Monday, April 14, 2014

Maximum performance from the Minimus: New Balance MT1010V2 and MT10V2 Review and Giveaway!

MT1010V2 and MT10V2

After a long period of training since last fall, I am happy to finally provide a full review/recap of two trail running shoes from the New Balance Minimus line!

I was excited to finally get to try out a few choices from the New Balance Minimus collection, as I felt I had tried out many other "big brand" minimalist offerings.  I received both the latest MT1010V2 and MT10V2 trail shoes last fall and since then have logged more than 300 miles between the two models. By far, the most mileage I've logged in shoes before doing a review.

So, if you've ever wondered about either or both of these as a minimalist trail shoe, continue on for a full review of each! And, as a reward for slogging through my shoe nerd blah blah blah... I'm giving away a pair of MT10V2 Trails thanks to the cool folks at New Balance... so read on!


First up is the MT1010V2.  These are my first foray into New Balance shoes, so I don't have any kind of perspective on a comparison against the original version of the shoe.

First off, just a few of the specs.  The 1010V2 is a 4mm drop shoe, with a stack height of roughly 15mm at the heel, down to 11mm at the toe.  The overall height is slightly more as there is a 1-2mm non-removable insole as well.  Now before I get into more details you might be thinking.. "4mm drop? That's not 0mm drop!"   Yes, that is true, and I did have some slight concerns as all my other shoes/sandals are a 0mm drop. However, I learned that (at least for me), I didn't notice anything significant with the slight drop, and have had no issues running in them.  However, I 'm not willing to crank it up any more than that!

The 1010V2 weighs in at 8.5 ounces, and carries a pretty aggressive tread.  Also, there is a rock plate built into the forefoot area.  As far as minimalist shoes go, these would be considered much less minimal, and probably approaching a more traditional trail shoe build.  However, they fee light for the construction, and my toes were very happy with the toe box roominess and overall comfort. The stack height precludes any really good proprioception, but I still felt the response on the trail was decent.  The interior of the shoe is well constructed, and pretty comfortable with or without socks.

What I really loved best about the 1010V2 was the tremendous traction from the aggressive tread pattern.  These became my shoe of choice for all of the snow/cold weather running I did over the winter.  I logged close to 250 miles, and almost all of them on snow/ice etc.

The tread pattern on the 1010V2 was amazing for traction, and most especially on downhills.  In other shoes I've ended up putting on YakTrax for slippery conditions, but shy of pure ice, the 1010V2 provided excellent traction this winter.  Also, they were surprisingly warm and relatively hydrophobic.  Part of that warmth (as compared to very minimal shoes) is attributed to the stack height insulating my foot from the frozen ground, but I'll take it! Especially in single digit temps :-)

So... the overall verdict?  Frankly, I love these shoes, especially when I'm more concerned about traction, warmth, and a little more protection.  They proved out to be an excellent winter shoe for me. Very comfortable, with plenty of room for my feet/toes (I have the standard width).  If you are transitioning to minimalist shoes, and are taking the path of easing down (versus jumping straight to barefoot and moving up), then these could be a great choice.  The trade off from other minimalist options are lesser flexibility, a slight drop,  and less ground feel.  Again, as I've said before, it becomes a matter of finding that sweet spot for yourself and your running style and trail conditions etc.


And now, for something completely different....  the New Balance MT10V2 trail shoe.  Yes, I know... it's only different by two digits from the 1010, but these shoes are worlds apart!  The 10V2 is much more of what I would call a minimalist shoe, both in construction and in feel.  Granted, these also have a 4mm versus 0mm drop, but I've discovered I am ok with that...  perhaps some of you can really notice a 4mm difference, but fortunately I don't seem to.  That being said, I don't know why they didn't just make both shoes 0 drops...  unless they are catering to those who are a bit scared to make the leap?  Anyway... sorry... digressing.

Ok... a few specs on the 10V2.   These weight in at 6.2 oz, so very light for a trail shoe, and pretty flexible, even with a stack height of 12.5 down to 8.5mm at the toe.  Compared to the 1010V2, these shoe really have the barefoot/minimalist feel when you put them on.  The ground feel on the trail is really good, and perhaps too good at times as the lack of a rock plate will keep you mindful of the trail conditions.

The tread pattern, while much less aggressive than the 1010V2, provides some fairly decent traction in most standard trail conditions.  Part of this comes from the extra flexibility, allowing your foot (and the sole) to wrap a little bit better around contours on the trail.  Also, very little of the trail gets stuck or hangs around very long on this tread.

