The original New Balance Minimus arrived amid much fanfare and expectation in 2011- a time when the barefoot-brigade were in full voice, Born To Run was a top-seller and it seemed like only a matter of time before runners were out on the streets burning their support shoes. So in the midst of this five-fingered-feeding-frenzy came the MT10 in which New Balance resisted the temptation to go zero-drop, opting instead for a 4mm differential which, despite some groans of disapproval from the barefoot aficionados, became an instant-classic. There was almost universal praise for the shoe as an everyday trail-tool for when things aren’t too gnarly (due to the lack of a rock-plate) and a shoe that was also more than adequate on the road too, thanks to the relatively flat Vibram lugs on the outsole. Since then New Balances range of minimalist trail shoes have swelled to include a feather-weight zero drop- the MT00, a 4mm drop mountain racer- the MT110 and a beefed up ‘tweener’- the MT1010. Still, for me, the original MT10 hits the sweet spot as an everyday ‘Urban-Trail’ shoe that can take you from home to highstreet to hill without missing a beat. With the updated version- the MT10v2- just released, I was eager to see what NB had tweaked with their flagship Minimus product….
On first glance the MT10v2 looks pretty much exactly like the original but it soon becomes clear that there are changes, albeit subtle ones. ‘Time to get a little technical, so starting at the top, here’s what puts the v2 into the MT10v2…
- A re-engineered forefoot band
- A new mesh internal sock liner
- A new hydrophobic foam
- A tweaked heel-counter liner
- A reflective ‘N’ logo
- A new heel finger-loop
- Redesigned lugs
- Rezoned Vibram rubber
- Reduced weight- 175 grams (6.2oz) compared to 213 grams (7.5oz)
- Flatter profile than the original MT10
These changes translate to give the MT10v2 a distinctive new ‘feel’ both in the hand and on the foot. Firstly the lightness is astonishing, especially for a shoe like this with a more traditional (and durable) foam and mesh upper, that said, despite the weight the build is still solid. The fit feels different from the original- it seems like the redesigned forefoot band gives the wearer a bit more freedom while still offering a nice snug fit- its nicely done. Finally the ride- the MT10v2 still feels great; low to the ground, nice grip, comfortable, now there is just less weight dangling off your ankles so it also feels like a faster shoe, great thing is that you can also wear an ankle brace Zenith with it. Breathability seems to have benefitted from the new mesh sockliner too & its a joy to wear sockless just as the original was.
All in all the update is perfectly executed by New Balance- taking a much-loved shoe, keeping everything that made it so successful in the first place but refining the whole package so that its lighter and more comfortable.
For me there is one change that sums up the MT10v2 and that is the reflective ‘N’. A tiny change for sure but possibly an acknowledgement by New Balance that this trail classics home is more amongst the bright lights of the metropolis than under the twinkling stars of the high-country.
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