New Balance MT10V3 Review (Minimus Trail)
When I have a pair of running shoes die I feel a mix of emotions. On one hand I’m excited to find something new but I also know that this minimalist/zero drop lifestyle comes with some challenges in finding footwear.
My New Balance MT10V2 (Minimus Trail) have been my go to for the last year or so. I loved them and they served me well on a wide variety of trail and street runs. I kept them a little longer than I should have, and I noticed some pretty serious wear happening.
As an REI member I had my annual 20% off coupon and dividend to spend so I took a look through there in store line of minimalist shoes and I was pretty disappointed. Then, I checked on their website and found that the New Balance MT10v3 so I gave it a shot!
Now that I've spent some time in them, I'm ready to share a full review. Read on!
Review of the New Balance MT10V3 (Minimus Trail)
When they arrived the first thing I noticed was that they looked like a “normal” pair of shoes in comparison to the strange swooping thing that went over the toes on the v2. On the bottom of the shoe was a set of grippy little lugs that were about the size of a small aspirin.
Upon lacing them I noticed that the laces were normal size. I don’t know if there was some point back when a formal complaint was lodged against the shoe lace industry claiming they were too short. I feel like every pair of shoes I’ve purchased in the past 8 years has included an extra 5.25” of extra lace. On my v2’s I’d double knotted them and still had the laces damn near touching the ground.
No lace issues on the v3 and when I put them on my feet I instantly noticed the toe box was a little more snug than the v2 (For some comparison photos of the 10v2 and the 10v3, see on below!). It wasn’t constricting, but I could feel the edge of my foot on the side of the shoe. I bought the exact same size, 10.5, as the previous version and found the rest of the fit to be remarkably the same between the two models.
Even though the toe box was a little narrower, they performed quite well on my first few runs. I had zero issues with blisters or hot spots whatsoever. The lugs on the bottom provided exceptional tack on the asphalt trail I tested as well as the decomposed granite (DG) path I ran on.
A quick note about the DG path... Like most dirt paths there was a collection of little rocks here and there; pebbles and small chunks of all those minerals you may have studied in your college geology class. I had ran all of about 50 yards on the DG path before I picked up a few “hitch hikers” in my shoes. This seemed kind of strange to me as my shoes were laced good and tight in accordance to that lacing style that everyone seems to keep reposting on their Facebook pages.
Herein lies a unique problem with these shoes. As you can see in the picture above, when the heel is flexed just right, a wide gap appears near the mouth of the shoe. While it functionally doesn’t have any issue while running, it does invite rocks and other debris to come hang out in your shoes while you run.
The rest of the design is exactly what you’d expect from the New Balance Minimus line-up. Tactical black in color, reflective accents and logos, and a rubber toe cap all lead to a well-designed shoe that is great on the trail but could easily be worn casually with shorts or pants.
The tread pattern is composed of knobbly lugs that reminded be a bit of cleats. While I know this was designed as a trail running shoe, you might be wondering if it works on the road too. Those little mini cleats gripped the rough asphalt trail by my house and I enjoyed feeling that “tack” as my foot softly connected with the road and then gently lifted on to the next step.
While this shoe is more than capable for just about any running environment, I fear that the lugs won’t fare well in the long haul of abusive road running. In my past experience I’ve found that the asphalt tends to eat shoes like this for breakfast and will have you returning to the store to replace them much sooner than you anticipated.
About the 4mm drop
While I prefer shoes that are truly zero drop, I made a bit of a compromise with the 4mm drop on the v3’s. My feet still felt flat when I was standing and in a blindfolded test I don’t think I’d be able to tell you the difference. The stack height is low and provided enough cushion to protect against those small rocks trying to get into my shoes while still giving a decent ground feel of the asphalt and DG trail.
Should you get the New Balance MT10V3? If you enjoyed the style and performance of the previous versions, I’d call the v3 a definite improvement in aesthetics, lace length, and materials. While it is a little bit narrow, it was still wide enough for my tastes, and I can forgive the small rock opening too.
This is a solid trail running shoe, and it will work for light road running too. As I noted above, you can find them at REI.
Here are all of the New Balance MT10v3 (Minimus Trail) Photos:
Here's a couple comparison photos of the MT10v3 vs. the MT10v2: