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"Barefoot" Footwear

Sneak Peek: New Balance 2012 Minimus Models



 

 

 

 

 

 

The holidays have come early at Living Barefoot! New Balance has sent a collection of shoes from their upcoming Minimus line for review and we are happy to report that the company listened to feedback provided by their customers and worked hard to make improvements to their existing Minimus models—and it paid off! Here is a sneak peek of our first impressions of the new models.

NB Minimus Trail ZERO

This unbelievably light shoes weighs in at a mere 3.6 ounces or 102 grams in the women’s size that arrived. It is one of the lightest shoes we’ve ever reviewed! The materials in the upper are nothing like we’ve ever seen in footwear before. Not to mention the sole, which is so uniquely designed that my level of impressed is hard to articulate. Their flexibility is amazing. It may look deceptively pointy but the width in the forefoot is exactly where I need it and plenty wide for more than enough room for metatarsal splay. I can’t wait to try this one out on the roads and trails.

 

NB Minimus Road ZERO

My first impression is that they’ve made significant improvements over the previous Minimus Road shoe and this model is much closer to a minimalist design. The stack height and weight are reduced and they have a true zero drop. There is plenty of width in the forefoot but they feel a little snug in the arch because the outsole narrows in this region. The outsole isn’t as flexible as Minimus Trail ZERO with a more conventional design but ground feel seems decent still. The coolest feature is the design of the tongue—thoroughly neat idea! This will be an interesting shoe to test for the in-depth review.

 

NB Minimus Outdoor 10

This is the same the original NB Minimus Trail 10 but with a leather upper instead of mesh, making it perfect for winter running. If you liked the original and needed a shoe for cooler temperatures, you’ll probably like the new model. This is the first time I’m reviewing any Minimus Trail model and my initial impressions include that I can feel the 4 mm heel rise (yes, I’m that sensitive after so many years of zero drop) and I already know I’m going to have additional difficulty with the rigid design of the upper just below my pinky toe as it rubs uncomfortably without even moving. Of course, it might just be me. On the plus side, the inside of the upper is comfortable and… that’s all I can think of at the moment. This review might be a challenge for me.

 

NB 110 Trail Shoe

This is more of a transition shoe than a minimalist shoe and should be thought of in that category. It has a higher stack height than a true minimalist shoe (at least by our definition) and a 4 mm heel rise. The outsole is less flexible than I’m used to but it may appeal to people who run on rough trail terrain and don’t necessarily want to feel all that sharpness. The grip is aggressive and will, no doubt, have amazing traction. Again, they feel a little narrow in the arch area for me but, that might be me. The spaced-aged silver colour in the women’s model is going to turn heads, at least until they’re covered in mud, which is where these shoes will feel the most at home. The coolest detail of these are the letters indented into the bottom of the grip across the forefoot (you’ll have to wait for the full review if you don’t already know what it says).

 

It’s nice to know that a company as big as New Balance is taking the time to listen to their customers and produce models that reflect what consumers are asking for. Congratulations New Balance, the Minimus ZERO models exceed my expectations and I’m impressed. I’m not saying all the shoes sent for this season’s reviews are perfect (keep in mind these are first impressions) but I was pleasantly surprised at the details. Stay tuned for the full, in-depth reviews from both Al and me coming up in the New Year.

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Discussion

4 comments for “Sneak Peek: New Balance 2012 Minimus Models”

  1. Thanks for the preview! Is the toe box on the Trail Zero narrower than on the original Minimus Trail? It looks narrow.

    Posted by Alex | December 17, 2011, 08:36
  2. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the question. I’ll see if we can get you an answer. Stay tuned :)

    Posted by Al Gauthier | December 17, 2011, 08:41
  3. Good question, Alex! I checked the corresponding sizes that I have for the Minimus Outdoor 10 (essentially the same shoe as the Minimus Trail but with a water-resistant upper) and the Minimus Trail Zero and they are the same width in the toe box. The new Trail Zero may look deceptively narrower because of the pointier end but the greatest width is in the same place in both models. I ran in the Minimus Trail Zero for the first time today and am REALLY impressed! I’m looking forward to testing them out more. They are definitely wide enough for my feet (and I’m finding that so few shoes are these days).

    Posted by Tina Dubois | December 20, 2011, 07:15
  4. Thanks for checking on that, Tina. I’m excited about the Minimus Trail Zero coming out, but I have a hard time finding shoes that are wide enough in the toe box. The MT00 is going to be offered in a 4E width, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    Posted by Alex | December 21, 2011, 09:24

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