Comment from: A C C [Visitor]
A C C

As much as I would like to take credit for emailing New Balance last year and asking for a Minimus in leather to compete with the Merrell Tough Glove...chances are it was an obvious step into the minimalist foray for New Balance. I had asked for a leather shoe with the minimus road sole and minimal logoing.

NB has failed horribly in making it passable for the business casual workplace, in that regard. The Tough Glove, even with it's off-colored parts of the lacing system and Merrell logo on the side of the upper (which can be covered easily by the cuff of your pants) is less "sneaker-like" than these. Merrell has stepped up their game too, literally flooding the market with offerings such as the "Barefoot Life Radius Glove", "Barefoot Life Edge Glove" (which is shoddy), "Barefoot Life Slant Glove" (also shoddy due to rubber toe bumper).

The first failure of the NB leather Minimus 10 is the gigantic Vibram logo on the side with the swooshy shark-fin shape, compounded by the fact that the NB logos are in light neon green. The second major failure is the off-colored double/triple seams. The seams, like the Minimus series' other shoes, are not clean seams but painfully obvious to the onlooker (they remind me of an overdone version of Wallabees, i.e. the Vivobarefoot Oaks). The heel cup with the NB logo is also another tell-tale giveaway.

Comfort wise, that seam on the heel seems a lot more pronounced than any sneaker or Merrells would have.

Outside of the office/professional atmosphere, these would probably be great for everyday wear simply due to the shortcomings of minimalist shoes letting in water.

As a minimalist type shoe, it still is the MT10 sole. So they have a higher stack height and weight (and 4mm drop). They still have a toe-spring, which is something the MT20 and the MT00 (minimus Zeros) seemed to solve, even if the MT20 introduced a different set of problems. The MT10 is a pretty popular sole and I see people go roadrunning with them. It's certainly more even than the Merrell Trail sole. It's also narrow like the Merrells as well, so I am dissapointed there's no 2E/4E width on these. I don't even get that much groundfeel from KSO Trek soles so I don't think that these are very good in terms of groundfeel either, but that's a personal preference. I guess it's just a side effect of having stronger feet and legs, but even the Vivobarefoot with the insole in it seems very cushy nowadays.

So as far as New Balance's strategy goes, it seems that they made a shoe that is good for trail running where you don't want to let water in (i.e. in snow); and works for casual wear but is less discreet compared to Merrell Tough gloves. I wouldn't price them that high given its narrow band of usage... $90 to $100 tops like all the minimalist stuff that cannot be used for work/professional use. Not all of us work for Google like Justin :P

Then again I can no longer find the Tough Glove on Merrell's website so I guess New Balance is trying to corner the Tough Glove's former business casual market. They probably saw the Vivobarefoot Legacy's $140 price tag and used that as a baseline.

- A C C

06/02/12 @ 18:07
Comment from: Vitor [Visitor]
Vitor

They are very, very pretty! A shame they aren't zero drop.

06/03/12 @ 09:15
Comment from: Erik [Visitor]  
Erik

Great review! I never got the MT10's because of that strap. I just KNEW it would bug me. I did get a pair of MX10s and I've come to realize the 4mm drop actually feels better than zero drop in everyday walking for me (in comparisson to my MT00s, which I use for running and cross-fit style training. I think I might just have to pick these up. They look great and knowing myself, you never know when I might feel like climbing a tree, or start running around and over some obstacles. So ideally I'm always wearing shoes I can do that in. These would provide that AND look pretty good. Yea, I'm sold!

06/03/12 @ 13:35
Comment from: Gary Polnicki [Visitor]
Gary Polnicki

Budget (<$80) zero drop shoes that can be worn at work.

This shoe is only one of the above.

Why can't a shoe company do this--it would be a huge seller.

06/03/12 @ 18:52
Comment from: AJ [Visitor]
AJ

I own a pair of the original MT10's and will be buying a pair of these. The MT10's were my first minimalist shoe and I love them. I own a pair of the brown Merrell Tough Gloves and will pick up a pair of the gray MT10L's to complement them.

Thank you for the review as always. Your site is helpful and awesome!

06/03/12 @ 23:35
Comment from: admin [Member]  

@A C C,

You shared a lot in your comment that I'd like to tackle and/or rebut.

