Barefoot Shoes

Minimus 3090 Connect from New Balance

New Balance teased yesterday on their Facebook page a new shoe in their Minimius line — the Minimus 3090 Connect. Here’s a first look at the shoes, which seem aimed at the high-intensity fitness crowd.

I hadn’t heard a word about this new release from New Balance so I was intrigued. What more, there was a spastic, 30-second You…

New Balance teased yesterday on their Facebook page a new shoe in their Minimius line — the Minimus 3090 Connect. I hadn’t heard a word about this new release from New Balance so I was intrigued. What more, there was a spastic, 30-second YouTube teaser video on the 3090 that immediately had me thinking about the soles of the New Balance Minimus Trail Zeros — the molecule-shaped soles of the Minimus 3090 just looked all too familiar. So I started seeing what I could find out about these beasts. Want to know more? I’ve got video, screencaps, and stock specs and images all after the jump!

The Minimus 3090 Connect

Let’s start with the teaser video. It’s a quick 30 second watch that will have you guessing what you saw since it blitzs you with image after image from various disconnected scenes. Check it out: To save you the effort of pausing this video to try to get a better sense of these shoes, I took the liberty of taking a liberal number of screencaps. Check’em out: On watching the video and taking these screencaps, it didn’t take long to start suspecting that this new Minimus wasn’t a “Zero” like the Road or Trail Minimus Zeros, which have no differential from heel-to-toe. Rather, these Connect 3090s looked more built up all around but certainly more at the heel. But how much? Would New Balance go more than 4mm in differential (as that was the differential from heel-to-toe in the original Minimus Road, Trail, and Life/Wellness)?

What are the specs?

I was able to grab the basic specs on the Minimus 3090 via and, both of which are already selling the Connect 3090. Here’s FootLocker’s product description:
Powered by REVlite and cradled by ground contact EVA, the NB Ionix platform redefines what an everyday running shoe can provide. The New Balance 3090 has material from the midsole to provide a plush, lightweight underfoot feel with enhanced flexibility and cushioning. Breathable mesh upper offers ventilation. Innovative REVlite midsole provides premium responsiveness and durability at a lighter weight than other foams with comparable performance. Innovative NB Ionix platform is engineered to reduce weight and enhance flexibility. Wt. 6.5 oz.
And here’s NewBalance:
Much is made of what goes into shoes, but with genuine innovation and inspiration the New Balance 3090 is made truly great with what has been taken away. Inspired by the geometries of a molecule, the 3090 with Ionix technology removes some material from the midsole to create a lightweight everyday running shoe with a plush, underfoot feel with enhanced flexibility and comfort. Weighing in under 7 ounces, this shoe looks and feels so great that you may just extend your daily run by a few blocks—or by several miles! NB Minimus is a whole new approach to footwear, a place on the spectrum from barefoot running to the traditional maximum-cushioning running shoe. Inspired by Good Form Running and designed to be worn with or without socks. With only a 4mm drop from heel to toe, as little as a third of that of a traditional running shoe, the NB Minimus collection holds a world of discovery for neutral runners; additionally, Good Form Running teaches methods of improvement for those seeking to conquer gait issues.
Did you catch the 4mm drop mention? Yep. So there’s that question answered. What’s not clear is what the stack height is. Sure, you’ve got a 4mm drop but how thick is the Minimus Connect 3090 at the forefoot? At the heel? Are we talking something like the old Road/Trails which were around 14mm/10mm if I recall? Something more or less? At this point, I don’t know. Here are some 360° photos of the Connect 3090:

What is the Minimus Connect 3090 for?

I guess this is the big question: what is the Minimus Connect 3090 intended to be used for? Running? If so, what would be the benefit of it over the Road or Trail Zeros? Is it a transitional shoe? Meanwhile, the marketing teaser video is showing a bunch of hardcore high-intensity exercises — sprints, box jumps (that one guy has insane ups, by the way), ring push-ups, ropes, and tire slinging all make appearances. Is the Connect 3090 geared towards CrossFit? I’ll also point out that while the molecule-looking sole of the Connect 3090 is evocative of the Minimus Trail Zeros, it doesn’t have the Vibram rubber outsole.

