New Balance  Summit Unknown v3


Best For

The New Balance Summit Unknown v3 is a great trail running shoe in the new year. A lean and fine-tuned trail running machine, with a rock plate to boot under step! Welcome to a trimmed down trail running shoe option for the 2023 season. There is not too much midsole understep, so you feel united with the trails and dirt below you. And yes, the outsole will bite the mountains at your local trail running watering holes, more on this below. 


When I hold the Summit Unknown v3 in hand, the durability feel is right on target. You will feel with your own two hands that New Balance was not messing around in sourcing their upper materials, and then the assembly construction in Vietnam, which is where this New Balance trail running shoe is made. I’m truly impressed with the overall approach to this upper. After some aggressive Colorado trail running adventures in the New Balance Summit Unknwon v3, I’m seeing no break down on the upper. Part of the attraction to this shoe is the bootie style upper construction, that securely locks your foot in place for the aggressive trail adventures in your area. The synthetic closed mesh that wraps your forefoot and midfoot is water resistant. Through some intense cold weather training in the slush and snow of winter, my feet were never wet through the testing, nor cold. And to ensure a comfortable upper ride, New Balance added “Toe Protect” technology through the toebox and vamp. This added rubberized protection will keep your feet safe from kicking the rocks, roots, stumps, and any other hazards out there in your trail running adventures; and yes, the toe cap is built like a tank, along with the heel counter for an enhanced lockdown feel. 

One last feature on this incredible trail running shoe upper is the gusset design. The tongue is fully-gussetted to the inner wall, which kept out the trail debris through my testing. Not to mention this creates more comfort on the top of your feet. No issues whatsoever with the lacing system’s interaction through the eyelet chain. 


FuelCell on the trails, yes please New Balance! With 30mm of FuelCell foam in the heel of the shoe, your footstrike will not feel unstable in your trail running adventures. The risk of rolling an ankle is lower when you keep that stack height a little lower than many of the other trail running shoe counterparts on the marketplace. For some reason, the proprietary composition of this FuelCell just works so well in the resilience department, and propelling your biomechanics over the trails. Through the durometer test the thumbs just bounce right back at you. Simply solid energy return in the trail running, and I would absolutely race shorter trail races in this shoe, the 6-13 mile range with mud or loose rocks under foot. Overall, you are going to feel in control of the shoe, and a propulsive midsole ride to greet you on the local trails in the area. Lastly, a rock stop plate under the forefoot will protect you on the rocky and uneven terrain. If I had to choose an exact run type for this trail shoe, it would be uptempo trail runs or even FKT efforts over difficult terrain with a good amount of vertical gain to be had. This trail shoe will climb mountains and protect your feet all at the same time. 



Speaking of climbing, this outsole grips! The lug pattern is nothing wild in the design department, but it gets the job done in a big way. If mud is in your trail runner middle name, then the Summit Unknown v3 is for you. Hydrohesion rubber helps grip in the wet and muddy conditions. The combination of hydrohesion and an aggressive lug depth makes for an excellent ride over the toughest of terrain. It’s hard to choose a favorite feature of the New Balance Summit Unknown v3, but a hot contender would have to be this outsole design. Not only will you climb the hills and mountains with ease but your descending confidence will remain in check as you bomb down the vertical escaprments. The outsole grip in the heel gave me confidence to descend with speed and agility through the ice, mud, and snow through the on feet testing. 


Would I Buy This Shoe Again?

DGR, we have our first trail running shoes in the 8ssss for this new year. Between the price and durability, this shoe has me very excited for the upcoming summer trail running season. In fact, I’d buy a couple pairs of the New Balance Summit Unknown v3 and stow them away for the many adventurous trail miles awaiting us runners. It’s hard to put this shoe up against another but its reminding me of the ASICS FujiLite 2, although this shoe’s outsole will definitely grip better in the mud or loose rocks of your favorite local trails. Happy trails!



  • Drop: 10mm
  • Stack: 30mm / 20mm
  • Weight: 9 oz / 254 g
    Mens (Size 9) – 10.4oz / 295g
    Womens (Size 8) – 8.3oz / 235g
  • Upper: Synthetic closed mesh 
  • Midsole: FuelCell
  • Outsole: Hydrohesion rubber 

Commissions earned through the Running Warehouse Affiliate links help support this channel’s content creation.

Other Shoes To Buy:

HOKA Speedgoat 5


  • Material: Synthetic closed mesh
  • Tongue: Full gusset


  • Material: FuelCell 
  • Feature: Bouncy and energetic foam


  • Material: Hydrohesion rubber
  • Feature: Forefoot rock plate

Commissions earned through the Running Warehouse Affiliate links help support this channel’s content creation.