// you’re reading...

"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.

Other Great Living Barefoot Articles:

Buy Vibram FiveFingers at these quality online retailers:

Rock Creek
Half Moon Outfitters
The Flip Flopper


About Living Barefoot Reviews:

As you read our reviews, please keep in mind that our reviewers review shoes in terms of their suitability for those looking to find the highest quality minimalist shoe products. All reviews are as factual as possible. In an effort to be transparent and ethical, we will point out any defects found, even if these do not affect the usability of the product. Not all defects will be present in final production shoes as we are sometimes offered “seconds” or pre-release products in an effort to provide you with reviews in a timely manor. In the event that serious issues are found with a review sample we will give every opportunity for the manufacturer to replace to explain the review samples before the final review is released. We never accept payments for reviews. We do not guarantee a good review for any products sent to us. We do not review products that do not claim to be minimalist or “barefoot like” unless we receive a significant number of requests from readers or listeners.

Should you have any questions about our review process or would like your product reviewed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us using our contact page.


Featured Interview: Christopher McDougall – Author of Born to Run

Listen HERE

Christopher McDougall is a well-spoken, humble man who has through the popularity of his book brought about some of the biggest changes in the perception of feet and running in recent years.  Join us in learning about how this talented author wrote his book, discovered his feet, and how he feels about barefooting and running.  This interview should not be missed.
We Talk about:
- Chris’s recent appearance at the TED Conference
- Thoughts on Interviews In General
- His first exposure to barefoot running
- How he came to find the Tarahumara while on assignment for the New York Times.
- He thoughts on his influence over barefoot running and ultra running
- How he struggled with writing Born to Run
- This thoughts on minimalist shoes
- And much more!
To learn more about Christopher McDougall visit his website: http://chrismcdougall.com

Buy His Book: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Download the Audible Audiobook

Find “Living Barefoot” in iTunes and download it onto your iPod / iPhone or listen online


Keep Yourself Connected:

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed, Listen to or download our Podcasts, subscribe to our RSS feed, or Subscribe to our email updates.


Recent Minimalist Shoe Reviews:

Stay updated by being notified when we release a new reviews. Subscribe Here.


Give us your support!

As Living Barefoot continues to grow our costs keep increasing.  In order to cover the many costs necessary to provide our readers and listeners with the great quality reviews and content on Living Barefoot we would like to request your help.

If you like what we are doing, we are asking for a tiny contribution to show your support. We guarantee you won’t notice the missing contribution, but if enough people participate, it can be a significant contribution to help continue to innovate and bring you great reviews, news, and personalities through the Living Barefoot Show.

What will we do in return?  We’ll continue to offer you great free news, reviews, and guest interviews on our show.  We will also decrease the amount of advertising on our site as subscriptions increase.

Donate as little as $1 monthly.  The subscription will simply deduct $1 from your bank or credit card monthly.  You can cancel the automatic withdrawal at any time.  You won’t notice $1, but we will!

Support Options


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

Post a comment

Recent Comments

Get Adobe Flash player