The Big Picture, NB Filling Gaps

If I had to guess, I’d say that New Balance is aiming the Connect 3090 towards consumers who might be considering the Reebok Realflex or Nike Free — basically, folks who aren’t mentally ready to go with even less shoe and want a bit more of a plush ride in their footwear. I wonder if the Connect 3090 is the most maximalist Minimus yet. It sorta looks more built up to my eye, but looks can be deceiving. It seems apparently got the green light to be the first to launch this shoe as they’ve got a ton in stock already. They’re retailing at about $90 there. Meanwhile, ShopNewBalance also has one single colorway (so far) at the same price. I’ll wrap here and ask for feedback — what do you think about these? Any interest? (And here are some other colorways) men’s women’s

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

27 replies on “Minimus 3090 Connect from New Balance”

I really like the blue/red/black/white colored shoe, but have no need for a transitional shoe. I am already wearing minimalist footwear. It will be interesting to see what additional information we can get on these.

WOW! How goes it sir. I was google-ing away on the 3090, and randomly stumbled upon your site. I now have become a faithful follower of birthday shoes…
Hope all is well.


I’m hoping the 3090’s replace the last-generation MT101, as those are currently my favorite traditional shoe. The new Road/Trail minimus shoes are all to narrow in the toe-box for my foot, and the material on some are weird, too. The replacement for the MT101, the MT110 (I think) looks like the top of the shoe is all plastic, which I hate. Hopefully the 3090’s fill the gap for a wide toebox with a traditional material for the body of the shoe. Have to go see!

Saw a pair of these at a local NB store in Chicago along with the MX20 v2, and they both looked nice. Thinking they may be specifically for the crossfit crowd, as they seems to be as into the Minimus line as anybody.

Holy cow those look a million times cooler than the other Minimus series shoes…

Wait a darn second, Vibram isn’t making the sole anymore?!? I don’t see a Vibram stamp!

I find it crazy that the runner in the video runs so fast that he needs a dragster parachute to slow down 😉 I could not help but laugh at that.

I never thought about using a parachute to increase resistance. Interesting concept. I wonder how much harder you have to work to compensate for the extra drag.

Strange I don’t see a Vibram logo on the sole either. I wonder what that is about?

I also couldn’t help but notice the sole is not Vibram, but it seems to be made by New Balance by the logo near the heel on the sole. Not sure how this will affect the product, but at a $90 price point, it seems I may buy this product with good reviews!

Looks like they are going after the Kinvara segment…

4mm, 7oz, Cushy, $90…
Seems to similar for coincidence…

Just bought a pair of NB’s MT10 two days before NB released the 3090. If only i have knowned earlier.. the 3090 looks really awesome whether its a midway between a minimalist & transitional.. still looks cool to me. thanks for the info justin!

Just got the NB Minimus MT10 on sale two days before NB released its minimus 3090… If only i have known earlier.. I was really looking for a shoes which i could alternate from my 12 series NB and a near minimalist. I think im spot on to NB’s target market when it comes to customers looking for a comfortable awesome looking transitional..well it looks comfortable judging by how NB designed its Zero and my MT10. Great info here Justin! time to swipe that plastic again in a few months time..

@Robert, Parachute training is very common for sprinters and some long distance runners. (It’s for training and not for slowing you down like a dragster) My son and I do it about once every two weeks – its fun! It helps to add resistance to target your “top speed” muscle groups. What we’ve found is it helps increase your top end speed and strength which gives you a much stronger final kick at the end of our long distance races.

I tried these on at footlocker today; they are very comfortable. I was actually surprised at how much cushion there is in these shoes. With that said, they did not feel like a barefoot shoe. I run in vibrams and was interested to see what the shoes would feel like but it’s not comparable. I don’t know if I would run in these because there is a little too much cushion in the sole and heel but I am definitely tempted to buy them and wear them to walk around in because of how comfortable they are.

@ P J

I agree that they are going after the Kinvara /Nike Free / Puma Faas / Brooks Pure Flow minimalist segment. The Kinvara is currently uncontested more or less.

If New Balance can get a better footbox than the Kinvara, they basically have a winner.

Another theory is they need something to replace the MT10s that crossfitters use.

However, an alternate theory is that New Balance had too many complaints on water going through from the ground on the Minimus Zero Trail. The fact they are not using Vibram soles may just mean they want more profit though.

