Soon after U.S. Army Platoon Leader and self-described "shoe nerd" Daniel laced up his new Minimus Zero shoes, he sat down with Anton to share his first impressions. They made the most of their conversation, as the avid trail runners connected on the importance of durability, ground feel and the pursuit of minimalist running.
Daniel: I guess you could say running is my cathartic experience for the day. I run between 60-80 miles per week. I'm in the army and I'm kind of expected to stay in shape, so that's one of the reasons I run a lot. I try to keep on the trails quite a bit, but sometimes my work schedule [prevents] that, so I run on the road too. But whenever I can I'm always out on the trails.
Anton: Totally. And how long have you had the new shoes?
Daniel: I've had them for about a week now, and I've put about 40 miles on them. The uppers are actually one of the most interesting parts about them. It's almost like a [thin] cloth — real airy and one of the bonuses is that it doesn't absorb a lot of moisture and dries super fast. Just incredibly fast.
The upper material of the Minimus Zero Trail is formed from monofilament fiber, which is designed not to saturate when the trail meets water.
Daniel: ...Some of the other complaints [I've heard] in the MT10 are not only [regarding] the metatarsal band, but people are also complaining you can feel the rocks. But for me, I like that! I would much rather feel a rock than roll my ankle, you know? For me, it actually forces me to be lighter on my feet.
Anton: No, exactly. I think, at least my hope is that the Minimus Trail series is maybe a slightly more forgiving, slightly more responsible tool that you can use to strengthen your feet and lower legs [while] promoting the natural foot strike and the proper barefoot running form, all while having a little bit of a margin for error, you know? Do you think we've hit that sweet spot, or no?
Daniel: Yeah, I think so. The other thing I really like is it seems that I have a better grip on softer surfaces with this shoe because they've spaced the pods [on the rubber sole] out more. And especially in the toe area. I mean, if you look at the top of the toe, those three pods on top really grip, and you also have the heel on the back.
Wear test patterns helped inform the location of the rubber pods on the sole.
Going downhill where you'll need a little bit of breaking, you've got a little bit of "bite" back there. That was something I was worried about, but it actually performed very well. The only surfaces I found they were a little slick on — if you were to cross any streams or anything like that — were wood ramps or wet rocks. You just don't have as much of a friction base on there as you would a normal sole.
Anton: Right, right — just because there's hardly any rubber on the outsole. Yeah, but I mean those two surfaces, even on the firmer outsole they can be really slick anyhow.
Anton: You put about 40 miles on it you said? That's one thing I was worried about — the durability of the upper. How has that been holding up? Have you found any wear areas that are a concern for you?
Daniel: In the upper? No. All the seams stay intact. The green part of the vamp and the side seams feel pretty strong, I'm not sure if I could even wear through it. Most of the time where I've seen shoes wear out is on the fifth lateral side where the toe hits, and I haven't seen any wear there either because they've put a layer of laminate on top, so you're not flying over off the midsole or anything like that.
The Minimus Zero Trail upper.
Daniel: The other nice thing about this midsole is it's almost like a bathtub shape so you have curvature along both sides so you're not sliding off at all.
Anton: Even though you have the extra room you still have that lateral stability in the shoe.
Daniel: Definitely, and they were completely comfortable to wear without socks. I mean, that was another thing too about the fabric, I was worried they were going to give me blisters because it was a little rough on the inside, but no, there was nothing.
Anton: I had the same experience. I've never had any issues with blisters or anything. But I'm glad you're liking the shoes and I hope you can continue along more miles in them.
Daniel: I appreciate all the influence you're giving New Balance, because they really are at the forefront right now, as far as this is concerned. All of the runners appreciate that.
Anton: Yeah, thanks a lot Dan, and it's certainly not just me — there are production managers and designers, but they're really receptive to my feedback which is super-gratifying and a lot of fun. I'm really particular about my shoes and my philosophy about shoes and they're open to that. It's really fun to to be able to share that with people through products like this, and possibly cause an impact.
*Due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to drop and stack height are approximate.
Just got the shoes put 3 miles on them love how light they are but got a large blister on the medial part of foot where the sole meets the fabric. Ouch! Has anyone else had a similar experience. The fabric kind of bunches up near the sole insertion and rubs. I tried loosening and tightening the shoes but no help.
I was also worried about blisters when running with out socks. I did get a blister my first time out, and realized it was only because I didn't tie my shoe tight enough. I got it right next time out... it's an amazing experience to run in this shoe.
I run in New Mexico which has those nasty little thorns that stick in your shoes. I have the minimus from last year and can\'t run in them because the thorns go through the soft part of the sole that is between the harder studs. I am wondering if the newer version has a harder sole throughout and no soft spots. If so, I will buy them. Another issue is the sharp little or big rocks that you encounter on trails. They always poke at the soft parts of the sole uncomfortably in the Minimus.
I notice the Merrill soles are vibram throughout and will buy them instead if there are soft parts of the Minimus soles.
We tested this shoe last month (the red colour) and that was our verdict: The NB Minimus Zero is a fantastic road shoe that provides a fantastic, lightweight ride that lets runners do their thing without getting in the way. The shoe is best for advanced runners familiar with zero-drop design and minimal cushioning, but can also be a fantastic secondary shoe or racing flat for those looking to go light.
you can read the complete New Balance Minimus Zero review here: http://www.runningshoesguru.com/2012/02/new-balance-minimus-zero-running-shoes-review/
I've been running the MT10s for a few months and really liked them, and especially the fit in the toe area - they had a natural shape to the toe-box instead of a pointed toe like almost all dress and athletic shoes. The only disappointment with the MT10 was noticeable heel-to-toe drop. Without that, these would have been perfect.
I just bought the MT00s, which eliminate the heel-to-toe drop and also have an even brighter orange color. Both of these features are exciting. The construction is superb, with a very light upper and a sole that makes sense. However, the toe shape is completely unnatural and the new last is inferior to the MT10. I'm not sure why you went this route - this is almost the perfect shoe. But the 1/2" (!!) of free space in the big-toe area is insane and tends to drag etc.
It also seems like the shoe is "rolled in" for someone who's stance is naturally somewhat pronated - another bizarre deviation from the MT10.
I really like the weight, choice of materials and concept but the execution is, unfortunately, pretty flawed. Not a disaster, but far from a home run.
i have bad foot problems and the podiatrist told me to wear a new balance shoe i have the 4o7 and the 973 are these new ones like the ones i have i have custom inserts for my shoes that are interchangeablefor my shoes. i would like to try these for a change but i buy only nb thank you