New Balance MT100-WT100 Review

Over the past year, New Balance’s MT100 (men’s) and WT100 (women’s) have gathered quite a following among fans of minimalist trail shoes. Designed with the help of Anton Krupicka and the Skaggs brothers, there aren’t a lot of extras on these shoes. Watch the following video for a closer look at this lightweight, trail-worthy shoe. As with future video reviews on iRunFar, you can also skip ahead to written summary of the video review.

[Editor’s Note: We’re afraid this video has been lost to the ether.]

[This is the first of what we hope will be many Trail Trials with Travis Liles video reviews here on iRunFar. He’s previously produced great video reviews on FlatlandUltra.com and, more recently, at his website, RunTheUltras.com. We’re excited that he’s joined the iRunFar family.

You can now subscribe to all of iRunFar’s video content via iTunes or via RSS for non-iTunes users. You can also subscribe to audio-only versions of iRunFar’s podcasts via RSS.]

New Balance MT100/WT100 Review
The New Balance MT100/WT100 (hereinafter MT100 for simplicity’s sake) is an evolution of the New Balance 790. It’s a marquee shoe in the current set of low profile trail shoes. A men’s size 9 tips the scale at a mere 7 ounces and change. Be aware that you’re wallet will weigh more than after buying most other trail shoes as the MSRP is a mere $75. For the over eager, iRunFar has previously shared a sneak peak at the MT101/WT101 due out late in 2010. Below, we’ll look at the shoe’s outsole, midsole, and upper.

Outsole
The MT100’s outsole is trail specific, but is suitable for some road running. The shoe is particular adept on packed dirt. It is not the shoe of choice for sloppy mud.

New Balance MT100 outsole

The New Balance MT100's lightweight, trail-worthy outsole.

The foremost half of the outsole features lugs a few millimeters thick. Minimally textured rubber stretches from the arch back to the heel, which is home to the shoe’s most significant lugs for braking. The outsole features circular cutouts that reduce weight.

Midsole
The MT100 has a single density midsole, meaning that the shoe does not have a post for pronation control. On the other hand, the midsole is raised on both the inside and outside of the midfoot. This results in a fair amount of support for the shoe’s weight.

New Balance MT100 midsole

The New Balance MT100's surprisingly supportive midsole.

The Rock Stop rockplate sandwiched between the outsole and midsole offers decent push-through protection in the forefoot and midfoot. The TPU plate does, however, mean that the shoe is a bit stiffer in the forefoot than some comparable models and creates a pivot point at the rear of the rockplate.

Upper
The upper is primarily mesh backed by lightweight fabric and has minimal overlays. These combine to provide a sock like feel that gives the foot room to wiggle around. However, the upper also does not offer much lateral support, which can be problematic on technical or switchbacking trail. The highly breathable fabric allows water to quickly drain from the shoe.

New Balance MT100 upper

The New Balance MT100's highly flexible upper.

The ankle collar and heel counter are made of a material akin to nerf foam. Unlike conventional shoes, there is no fabric covering the foam on the shoe’s exterior. Some users, including iRunFar’s Bryon Powell, have had the hard foam at the top of the Achilles notch slice into the skin covering the Achilles while running sockless. Other runners have experienced similar discomfort while wearing socks. If needed, the upper portion of the Achilles notch can be cut away. New Balance is aware of the problem and is addressing it in the MT101.

The MT100 also has a minimal tongue consisting of a single layer of the lightweight mesh/fabric combination that makes up much of the shoe. The “sausage like” Sure Laces keep the shoe secure and laces locked tight.

New Balance MT100/WT100 Giveaway

Well, we’ve given away the five pairs of New Balance’s MT100 or WT100. The winners are Jeremy Slatton of Barnhart, MO; Glen D of Shrub Oak, NY; David; Randy Snyder of Bismarck, ND; and Derek of Weybridge, VT.

Call for Comments/Questions
While the contest is as simple as noted above, we’d love some more info from our readers. If you’ve previously worn the MT100 or WT100, please let us know what you like about them? If you’ve worn other minimalist shoes, what do you like such shoes, in general, and what has you the most excited about the New Balance shoes?

