Updated: Feb 10, 2019
New Balance is a brand with a huge catalogue of shoes to choose from whether it be standard every day sports shoes to high quality, running specialist equipment and trainers. However, to the untrained eye, it can be hard to distinguish the diamonds from the dust and it can be tempting to go for the cheaper alternatives before comparing. New Balance has a solid range of high quality running shoes, including the fresh-off-the-press Rubix. The Rubix is a brand new shoe of the NB line, aiming to destroy stereotypes that high support shoes can't be flexible and soft.... So did this innovative, new model live up to their ambitions?
Cushioning/Type: Standard/Everyday Training
Weight: 287g (Size UK8)
Stability: Maximum Support
Durability: High (~450 miles)
Stack Height: Medium - 27mm (Heel) - 19mm (Toe)
Fit: Touch Fitted
PK RAVES SCORE: 76/100
Similar Shoes: New Balance 1260v7, Saucony Omni ISO, Saucony Hurricane ISO 4
- Rather expensive when similar shoes are notably cheaper
- Size range is pretty good, but limited in regards to options in widths, mainly for the ladies.
- Rather lightweight for a high mileage shoe
- Perfect Stack Height for durability and long miles
- Fit is great. It's a touch fitted i.e. slightly narrow - but only marginally so
- Heel Offset is just slightly elevated higher than some would like
- A very unique shoe with few alternatives, occupying a very unexplored niche for its support, durability and cushioning.
Cushioning and Fit:
All eyes are on the Rubix cushioning, particularly as New Balance were determined to bring a maximum support shoe which has the flex and softer feel of a far less structured shoe. Not unlike Fresh Foam, the Rubix structure and cushioning has been data driven, but instead of looking at cushioning alone, they've also researched dynamic support systems when developing the Rubix.
There are two layers of cushioning in the Rubix, one firm and one soft. The softer layer, Acteva Ultralight, sits directly under the foot, with more of it being present in areas of higher impact, whilst remaining 32% lighter than industry standard. The firmer layer is where the data really takes form. This layer is a multi-density foam designed and angled to become the Guidance Ramps to lead runners away from overpronation to a more stable, neutral and optimal stride path. It is this balance of foam densities which makes this particular shoe so unique. The Guidance Ramps themselves are innovative but not totally unique in regards to other technologies from other brands which are similar e.g. Guiderails from Brooks. However it is a brilliant step away from mid-sole dual-density support systems that we've been force fed for so long. The sole also lacks an arch giving greater ground contact time for traction and stability.
The fit itself isn't too revolutionary, but is very comfortable. The PL8 shape gives the Rubix fit a running specific shape in addition to a standard heel width, forefoot width and toe box height; making it comfortable for most runners as it isn't too narrow nor too generous. The double Jacquard mesh gives the upper some structure but also suppleness in the right places whilst the TPU Fine mold encases the foot at the mid-stance for better support.
The Rubix is a shoe geared towards very heavy pronators, categorised as a maximum or high support shoe. As said above, the engineering of the Rubix was data driven and constructed with foam which is angled and designed to guide the foot to a more neutral path.
Stack Height and Offset:
The Rubix has a solid offset of 8mm, which is pretty typical for a New Balance running shoe. It's a well rounded offset, not too high for those who like a more natural ride, but not too flat that they feel deflated and lifeless for those not used to lower offsets. The stack height is also really good; despite being a new shoe to their line, NB haven't gone over the top. The offset (19mm -27mm) is more than suitable for what the shoe is designed for, whilst not adding unnecessary weight or being too bare to delivery on the mileage it is expected to achieve.
Surfaces and Durability:
The New Balance Rubix is a road shoe. Period. Even mild dirt track and off-road running will reduce the lifetime of the shoe notable. The main reason for this is due to the limited rubber coverage on the sole, being isolate to high abrasion areas only. New Balance did this to improve flexibility in the shoe and also to save some weight, both variables which higher support shoes are infamous for, so by limiting rubber coverage, they succeeded at creating a shoe that is both mobile and stable. However, this does leave foam cushioning exposed to the elements, so keep to the road if you want to make the most of these which should be about 450 miles!
The New Balance Rubix is a brilliant new model to their range. It's not perfect, but it and it's cushioning support system has got a lot of potential as a model to grow and develop and I expect there will be a strong and growing following for this shoe in time. If you're looking for a very supportive but a more innovative, flexible and rather lightweight option, add the Rubix to your shopping cart. It's definitely worth a try!
You can check out the New Balance Rubix at the brands website here: www.newbalance.com/rubix
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