The past two winters in Michigan have been cold and snowy. Last year, in an attempt to maximize the amount of outdoor running possible throughout the winter months, I bought my first (and only so far) pair of trail running shoes. The New Balance Minimus…
When the sales guy at my local running shop first showed these to me I was a little hesitant. I’d only had one other pair of New Balances and I wasn’t especially impressed; they were comfortable enough but the material on the outside of them wore out pretty quickly. That pair was a lower price point shoe but it didn’t exactly give me confidence in the brand. Running Shoe Sales Guy assured me that he hadn’t had other complaints about the quality of materials on New Balance shoes. Then he showed me the cool (Vibram patented) sole of these shoes that allowed them to be light weight, minimalist running shoes while having grip and blocking things like rocks, sticks, or ice chunks from jabbing you in the bottom of the foot. Foot jabbing makes for an uncomfortable run. That I know first hand. That and the water resistant foot materials were big selling points for me. Also…minimalist trail shoes. That’s just so cool! So on a snowy day in January of 2015 I took these New Balance Minimus shoes home with me for our first run together. I was pretty excited about it.
A year and four hundred or so miles later (Yes, the picture below from my running app makes it look like closer to three hundred but I switched apps mid year hence my probably more accurate estimate of around four hundred miles on these shoes.) I can honestly say that these are still one of my favorite pairs of running shoes. Ever. The only fault I’ve found was that the outer foot material did rip way sooner than I thought it should. I can’t remember exactly when but it started splitting at the rubber meshing that’s on the outside edges of the feet sometime in the spring. I tried sewing them and taping them but to no avail. As it stands I just live with the holes. If it’s wet out I’ll wrap some duct tape around them but it never lasts more than one run.
Because of the giant gaping holes in them my trail shoes are no longer water resistant. That’s kind of a bummer. They’re also a little looser than I’d like on my narrow foot now but other than that the shoes have held up well. I’ve worn these in all kinds of weather over all different kinds of surfaces trails in the woods, gravel, pavement, snow, ice, mud, you get the idea). The soles aren’t extremely worn down, they still have good grip on pavement, dirt trails, and int he snow. They’re still comfortable and have all the benefits of a minimalist running shoe combined with most the benefits of a trail shoe. In fact I’m still wearing them a couple of runs a week even if our winter has had more of this
I know I might be in the minority here but, seriously, I miss the snow!
Overall, I’d recommend the New Balance Minimus if you’re looking for a minimalist trail shoe or really any flatter, comfortable running shoe. The trail friendly features are just an added bonus. Having extra grip on the soles really did make a big difference in the comfort of my winter runs as well as trail runs throughout the year. Even though I would like to see New Balance change the design or use more durable fabric to prevent the ripping issues I had, I would buy these shoes again. Of course it’s been a little over a year since I did buy them so there’s probably a newer version out there. If they’re as comfortable as these ones I’d buy those ones too. One can never have too many pairs of running shoes. (Unless, of course, you don’t actually run and if that’s the case then you really should start.)