Barefoot Shoes

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…

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.
This gap creates an opportunity for debris to get inside the New Balance MT10v3
This gap creates an opportunity for debris to get inside the New Balance MT10v3
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.

Concluding thoughts

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.

Photo Gallery

Here are all of the New Balance MT10v3 (Minimus Trail) Photos: Here’s a couple comparison photos of the MT10v3 vs. the MT10v2:

By Dan

Dan Finkelstein blogs at [url=]My Name is Foxtrot[/url], which covers firearms and movies.

13 replies on “New Balance MT10V3 Review (Minimus Trail)”

I really wish they would stop with the color accents on the stitching. They did this on the v2 as well…it looks silly to me. There is nothing wrong with black stitching on a black shoe. The upper material on the V2 was brilliant, dunno why they changed it. Too bad about the “debri gap”, but at least its not as bad as most vivos 😀 The thing I like most about the mt10 series is the sole. The shoe is light weight and still allows you to run on almost any terrain. Thanks for the review on the V3

I love to run in these shoes, but man are they stinky! So while yes, in theory you could wear them out and about, in practice I would not want to subject the public to them! Frequent washing and homemade coffee bean inserts keep them manageable in confined spaces.

I just tried some of these out from REI when I discovered I couldn’t replace my beloved Merrell Trail Gloves (yeah, I know there’s a version 3 or something of the Trail Glove out right now, but I hated it so much when I tried it on that I’m pretending it doesn’t exist). Wore them around just walking for the day; initially had some discomfort in the forefoot area but the shoe stretched out and that got better. But the height and padding in the back in the Achilles area had rubbed me raw enough by days end that I just gave up. Doesn’t seem to matter how I lace them, these apparently aren’t the shoe for me. 🙁 I don’t have any idea what to try next, my local REI didn’t have much minimalist selection and I’m hesitant to shop at a specialty running store, I guess I just find the idea intimidating. 😀

Super bummed, because I really like the width of the toe box and the grip of the tread, would have made a great trail runner. I noticed the same problem though with the gap opening up with the foot flexes, would probably cause problems on the rocky trails in my area.

Was wondering if the tounge was stitched in or free floating in this version of the shoe? I have a problem with the tounge of the shoes I wear to fall completely and uncomfortably to one side or another.

Just tried my first run in these, and I totally swear by the v2’s.

Massive disappointment. Heel rubs as they have removed the soft protective material, presumably to cut costs. Also the toe box is now protected by harder material all the way around the front so the shoe feels half a size smaller.

My impression is they have tinkered for the sake of it, or perhaps tried to cut costs.

A massive shame as the v2 was amazing.

I had the V2s and V1s previously. I have been through 7 pairs. Those were amazing shoes. These are a disappointment. I have run a couple times in these and the are to soft, with to much cushioning in the sole and have more problems with collecting dirt/pebbles etc because of the issue pointed out in the above review. The changes hurt the shoe rather than help it and certainly aren’t worth the almost 2 extra ounces of material they have added into this shoe. The mesh upper is a tighter weave and less breathable. I don’t like them as much. Unfortunately, there are no ta whole lot of better options available. In my opinion these are stil better than the trail glove. Racing flats are a little better but less durable.

I tried on some V3s at REI the other day and couldn’t handle the narrower toe box. I have pretty wide feet and have found good shoes like the MT10v2, Merrell Trail Glove and Topo (not barefoot, but zero drop and WIDE. After a lot of internet searches I may have found the last pair of MT10v2s in my size. I should have bought 2.

Did you try the 2E width and they were still too narrow? I am a 4E and have the original MT00 (in 4E) which fit well, although they are very flimsy shoes. I also have the MO90 (more of a casual shoe) in 2E and they fit good. So I was wondering how the 2E in these MT10v3 shoes would be.

Heh… While they dramatically improved the aesthetics of this line with the “V3” of this shoe, there’s issues with it. Upper’s holding up, but the lugs and the shield trim on the shoes are popping off of the things at only 2-4 months of use, needing to be re-glued. (It should be noted that I wear my minimalist shoes *all the time*- because it helps with everything…not just running. I may be harder than the average person on my shoes…) Not as impressive as I’d had hoped there- my Merrell’s, save one pair I beat the *HELL* out of are still with me (and technically so are they…just going to pitch them as the repairs are getting harder and harder) and I’m not playing “nice” with my toe shoes or minimalist shoes. I get 10-16 months per any given pair of shoes (whereas the regular stuff has to be pitched at 4 because I pronate like hell with the heel crap…)- and this has been anything else I’ve worn to date.

Could be a bad shoe off the line, but based on other reviews, I’m leaning towards poor fabrication choices, using a cheaper adhesive than they should have to shave a couple of pennies off their BoM.

I wanted to know if the shoe tongue was attached like the V1 was or is it “free floating?”

I hate when the tongue on the shoe floats around too much, and the V2 didn’t have that, which made me sad and had to go out and find another shoe.


Just purchased a pair of nb 10v3 very happy, light weight comfortable and very flexible.but went for a stroll and started to rain,water was entering runner via bottom of sole ,thought there was a problem with runner ,told it’s the norm …bn offered a swap for diff style but i declined…like them so much I’ll live with it….

I’ve been through about 5 pairs of V2’s and loved every one of them, but I can’t find any more in my size. I’ve tried the V3’s but they just don’t work for me, too narrow/structured in the arch area, too narrow in the toe box. I have flat feet and the narrow back half of the V3’s makes it feel like I’m walking on a balance beam. The sole design of the V2 was perfect as far as I’m concerned and I wish they would bring it back!

Does anyone have a recommendation for a shoe with a sole similar to the V2?

MT10 V2 were made in the USA. Note Version 3 is made in China. The sides at the ankle are higher. They are junk! Guess NB no longer made in USA. Correct me if I am wrong.

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