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"Barefoot" Footwear

New Balance Minimus Road Zero Review

New Balance Minimus Road Zero Review

By Tina Dubois


Review of the NB Minimus Road Zero (WR00) – A definite improvement from the original Minimus Road
Last season’s New Balance (NB) Minimus Road, which Al reviewed, left a lot of room for improvement in the ‘minimal’ department and the company responded with a complete redesign in the new and improved Minimus Road Zero. This shoe has far less cushioning, a true zero drop, and far less weight than the original. It’s wonderful that NB listened to consumers and put in the effort to produce a shoe with much more minimalism in mind. The only down-side is it’s still not wide enough for those with wide feet.

The inside of the shoe is designed with very few seams and a soft material so it can be worn without socks if you like to run that way. There are no rough edges to the shoe anywhere along the throat and the heel cup fits around my ankles nicely. The tongue design is particularly thoughtful in the comfort department as it is part of the upper and only open on one side, producing a sock-like feel. If only they were wide enough for my feet, I might find them quite comfortable.

The review pair is definitely not wide enough for me. The toe box has barely enough room for my forefoot and not enough room for any splay. The outsole actually digs into my arch with every step as the midfoot of the shoe is nowhere near wide enough for me. If you have a narrow foot, I can see these working for you but for wide and possibly average width feet, the Minimus Road Zero is not the shoe for you.

The Vibram outsole is uniform in height the entire length of the shoe. The stack height of 12 mm is a little on the high side for a minimal shoe but there are runners who appreciate a little less proprioception for long runs and this shoe would work well for that purpose. The double density outsole was designed to maximize durability in high wear areas so this sole is probably going to last a long time.

The outsole flexes relatively easily upward, if relative is to a conventional shoe and not a minimal shoe. It does not bend well in any other direction. The over 1 cm stack height and the thickness of the Vibram outsole material are probably the reasons for the inflexibility. 

Each size 8 women’s Minimus Road Zero weighs 4.75 ounces or 135 grams. For a running shoe, this is well within the realm of lightweight and feel practically weightless while wearing.

Support / Insole
There is no support designed in the shoe, however, because the midfoot is too narrow for me, the outsole does rub against my arch making it feel like it’s supported. There is no insole included in the shoe and the footbed material is quite soft against the skin.

Barefoot Feel
Due to the inflexibility and over 1 cm stack height of the outsole, there is very little ground feel with this shoe.

The outsole material that contacts the ground is quite sticky providing good traction on dry roads. Mildly wet roads are not a problem but slightly slick conditions due to excessive wetness or mud may cause traction issues. These are not meant for trail running.

The upper is made of a light synthetic mesh material that easily allows air to pass through. These definitely have above average breathability.



Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The quality of the materials and manufacturing seems excellent. There are no defects in the review pair and the materials seem durable and long-lasting.

Water Resistance
Just as air easily passes through the mesh, so does water. These are not water resistant shoes and your feet will get wet with the slightest drizzle or puddle.

The Minimus Road Zero fit true to size in length although they are designed for a narrow foot. I generally fit a size 8 women’s and the size 8 review pair fit me perfectly in length if not in width.

At $110 USD, the WR00 is priced well for a running shoe. If the shoe fits you, it would be a good value.

The bright yellow color of the review pair is quite eye-catching especially considering the reflective material overlaid on the upper. People have noticed that, although they look like conventional running shoes, there’s something different about them. Whether that’s the relatively low profile compared to a conventional shoe, the neat tongue design, the thin laces, or just the flashy color, I don’t know. The styling is unique for a running shoe and I like it. In addition to the bright yellow, they also come in a more subdued blue/black and silver/pink.

Break-in Period
There is no break-in period required for this shoe. If it is not comfortable the moment you put them on, they are likely not the right size or shape for your feet.

Shoe care
I wouldn’t recommend throwing these in the washing machine and because of the absorbent mesh material of the upper, dirt is likely to get trapped in the fabric and be difficult to wash out.

The Minimus Road Zero, as the name describes, is meant as a road running shoe. They are not suitable for trail running but if you like the look of them and they fit, they could be used for a casual or walking shoe.

The Minimus Road Zero is far superior to its predecessor the Minimus Road but there is still some room for improvement in the width department. I would love to see this model offered in different widths as many New Balance models are and, if this becomes available in the future, I think this would be a very different review. If you have a narrow foot and are looking for a zero drop running shoe with a small amount of cushioning, compared to a conventional shoe, for those longer runs this may be the shoe for you. I don’t recommend them for those with wide feet. For more information on the Minimus Road Zero, check out the New Balance product page for the WR00 for women and the MR00 for men.

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Rock Creek
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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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6 comments for “New Balance Minimus Road Zero Review”

  1. I just bought a pair of these in Women’s Size 5.5 (US). I have slightly wide feet and fit me perfectly fine, they feel snug around the arch but I have wiggle room for my toes. I tried the other Minimus shoes but the Road Zeros felt the best. I haven’t run in them yet but they’re very comfortable to walk in. I opted for these as my first pair of minimalist shoes over the Vibrams because I’m not ready to feel EVERYTHING I step on.

    Posted by running noob | March 27, 2012, 06:40
  2. Hi there!

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. It’s great to hear your thoughts. Do let us know how you like running in them!

    Posted by Al Gauthier | March 27, 2012, 08:54
  3. Here in UK we don’t have the luxury of width fittings, one size fits all. So as a wide footed, high arched woman I wear men’s shoes. I have these in UK 8.5 and I love them, they aren’t too long but are wide enough. They are more like sturdy racing flats than trad minimal shoes but that suits me fine. The only downside is they have absolutely no tread and my run is part road, part trail so can’t wear them in wet conditions. They are very slightly more supportive than my Vivo Neo trails, which really are a bit long, clown shoes! Neos super grippy in mud but not good on road, wish I had NBT10s which I think might fit the bit in between. Anyway I have been running very fast in my NB red shoes and hope to again when it stops raining.

    Posted by Kath | May 2, 2012, 19:14
  4. Given the fact that people are of variable widths in the first place, it is a bit ridiculous to admonish a shoe that is designed to be more narrow. I have extremely narrow feet and have a hard time finding shoes that fit. Do you take the same approach when shoes are wide?

    Posted by E.T.Cook | June 6, 2012, 06:21
  5. That is a fair comment and you are absolutely correct. It is not the only reason we didn’t like these shoes however, as I’m sure you’ve read. There are, in fact a number of shoes that we review very highly despite being on the narrow side.

    Width is, however, an issue that is not taken seriously enough in the footwear industry. We have found, from feedback, that almost everyone who wears unrestrictive footwear will fine that their feet widen over time. Because of this shoes need to be made with this in mind. Average width feet become wide feet for many.

    I feel companies should take this into consideration and at least offer several width options for customers.

    Have you tried these shoes? Do you like them?

    Posted by Al Gauthier | June 6, 2012, 06:49
  6. [...] as I hope to make the transition back to running in Vibrams at some point, and I came across these New Balance beauties and fell in love…And this is how a trip to the running store can get out of control quickly. [...]

    Posted by Mama Needs A New Pair of (running) Shoes | The Curvy Road Runner | August 27, 2012, 11:43

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