New Balance DynaSoft Nitrel V5 review: light, grippy, bouncy and versatile

The New Balance DynaSoft Nitrel V5 is a light, flexible, bouncy road and trail running shoe that will carry you over any distance on any terrain

New Balance DynaSoft Nitrel V5
(Image: © Claire Maxted)

Advnture Verdict

Go a half size up, and if these don’t rub on your ankle you have a fantastic pair of road and trail running shoes that are comfy straight from the box.

Pros

  • +

    Wide toe box

  • +

    Standard or wide fit

  • +

    Lightweight

  • +

    Bouncy ride

  • +

    Grippy

Cons

  • -

    Fit feels a half size small

  • -

    Top end of budget pricing

  • -

    High collar may rub some runners

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New Balance DynaSoft Nitrel V5: first impressions

First of all, it’s worth noting that the fit of the New Balance Dynasoft Nitrel V5 tends to be slightly small. We advise going up a half size from your usual size so your toes don’t brush the end when running downhill (no one likes getting black toenails). Also, these runners nudge the top end of price range in our best cheap running shoes buying guide, but for this you get a lighter, more flexible shoe straight from the box.

Specifications

• List price: $70 (US) / £85 (UK)
• Weight (pair UK 6.5): 508g / 17.9oz
• Colors: Men’s: black / red / white; women’s: black / gray / white
• Drop: 8mm
• Compatibility: Any distance, multi-terrain

The drop is a nice, middling 8mm from heel to toe so if even if you’re used to a more traditional running shoe with 10mm to 12mm drop you will probably be fine to use these without straining your lower legs (see what is ‘drop’ in running shoes for more info). It’s great that the shoe comes in a wide fit too – your toes can really splay out naturally. 

The lacing and tongue are comfy with no bulky seams to rub anywhere. The mesh upper is breathable, but some runners find the heel rubs high on the ankle. The EVA foam midsole is bouncy for a propulsive ride and it’s good to see that 3% of the shoe’s composition is bio-based content (made from plants or renewable materials); it’s not a great deal, but it’s better than 0%. The AT Tread outsole works well on both roads and trails to give a very versatile running shoe.

New Balance DynaSoft Nitrel V5

Get a grip with the New Balance DynaSoft Nitrel V5s (Image credit: New Balance)

New Balance DynaSoft Nitrel V5: on the roads and trails

We reviewed the New Balance Dynasoft Nitrel V5 as part of our look at the best cheap running shoes currently available, and although it's edging toward the top end of that category, as soon as you put this shoe on you can feel the difference. It's not as stiff as the other budget shoes (excepting the flexible Kalenji Jog 500.1s) and your foot feels comfortable and ready to run straight from the off. 

It’s a shame it comes up a half-size small, as I’m ready to run many more miles in it beyond the short-distance park runs and local quarry adventures that I’ve subjected it to so far. 

I found the drop a good middle ground, and the ride bouncy; there was more of a feel for the ground underfoot in the forefoot area. The shoe feels a great deal more flexible and responsive than the budget-priced Hi-Tec Spirit and the Asics we also reviewed. 

Reading the reviews online, it appears that while most people love this shoe, a significant number also found the heel rubbed high up on the ankle. I didn’t find this to be the case, but it’s definitely worth bearing this in mind and making sure you run and walk round the house in these for a day before you decide if they fit you correctly. 

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.