Barefoot Shoes

New Balance Minimus Trail Zeros for Wide Feet

The release of the next generation of New Balance Minimus minimalist shoes — the “Minimus Zeros,” so called for being the first “zero-drop” or same sole thickness at the heel as at the ball of the foot — is imminent. One exciting aspect of…

The release of the next generation of New Balance Minimus minimalist shoes — the “Minimus Zeros,” so called for being the first “zero-drop” or same sole thickness at the heel as at the ball of the foot — is imminent. And while we did a major round-up review of the Road and Trail Zeros a little while back, one exciting aspect of these next generation shoes from New Balance is that both the Road and Trail Zeros are being produced in wide versions. 

A quick re-cap on the Minimus Zero Road (MR00)

Tim recently covered the NB Minimus Road Zeros in Wide (2E) vs. Regular (D) noting that the key difference in the two shoes is that the upper is more roomy in the 2E wides but that the foam and Vibram rubber sole is exactly the same. In other words, the 2E Minimus Zero Roads are wider on top but no wider on bottom.

This latter design quality (flaw?) is to the chagrin of many, myself included, and I don’t even have particularly wide feet. As another BirthdayShoes blogger (Philip) pointed out in the Road Zeros in Wides comments, the Road Zero soles aren’t flat all the way to the edges. Unfortunately, this design quality can be irritating to a wide foot that effectively pushes at these raised sidewalls. To help you visualize the Road Zero sole’s raised sidewalls, here is a rendition of what the cross-section of the sole at the forefoot would (based on how it feels, anyway) look like:


This exaggerates the discrepancy, but you get the idea. It’s a subtle lift on the outermost sides that my feet notice and find a little annoying. It’s not a dealbreaker, it’s just a nuisance (and seems unnecessary).

But what of the NB Minimus Trail Zero in wide — and not just wide, but 4E wide — does it deliver on the widened goods? Is the sole actually larger/wider? Does it have that annoying lip on the edges? For more detailed answers and some actual photos (and additional ways to win a pair on their release), follow me after the jump!

NB Minimus Zero Trails in 4E Wide! That’s big!

First, just to get it out and over with, it seems New Balance is producing the Minimus Trail Zeros only in D and 4E and the Minimus Road Zeros only in D and 2E. Yes, that’s strange! No, I don’t know why (don’t shoot the messenger)!

The soles of the NB Minimus Trail Zeros (the MT00 both wide and regular have little pod/bubbles that protrude off of a foam base. These rounded domes come in two forms: either just the foam or they flatten and are capped with additional protection by way of Vibram rubber. In the photo below, the black is the foam base and the green is the foam plus rubber caps:

A side by side photo of the 4E Wide NB Minimus Trail Zeros (on the left) vs. the regular, D width NB Minimus Trail Zeros on the right.

Note where each foam dome terminates into the shoe upper there’s a foam base (the part that attaches to the upper of the shoe). This foam base feels to my foot of uniform thickness from edge to edge where ever it is present — as in, it doesn’t thicken at the edges like the Road Zero.

And while I don’t have particularly wide feet, the sole of the Trail Zero (in Regular D or wide) is just more comfortable than the Road Zero because it doesn’t have this sidewall thickening design quality. That said, in the event your foot goes over the edges of the Trail Zero soles, your only issue is going to be the lack of stretchiness in the fabric used for the Trail Zero upper, which doesn’t really stretch but rather creases in sometimes odd ways. The Trail Zeros use quite an unusual upper material.

My not particularly wide feet ran into a little creasing issue in the regular D Trail Zeros at the point where my arch terminates into my forefoot sort of wants to spill over the soles of the regular width Trail Zeros when I’m standing upright with my full weight distributed over the length of the shoes. Here’s a photo:

These are the Trail Zeros in D/regular width; note the fabric bump that runs parallel to the lip of the sole; that’s the shoe bending to accomodate my foot which is wide enough to make the D fit a bit snugly

My hope was that the 4E Minimus Trail Zeros would solve this problem. I’ll cut to the chase: they did; but unfortunately for me, are almost too wide for my not-really-that-wide feet (I don’t typically wear wide shoes at all).

