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: http://www.newbalance.com/performance/running/the-evolution-of-the-nb-minimus-zero-sole/