Product review

04 Jun, 2020

New Balance Minimus

Tested by: Russ

Cost:

GBP

Weight:

g/pair

Miles used:

Miles

Times replaced:

Replacements

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Review

Before buying the New Balance Minimus trail shoes I wanted the lightest shoes I could find. When a friend at work came in wearing a pair I knew I had to try them out on the SWCP. They looked so tiny and comfy, but what was the reality?

 

Feel the freedom

The shoe’s I’d previously been wearing were the New Balance Zante v3 which were already very light, but still, I wanted to go lighter and the Minimus trail shoes offered that. The fact they were designed to be worn barefoot was also appealing. After hiking a few miles in them barefoot I could feel the difference. Walking with such a small weight on my feet and without socks felt amazing. Less weight to swing with each stride and the highly breathable upper felt close to wearing sandals.

 

As time went by

The barefoot comfort level degraded quite quickly and the lack or gaiter traps would allow little bits of grit to enter the shoe, so wearing socks became preferred after about 100 miles. Which was fine, I could deal with that, however, with socks, the dry time went up significantly on the trail. I’d say if using the New Balance Minimus solely on the pavement this wouldn’t be an issue, but as a barefoot trail runner, some gaiter traps would greatly help. One interesting feature to point out is the strip over the arch which provided good support, stopping the foot jamming too far down to the front of the shoe.

 

Get a grip!

The lugs on the sole of the Minimus are quite intriguing. The circular, button-shaped lugs provide good grip on dusty or muddy terrain. They have even finer grip textures on each lug providing grip on slippery surfaces, but these wear off very quickly. Once worn, hit some wet grass on a run and you could be sent skidding down a hill on your tush, but for walking they still held up. Just wish the grip lasted longer.

 

Who are they for?

At only 4mm, the drop on the Minimus is significant enough for those not looking to wear a 0-drop shoe like the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 or theLone Peak 4.0 and the sense of freedom and speed I had while wearing them was insane. The New Balance Minimus Trail shoes are for those who enjoy running on smooth trails and on the road/pavement. They’re for hikers who want to hike fast on well-graded trails like the desert sections on the PCT in the warm weather.

 

My verdict

A brilliant little shoe with a unique feel, not the most comfortable over time and I’d recommend sizing up an entire shoe size for these or any New Balance performance/running shoes, especially if you’re planning on attempting a thru-hike in these. For a thru, expect to be switching these out around every 400 miles as long as the trail is well-graded.

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Overview

  • Durability 20% 20%
  • Comfort 50% 50%
  • Value for money 50% 50%

BPros

  • Incredibly light
  • Super quick dry time
  • Reasonably priced
  • Very breathable

CCons

  • Not comfy on a rough trail
  • Had to size up
  • Grip wears off quickly
  • Not very durable
  • No gaiter traps

Specs

Price

£90 / From £60 on Amazon

Weight

424g (14.9oz)

Drop height

4mm

Upper

Mesh

Sole

Rubber

Features

  • Lightweight
  • Arch over bridge holds food in place
  • Designed for barefoot use
  • Medium grip for road/off-road running and hiking
  • Odor-resistant treatment

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