What’s barefoot without actually being barefoot? The New Balance Minimus MT10 Trail Running Shoes. The right nomenclature is “minimalist” and the Minimus is New Balance’s answer to the growing minimalist running movement. New Balance gave me the opportunity this summer to test a pair of the Minimus MT10 shoes.
New Balance Minimus MT10 Trail Running Shoes Features
- Deconstructed ACTEVA midsole provides great flexibility and a featherweight cushion
- Minimal Vibram outsole for lightweight traction and durability
- Synthetic/Mesh upper provides lightweight comfort and support
- Odor Resistant
- 4 mm drop (9 mm heel/5 mm forefoot)
- D width
- Price: $99.95
New Balance Minimus MT10 Trail Running Shoes Review
Overall, the New Balance Minimus MT10 Trail Running Shoes impressed me. It’s a fairly lightweight shoe that is well constructed, fits nicely, performs well, and looks good (come on admit it, you want your running shoes to look good).
Performance: The Minimus MT10 is a good performing shoe. The most notable feature I thought, was the 4mm drop. For those who are unfamiliar with drop, it is the height different between the forefoot and heel (in this case the forefoot is 5mm thick and the heel is 9mm thick). The reason this was so pronounced for me is I’ve running in a zero drop shoe for the entire year so far. If you are coming from a typical shoe you might not notice this as much. There are a few benefits of a 4mm drop shoe over a zero drop. First, if you are making the transition from regular shoes to minimalist, this will help. It’s not as dramatic as going to zero and the transition will be a little less dramatic (and painful, depending on if you push it too much in the beginning). Second, I found the 4mm drop effective in having an almost flat foot strike. With a zero drop there was a more pronounced forefoot strike to heel movement. With the 4mm I almost always have a near flat strike. This can be more comfortable. Some proponents will argue that a zero drop shoe is more ‘pure’ but I think you need to try both.
One feature that New Balance included that I really like is the wide rubber strap that spans the toe box. This helps provide stability and structure to all the mesh in the shoe. With a lot of mesh shoes I’ve experienced a lot of side to side play which isn’t good on the trails and can lead to instability and blisters. The toe strap, as I’ve come to call it, helps keep your foot stable and minimizes the side to side sliding.
Lastly the soles. I have both positive and negative comments about the soles. Starting with the positive, the Miminal Vibram outsole is fairly sticky and provides good traction on rocks/hard surfaces. It is a little softer which helps with the traction and is nice if you have to run on paved surfaces. Now for the negative: if you run on very rocky or gravelly trails, you can feel even the smallest rocks. The dot pattern is nice, however, the gaps between the dots are soft and if you happen to land on a rock or other hard/pointy surface you definitely feel it. Most of the trails I am running on are either rocky (think big rocks) or gravelly. After a few miles the bottoms of my feet get very sore. This is an issue with a lot of minimalist shoes, however, I noticed it more with the Minimus MT10. Now, if you spend most of your time running buff trails, you have no worries. If you split your time between roads and trails, it’s less of a worry. It would be nice to have something a little more stiff to help minimize the soreness. One of the photos to the right gives a close up of the soles. You can see the tread wear along with the gaps in the dot pattern.
Fit: I have what I’d call a typical sized foot. I wear an 11 in trail running shoes as it gives me a little bit of room and the Minimus MT10 fit true to size. Width wise, the fit is also good. It is narrow enough that you can dial in the fit with the lacing without having to cinch it all the way down, yet wide enough that your foot won’t feel scrunched.
Construction: after 40 years of so of making shoes, you’d expect just that. Out of the box the stitching, glue, materials all looked good on basic inspection. After a couple months of testing construction has held up and I haven’t noticed any loose threads or flaps. Two of the photos on the right show the shoes after a couple months of use.
My final, very minor comment is this: The Minimus MT10 comes in an awesome orange color which is always worth extra points in my book.
- Well made, high performing shoe
- Toe strap minimizes side-to-side play
- 4mm helps ease into minimalist running & provides a more flat footed strike
- Sole is soft & gaps in sole provide a lot of soreness when running rocky/gravelling trails
- 4mm drop (depends on your stance) if you want a more ‘pure’ minimalist experience
The New Balance Minimus MT10 is a great shoe for both new entrants into the minimalist running scene and veterans. It performs well, is built to last, and is a great shoe to run in. Just be weary of rocky trails.