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2012 New Balance Minimus Zero Trail and Zero Road: Some Tid-bits…

Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 | 7 Comments

The New Balance Minimus Zero Trail and Minimus Zero Road shoes are scheduled to be released next spring.  What can we expect?

It’s no secret that I have a healthy hatred for raised-heel running shoes.  I think they are the root cause of a myriad of running injuries.  Whenever a new company develops a zero-drop shoe, I’m ecstatic.  It’s part of the reason I love Merrell.  They were the first major player to do it.  Several smaller companies have, too, like Inov-8, Kigo, Altra, Skora, Stem, and Terra Plana.  Newton recently joined the mix.

In what was perhaps the worst-kept industry secret, New Balance is finally producing a zero drop shoe, too.  We’ve all heard the story about Tony Krupicka’s request to make a zero-drop 720, which resulted in the 10mm MT100 and eventually the 4mm 2011 Minimus Trail.  I was never a fan of the MT100 (or MT101) due to the heel, but I did really like the Minimus Trail despite the 4mm heel.  Until the Merrell Trail Glove came out, it was my first choice for running ultras.  It would still stand as my undisputed second choice… it’s an exceptional shoe.

New Balance joined the club by eliminating the heel drop on the 2012 Minimus line.    Finally!

I like to imagine there’s a faction within New Balance that is adamantly fighting to make their entire product line zero drop.  I can see the “new guard” quoting Lieberman, teaching good running form, and telling stories of seemingly amazing recoveries of oft-injured runners finding new life in zero drop shoes.  They’re constantly at odds with the “old guard” that puffs on their cigarettes and talks about the good ‘ole days when slapping 2” of cushioning in a heel was marketing gold.  Sure, it’s unlikely, but that’s how my mind works.

I managed to wrangle up some critical details about the new Minimus Zero Trails and Minimus Zero Roads.  Here are the juicy details:

  • Both are zero drop
  • Both are exceptionally light… perhaps less than 6 ounces
  • The sole of both is somewhat similar to the soles of the original Minimus Trails (think pods)
  • The location and size of the pods were developed based on data from wear testing- they put material where it was needed most
  • For the Trails, other material was eliminated, which explains the feather-like weight
  • The eliminated material should increase flexibility and ground feel (note- I have handled a pair… they are incredibly light and flexible)
  • Both utilize Vibram soles, which has become the gold standard for minimalist shoe sole material.
  • These shoes should be quite different from anything else on the market, which adds more potential tools to our toolbox.

How about some pics?

I’ve long-considered New Balance as one of the companies that “got it.”  They seemingly understood the importance of developing a shoe that didn’t alter your natural gait… except for the inclusion of the raised heel.  I feel they made a significant jump to the Minimalist Shoe Major Leagues with the Minimus Zeros.

New Balance is quickly developing a killer stable of minimalist shoes.  Between the new Trail and Road Zeros and the soon-to-be-released MT110’s, New Balance has created a great foundation for future minimalist offerings.  Every new shoe that is developed gives us more options, which is always a good thing.

I’m hoping to get a review up for both the Zero Trail and Zero Road.  Several members of my staff have already volunteered to do the review, which confirms my long-held belief: Us barefoot runners really are shoe geeks.  🙂

 EDIT- Check out this story on NB’s site with more information:



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  1. Spencer
    September 21, 2011

    The male trail weighs 4.4 ounces
    The male road weighs 6.4 ounces.
    Also the mt110’s are going to come in widths.

  2. Spencer
    September 21, 2011

    The male trail model weighs 4.4 ounces.
    The male road model weighs 6.4 ounces
    Oh and the mt110, now in widths!

  3. The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy
    September 21, 2011

    Just wanted to let folks know that the new Minimus Trail is currently available on the NB website. I just got a pair yesterday, but I haven’t worn them yet.

    • Theo
      September 21, 2011

      MT 20?

    • anonymous
      September 24, 2011

      can you please show the url for that, because I can’t find it. thanks very much if you can

  4. briderdt
    September 21, 2011

    I see that yellow “Vibram” logo in the sole of the Trail, and think, “That’s in EXACTLY the wrong spot.” It’ll do one of the few things I don’t like about the Merrell Trail Glove — for those of us with slightly longer toes, the ball of the foot will fall right over that logo, which is recessed. Makes it feel perpetually like socks are bunched up under the bases of the toes. Also, it looks like they didn’t fix the one problem I did have with the Minimus last, and is the only reason I didn’t buy these shoes — the toe box tapers in at the big toe. Even the Trail Glove does this, and it makes me wonder just what “foot-shaped” last they’re using, the one with bunions? Altra got it right with their last…

  5. Josh
    September 21, 2011

    What is the toebox like? The biggest reason I love my Merrell Trail Gloves is the big toebox…