A very pleasant surprise awaited as I unboxed the New Blanace MINIMUS 10 minimal shoes.
They were decidedly NOT a garish green or pulsating purple. A nice, black pair of shoes. Great. They might actually get some use!
First Impressions: Aesthetically good. Lightweight. Well constructed. Appears breathable with a nice mesh. Unusual tongue. Intriguing VIBRAM sole.
Price: Online these are around £50. These shoes have been out for a while, hence the great price.
Shoes that weigh less DO make you run faster. 184g is light. Draw your own conclusions 🙂
General Design & Positioning: These are minimalist running shoes with reflective material. They are marketed as designed for urban running. If you are already a minimalist runner then these will be great. If you want to get into minimal running then do it gradually; otherwise injury beckons.
Some minimalist shoes are glorified socks. The New Balance Minimus V2 are running shoes. I would compare then more to ‘racing flats’. They do offer quite a bit of protection. The sole is definitely more than a sock. Indeed the sole is probably better protective compared to my racing flats (what I use to race on a track or road over distances up to 10k). So if you wear the New Balance and stand on the odd stone you WON’T be falling over in agony. That’s a practical reason to buy these.
To be honest I don’t know how these shoes are so light and still offer protection.
If you are new to barefoot running I would suggest that this sort of shoe is a great place to start. A Purist would NOT call it a barefoot shoe because of the sole but, effectively, it is.
You can read on for some more of my thoughts or play this video of someone else’s thoughts on these shoes:
Fit: This will obviously be a personal thing. On advice I got a 0.5 size larger than normal and that’s great they do fit nicely. Even getting a half size bigger though, the arch and top of the foot fitted nicely – as if they were a smaller pair. The moral here must be to try before you buy, or at least get them online where you can return them after trying on.
More below this video.
The sole: I’ve never worn Vibram shoes or shoes that have their sole. So I looked forward to road-testing these. The sole is a novel concept. It consists of a fairly large honeycomb of hexagonal components, mostly under the forefoot section. These form much of the the grip. HOWEVER they also allow a HUGE amount of flexibility in the sole in all directions. They move in a way that mimics the flexing of the sole of your foot. Much more than I have experienced. So whilst a glorified pair of socks might mould to your feet perfectly they offer little protection. The New Balance Minimus offers protection whilst at the same time giving the mould and flexibility that is unique to your unique foot.
On the road: As expected on the road. Lots of grip. The odd road surface blemish is no problems. They are quick (because of the weight), comfy enough and supportive. There are no seams inside and I did not have to wear sock. Putting the shoe on, you would notice the novel tongue that is attached on one side and loose (like normal) on the other side.
Off the road: They are probably not designed for trail usage but I found running on muddy grass was great. I had worried that mud would accumulate between the (aforementioned) hezagons on the sole, however because of how the sole moves this had a sort-of self-cleaning action. So they were much better than I had expected here. They are not designed for fell running though !
You can buy a pair <here>.
Code: WR10v2 refers to Women’s Reflective model 10 v2. So the men’s version is MR10v2
This is taken from the New Balance Website
Men’s Road – Urban NIght Running 10v2
Make way for the next evolution of Minimus 10 and a barefoot experience that’s better than ever – featuring a natural 4mm drop, a new Vibram® outsole and lightweight mesh upper, and no-sew fore-foot construction that minimizes weight and reduces seam friction.These reflective versions of the R10v2 are specially designed for urban runners, the reflective materials catch passing lights and flashes, to light up the city in the dark.
Weight:184 grams (6.5 oz)
- 3M reflective no sew upper
- 4 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 4 mm drop are approximate
- Barefoot friendly internal construction
- Lightweight mesh upper
- Minimus is a whole new approach to footwear, a new place on the spectrum from barefoot running to the traditional maximum-cushioning running shoe. Inspired by Good Form Running and designed to be worn with or without socks. With only a 4mm drop* from heel to toe, as little as a third of that of a traditional running shoe, the Minimus collection holds a world of discovery for neutral runners as well as those with gait issues or chronic injury to conquer by learning better form.
- No sew overlays in optimal areas
- Odor resistant
- Vibram® outsole provides maximum surface contact and multi-directional traction. Vibram is a registered trademark of Vibram S.p.A. All rights reserved.
Innovative REVlite midsole provides premium responsiveness and durability at a 30% lighter weight than other foams with comparable performance
Vibram® outsole provides maximum surface contact and multi-directional traction