Barefoot Shoes

New Balance Minimus Road Zeros for Wide Feet

In a follow up to the first look at the New Balance Minimus Road Zeros (the red pair in these photos), I’ve recently had the opportunity to test out a wide version of the Minimus Road Zeros in a lime green/yellow colorway.

It’s exciting that the Mi…

In a follow up to the first look at the New Balance Minimus Road Zeros (the red pair in these photos), I’ve recently had the opportunity to test out a wide version of the Minimus Road Zeros in a lime green/yellow colorway. It’s exciting that the Minimus Zero line will feature wide versions of the shoes as at least a few minimalist- or barefoot-style running enthusiasts have wider than normal feet. Meanwhile, others might find they’d prefer a wider fit to the shoe, a little more room in the toe box to splay your toes, and a little bit more room throughout the instep. I really like the Minimus Road Zeros and in the initial review I commented:
Overall, they are quite comfortable and so far my only qualm has been with the narrow width of sole under the arch of my foot. I have rather wide feet and my foot strains the soft uppers and spills over onto the inside of the sole. I haven’t experienced this problem with either the Minimus Trail or the Minimus Trail ZERO (discussed below) so going up a half size here might be one potential solution.
Thankfully, I won’t need to go up a half size after all: New Balance is producing the Minimus Road Zeros in a 2E wide version of the shoe! Speaking from just a visual point of view, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference in the widths, but the minor alterations make a big difference once you have them on your feet. From what I can tell, the soles are exactly the same width, with the difference coming in how roomy the uppers are. As comfortable as I’ve found the “normal” width Road Zeros to be, the tightness underneath my arches I experienced has been completely resolved and the 2E fits me perfectly. In addition to the arch area, I also have a little more wiggle room across the top of the toebox and by my little toe. The heel and the back half of the shoe appear to remain unchanged. Photos and more after the jump!

Photos of the Road Zeros in Wide vs. regular Road Zeros

Here’s a bunch of photos of the wide Road Zeros (bright, bright yellow) and the regular Road Zeros (bright, bright red): If you’re interested in the New Balance Minimus Zero lineup and you have wide feet, you’d definitely be doing yourself a favor by checking out the 2E wide version (Note: the Minimus Road Zero will only come in D and 2E).


Regarding availability, the Minimus Zero Roads were released for sale on March 1, 2012! You can find them over at for about $110. If you pick up a pair and have particularly wide feet, I’m eager to hear what you think about these 2E Zeros!

By Tim

I’m am a bicycle advocate by profession and an Ironman triathlete for fun which keeps me healthy and fit. I got into minimalist footwear during the summer of 2009 after dealing with injuries resulting from running in “normal” running shoes. Check out what’s going on in my life through photos at [url=][/url] or follow me on twitter: [url=]@TimKelleyDotNet[/url]. Get to know Tim better via [url=]his interview here[/url].

23 replies on “New Balance Minimus Road Zeros for Wide Feet”

Can’t wait for these to finally drop…feels like I’ve been waiting forever. Thanks for the reviews and updates even though it only makes me want them more. 🙂

On the one hand, this is good to see. I don’t really have wide feet, but they are flat (no arches) and so I tend to squish/spill over the arches on shoes, too. However, these look to have the same overly pointy toe area that made the Life (the only one they made in 15s) unsuitable for me since I have Morton’s toe in addition to my third toe being rather long. If they make 15s I’ll give them a shot but I’m not optimistic.

I had the opportunity to check a pair recently (not my size unfortunately) and I do not like the toebox shape. I think the curve starts too soon on the outer side. Hand in hand, compared to a merrel trail glove, you can notice the difference.

Thus, I think the 2E will be much comfortable for most people accostumed to minimal footwear.

I had the opportunity to check a pair recently (not my size unfortunately) and I do not like the toebox shape. I think the curve starts too soon on the outer side. Hand in hand, compared to a merrel trail glove, you can notice the difference.

Thus, I think the 2E will be much comfortable for most people accostumed to minimal footwear.

Thanks Tim for telling us about this. I am looking for a shoe with a wide toe box because of the same reason John comments. I have flat forefeet. The only shoe I really feel comfy in are my STEM shoes which I run in ocassionaly. But I am worried about them wearing out too fast. I got a pair of Mizuno Wave Universe 4 because I read they had a wide toe box. Unfortunately that is not true in my opinion. Most racing flats sort of squeeze your foot like spikes. I use a use a metatarsal pad under my foot (even in my Fivefingers) and that helps. I also use the “Correct Toes” to keep my toes apart. All trying to repair my flat forefeet and nueromas. I can use them in my STEM shoes. I also have a pair of Trail Gloves but they also have too narrow toe box. I wonder if this wide Road Zero is wide enough? My other alternative is the wide version of Trail Glove. Tim, do you have an opinion on this since you tested the wide Road Zero? Can you splay your toes in there?

The more I read the more I get confused about right sizing. Is there a reliable method to find the correct size and widht of my feet? What should I look at or measure them?