Thankfully, with the 4E Minimus Trail Zeros both the sole and the upper have been upsized to work with wider feet, as in they’re noticeably larger; you can see this in the photo above which shows a side by side match-up of the wides (4E) vs. the regulars (D) in size 10.5. It’s pretty obvious the 4Es have a wider sole in the photos and it’s exceedingly obvious to your foot when you put them on. This extra width goes all the way to the heel as you can see below:

On the right are the Wide 4E MT00 Minimus Trail Zeros — note how they’re larger soled all the way back to the heel of the shoes.

Finally, the upper in the Trail Zeros seem markedly roomier on the insides — unfortunately, a little too wide for my feet.

All in all, if you’re looking to pick up some wides in the Minimus Zero line, you might have better luck with the MT00 Trail Zeros. Ultimately, if you’re nervous about widths, I think you’re just going to have to try these things on for yourself.


Regarding availability, the Minimus Zero Trails 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 4E monsters!

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.

17 replies on “New Balance Minimus Trail Zeros for Wide Feet”

I am glad to see that wider widths are starting to show up. Rumor has it that Merrell has something wider in the works as well. I went through a stage where I used to wear New Balance in the past, and I would love an opportunity to give these a try.

Nice to see them making wider versions, not really something I’ll take advantage of but I’ve got a few friends that were bummed out that the shoes were a little too narrow for them.

On a side note, has there been any information or pictures about the NB Minimus Zero Life models? With these supposedly hitting in March, and that being the shoe I’m most anticipating, I’m a little concerned over there being zero (haw haw, see what I did there…) coverage of them.

YES! I’ve been waiting for some 4E minimal shoes (even if I would’ve preferred the road version, but I suppose you can use those for road running as well).

Any idea if/how I can get these in Europe?

New Balance is producing the Minimus Trail Zeros only in D and 4E and the Minimus Road Zeros only in D and 2E? It seems counter-intuitive when most Trail shoes are supposed to fit more snugly (at least at the heel) so as to not twist out your ankle on a rock.

It seems nice that they widen the forefoot though. To me that matters more than anything, since you can just pad with something akin to heel liners for high heels. Basically you can pretend you have a Haglund’s deformity and try to get pads/cushion for the back of your achilles tendon. It’s typically called “back of heel cushion” or “heel grips” i.e. “Pedag Stop Padded Leather Heel Grips”.

My feet don’t measure wide at all on the Brannock, but I have to say, I tried on the D and could immediately feel the hatred ascend from my foot to my brain. The outside of my foot was immediately constricted.

My shop had a 4E in my size at their other store so I waited a day, concerned that 4E would be insanely too wide. That ended up not being the case. I tried on a pair of 2E MT10s for comparison (probably not fair), and even that felt wrong. It sounds like 2E generally just means more upper to handle higher volume, but in some cases that just isn’t enough. I’ve gotten very used to the completely unrestrictive width of Lunas, and the 4E Zero is a lot closer than most shoes I’ve tried.

I just don’t get it. Why do all the manufacturers continue to do dumbass things with their shoes? Why do they continue to ignore what we keep asking for? I’ll just stick to my VFF because they encompass more of what I want in a minimalist shoe than any other brand or model. Unbelievable.

Since the sole is genuinely wide, I’m very interested in trying these. In most shoes the side of my foot hangs over the outside of the sole.

I’ve worn out half a dozen generations of New Balance trail shoes, and still own several of my favorite styles. The foam lugs remind me of those on some other models which quickly wear down on mountain trails (especially on sandstone, which acts like sandpaper).

I doubt though that I’d start using these in preference to my VFF KSO Treks. Going downhill on steep trails, VFF have a huge comfort advantage over any normal trail shoe. With normal shoes, the foot slides forward, the toes get crunched, and the toenails turn black. VFF, with the multiple toe pockets, distribute the force much more evenly. In nearly two and a half years of wearing KSO Treks on steep mountain trails, only once did I have an issue. It turned out that there was some excess leather at the top tip of one toe pocket. Removing the excess resolved the problem.