Re: "NB has failed horribly in making it passable for the business casual workplace, in that regard. The Tough Glove ... is less "sneaker-like" than these."

I disagree pretty strongly with calling the leather MT10s a horrible failure, but perhaps that's because I'm operating from a different perspective. I don't expect a shoe company that makes fitness footwear to put out a dressy casual shoe meant for the office. I'm more looking at these leather MT10s as minimalist shoes that are passable in the office, so while they are far from normal biz casual shoes, they're not nearly as loud as any leather toe shoes and are in the same league as other offerings from other fitness-centric shoe manufacturers. So with that in mind, that's how I evaluated the MT10s — against competition and not against what I'd like to have in a business casual shoe.

As for your specific nits, pants generally will cover up at least a portion of the "N" on the side of the MT10s; it's a thin "N," too, which makes it almost more like a striping than a letter. The Vibram isn't bright yellow and is pretty inconspicuous. The "Minimus" is so thinly scripted it's pretty hard to see looking at it from 5-6ft up (how most people see your feet).

As for the Tough Glove, which is a shoe I was extremely excited to test, it never looked right to my eye with any pair of pants or jeans I wore. My wife flat out didn't like them saying they looked like orthopedic shoes (I'd blame this mostly on the leather Merrell used, has a matte, soft finish to it).

That said, I have a coworker who picked up the Tough Gloves and has loved them — he's got somewhat narrow, smaller feet though, and I think the Tough Glove works better in that capacity. Why? Because the Tough Glove (and the Gen. 1 trail-soled Merrells) had a fairly "bulbous" forefoot that made them look a little like clown shoes. Google "merrell trail glove clown shoes" or "tough glove clown shoes" and you'll corroborate this view over and over again.

I've not tried the Radius but those look pretty good/promising. The Edge Gloves actually aren't bad either but look best in the dark brown. The toe bumper really isn't that conspicuous on them.

Re: seams on the MT10s — loafers have these. The Tough Gloves have these. Cap-toe shoes have these. Actually, they look pretty good to me if not just a little unconventional. I prefer the minimalist single seam of the MT10s in leather than the multi-seamed Edge Glove or the big toe bumper of the Tough Glove. Just my personal preference, of course.

As for a minimalist shoe, the MT10s biggest problem is the heel stack height/stiffness. That said, 4mm is not enough in my experience to derail my biomechanics. I found the leather (midfoot strapless) MT10s very comfortable as every day shoes. Ground feel is definitely not up to a VFF. It's not terrible though. If you want a lot of ground feel in a leather shoe you have to go Vivo (or Soft Star if you consider those a shoe and not a moc or a slipper). For a wear-all-day-shoe do you want perfect ground feel? I don't think I do--personal preference again.

I guess my bottom line takeaway is that my Tough Gloves have been gathering dust almost since the day I got them. I felt uncomfortable wearing them — purely based on the aesthetic. Comparatively, I wore these leather MT10s all the time and will be keeping them close at hand for when I need a slightly dressier shoe for work. They aren't a perfect business casual shoe by any stretch of the imagination. However, to date, the only things that seem to come close to that are Vivo Barefoot Oaks or Ras or Legacies, the few casual options from Merrell (haven't tried Radius or Slant -- would probably like both based on my liking of the Edge but I'd prefer both in a beefier, non-suede leather upper), and what else? There aren't a ton of options here.

I guess it's going to come down to your own personal aesthetic in other words. Good thing we've got options, right?

Curious -- of the shoes you talked about, which ones do you have or have tested? I'd guess you have the Tough Gloves and like them, right? Like I said, my coworker loves his. I just couldn't get them to look "right" with anything in my wardrobe.

06/04/12 @ 15:50
Comment from: Mr. Leigh [Visitor]
Mr. Leigh

I tend to agree with some of what A C C has to say. I do not care for the lime greenish lettering on the shoe and also heel tab. I understand the big N on the side is a branding thing, but it does make them look more sneaker like and less dress shoe like. The Vibram logo on the shark fin, as A C C called it, does not really bother me. My pants would likely cover the NB on the rear of the shoe. If I needed a mono-toes minimalist dress shoe right now, I might have considered these due to past positive experiences with New Balance products, however at this price point and with the other issues, I don't think these are for me. Would need a wide width and a black magic marker to make these work for me and then I am not sure how I would feel about the 4MM drop. When I converted to minimalist, I did not use any sort of transition shoe, so I feel these might be a step backwards.

