Fit: More cushioning around the lower ankle area to provide a snug fit. Not only it’s comfy but also prevents my foot to move around and rubbing on the back of my heel. I find this is crucial because I used to have an achilles tendon bursitis on my left heel so I treat it like a high maintenance bitch and I certainly don’t want the bitch to relapse.
Test #1 (dayhike)
Location: Mount Penanggungan, East Java
Trail profile: Rock, soft dirt. Muddy and very slippery when wet
- Excellent grip on a muddy soil although I have to chip out the mud on the outsole frequently to regain the shoes’ traction.
- On a rocky trail, the thin foam layer under the mesh reduces the impact on both sides of the foot from rocks and debris. The XLT footbed acts as a shock absorber in every steps. Very comfortable.
- No trouble maneuvering on a very steep slope.
- No “breaking-in” period like I used to have with my boots.
Test #2 (long hike)
Location: Hyang Highland, East Java
Hyang Highland has the longest single trail in Java (42 km) with a very wide range of trail profile if you start in Baderan village then finish at Bermi village.
Trail profile: Rock, dirt, grass, and mud.
- The diamond-shaped pattern on the outsole seems to trap mud like nobody’s business.
- My achilles tendon bursitis slowly relapses on the third day. I solve the problem by fixing the laces and improve my footing with the help of the trekking poles.
- After soaking wet in the middle of a torrential rain, the shoes are drying fast in just half an hour.
- No replacement insoles needed. The shoes are very comfortable on a five-day hike on all terrain.
New Balance 300V2 is one of the best “value for money” trail running shoes. It’s an all-terrain shoes for ultralight afficionados and trail runners on a budget. On a hot sunny day, the shoes let your feet breathe easily and in a rainy day, they dry faster than you can spell “Eyjafjallajökull”. The insoles and its underfoot cushioning are really good on a long hike that I swear I would never going back to hiking boots again.