Published on June 23, 2014
New Balance Minimus Zero v2
RunningMonkey spent the early part of this year putting the excellent New Balance Minimus 1010v2 trail shoes through their paces (our review here), not least on test in the remote deserts of north west India. Back in the less hostile UK we switched to the roads to see if the New Balance Minimus Zero v2 would impress us as much…
Whilst the 1010v2 features a 4mm heel-to-toe drop the Minimus Zero v2, as the same suggests, is designed as a complete flat – as close to barefoot, at least position-wise, as you can get. Zero drop encourages, basically demands, a forefoot strike and those unfamiliar with the barefoot experience would be wise to transition slowly; it’s a process that initially tears up the calves and without strategy to cope it can be a disheartening – and painful – journey.
However the Minimus Zero v2 does its upmost to mitigate the inherent dangers and those who already barefoot run or forefoot strike will find much to admire in this superbly designed road shoe. There is a surprising degree of cushioning from the REVlite midsole – 30% lighter than most traditional foams, the use of REVlite has allowed New Balance to lay up thicker whilst keeping the shoe’s overall weight down to a whisper-light 134g (pair, UK size 8). Not quite a spring to the step, but enough (minimalist) bounce to take the impact out of the pavement.
The shoe’s upper is formed from a single piece, which includes an asymmetric gusseted tongue (open to the outer foot) and constructed from FantomFit a fabric formed by fusing together a thin mesh and a slightly thicker inner layer. The fabric, like the REVlite, helps keep down weight but worked well, we found, in maintaining overall shape and shoe integrity. Inside it felt perfectly comfortable against the sock and with seams in place only where the heel cup is reinforced there was nothing to rub or chafe.
The forefoot of the Minimus Zero v2 is slightly wider than expected but the overall volume of the toe box felt snug and comfortable even on longer run. There’s nothing in the way of an ‘Achilles notch’ (the indent often found at the rear of the heel) which is a personal preference, particularly when it comes to the more pointed-toe forefoot strike, but comfort here was still more than adequate.
The outsole is, of course, Vibram and the multi-directional grip – flat(ish), concentric circles for the most part – feels well judged for the road, even in wet conditions.
If you’re looking for a barefoot shoe then New Balance Minimus Zero v2 ticks pretty much all of the right boxes; the weight is superb, the shoe comfortable and the price (around £75) can’t be argued with. It’s available in two colour-ways: black/blue/green and blue/yellow in UK sizes 6.5 to 13.5
Further details and online purchase at newbalance.co.uk