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Sneak peak at New Balance’s new Minimus line

Posted by on Jul 28, 2010 | 11 Comments
Thanks to my generous friends at New Balance, I have a few close-up pics from the new Minimus line due to be released in March.  I’m excited about these shoes… I really think they will be among the best minimalist options available upon release.  While the 4mm heel drop is still a tad high for my tastes, sources confirm the toe box is wide enough to allow the toes to splay.  At any rate, here are the pics:

Also, please read the previous post to find out how to win a copy of “The Barefoot Book” by Dr. Daniel Howell!
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11 Comments

  1. Amy
    August 28, 2010

    Awesome shoes, i dream to have that shoes someday. It seems the quality is the best.

    zbsports

  2. Ken
    July 30, 2010

    Jason, I appreciate the response to my comment and I see where you are coming from. Vibram as a company is in the business of making money as is New Balance. Anything these companies produce will be to that effect.

    As runners, bare-footers and their target consumers, they will all compete for our spending cash. Vibram started with a very small niche market and is trying to branch out with more commercial applications for their shoes (casual, cross-train, hiking, yard work, etc.) and I applaud them for trying to encourage doing everyday activities in a minimalistic fashion. In my humble opinion, they are probably trying to reach that next level of potential consumer that is not ready to embrace the beauty and simplicity that is the human foot but in intrigued by the idea of going barefoot.
    I own a pair of Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot shoes and 2 pair of VFFs. The most minimalistic by sole thickness are the Terra Plana and they are great for casual applications. My favorite outdoor shoes are my KSO Treks. They are awesome and make me want to climb trees, run through rivers, and hike up mountains on a whim. When I'm running, I love my Bikilas because they hug my foot and prevent the slipping and blisters that I get from running long distance in Terra Planas and Treks. The slightly stiffer sole of the Bikila doesn't bother me when running but I prefer the more flexible Trek for all other outdoor activities. I also understand that some minimalistic runners prefer less to more and, in that regard; I would still like to try the KSO or Sprints (they might end up being my new favorites, who knows).

    When I looked at the 2011 line up, I saw footwear that I might enjoy in different applications. The Bikila LS looked like a good alternative to the Bikila and by incorporating the laces it makes it more versatile for larger feet that feel cramped in the Velcro version. With the Komodo Sport I saw another fun outdoor shoe similar to the KSO treks but guilt free for vegans that don't agree with the use of kangaroo leather. The Jaya looks like it could be a great casual shoe and if the sole is flexible, it would probably replace my Terra Planas in that regard. As for the New Balance Minumus, I don't see where that fits into my shoe collection since I already have a running shoe I love with zero heel drop (no modification needed). Plus, depending on the price, it would make more sense to purchase a pair of EVOs which seem more minimal to me.

    I guess my point is, that each footwear maker will try to maximize profit from their existing customer base and create a new customers base as well. To do that, they will expand their product line and broaden their appeal. New Balance sees an opportunity which is the only reason they are entering this relatively new market while Vibram hopes to expand their appeal to a broader market. Each will weigh the risks and benefits to their bottom line first.

  3. Cynthia
    July 30, 2010

    I'm kind of new when it comes to barefoot shoes or minimalist shoes. I'm not even sure if they're both the same. I think NB is sort of teaming up or in partnership with Vibrams. And do you also consider NB MT100 barefoot shoes? Here's a sample pic I got from a site.

  4. Jason Robillard
    July 30, 2010

    Ken- it's about direction. Vibram is a company that produced a an excellent minimalist shoe (The KSO, among other earlier models). Instead of continuing to develop that particular product to iron out the flaws, they started producing new models that were less "minimal." Essentially, they seem to be gravitating toward the development of traditional trainers with articulated toes.

    New Balance, on the other hand, is moving in the opposite direction. They are listening to feedback from the barefoot/minimalist crowd and producing a line that is more "minimal" than their past shoes.

    Of course, it could be a moot point. As several friends from Ted's Huarches Group have suggested, the soles of the Minimus line are made by Vibram. Given the prominent location of the Vibram logo, the collaborative effort has clear marketing intent.

    Harry- I agree with the heel lift. In all likelihood, I would chop the heel in this shoe. I have a pair of flats with a drop of about 4mm… it definitely messes with my gait. I would like to see a zero drop, too.

  5. I must eat, sleep and run. The road to my soul.
    July 29, 2010

    I don't think any footwear with a heel differential can be considered true minimalist footwear. 4mm heel build-up is similar to regular racing shoes like the Saucony Grid Type A-4 so nothing new with this design.

    I train and race in Terra Plana Evo's and minimalist shoes must have a zero drop, that is, no differential from forefoot to mid-foot to heel.

    I don't consider anything will a heel build-up as that interferes with the natural functioning of the foot.

    Harry

  6. shel
    July 29, 2010

    the close ups look like water shoes…. hmmmm. being a "minimalist" runner has not squelched my "shoe whore" tendencies one bit.

  7. Ken
    July 29, 2010

    I thought it was interesting that you lambasted the 2011 models of VFFs and yet praise these shoes without even trying them on and knowing they have a 4mm heel drop (I think any heel drop can change the natural running form). I can't help but feel that there is an ulterior motive.

  8. Andy Bowen
    July 29, 2010

    So are the soles made by Vibram for NB, or does NB own Vibram? Any pics of the whole shoe?

  9. 蕭v柯凡豐珈火
    July 29, 2010

    More haste, less speed.............................................................

  10. Janice
    July 28, 2010

    I just got a set of Evo Barefoot's from Terra Plana and I've fallen in love. I like them better than Vibrams & my toes feel more free in the Evos.