06/04/12 @ 15:59
Comment from: admin [Member]  

@Mr. Leigh,

I didn't use a transition shoe either. I was pretty skeptical of the 4mm drop until I tried it. To date, I still find the original Minimus Life (also 4mm drop) to be one of the best minimalist sneakers produced so far. In theory, I'd like it to be "zero" but I say that and actually have trepidation about whether I'd like it as much if it was zero -- how weird is that? I think I'm just paranoid it'd mess up something and I just like those original Lifes a lot. 4mm is hardly anything at all. I'm 5'10.5" tall -- call that 1790mm or so. 4mm is 0.22% of my height. Not even a half a percent.

Actually, this makes me think of a whole new train of thought, which is that 1) shoes without toe spring or 2) sandals like huaraches where the sole either hangs below the toes or doesn't raise up when walking and dorisflexing may result in biomechanical changes to your gait *because you have to angle your foot more skyward to avoid the sole catching the ground at the forefoot as your foot nears parallel to the ground prior to making contact. My biggest beef with huaraches is that the sole will catch the ground and roll under my foot. The solution is to angle my foot higher, which (in this little ad hoc theory I just conjured up) increases the likelihood of a heel strike. Hmm ...

Anyway, I maintain this is going to come down to personal preference, but to my eye, these MT10s don't look quite sneaker-like.

Oh and I forgot to mention it in my reply to A C C, but the heel seem never caused any irritation.

06/04/12 @ 16:11
Comment from: A C C [Visitor]
A C C

Justin, I appreciate your insight as always :)

Maybe "horrible failure" is overkill, but that's how I feel. I believe they're fine for casual use though, and even more so for shallow water trail running.

There's many athletic shoe makers making dressy/casual stuff: Keen, Skechers (ew), ECCO, etc. It's just the only one that has caught on is the awful MBT ones.

The lettering could've been in grey or something not flourescent. They could've imprinted the lettering like on Vivobarefoot shoes?

The seams aren't the same... I don't know how you describe it but the Minimus leather has a contrasting and wider seam compared to the upper. It reminds me of shirts that are worn inside out. I think it's to reduce the seams on the inside, but it just looks unclean. The same goes for using a strip of cloth instead of a heel liner.

My Tough Gloves are M8.5 and I had them widened at the forefoot (if you saw my forum posts in the past). They don't appear bulbous because of these two factors. The leather isn't the same kind, but I've seen them in a formal/casual shoe store polished and it looks the same as normal dress shoe leather after polishing.

I'm actually looking for something between the Tough Glove and the Vivobarefoot Ra. I've seen the Edge and slant glove in person and they just seem very underwhelming for the price Merrell is asking. The Radius Glove is a new arrival, but I haven't been able to spot it in stores.

The Tough Gloves have their own set of problems. My Tough Gloves recently started leaking in deep puddles, but I never liked the forefoot shock plate because it isn't very flexible. It is great on rocky trail but absolutely terrible for running on anything flat like a sidewalk or asphalt. Before wearing down the sole, it was also uneven. My arches barely clear the "arch something" (arch wrap thing) as you call it, but with wear it's gotten better.

The MT10 sole seems even stiffer at midfoot. The MT00s seemed to be a huge improvement and I am surprised they didn't release a leather Minimus Zero.

I know, I'm hard to please...

@ Gary Polnicki : Maybe you should get a pair of Vivobarefoot Oaks, Dharma, or Ra on sale.

06/04/12 @ 21:33
Comment from: MattG [Visitor]
MattG

Found a seller on ebay that had them listed at 99.99 and would take a best offer. Offered $90 and got them with free shipping. That might help some for those with sticker shock issues.

06/04/12 @ 22:19
Comment from: Greg [Visitor]
Greg

Justin, did you have any problems with your foots ability to breathe?

06/06/12 @ 17:17
Comment from: TheSquid [Visitor]
TheSquid

I stopped at a local running store a few months back to check out the new MR00 from New Balance. Never even tried them on because right away I noticed these leather trails. I never owned a pair of the original MT10s but I gave these a go and have worn them to work every day since.

