Published on February 20, 2014
New Balance Minimus 1010V2
In RunningMonkey’s opinion if you want to test a shoe you need to test it under tough conditions and having put a few miles under the Vibram soles of the New Balance Minimus 1010V2 Trail to shake out that box-fresh feeling, we had just the race in mind…
Run the Rann, touted as ‘India’s Most Spectacular Footrace’, is a trail event unlike any other – just a few short kilometres from the Pakistan border it is a brutal mix of sand, scrub, rocks and salt plains beneath fierce Kutch Desert sun. Our thinking was that if the Minimus 1010V2 could perform here they could perform pretty much anywhere.
Seemingly redesigned from the ground up the Minimus 1010V2 is almost unrecognisable from its original iteration (a long-time favourite of RunningMonkey), which features a 4mm drop for something close to a barefoot experience. The midsole is beefed up with extremely lightweight ‘REVlite’ foam, which adds cushioning without bulk or weight and a fore/midfoot rock plate that protects from stones and trail detritus admirably. The soft lining means that these can be worn without socks, although that’s never been a preference to us.
On the early, sandy, sections of the Rann course the fine, lined mesh outer kept sand out completely and the tongue gusset – despite not running all the way to the top – also helped greatly. Gaiters would have completed the job, but it’s not the fault of the 1010Vs that sand ultimately crept in through the ankle cuff.
The Vibram rubber outsole is basically a series on connected ‘pods’, each of which features ribbed grip for added traction and the whole thing is a far cry from the very limited grip offered on early Minimus models. The salt pan trail sections were where we really got to put these through their paces; a race surface that’s like running on crème brulee, with the thin crust of salt cracking to reveal viscous primordial-like ooze beneath. The Vibrams made easy work of the slick surface and dealt just as admirably on the dustier desert sections that also saw the wide spread of the ‘pods’ come into their own as the running became more technical.
Overall comfort was just as we had anticipated; everything from the ankle collar cushioning (a welcome addition) to the surprising responsiveness and toe-box width worked well together for a running experience that felt light, yet well protected.
There are however two things we felt could do with addressing. Firstly for a shoe that promotes more of a mid- to forefoot gate (and hence more of a ‘toes down’ foot angle) there is no Achilles notch in evidence. Having put plenty of miles in with the Minimus 1010V2, both at the Rann and elsewhere, there was a tendency to develop hot spots at the top of the ankle collar – with sand thrown into the mix this is just the place to start developing raw skin patches and that can make any run miserable pretty quickly. Secondly the toe guard is, more or less, centralised and therefore offers little or no protection to the big toe; the original Minimus addressed this with an offset guard that worked brilliantly, but for some reason this has now been rethought. And that’s a mistake in our opinion.
Slightly bruised big toes aside, the New Balance Minimus 1010V2 Trail shoe lived up to our (high) expectations. The weight is just 460g (pair, UK 8) a mere 50g heavier than the original Minimus but looking and feeling more substantially supportive and cushioned, and you won’t have to go to Run the Rann extremes to appreciate what an excellent ride the New Balance Minimus 1010V2 Trail delivers.
The New Balance Minimus 1010V2 Trail is available in two widths and either ‘kinetic blue’ with hi-viz yellow and orange or grey/orange colours. They retail at £79.99 and further details and online purchase can be found at newbalance.co.uk
This review, in adapted form, has also appeared on our sister site TriGear.co.uk