New Balance Crag V1 Review

8.7 score
[Editors rating (8.7)] = (WalkJogRun) score (8.7)/10

Editor rating: 8.7 / 10
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Are you someone who enjoys running as much as you enjoy hiking? Do you wish that you could find a shoe suitable for running on the hiking trails? New Balance actually has a running shoe that they designed for the trails, and it is called the Crag V1. These shoes are designed to keep your feet cushioned every step of your day.

The upper of this sneaker is a combination of breathable synthetic leather and mesh. You can enjoy superior comfort thanks to the Fresh Foam midsole that is simply a piece of foam inserted in the shoe for a more plush, natural feel.

The sole is made of New Balance’s patented technology, AT Tread. This outsole is flexible without having to sacrifice durability. This sole features lugs that are shaped like blocks that have flat tops. The reason for this design is to provide additional speed and traction. This comes in handy on the trails.

Perfect for long duration use, this sneaker is lightweight; weighing in at just eight ounces. It comes in a range of sizes from five to twelve in whole and half sizes. Currently, eleven and twelve are not available in half sizes. The widths offered are medium and wide.

The colors offered are black/magnet/raincloud, marblehead/magnet/mango, faded rosin/black/guava, and marblehead/north sea/eclipse. Later on, in this article, the colors will be described in more detail. There is not a tongue, at least not one that is detached from the upper. Therefore, there is a loop on the “tongue” for your finger to grip to make putting them on a bit easier. There is still a lacing system, so you can still adjust the fit some.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Combo running/hiking shoe
  • Comfortable
  • Great traction
  • Adjustable
  • Lightweight
  • Trendy design
  • Competitively priced
  • No tongue=less customized fit
  • No narrow width available


The New Balance company was founded in 1906 by a man named William Riley. The company started in Boston, initially offering arch supports along with some other accessories. Arthur Hall was hired as a salesman in 1927, later becoming a partner in the business.

In the 1930s, New Balance started manufacturing footwear that was specifically designed for athletes. This earned them a following for the athletes who began requesting their shoes by name. His daughter, Eleanor, and her husband, Paul, acquired the business in 1956.

New Balance spends its time producing footwear that they hope will help its consumers achieve their goals. This way of life begins with making sure that those who are employed by New Balance are respected and treated well.

The company is committed to working only with suppliers and manufacturers that also feel as though the commitment to productive labor and being environmentally friendly and following the Code of Conduct is of utmost importance.

There is a group of about twenty employees worldwide that work tirelessly taking responsibility for environmental and social factors in the supply chain. The team visits suppliers randomly to score their performance, help solve issues, and offer to consult help via education sessions. The idea is to assist suppliers in improving their business and products.

New Balance participates largely in the ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) movement. They have assisted in creating the audit tool for environmental compliance.


The leather portion of the upper will be able to withstand more abrasion and strain, but will also have creases appear earlier. However, if you’re using these sneakers with the intention of running on the trails, that is something you’re willing to risk. In that case, functionality trumps appearance any day of the week.

Mesh is more breathable than leather, but that doesn’t mean the leather isn’t breathable. They both have their advantages. The leather is able to absorb moisture and then expel it as vapor. This unique quality helps keep your feet dry and cool without bogging down the shoe with the added weight of the moisture. The mesh material will provide more airflow, also keeping your feet dry and cool. The material chosen for the upper of a shoe is very important. You want to choose a shoe that will offer your feet protection from the elements and premium comfort whether you’re in them for five minutes or five hours. You’ll want to make sure the upper can provide enough airflow that your feet stay relatively dry and cool because walking around in your own sweat can open the door for a lot of problems related to bacteria growth and odor.

The upper of the New Balance Crag is made from a combination of breathable synthetic leather and mesh. There are many benefits to choosing these materials, especially for running/hiking shoes. In some aspects, the presence of both materials will be doubly beneficial.

The leather on the upper is definitely going to be tougher than the mesh, that much will be obvious to your feet. The mesh is not only softer, but it will give your feet more room to stretch out. The leather also provides this perk over time, so your shoes will seem to become more and more comfortable as time goes on.


The midsole is the component of any type of shoe that will ultimately determine with its construction and design whether or not it will be a shoe that’s good at providing cushioning, controlling pronation, good for running, or really no good at all.

Typically, shoes that are made for running have midsoles that are specifically designed to have a thick cushion under the heel and the forefoot. With New Balance’s Fresh Foam midsole technology, these sneakers are able to provide a soft but responsive ride for runners.

The designers of this midsole strategically placed the Fresh Foam technology throughout the length of the shoe in order to optimize the comfort level for the consumer.