The plus side to this relatively flat tread, is that these perform well when running on the road as well.  I didn't like road running in the 1010V2 as the rugged tread didn't make for a smooth ride, but I had no issues with these on the smooth asphalt.  For some reason, these became my shoe of choice for hill repeat days on pavement.  Part of it was how light they felt, and also they were very comfortable going downhill.

Now, this brings me to the only real issue I had with these shoes, if you could call it an issue.  As you can see, the design of the upper includes a band that cuts across the top of the forefoot.  I initially got a pair in my size, and in the standard "D" width, but wow, I could really feel that band cutting across my foot and constricting it.  It was not comfortable at all, so I returned them and swapped out for the wider ("E") width, and was much much happier.  I needed that additional width to take that weird tightness away.  Now, I believe my foot is fairly average as far as width goes, so if you have wide feet, these may not be the best choice. Highly recommend trying them on in person first.   So, with the wider version, the band was less of an issue, although I could still feel it, it didn't bother me.  I can see the idea behind it, as it helped stabilize my foot better on downhills, so I had less cramming of my toes etc.

Aside from having to sort out that issue, the 10V2's have also been a great shoe.  I have about 60 miles on them, with about 40 on the trail.  If you are looking for a good minimalist trail shoe with a minimal drop, and one that could get you by on the road as well, these may be a good choice.  As I noted, these are certainly more in line with a true "minimalist" feeling and performing shoe.

Well, there you have it.  If you stuck around this long, you are as much a minimalist shoe nerd as I am!!  As always, if I've missed anything, or you have any questions at all about my review experience, let me know! Email me, or leave a comment here or on Facebook.

Ok... want to win a pair of the MT10V2 Trails?  Enter below in the Rafflecopter dowidgie thing..   Contest open to residents of the US only and will run until 10PM MST, Sunday April 20th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, bear with me as I shift into taper mode for my upcoming 50K...  yep, as you can see on the ticker, less than 3 weeks to go!  I'm not panicking... not yet at least :-)

Have a great week, and happy trails!



  1. This winter I ran in the New Balance MT110 Winter. They wer very good at keeping my feet dry and warm with this extremely cold and snowy winter we had in Michigan.

  2. I didn't run the trails that much this winter. Although when I did I actually ran in a pair of New Balance Minimus M1690 shoes.

  3. Ran trails all winter in the NB WT10. Love how flexible and lightweight it is. Have my eye on the Goretex version but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

  4. I love my Gladsoles with some Injini socks!

  5. Great was most surprising to see your take on the 4mm drop. I steer clear of all non 0mm drop shoes but may rethink that strategy for winter trail running After reading this review. I had a pair of NB trail shoes but somehow either they shrank or my feet grew because in my last race (21k trail) I lost 2bloody toenails (longer 2nd toes/both feet) due to the extreme conditions and constant jamming on downslopes. Maybe I'll try again With a different style. Thanks again.

  6. I have the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger running shoes and they were great this winter and are still good but I'd love to try a more minimalist shoe like these New Balance ones!

  7. Nice review! Thorough as usual.

  8. Go to winter trail shoe used to be the Lontra, but I got frustrated spending so long stuffing my foot into them. I've changed to the Spyridon. Not as warm, but If I keep moving, no big deal. Thanks for the giveaway! I'd love some MT10V2's in my life! I bought some of the previous model, and they weren't offered in Wide, so I cut the strap. Excited that they offer Wide sizes now.

  9. I dont have a pair of go to winter trail shoes.

  10. How do the MT10v2s compare to Trail gloves? I recently trashed a pair trail gloves (well, actually lithe gloves, which are more or less identical to the original trail gloves only with a softshell upper and in women's colours) and need new trail shoes?

    1. Hi Zoe... Compared to the original Trail Glove, the MT10V2's are about 1/2 an oz lighter, and breath a little better. However, for me, they were a bit snugger, so I ended up with the widest width available in the MT to be comfortable in the toe box. Traction is comparable. Also, the MT's are a 4mm drop, from 12.5 mm to 8.5mm stack height, compared to 12mm 0 drop on the Trail Glove. I don't notice the drop really at all. What is noticeable is that the MT's have less protection than the Trail Glove, due to the lower stack height at the fore foot, and the lack of a rock plate as compared to the Trail Glove. If you really liked your Trail Gloves, you might look at the Trail Glove 2? Let me know if that helps!

  11. 1010V2 - I wore mine out in six months - hiking mostly - great grip - but they carbon fibre grips are mounted to a soft ultra light foam - these shoes need to come with a bottle of shoe glu. Other than that - they performed well until they were retired - the traction was worth the occaisional shoe repair job. The traction on all surfaces and all conditions is amazing. I now use a vivobarefoot neo trail shoe for hiking and trail running - less comfy due to no rock plate or foam - but great traction on muck and dirt. Less good on rock.


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