These look like the rumored Crossfit specific Minimus; coaches at my gym have been talking about these for awhile and NB have been testing these out with certified trainers for some time (supposedly). Some of the CF specific features include built up arch areas (compared to prior MTs) for rope climbs and firmer toe caps for burpees. The clip showed a ton of heavily used CF movements. That said, if these are not zero-drop (as they sure look to be even further built than the 10s), then they may have missed the boat on what most Crossfitters are after in an all-around shoe. And, from appearance alone, I don’t think I would want to lift in a shoe this pronounced. Sticking with my MT00s for now, though they are falling apart like crazy in the toe box.

Tried a pair on at a Footlocker this morning. Very disappointed with the fit. I’ve been a big Minimus user – Trail 10, Road 00, even the 730 – and love that last. If previous Minimus fit like a track shoe, the 3090’s felt more like a football or baseball cleat. I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

the molecule-like shape of the sole looks good but when one of them “molecules” gets used-up or damaged it
critically affects the overall performance of the shoe.
an organic non-bumpy (or micro bumpy) sole is perfect since it tends to spread
the shocks your shoe gets more evenly.
i’m no proffesor mam, just a plain shimple guy.
can’t help but wonder how a leading brand such as nb choose good looks over performance.
and i’m talking from personal experience.
having the first minimus trail, mt-10,
with that similar “molecule” design that
proved to be very weak in terms of durability and trust. and that’s from a
20 minute walks on gravle, not even real trails, falling apart after only 5+
months. but hey, who knows. maybe taht new model here will last longer.
and by the way- nb makes grea shoes,
just that specific molecule sole design is practically wrong.
sorry for my spelling errors, i’m from
the middle east. (the place where the 2012 vibram models will arrive after we made peace…..)

I tried these on today at Foot Locker. It’s strange these are part of the “minimus” collection since they don’t have much of the characteristics. However, the minimus marketing will help them sell. If you’re not a purist, these are actually pretty nice. They are what I would call a compromise between the standard MT10 and the Reebock Realflex. The stack height is in between. They have a removable, cushy, 2-3mm removable insole. They insole has no support, but with it removed, it’s not the seamless interior like the other minimus shoes. I’d guess a differential 4-6mm or so by feel. I could feel the lugs underneath, and the sole is almost entirely revlite with some rubber pods for durability. Very light.

I think, like Brooks with Pure, they will sell a lot of these. This is clearly a “mainstream” shoe.

Did anyone else notice the Grey and light blue pair in the commercial with pinkish shoe strings? These are not out for sale that i have seen. Wonder when they will be released and where?

Where’d you get the info about the 4mm drop from? Wondering if something has changed because your link to the NB site doesn’t work either. NB now says it’s a 6mm drop:

“NB Minimus is a whole new approach to footwear, a place on the spectrum from barefoot running to the traditional maximum-cushioning running shoe. Inspired by Good Form Running and designed to be worn with or without socks. With only a 6mm drop from heel to toe, as little as a third of that of a traditional running shoe, the NB Minimus collection holds a world of discovery for neutral runners; additionally, Good Form Running teaches methods of improvement for those seeking to conquer gait issues”,default,pd.html

These look a lot like the Champion Octoflex they sold at Payless a little while ago. Wish I had got a pair as they were less than half the price.

Minimus 3090 They look really cool on your feet. Very light and comfortable upper, but the sole of the shoe offers numerous pressure points that increase with wear and as the softer portions of the tread wear down faster than the harder rubber (they wear very quickly) I had to stop wearing mine after 6 weeks do to bruising on the bottom of my feet, even from just walking. Poor tread design.

I’ve put about 100km on mine so far and they’ve been pretty good. Light and flexible as I’ve been working towards a minimalist shoe running style. They’re in my mix with the Nike Free Run+ 5.0 and Nike Lunarlites. Longest run in them so far is about 12km, mostly on pavement, which was a little sore on the feet at the end. Good for speedwork and short-distance runs.

I’ve had mine about three months, done around 250 miles in them, and they’ve been great. However, the lining has started to rip away from the sole around the sides, and I’m unsure whether to replace them with a new pair or something else. How has everyone else found durability with these?

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