Tuesday, 20 March 2012

New Balance Minimus Trail - First Impressions

I finally ordered these on Saturday, didn't like the black or the lurid green, so went for the orange, half a size up based on the advice of the customer service people at New Balance as I expect to be wearing socks with them at least some of the time.  Expected delivery 3-5 days, so I was thinking they should be here by Friday.

After ordering them, I promptly forgot what day it was, with a wedding anniversary on Sunday and a day off work yesterday, so I was very surprised to find a package being delivered this morning. 

Then I realised why it was so quick, they'd forgotten to pack the shoes in the box!  The whole package was well under a kilo.  I'm not a lunatic about but I have excess packaging, so I was very pleased to see a simple courier service bag, tamper seal and cardboard box. 

Now for the moment of truth.  Holy crap my eyes!

I know I ordered orange, but I wasn't expecting ORANGE with a capital O.  These things are bright.  Once I'd got past that, the second impression was how light they are, just 4.4 oz each, 123 grammes for those of us who speak European.  That's less than a bag of sweets, a small tin of tuna, put them both together and you've just about got enough for a medium size steak. 

The box had the usual warnings against TMTS going from standard shoes to zero drop.   Once I'd managed to remove all the unnecessary tags and crap, I got to have a decent look at them They are very light, and they easily pass the squishy test as you can see.  What is obvious here is how much though NB has put into these in terms of removing extraneous material from the uppers compared with the earlier MT versions.  This is achieved by having all heat welded material with almost no stitching. It's a slightly odd feeling fabric, smooth and shiny, and the tongue is made from soemthing different, almost a felt-like material, again very lightweight construction.  Put them on and they're almost sheer, you can see your own toes wiggling.  I'm glad I went for the half size up as there's not a lot extra in the length and they're about right widthwise.  Put a thin sock in them and they'll be snug.  To be honest, I'd have probably been better off with half a size up on the Merrell trail glove as well as they are very snug just in bare feet.

Turn them over and you can see again where the feedback from the earlier versions has fed into the evolution of these, with the hard rubber on the spots likely to need it and softer, very squidgy stuff in between.  The firm stuff seems a bit harder than on the trail gloves, but it's hard to tell with just a thumbail test.  The real proof will be in the wearing.

This evening, my foot felt good enough for me to try them out, plan was a short run round the village, stopping if I felt any TOFP. 

They are very easy to put on, feel very comfortable, start off and it's almost like running in carpet slippers.  They are so light they feel like they're not there and running feels effortless.  So effortless in fact that I ended up at 50 minutes and 9km.  Developed a slight blister on the inside of the arch of the left foot, but that I think is due to not lacing them up correctly.  That's an area I'm prone to blister if I'm not careful, and I think I need to pay a bit more attention to lacing these up. 

Turning them over again, the orange hard blobs seem to have done well, but the softer black blobs are showing wear already.  I'm not really interested in those though, with the wear points being much more important. 

One thing that will be interesting to see with these is how well they hold up overall.  The Merrell trail gloves feel very substantial and have held up well, these seem very light in construction by comparison.

I'll give them another test this Sunday on a long run with some off road work as well to see how they work in the rougher stuff.  I can see me now using the huaraches in the dry, on or off road, with both these and the trail gloves available for the wet and rougher ground. 


  1. Interesting tread pattern... looks real bumpy.. can you feel the blobs? How is the ground feel compared to the trail gloves? I have both the trail and road gloves.. just curious how these stack up.. and hold up for that matter.. looking forward to hearing more!



    1. Thanks Jeff,

      I'd say the road feeel is similar to the Trail Glove i.e. you can feel the larger gravel and road features, but it's not a true barefoot feel. These fit differently to the trail glove as they don't have that conforming part under the arch, but they are both comfortable.

  2. Looks like you've been tango'ed ;-) running taking a back seat for me ATM - OTW, OTE (some times) and work ( far too much of the time) is all coonsuming. New developement is cycling to work/boat club. Might go mad an have punt at this ... http://www.norfolkcycling.co.uk/Gasp.html ... if you fancy something different just a train ride away!

    1. They are very orange aren't they.

      Mostly running for me at the moment with very little cycling and almost no erging. Yoga once a week to help untie the knots.

      That hill climb looks interesting, unfortunately I'll be in Algeria that weekend with my 70-miler the next