I’m so glad they’re making a wide version. I fell in love with the Minimus Trail when I bought them a few months ago. I have been running in them ever since and I’ve never been so light on my feet! Cannot wait for these to come out!!

The more reviews the merrier, but I think comparison reviews would more useful. I don’t recall ever seeing one on here.

Doing an extensive shoe comparison review is easier said than done, but since you guys seem to get a lot of free swag to review and whatnot, I’m wondering what’s the hold up.

@asle – To give you some comparison, I have moderately wide feet and somewhat high arches. The 2E fits quite well, whereas the Trail Zero 4E is a little too big. VFFs generally fit quite well and I found last year’s Minimus Trail a bit tight.

The Minimus Road Zero toebox is comparable to that on the Stems. I only saw a small difference in the Normal vs 2E sizing for the Road Zeros in the toebox, with the biggest difference coming in the section underneath the arch.

FWIW, Vivo Barefoot’s shoes generally have the widest toebox I’ve worn.

What about the 4E that was promised by someone from NB in something that appeared on the web last August or September? Will the 4E (and 2E for women) be an option on some models of the Zero but not on others?

The observation that the sole is the same width on the D and the 2E is not encouraging. Many or most if not all shoe manufacturers don’t make a wider sole to go with their wider uppers. The result is terrible for those of us with wide forefeet and bunions: the ball of the foot sits on top of the seam that joins the upper to the sole, with one half of the metatarsal head protruding on the outside of the sole.

VFFs, in my experience, are the only shoes with soles that are wide enough across the metatarsal heads so that the base of the metatarsal head of the big toe is mostly contained within the sole. In thousands of miles of hiking and running in VFFs I’ve never had any pain across the metatarsal heads whereas with every extra wide shoe that I’ve owned, including half a dozen pairs of NB trail shoes that are still in my closet, my feet are in excruciating pain within a couple of hours.

Tim is correct in that the 2E sole is the exact same width, with the only difference being to add upper material.

Given that Tim has a normal to high arch, this “regular” sole on a “wide” shoe seems to work okay. And, if you have narrow feet with high arches, and the original MR10’s fit you, congrats, these (D or 2E) are a really good shoe for you.

But, a word of caution for anyone with a flatter foot (and/or at all semi-wide). For me, the shoes are awful. I’ve been testing the 2E Zero Road for a month now and couldn’t wear them initially for the discomfort they caused. The sole isn’t flat, and actually rises toward the edges on the medial and lateral sides (you can see it in the pictures). If your foot is flat and spills out over the narrow sole, you’ll feel it pushing up on both sides of your foot. It’s a horrible minimal design flaw that’s not present in the trail version (and likely a result of non-minimal shoe designers bringing too much “traditional” shoe baggage to the drawing board).

I don’t really have that wide of feet (between D and 2E), and I’ve never ever had to wear wide shoes in my life. I get that New Balance can’t make multiple sole molds for the different widths (not cost effective), but they could design the soles to be a bit wider, and totally flat, in order to accommodate a wider variety of foot types (regular and flat/wideish). I was finally able to wear mine without discomfort after I shaved out a wedge on each side so it falls flat under my foot. But they just don’t feel good with how much my foot spills over the edge.

I thought these were going to be released in 4e!!! If only 2e, that is VERY disappointing. Tired of NB’s trend of forgetting the really wide feet out there.

Yesterday I put on a pair of the Spyridon for the first time. As usual with VFF, they fit my wide foot with bunions fine. I observed two things, in addition to the wider sole, which might help account for why they fit so much better than conventional shoes.

One big difference between VFF and nearly all other shoes is that the sole spills over the sides without any change in thickness. This allows as much of the sole as needed to end up under the foot, as required by the foot dimensions. It would take a hugely wide foot to force so much of the sole down that there would be contact between the bottom of the foot and the seam.

The second very significant difference between VFF and all other shoes is that the fabric between the toes on nearly all VFFs is very elastic. The result for a wide foot is that the much stiffer material of the sole, which is partially wrapped on the sides of the foot, pulls some of the elastic material from between the toes to whereever it is needed. Evidence of this is that the inside half of the tip of the big toe is then covered not with the material that should be there, (sole rubber and top fabric), but instead with the brightly colored fabric from between the toes.

The all-leather Trek LS is an exception in that the fabric between the toes is leather, which is not elastic. As a result, I endured a very painful break-in period with bruised toes and blackened toenails on both big toes. It was only when I modified a pair of shoe stretchers, with bunion stretchers, that I was able to increase the width of the Trek LSs sufficiently that my foot would fit without pressure on the tips of my big toes. These have now become my best-fitting and most comfortable pair of VFFs.

I recoiled when I saw these pictures. That looks like a horribly constricting toebox, even worse than most conventional sneakers.

I’m an everyday VFF wearer myself, but if you look at this picture from the STEM website, it’s clear what shoes that taper in the front do to your foot.

Unless you have irreversible bunions, narrow feet, and very short last three toes – which is a reasonably rare combination – shoes that taper in the front squish your toes, preventing them from bearing weight like they should.

@Julia K.

