Our verdict

In the category of budget-friendly training shoes, New Balance almost nailed it with the DynaSoft TRNR 2! We say almost because the shoe comes with one glaring issue - an unforgivingly very weak upper. But the good news is that with moderate use, the TRNR 2 reveals every essential feature we want in a cross-training shoe.

Pros

  • Highly breathable
  • Lighter than average
  • Wide and steady platform
  • Hard-wearing outsole
  • Solid grip on gym floors
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Can be worn casually

Cons

  • Upper fabric tears easily
  • Cheap and frail laces

Audience verdict

63
Bad!

Who should buy

We think that the New Balance DynaSoft TRNR 2 could be a great add-on to your gym wear if:

  • you are new to working out and need an affordable pair
  • you want a no-frills trainer for light-to-moderate exercise
  • you prefer to have one pair of athletic shoes for both gym and casual use

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 review

Who should NOT buy

If the shoe's dainty upper concerns you and you don't want to risk tearing it up, we recommend another affordable option, the Nike MC Trainer 2. It has a stronger toebox material.

Ladies might as well check out the women's Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 cross-trainer.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 lab test

Breathability

New Balance puts a special emphasis on the TRNR 2's breathable mesh upper in its product description. And we are happy to confirm that it lives up to the claims!

Putting the TRNR 2 through our smoke-pumping machine test, we saw a substantial amount of smoke passing through the shoe's upper. Specifically in the toebox mesh!

On our breathability scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is the airiest, this NB trainer earned a solid 4 out of 5. And if you crave 5/5 ventilation, we can recommend the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2.

No wonder the TRNR gets to be so breathable! Look at all those large ventilation pores on its toebox and throughout the upper!

Using a microscope, we also investigated the shoe's mesh upper up close.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 microscope

Turns out, this New Balance trainer uses a mix of different threads that are closely woven together and yet leave pretty large pores for breathability.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 microscope upper

Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 4
Average 3.3
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

But to our great disappointment, the shoe's breathability comes at the price of durability. Its upper material is just too dainty to resist an abrasive force, like our Dremel for example.

It took the tool just a few seconds to leave a large hole in the shoe's mesh toebox.

For that reason, we cannot rate its toebox durability any higher than 1 on a 1-5 scale. 

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Toebox durability test

For the record, we apply the exact same speed (5K RPM) and pressure (3.2N) to all of our tested training shoes. And some shoes actually stand up to the test, like the Under Armour TriBase Reign 5 for example (4 out of 5).

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 toebox durability comparison

Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 1
Average 2.1
Compared to 16 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Much like the shoe's upper mesh, its inner lining didn't show much abrasion resistance.

Drilling it for only 4 seconds resulted in damage that was serious enough to lower the heel padding durability score to the minimum 1 out of 5.

We believe that such textile quality is way too frail, even for an £90 shoe.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Heel padding durability test
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 1
Average 2.1
Compared to 14 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Given how frail the shoe's upper textile is, we were more conscious about its outsole.

Measuring rubber hardness with a durometer, we got a pretty low reading of 72.5 HC. This is 17% softer than average! Oops, is this shoe's outsole going to be torn apart too?

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Outsole hardness
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 72.5 HC
Average 84.6 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
71.3 HC
Outsole hardness
94.5 HC

Outsole durability

As it turns out, no! Despite the correlation between rubber hardness and its durability, this New Balance trainer proves otherwise.

After 22 seconds of drilling it at a fierce speed of 10K RPM, the dent was even smaller than average!

According to our tread gauge, the dent is only 0.79 mm deep which is smaller than the typical 1 mm. Looks like walking on concrete won't destroy the shoe's outsole so fast.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Outsole durability test

Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 0.8 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 12 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

After measuring the shoe's outsole at a pretty thick 4.3 mm, we felt even more reassured.

Looks like the New Balance Dynasoft TRNR 2 can indeed be worn outside the gym. We found the shoe's outsole reinforced enough to handle pavements. However, you must be careful not to scratch the upper as it tears way too easily.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Outsole thickness
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 4.3 mm
Average 3.9 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
2.8 mm
Outsole thickness
5.1 mm

Weight

The moment we slipped into the NB TRNR 2, we knew it was lighter than many other cross-trainers on the market.

Weighing the trainer in a men's US size 9, we got 10.2 oz (289g) on our scale. This is an ounce lighter than the average and is also a bit lighter than the popular Nike Free Metcon 5 (10.5 oz/298g).

The TRNR 2 felt exceptionally agile on foot and made exercises like high knee runs much more bearable. 

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Weight
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 10.19 oz (289g)
Average 10.76 oz (305g)
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
6.38 oz (181g)
Weight
13.83 oz (392g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

In training shoes, you want to remain in close contact with the ground and yet feel protected from the impact of jumps and other high-intensity movements.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 collar

We found that the New Balance TRNR 2 handles that balance pretty well. Measuring its heel stack with a caliper, we got 26.9 mm.

It is a couple of millimeters taller than average but there was no compromise in the ground feel.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Heel stack
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 26.9 mm
Average 24.4 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
13.7 mm
Heel stack
36.2 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot part of the midsole, our caliper returned 20.7 mm of stack. Yet again, we found this amount of cushioning to be optimal for a wide range of gym activities.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Forefoot stack

More specifically, we tested the DynaSoft TRNR 2 for rope jumping and experienced well-cushioned landings and responsive toe-offs.

Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 20.7 mm
Average 18.3 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
27.7 mm

Drop

Cross-training shoes typically have a very minimal difference in height between the heels and toes. This parallel-to-the-ground position is the most optimal as it helps to achieve stability and balance with less effort.

In the DynaSoft TRNR 2, the drop comes in at 6.2 mm which is standard for a cross-trainer.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Drop
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 6.2 mm
Average 6.1 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
1.8 mm
Drop
13.4 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

While the name of the foam "DynaSoft" is associated with really plush cushioning, we found it to be only moderately soft.

Pressing our durometer against the foam, we got a reading of 26.8 HA. This is nearly the same as the average of training shoes.

You don't want plush trainers for HIIT workouts and the like. This NB trainer has just a touch of softness that makes it quite responsive for jumps.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Midsole softness
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 26.8 HA
Average 27.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
17.4 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
47.0 HA

Insole thickness

We always include insole thickness in our stack measurements. The insole in the New Balance TRNR 2 turned out to be quite average at 3.9 mm.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Insole thickness
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 3.9 mm
Average 3.7 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Insole thickness
5.7 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

The NB TRNR 2 has a very basic training shoe construction. Unlike the famous Nike Metcon, it doesn't feature any bells and whistles for enhanced stability.

And yet, for what it's worth, we found the DynaSoft TRNR 2 to be a sufficiently steady trainer.

But if you're wondering exactly how stable flagship cross-trainers are, here is what lateral stability looks like in the Nike Metcon 8.

Torsional rigidity

The DynaSoft TRNR 2 may look like a "softie" but it surely has some rigidity in its character.

Assessing the shoe's torsional stiffness in our manual test, we found that it resists being twisted. On a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest, we rated it with a pretty high score of 4.

Pair that with the shoe's slightly raised foam walls on the sides, and you will get a minimized risk of ankle rolls!

Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 4
Average 2.7
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Having a reasonably stiff heel counter is another essential component of stability and foothold. But you don't want it to be too rigid either as it could limit ankle mobility and freedom of movement overall.

We found that the TRNR 2 hits a sweet sport here with a moderately stiff heel counter. We rated it with an average score of 3 out of 5.

Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 3
Average 2.7
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

This New Balance trainer is equipped with a nice wide platform to prevent wobbly feet and impromptu foot rolling.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 weightlifting

Measuring the shoe's midsole in the widest part of the forefoot, we got 117.3 mm. This is notably wider than the average and is very similar to the Nike Metcon 9 parameters.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 117.3 mm
Average 109.4 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
101.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
117.3 mm

Midsole width in the heel

In the widest part of the heel, we also got an above-average width of 91.6 mm. Quite surprising for a basic under-£110 trainer! 

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 91.6 mm
Average 87.0 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
76.5 mm
Midsole width in the heel
97.4 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Given this New Balance shoe's simple design, there is nothing to hold back its flexibility.

Walking, jumping, holding planks, and doing burpees, our feet felt as much freedom of movement as they needed to bend.

To check the trainer's flexibility in our lab, we bent it to a 90-degree angle and measured how much effort it takes with a force gauge. With a measurement of 16.6N, we found that the TRNR 2 is indeed 20% more flexible than average!

Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 16.6N
Average 19.7N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 26 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
6.8N
Stiffness
37.9N

Grip / Traction

Having gym-tested this New Balance shoe, we found that its traction pattern is ideal for this setting.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 flexibility plank

Two different types of treading with sharp lugs are optimised for multi-directional movements and bite the gym floor like hungry.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 grip

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The New Balance DynaSoft TRNR 2 wrapped around our medium-width feet like a glove. It is neither roomy nor too snug-fitting and its toebox mesh has a little give.

We turned to our caliper and measured the widest part of the shoe's forefoot, near the ball of the foot. At 98.7 mm, it is only a smidge narrower than average.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 98.7 mm
Average 99.7 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
90.4 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
108.0 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Cramped toes were never a concern for us either as there is very little tapering in the TRNR 2's toebox.

Measuring its width near the big toe, our caliper showed 77.5 mm which is very close to the average of training shoes.

However, if have wide feet or you don't feel like yourself without ample toe space, this New Balance trainer is also available in wide.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 77.5 mm
Average 77.1 mm
Compared to 20 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
65.0 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
87.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The shoe's tongue has no attachments on the sides which may result in slight tongue shifting. But this wasn't a glaring issue for us and took a seconds to fix.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

This New Balance shoe didn't skimp on padding around the collar and in the tongue. Our caliper showed a generous 8.3 mm of foamy comfort in the latter.

No wonder the brand recommends it for all-day wear!

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Tongue padding
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 8.3 mm
Average 5.7 mm
Compared to 27 skipping rope training shoes
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
10.4 mm

Heel tab

No finger loops or pull tabs are present in the TRNR 2. But you can grab the shoe's extended heel collar lip to help yourself get in.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Heel tab
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 None

Removable insole

The stock insole is easy to take out of the New Balance TRNR 2 in case you need to use custom orthotics.

New Balance DynaSoft TRNR V2 Removable insole
Test results
DynaSoft TRNR v2 Yes