The foam is more dominant in the heel of these sneakers because that is where athletes/active people are more likely to strike first. The forefoot portion of the Fresh Foam is thinner and firmer. This midsole is great for heel strikers and for people who are looking to avoid at least some discomfort during their run.


The outsole is an extremely important component in a shoe. It is this part that will protect your feet from water, snow, sticks, and stones. It will provide you with the most protection from the elements and from abrasions and punctures. The bottoms of your feet are a lot more sensitive than the tops and exposed (usually) to more dangerous conditions.

When you’re even just walking around on trails, you’re walking over roots, sticks, stones, moss, dirt, leaves, etc. Imagine running, adding all of that extra pressure to your steps, all of the extra push-off. Your feet are more vulnerable when you are running. Therefore, it is very important to buy shoes that are built for the trails.

The outsole of the New Balance Crag is constructed from NB’s patented technology, AT Tread. This is a flexible outsole that doesn’t have to sacrifice durability in order to provide comfort. There are lugs on the bottom of this sole that are shaped like blocks and have flat tops. The thought behind this design is that it will provide maximum speed and traction. This comes in handy on the trails because of the uneven terrain.


There are many things about these sneakers that will protect you from a multitude of hazards. They can help protect you from foot odor and diseases, from punctures and abrasions, from moisture due to sweat, and from pain and discomfort.

The leather material on the upper is going to help protect your feet from the elements because it is strong and water resistant. It will also protect you from abrasions and stains and punctures.

As far as the inside of the shoe, the leather is going to protect your feet from themselves. The leather has the natural ability to absorb moisture and then expel it as vapor. This will help keep your feet dry and cool without weighing down the upper with the moisture it just absorbed. This will also help protect your feet from odor and from bacteria growth that could then cause many other issues.

The rubber sole that features the block style lugs for traction and speed will also provide you with protection from trips, slips, and falls. Not to mention protection from abrasions and punctures.


The fit of a shoe is very important. When it comes to shoes that you’re going to be active in, it is of utmost importance. You need a shoe that is going to not only perform well but fit well also. There are a lot of factors that go into how a shoe fits.

With these sneakers, there is no separate tongue. It is sewn right onto the upper of the shoe. That makes some consumers happy and some not so much. It’s all about personal needs and preferences. Even though they lack a traditional tongue, there is still a lacing system so you can make adjustments for a more secure or relaxed fit. This comes in handy especially if you have feet that swell by the end of the day.

These sneakers will stretch and flex and contour to the shape of your feet. The mesh will do this instantly, the leather will take a little more time. So, the more you wear them, they more comfortable they will become.

The Crag from New Balance is offered in sizes five through eleven in whole and half sizes. Currently, eleven and twelve are available in whole sizes only. The widths offered are medium and wide, so those with narrow feet may need to reconsider this purchase if a lacing system won’t be a sufficient solution.


The colors offered are black/magnet/raincloud, marblehead/magnet/mango, faded rosin/black/guava, and marblehead/north sea/eclipse.

The black/magnet/raincloud option is mostly black with accents of dark and light grey. The New Balance logo on the side is black, outlined in light grey. The laces are grey and white and patterned. The pull loop on the tongue is grey and black. The toe and heel have accents of dark grey. The outsole is a light grey with speckles of black and the bottom of the sole is all black with New Balance written in grey.

The marblehead/magnet/mango color choice is mostly light grey. The New Balance logo on the side is marblehead (light blue) outlined in mango (orange). The laces are black and mango. The pull loop is light blue and black. There are three accent pieces of light blue on the heel, along with a patch of black. There is a patch of black at the toe of the shoe as well. The outsole is light grey and the bottom of the sole is black with orange accents and New Balance written in orange.

Faded rosin/black/guava is mostly an earthy shade of green and grey with black and pink accents. The New Balance logo is black outlined in pink. The laces are grey and black. There are black patches at the toe and heel. The outsole is light grey speckled in black. The bottom of the sole is black with New Balance written in pink.

Marblehead/north sea/eclipse is mostly a very rich dark blue shade with black accents at the toe and heel. The tongue is black. The laces are blue and black. The New Balance logo is black outlined in pink. The outsole is grey speckled with black and the bottom of the shoe is black with New Balance written in pink.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that you can run in, hike in, or run on a hiking trail in, you may have found your match! These sneakers can take you from your front door to nature’s front porch and backyard.

They’ll work hard to keep you comfortable all day and to give your feet and body the support they need to avoid pain and discomfort. They’ll protect you from the elements with the leather and rubber, keep air moving with the mesh and the leather, and get you there faster and smoother with the lugs on the soles to give you traction and speed.

These sneakers aren’t outrageously priced either, so why not take a chance?