Now if New Balance comes out with a Gore-Tex version of this shoe, then I’m really interested. I know VFF is coming out with water resistant models this fall, but for slushy snow a foot mitten provides more thermal protection than a foot glove. And I’ve yet to figure out a reasonable way to mount crampons on VFF.

I picked up a pair of MR00 and MT00 at the New Balance store in Little Rock this afternoon. If you search they come up. Thy aren’t in the lists yet though, but thy are available for order and are in stores now. I love both pairs I bought. They are lighter than my Bikilas. Run tomorrow for the maiden voyage.

I’ll be honest, the first picture showing the 4E version still looks to narrow for me. For reference, I’m a truly true 4E in that I’ve measured size 9 4E on a Brannock since I was 12 years old. I have Allen Edmonds 3E shoes for work, and they’re too narrow. New Balance made 3E wide shoes for years, and they were too narrow. These options are better than the alternatives, but even wide shoes take me months to break in.

So, I’m skeptical. I run completely bare most of the time or use custom moccasins when I have to. VFFs were nice, but even those make my sixth toe area sore because the last is so narrow. I REALLY want the NB 00 to work. I used to run trails, but I’ve had to limit that activity since going barefoot/minimalist. I would be thrilled to get back on trail running.

Whose 4E feet do they last these off of? Do they have TRUE 4E testers? I’d love to stop by NB HQ and show them a TRUE 4E foot and let them see why folks like me are putting up such a stink.

More pics please.

A shot of the sole bottoms and one of the upper facing the camera is missing.

Also a few measurements would be nice.

This morning I took my MT00 4E’s out for their maiden run. It was like a dream come true. I don’t have a ridiculously wide foot but I do have a tall foot along with a fair width. I’ve been told I have a high volume foot. This raises the top of the shoe and pulls in on the sides. I’ve never had a shoe that didn’t feel like it was too tight. I just laced them loose and toughed it out.

With these 4E’s my foot feels like it’s been let out of a straight jacket. A truly awesome feeling.

@Danny- I am truly jealous and absolutely dying to find a wide pair of the minimus vibrams (or any lightweight trail shoe). NO ONE HAS THEM! Can you please tell me where you found wide trail running shoes? I’m so desperate! I’m new to running in minimus and I’m not sure if they are supposed to feel this tight on my arch. Plenty of toe room, just tight in the arches. Any help from anyone is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

@Jackie – Generally all current New Balance shoes are listed at, but they are not showing the Minimus Trail Zero in a 2E for women. Last year NB had promised a 2E in the Zero line for women, but so far it hasn’t appeared. Only B and D widths are available. You might ask them when they will be available on their web page or on their facebook.

@Jackie, Ted_S is right you can find almost all NB shoes at the site. Personally, I went to a New Balance store and tried them on. I was a bit cautious about the shoes being too wide.

@Ted_S, I don’t know about the women’s sizing but the men’s MT00 don’t come in a 2E. The MR00 however, does come in a 2E. Perhaps NB thought the minimalist niche market couldn’t support that many widths in that many different shoe types.

On a somewhat related note even though they are “trail” shoes, I wouldn’t go near a trail in these shoes. There is almost no protection from rocks or tree roots and the like. I wear mine exclusively on the road. That being said I’m not much of a trail runner anyway so take those words lightly.


I wear VFFs, huaraches and even go completely bare on some pretty nasty trails in Colorado. I have a hard time saying the MT00 isn’t enough shoe. Obviously a matter of perspective.

So, I had a chance to try on some 4E MT00s that had been special ordered by someone and not picked up. These are NOT 4E shoes. They might be wide(r) than the normal last, but they felt god awful on my feet. To be honest, the non-wide MT100 felt better on my feet than the wide MT10 and the 4E MT00. Nonetheless, New Balance has obviously decided to go after banana footed people. Merrell, on the other hand, seems to have an understanding of natural foot shape.

I had the same experience with the Minimus zero road: the edges pushed on my arch. For me it’s the same with the Trail glove and most Inov8 models. I have the choice between buying clown-size shoes or mangling my fifth metatarsal. They are some of the best looking and most available minimal shoes, and for me they are just off the table…

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