I can’t speak for Tim, but I can personally attest to the fact that these don’t taper like the right photo from Stem’s website. I think what might be throwing your conclusion off is that you’re looking at the pointy end of the Minimus and thinking “it tapers a lot!” but the reality is that it’s tapering in from a wide base. I think NB is just trying to preserve that “look” of a pointy end (just my hunch).

Looks can be deceiving and concluding these are very narrow in the toe box without trying them on could be a mistake.

@Justin Owings

Entirely fair point. I haven’t tried them on. It does make a difference that the toebox is wide before it tapers, as you can describe because you have tried them on.

If you position your little toe at the widest part of the toebox, then, I guess there’s supposed to be an inch or two of empty space at the front where it gets pointy? How do you prevent your foot from sliding forward? And does that make the arch start too far forward, or is it fine?

I agree with Justin that you need to try on shoes from New Balance to determine how the forefoot area will fit. For the 20 years prior to the introduction of the VFF KSO Treks I wore New Balance running, trail, hiking, dress, and casual shoes. I found that the only thing that was consistant was that the fit continually changed — even on updates to the same model. The NB hiking shoes/boots that I purchased from NB two or three years ago are very tight in the forefoot and toebox. A pair of dress/casual shoes were fine in the forefoot and toebox but were so wide over the instep that I had to draw the laces completely closed. A different pair of outdoor shoes fit perfectly and is still my choice for wet or slushy conditions.

Its hard to describe the taper, but as Justin mentioned it is just for the look (similar to how they have the rubber wrap up around only on the tip like the traditional running shoe). Not sure if Tim feels the same way, but they seem to have lengthened it in order to make it look pointy without squishing the toes. So the 10.5 fits the ball of my foot correctly, but extends a bit farther past my toes than usual.

That said, they could definitely be wider. I would prefer a more squared off toe and thought they’d get it “right” in the second generation. in my opinion, New Balance isn’t good at designing minimal shoes. It goes against everything they’ve designed for many years, and the designers are coming at it from a biased perspective. At least they’re working on it. Hopefully they’ll get better.

That’s such a weird comment. NB has some of the best selling “minimal” shoes out there so I can you say that they aren’t good at designing minimal shoes? The MT10 is the best selling minimal shoe at run speciality. Also, all the designers involved in the minimus line know what they’re doing, are runners themselves and don’t have a “biased” perspective. (the team is fairly new to NB, came from other brands)
what a random post.

Hopefully I can clarify. When I say minimal I’m mostly referring to the “barefoot” side of the minimal spectrum. I can tell from your name you are a fan of the minimus line, and I’m not saying they aren’t a good shoe. I’m just saying they are limited in good minimal shoe characteristics compared to other brands (thus not as good of a minimal design). I was extremely excited when I originally heard about NB going more minimal, but was very disappointed in the MT/MR10 designs. Having owned or worn almost every barefoot/minimal shoe brand, I’ve been able to compare alot of minimal designs. The MR10/00 soles are narrow and are not completely flat. Shoes thickening as they rise under the arch is commonly seen in many shoe designs, but not good minimal ones. In my opinion, there are several things I notice in both versions of the MR that are less conducive to a good barefoot/minimal shoe design (as compared to every other minimal line of shoe).

Of course the designers know what they are doing (in that they can make good quality shoes). The fact is that no designers were designing shoes this way a few years ago, so there is the possibility of some baggage that might get brought into designing “barefoot” minded shoes. I’ve noticed that the two brands that have the most issues with fitting “barefoot/minimal” (from people I’ve talked to) are major shoe brands that originally sold non-barefoot designs (Merrell/NB). Not to say they aren’t great shoes, because they do fit alot of people well and they sell well. I’m just saying they aren’t the best/most minimal/barefoot design. (I was told they might be going more “extreme” with the third release in the minimus line. Not sure what that means, but perhaps even more barefoot, which may include a much better barefoot design).

Also, selling alot of shoes doesn’t mean they are good minimal shoe designs. Nike sells a ton of free’s, but I personally would’t classify them as the best barefoot/minimal design. Just my opinion, coming from a barefoot perspective posting on a site that originally celebrated the most barefoot of shoes 🙂

Just sent back to NB the new Minimus 00 road. Even though the size 9 came in a EE , I found the fit pinching by the ball of the foot . My favorite shoe is still the Minimus road 10. I have over 1000 miles on one pair and they are still going strong. The best thing about NB is the generous return policy.

I completely agree with Claude. I have two pair of the Minimus road 10 and have logged 100’s of miles on each and many half marathons. I was hoping that the minimus 00 would be the ultimate running shoe for me, however the ball foot area is pinched in the 00 shoe. The 00 is the same shoe size as my 10’s, and the same width (2E), but the 00’s are so uncomfortable. I can’t believe the poor engineering from NB. There are only two good things about this shoe fiasco: 1) shipping is free (both ways) from NB so I applaud the company’s shipping policy, and 2, the minimus 00 is so light that you feel almost barefoot. I guess I need a 4E is such a version exists.

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