Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Taste: New Balance Minimus Zero Trail

As I alluded to last post, I have added yet another pair of shoes to my arsenal. The New Balance MT00, the trail version of the company's Minimus Zero lineup, a zero-dropped version of its predecessor. The MT00s replace my MT101s (a predecessor to the predecessor) and makes my entire running shoe collection minimal and flat.
New Balance MT00, MSRP: $109.99
I've been lazy and haven't taken any more photos, so that'll have to wait until the fullblown review, after I log some serious mileage in the shoes.

Thoughts Out of the Box
These are my lightest shoes, weighing 4.4 ounces, and are quite bendy. New Balance got clever with the soles, providing traction without mass. The mesh is so thin you can see through it, and the rest of the upper is an ultra light space age material.

The shoes are comfortable to wear. The mesh is rough, but felt comfortable enough without socks. However, going sockless on the run will wait until after my race this weekend, as I don't want to risk a blister. The tongue of the shoe is almost a joke it's so thin, and it tends to fold over itself. There is no insole, but a comfortable footbed.

I found the toe box to be sufficiently wide for my feet, but I have read others complain about the shoe being too narrow. On the contrary, I found the shoe to be a bit too long. New Balance could round off the toe a bit to make the shoe a little more ergonomic, a la the Altras or Merrells.

First Run
I wore these shoes for my accidentally too long seven eight-miler last Saturday. I had read that the Minimus Zeros might be too minimal for more technical trails, so I tried them on one of the rougher spots in the area: the Ledges Trail. The terrain is full of rocky outcroppings and snaggly roots to step on.

While the MT00s provided plenty of ground feel, there was plenty of protection. The real test will come when I head out to the Pine Lane section of the Buckeye Trail, where there is a long stretch of latticed roots that are notoriously difficult to traverse.

The light mesh proved to be quite breathable, and the shoe drained well, as there were abundant muddy puddles throughout my run.

Testing Points
My preference is to run sockless, and I'm concerned about the mesh. Even though it felt fine walking around, it could be abrasive on the run. There are plenty more technical trails in the area, and I'll be searching for the limits of this shoe's durability. I'm a bit concerned about the long toebox and the possibility of catching it on uneven terrain.

My first impressions were solid, and I'm happy I went with the New Balance, as I've had good luck with the company's shoes in the past. I bought these shoes with my own dollars from my local store, Second Sole.


C said...

You give very thoughtful reviews on running footwear. So it boggles my mind that Ian, who hasn't written a post in ages, still gets free shoes sent to him when you actually post regularly, purchase the shoes with your own money and still provide quality reviews anyway. Frickin' lucky bastard bankers...

Spike said...

That is quite a review. Can you outrun a forest pig?

Carolina John said...

Great review! I'm still a bit scared to go over a half marathon in my minimalist shoes, and these are certainly more minimal than the Musha's. Sounds really comfortable.