Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shoe Review Tuesday #4 (New Balance Minimus Trail)

New Balance Minimus Trail
Support Category: Minimal/Neutral
Weight: 7.1 oz
Cost: $100
Available in Widths: Yes
Multiple Colors Available: Yes
Durability: 300+ miles
Updates from Previous Model: Debut!
Upper: Light, stretchy mesh
Arch Height: Flat
Heel-Toe Drop: 4 mm

My Take on the Shoe
I got this shoe much after it came out because availability was very low. New Balance expected this shoe to only sell about 60,000 pair nationally this year, but they just finished fulfilling orders of 600,000 across the US. So all the stores caught up in stock and I grabbed one when opportunity struck. I took it out on the trails right away and it was the total opposite of any other trail shoe I have worn before. You will feel every rock, root, and dirt clod you step on in this shoe. It makes you much more aware of your surroundings because you have to make a conscious effort to avoid something you would normally plow through. About the fit of the shoe:
  • Heel- Snug with a low heel collar, meaning it doesn't touch the back of your Achilles very high or even touch your ankles
  • Midfoot Wrap- Nice and snug, you don't have to worry about the shoe sliding at all
  • Laces- Eyelets woven into the fabric of the shoe, making the tightness of the laces really effect the tightness of shoe around the instep
  • Forefoot- Snug and narrow feeling, designed with a horizontal piece of material to keep your feet in place when going downhill
  • Toebox- Wide open to allow for a natural toe splay (the spreading out of your toes right before you land)
  • Cushion- Virtually none, this shoe is not soft!
The Minimus Trail can be worn with or without socks, just make sure the first time you run without socks you use something like body glide between your toes to prevent blisters. The outsole is an extremely durable rubber compound made by Vibram. Since this shoe is designed to be used on trails, there is no telling just how many miles you can get out of it. The design of the outsole is very unique in itself. Consisting of a series of small pods with little ridges, it is designed to provide maximum grip in any kind of terrain (dirt, gravel, mud, grass, etc...).
Some people have been asking me about an "update" to the Minimus Trail (MT10) called the MT20. This is not really an update. It is a lower quality shoe designed for big box stores like Sports Authority so they can have a minimalist shoe for their patrons. The Minimus Trail is a shoe sold in running specialty only, so if you see a shoe similar to it in a place like Academy, that is the MT20, and you should save your money and either go to a specialty store or order online because they are the same price.

A Little Personal
I'm a big fan of this shoe. Before, I had worn the Brooks Cascadia and had done fine. But when I tried this shoe out for the first time, I was hooked. The level of awareness is incomparable when you are in a shoe that forces you to really pay attention to your surroundings and terrain. I've done up to 13 miles in this shoe and have had no problems whatsoever. Like most minimalist shoes, it is one that you kind of have to ease into, so be careful going out and running too many miles too quickly. I would advise you to stay off the road in this shoe. The lack of cushion really gets to you when you start pounding the cement in this bad boy. I took it out for a couple miles on the road to see if it was ok to use off the trail, and the impact was enough to give me a headache. The main factors I like about the Minimus Trail:
  • Lightweight, weighing in at only 7.1 ounces, this shoe almost feels like you have nothing on!
  • Extremely durable, anything you see with a Vibram outsole is going to last you a loooong time
  • Versatility, I have trekked through mud, streams, hills, rock beds, and just about everything else you can imagine and nothing slows this shoe down
  • The option of going sockless, the sockliner is sewn into the shoe, so you don't have to worry about it coming out when you take your foot out after running barefoot in it
To all trail runners, I would say to at least try this shoe out once. It is a whole new experience that really can't be explained in words. Availability should be on the rise now that orders have been fulfilled, so it won't be hard to find in stores anymore. Overall I give this shoe an 8 out of 10, it isn't my favorite shoe that has been ever on my foot, but it is probably my favorite trail shoe. So get out there and experience The Life of a Runner!

No comments:

Post a Comment