I have tried them with and without socks and agree that I prefer them without. My only concern is odor and I dont think I can wash them like I do my VFF. In my office we dress business casual and occasionally I wear a shirt and tie but again no one has ever said anything about them. I think they do a great job of blending in. I would not wear them with a suit though.

Good review.

07/25/12 @ 14:58
Comment from: Angus [Visitor]
Angus

I have some mt10 shoes and have had no problem with the forefoot band. It may be because I have narrow feet but I thought I'd at my 2 pence worth. I love them as a running shoe, keeps me trying. To improve my times!

07/26/12 @ 07:02
Comment from: Brian [Visitor]
Brian

I just picked up a pair of these on sale at REI. They are 10.5's and while the length is good the shoes are squeezing my forefoot right where the little "shark fin" thingy is, especially with socks on. I don't think my feet are particularly wide, but they are high volume (high instep) so many shoes are tight and I often cannot even get my feet into some laceless shoes.

I'm wondering if these shoes will stretch much, and whether the shark-fin shaped bits on either side of the sole will limit how much the leather might stretch. I bought them for fall & winter wear so I'd I'm hoping they will stretch to accommodate some light weight wool socks. Any thoughts?

01/04/13 @ 18:12
Comment from: Jason [Visitor]
Jason

I bought these last week and just love them. In addition to being comfortable and well-built, they're quite stylish and can definitely be worn out. I am shifting to minimalist running and decided to buy these not for running in but as a daily wear shoe for cooler weather that will help my feet and body adapt to less-cushioned and lower drop shoes.

Very happy with them, and when purchased ona sale, a reasonable value.

01/11/13 @ 12:50
Comment from: David [Visitor]
David

Got these and put in a 24 mile run the next day (I had been using a regular pair of MT10 so the switch was barely noticeable - actually I had been wearing the leather pair for the morning and forgot to switch them out when I went out for a run)....

They were quite comfy, but got kind of hot toward the end (it was a sunny day, 60F). So I probably wouldn't run in them in the summer. And I like them so much that I will probably not run in them much just so I can keep them around.

But on the looks - it is amazing what a black sharpie can do for the awkwardly placed logos!

04/11/13 @ 00:13
Comment from: jdg [Visitor]
jdg

Love these, worn them every day since last October. Sadly I'm on my second pair as the first ones ripped. They are my street running shoes now however. They look a little odd, sure.

Ultimately I find the MT10s almost a perfect shoe *except* in their actual stated function.

07/19/13 @ 09:18
Comment from: alvin [Visitor]
alvin

i know im late to comment on this article but i just got a pair of these and love the fit and feel. i have been wearing them to work which takes me to a lot of fire departments and highway garages where they fit right in after a little black marker on the green parts.

im wondering about washing instructions though. i would like to wear these on some longer, technical hikes but im concerned they might start to smell as i wear them sockless. any advice on maintenance?

08/04/13 @ 23:29
Comment from: Keith [Visitor]
Keith

Been wearing these MT10s for nearly 8 months. I have problems with my big toe joints. (Hallux Ridgidus) I wear these shoes to work at least 4 or 5 days a week. Liked them so much I purchased a second pair to replace the 1st pair when they wear out. I mainly wear mine with socks. I gather that the 4mm drop keeps the pressure off of my joints so that the pain is minimal unlike traditional shoes that apparently push me forward. I prefer the leather over the mesh types because they look more business causual. I'm searching around for a minimalist shoe that I can wear with my dress slacks and possibly suits.

The sole of these MT10s have help up quite well thus far.

10/11/13 @ 12:20
Comment from: Keith [Visitor]
Keith

One more thing...

The NB minimus 90 is out. They are a leather/suede combo that may be joining my team real soon. I just wish them made a black pair with minimal coloring.

10/11/13 @ 12:23
Comment from: JJ Kelley [Visitor]  
JJ Kelley

I got these on a Black Friday sale for $30 (what a steal!) and love wearing them to work as I have two walk a few miles throughout the day using public transit. Much easier to hustle in when I have to than dress shoes and more convenient than wearing tennis shoes and changing when I get to work.

12/06/13 @ 12:48
Comment from: james [Visitor]
james

If anyone knows where I can grab a pair of these please let me know. I know they are well past discontinued but some must be sitting around somewhere....

09/03/14 @ 13:04