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SHOE REVIEW: New Balance Speedrift

The lightweight trainer with a TPU plate and killer traction

The New Balance Speedrift was inspired by the 5208, the company’s road mile shoes. The Speedrift brings insights from New Balance’s fastest road racing flat and made a trainer that’s more approachable. This shoe has a remarkably comfortable upper, a traditional lacing system, a TPU forefoot plate and a hardcore outsole. It’s the trainer that gets you ready to race.

Photo: Matt Stetson

RELATED: SHOE REVIEW: New Balance FuelCell 5280

Shoe Category: Neutral
Available: Now
Price: $239.99
Cushion: Responsive
Weight: 260 grams (men’s size 9)
Drop: 6 mm

Photo: Matt Stetson

The upper

This upper rocks. As a track runner, I love the snug feeling you get from track spikes, and New Balance has replicated that really well with this trainer. The tongue has a full wrap that hugs your foot, and the shoe’s traditional lacing system keeps everything in place. The heel counter is comfortable, along with the toe box, which is a little wider than the midfoot (giving runners’ toes room to splay). The upper is made of a woven material making it warm yet breathable — an ideal combination for a Canadian winter. 

The midsole

The midsole is a full-blown FuelCell with the assistance of a TPU plate (which is the grey that runs along the shoe) in the forefoot for added spring. FuelCell can be a little confusing for consumers as it takes many forms in the company’s different trainers. There’s the plush version of FuelCell found in the 5280 or TC, for example, then there’s the FuelCell found in this shoe – a much stiffer version. While this midsole certainly doesn’t have the bounce of the TC or RC, it’s plenty snappy. 

Photo: Matt Stetson

The outsole

The outsole of the shoe is made of Microlabel, a light yet high-traction material. The chevron pattern mimics that of the 5280, which I found to provide substantial grip without adding much weight at all. Another interesting detail is within the triangular outsole. If you look closely you see that some grooves are hollow while others aren’t. Think convex versus concave. These hollow grooves work almost like lugs on a trail shoe to catch the ground, without adding extra material. It’s a light way to provide high-level traction and you notice it while wearing the shoe. 

Final thoughts

Despite the TPU plate, I wouldn’t call this shoe a speed or race-day shoe. This shoe is a trainer that’s ideal for the in-between miles – the ones that are fast, but not all out. Where this shoe shines is its upper fit and outsole traction, so if you’re someone who struggles to find a comfortable shoe, or if you live in an area that’s becoming a little snowy, the Speedrift could work well in your lineup. If you’re looking for a race-day shoe, the FuelCell RC Elite is a great option which only runs you $60 more. 

RELATED: REVIEW: New Balance FuelCell RC Elite