New Balance has pretty much blazed the trail for the big companies in minimal footwear since the beginning of 2011 with the introduction of the Minimus Trail and Minimus Road 10 introductions. New Balance is adding another layer to the mix with the Minimus Trail 1010.
My first reaction when I saw this shoe at The Running Event in Austin, TX at the New Balance booth was that this shoe wasn't needed. The current Minimus Trail was so good how could something be added to the mix that looked and seemed to provide the same function? Well read on below and you will understand why this shoe is needed in your mix of minimal trail shoes and is currently a favorite for Anton Kupricka.
Midsole/Outsole: EVA with Vibram Outsole
Widths available - Medium/Wide
Lets talk about the toe box shape. Even though this is built off the same exact fit as the other minimus shoes, the materials they use to make the upper end up looking baggy and not smooth when they wrap around the foot. The material is definitely not as soft but it for sure does not follow the rough rip stop material of the trail zero. The mid foot seems like it is not quite dialed in and again a little wide for a minimus shoe but I have high hopes for the actual production model. I did not notice anything wrong with the heel fit except for the fact that the back of the heel was a little abnormally high. You might be able to see this in the pictures.
PERFORMANCE/RIDE: First perception when I put on this shoe was mixed. I put this shoe on and immediately noticed one of the larger lugs under the ball of my foot was a little more pronounced. That quickly subsided though as I continued to wear it. I did really notice the extra stiffness in the forefoot because of the rock plate. It was a welcomed feel compared to my Minimus Trail 10's. The rock plate is what really makes this another great minimus shoe to have in your collection of trail running shoes. Everytime I go out for a run with the first minimus trail shoe I always am wishing for something just a little more protective on rocky trail. I always seem to find the edge a rock just right and it can sometimes send a numbing feeling to the ball of my right foot. Well, in this shoe I do not have that problem. I feel I can effortlessly run as fast as I need to on a rocky trail and not even worry where I am stepping. The thin, light and protective rock plate in the 1010 does its job. I feel this is probably why Anton has gravitated more to this shoe. It protects his foot on the rocky trails of Colorado but now has the minimal characteristics that he has always looked for. I am sure he has a pair that fits his foot perfectly so he might not be running into some of the fit issues I did (haha).
DURABILITY: This portion of the review will be a little short as I have not worn this shoe to the point of noticeable wear. I use this shoe for walking around and for running in. The one main thing for durability that I notice is the firmer outsole Vibram rubber on this shoe versus previous Minimus Trail shoes. I think that change alone will be a welcomed one to show less wear in a longer time frame. No issues with upper durability yet for the duration that I have had these shoes.
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