New Balance Minimus Review
It's a shoe review! How exciting is that? First my anti-disclaimer: I have no relationship with New Balance (or any other shoe
company) and didn't get these for free. So there.
Now, a little background. A while back, I tried the barefoot running style aided by a pair of
Mizuno racing flats
are a "barely there" shoe that help with midfoot-strike running (instead of the more common heel-strike). As regular
readers know, this helped me run on hard surfaces without knee pain and also improved my speed (mostly because the shoes are
so light). My Mizunos are awesome! I much prefer them to my Vibram
for running. But they're not great for
walking, which tends to be more heel-intensive. For that, I've kept my old New Balance shoes. But they were in need of
replacement and I decided to try something minimalist, but not as minimal as the racing flats.
After a bit of research (I'm not one to agonize over these things), I decided on the
New Balance Minimus
. (There are
different versions of the shoe: these are the 1010s, not to be confused with the 1010 Trail. Go figure.) I'm a long-time
New Balance wearer. I like that they come in widths and it's nice that they still make some of their shoes in the USA.
The Minimus look pretty good, have been around for a while, and have soles made by Vibram, which should be a good thing.
I still haven't worn them extensively, but here's my take on them so far.
They run a little small. These are a half-size bigger then every other pair of New Balance shoes I've ever had (probably
around 10 pair). I'm still not real happy with the way they fit: there's a little too much play in the right heel even though
the laces are quite tight. I'm going to change the lacing style to help address that. Now, they feel a little tight when
sitting around but pretty good when moving, but I can't wear them without socks due to the heel play.
They're right in the ballpark of bulkiness that I wanted. They're almost twice as heavy as my racing flats, but less than
half the weight of my old walking sneakers. That works for me. I've done a little running in them and they feel pretty good:
if you're looking for an introduction to running barefoot-style in a minimalist shoe, I think these will fit the bill. But
of course, that's not why I got them. I'm happy with them for walking--they're much sturdier in the heels than the flats--so
My biggest complaint is the tread. They have these big circular pads on the bottom. I have no idea of the engineering
behind this decision, but it's a little weird for a minimalist shoe, I think. More importantly, I've had the pads catch
on surface irregularities. That's pretty annoying, and maybe even a little dangerous. I can only hope to wear the pads
down with lots of walking (and a little running) to make them less obtrusive.
I should note that a friend of mine sent me pictures of his older Minimus shoes that had tears in them, apparently from a
design or manufacturing flaw that caused it to happen frequently. (Or maybe he was doing a lot of running through cactus
patches.) Anyway, that problem is hopefully solved with these new models.
While I'll use these shoes for some running and some training, their main purpose is as a walking shoe, and so that's what
I'll rate them on. At this point, I'll give them a 7 out of 10
, mostly due to the fit and the tread. That might
sound low, but I'm a tough grader, so take that into account.
I'll give updates on this shoe in the future so keep an eye out, especially on our Facebook page
Now I think it's time for a walk.
Be seeing you.