By Tina Dubois
Review of the New Balance Minimus Outdoor 10 Running Shoe (WT10)
I got my feet wet, so to speak, reviewing transition shoes with the New Balance (NB) 110, so the test process for reviewing the NB Minimus Outdoor 10 shouldn’t have been a difficult one as this shoe falls into that category as well, but that was not the case. The Minimus Outdoor 10 is essentially the same shoe as last year’s NB Minimus Trail but with a water resistant upper instead of mesh, which makes it much more appealing for running in wet conditions. As the Minimus Trail was NB’s first attempt at a minimalist shoe, and the Outdoor 10 is pretty much the same shoe but with different upper materials, the Outdoor 10 has the same problems the Minimus Trail had (click here for Al’s review). This is not a shoe I find comfortable to wear for walking let alone running.
This shoe is in no way comfortable for me to wear. I don’t know if it’s because it is nowhere near wide for me in the forefoot or the midfoot and a wider version might be more comfortable but I can only review what I have. The rubber-like material across the top of the forefoot and where the laces go into doesn’t stretch so acts to bind my foot in place and I don’t like it. At all. I also find the ridge along the shoe collar uncomfortably stiff and sharp-edged. The heel cup is not the right shape for me and is also wrapped in the rubber-like binding material found across and along the forefoot. The outsole is too high in the arch and digs into my foot. The only positive thing I can say about the comfort is that the footbed material is soft against the skin, which is great if you don’t want to wear socks. However, because the edge of the shoe is so sharp along the collar, I wouldn’t go sockless for fear of blisters around my ankles.
There is no part of the shoe that is wide enough for me. This is the most binding shoe I’ve had to review to date.
The outsole is the same as the Minimus Trail with a 4 mm heel rise and a stack height of 15 mm at the heel and 11 mm at the forefoot. Walking strides feel smooth through each step with no drops or bumps across the outsole. With a lack of lugs, they are suitable for light trail and road running but extreme trail terrain would be questionable in the traction department.
The circular pod design of the outsole provides more flexibility than expected. The shoe flexes easily upwards in the forefoot area and somewhat in the down direction between pods. The heel area is not flexible. As this is a trail running shoe, some degree of inflexibility is warranted to provide some protection from sharp objects.
Each size 8 Outdoor 10 weighs 6.25 ounces or 177 grams. For a trail running shoe, this is well within the limits of acceptably lightweight.
Support / Insole
Because the outsole rises so high at the arch of my foot, it feels like it is being supported. If the shoe were wider, this probably wouldn’t be the case. Other than that, there is no arch support designed into the shoe.
There is no insole included in the Outdoor 10 so there is no added cushioning there. There is an ‘Acteva ™ ’ layer of lightweight foam in the midsole but I didn’t find it overly squishy. I would say that the level of cushioning in this shoe is appropriate for a trail running shoe, transition or minimalist alike.
There is some but not a lot of ground feel in these shoes. As a trail running shoe, this is a welcome feature for those wanting more protection than the typical minimalist shoe.
As mentioned earlier, there aren’t any lugs on this shoe so the traction is not great for extreme trail conditions or anything wet. However, they do have adequate traction for light trail and road running in dry conditions.
The Outdoor 10 is meant to be a water resistant shoe but there is some breathability in the uncoated upper material along the top of the forefoot and the tongue.
Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The quality of materials and manufacturing are both great with this shoe. There are absolutely no flaws and the materials are designed for extreme durability and it shows. These shoes should last a long time even under rugged conditions.
These shoes are designed to be water-resistant and they achieve that feature very well. The plastic-coated material along the toe, sides, and heel doesn’t allow any water to penetrate. Although the uncoated material on the forefoot and tongue of the shoe is breathable, it is treated with a hydrophobic substance that water beads off from. The tongue is also solidly attached up to the last inch so water should not penetrate along the sides of the tongue either.
The Outdoor 10 fits true to size. I generally fit a women’s size 8 and this size in this model fits true to length if not in width. For those with wide feet, I do not recommend them and only those with narrow feet might find their fit comfortable.
At $105 USD, these are priced well in the trail running shoe category. For a durable trail runner, this is a good price.
The Outdoor 10 looks like a rugged, durable running shoe. The contrast stitching is a nice detail that adds character as well.
There is no break-in period for this shoe. It’s not going to get any softer or any more flexible with use.
As a trail running shoe, these are going to get muddy. Rinsing with a hose or in the sink with a brush should be sufficient to get them clean again.
The Outdoor 10 is a water-resistant light trail or even road running shoe. If they are comfortable for you, they might work well as a casual or walking shoe.
Comfort is a primary feature of shoes for me; if it’s not comfortable and functional, I’m not going to wear them. The Outdoor 10 is not a shoe I consider comfortable and I don’t intend on wearing them again. If the shoe were wider from top to bottom and there wasn’t a constricting band across the top length-wise and width-wise, I think this shoe would be much more comfortable. If you have a narrow foot and you find the shoe comfortable, this might be a footwear option if you’re looking for a water-resistant transition shoe for light trail or road running. The Outdoor 10 was built on the same foundation as the Minimus Trail, and as a first foray into minimalist shoes, it could have used some improvement. Thankfully, New Balance listened to consumer feedback and made significant improvements in their Minimus Zero line of shoes. For more information about this and other models, take a look at the New Balance website.
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.
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