As always, please ask any questions you might have about the shoes.

[Note regarding comments: We might delete all non-substantive, contest-entry comments after the contest concludes so as to make the remaining substantive comments more useful to future readers.]

[Disclosure: The Amazon link in this article is part of an affiliate program that helps support iRunFar. If you haven’t guessed, New Balance is providing the five pairs of MT100/WT100s.]

Travis Liles

resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a husband, father, and a technical specialist for a software company. In his spare time, he is exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest, getting more vertical but still not living in the thin air, while producing "Trail Trials with Travis Liles" video gear reviews for iRunFar.

There are 44 comments

  1. Tom

    I've blown through three pairs of these this year and must say they're the best minimalist shoes i've tried yet. They're best on semi-rocky terrain with significant elevation change (keeping you on your toes and thereby weighting the comfortable places on the last. Not great ifyouplan to run the bike paths regularly but the orange version will make you the envy of hipsters everywhere!

    Tom

    Pasadena, California

  2. Brandon Platt

    I've been following Anton since 2006, and to have a pair of shoes with his collaboration would be inspiring.

    Brandon

    Georgetown, KY

  3. Paul Charteris

    I still think that New Balance should have named these shoes "The Anton". I would be super-keen on trying these shoes. My NB790's (which I have worn in to the ground) are the perfect minimalist trail shoe but they lack grippiness in the sole for wet, steep and technical terrain. These new shoes look like they'll solve that problem perfectly.

    Thanks for listening to the running public New Balance.

    Cheers, Paul Charteris

    – New Zealand

  4. Zsuzsanna Carlson

    I like that it doesn't have a post to prevent pronation. I want to pronate.

    Zsuzsanna Carlson

    Jersey City, NJ

  5. Bob Tucker

    Bob Tucker, Santa Barbara, California

    One thing I love about NB is that some models (not sure about the MT100-WT100) are manufacture or assembled in the good old USA!!!!

    Great review! Thanks

  6. John Mossman

    The MT-100s are dope, but I love how even as minimalist as they are, more than a couple runners I know have still felt the need to shave some rubber off of the heel. I have not been able to try them out yet, but I want to really bad.

    John Mossman in Edwardsville, IL.

  7. mary

    I'm a new balance girl for road running – but haven't tried the trail shoes yet. Review makes me rethink my other trail shoes!
    Mary Rogers of Springfield, Illinois !

  8. C Weaver

    Have been wanting to get my hands on a pair of these. Alas, I'm a poor college student and haven't been able to shell out the cash on a pair of shoes of whose durability I'm still a little uncertain. Would love to give them a test.

    Casey Weaver

    Carbondale, CO

    Colorado Springs, CO

  9. Spencer King

    The 790's were my favorite shoes, I wore my last pair for an entire year until the upper ripped off mid run! just bought a pair of La Sportivia Skylites as a replacement hoping they would be similar, they feel like hiking boots! I should file them under $100 mistakes. I have heard great things about the MT 100, and could really use a pair as I have a race in less then a month (Rothrock challenge on June 5th) with no money to buy new shoes and don't like the idea of running 30k in a pair of skylites.

    Spencer King
    Scranton Pa

  10. Nick

    I'm trying to decide what my next pair of trailrunners will be. My Salomons are beyond dead. I would love to try these.

    Nick Chalupa

    Somerville, MA

  11. Anonymous

    I've never worn NB, but I'd certainly give them a try. I like that they look like they'd be great on a trail without being too heavy and bulky.

    Jill, Montauk, NY

  12. Jill Robins

    I’ve never worn NB, but I’d certainly give them a try. I like that they look like they’d be great on a trail without being too heavy and bulky.

    Jill Robins

    Montauk, NY

  13. Jeff F

    Excellent review. I was about 95% convinced to switch from Mizuno Wave Ascend 4s to the NB MT100s before this review. Now I'm sure I want a pair.

    Jeff Faulkner

    Beaver Dams, NY

  14. Rich Sudz

    Last year I bought a pair of New Balance 749's after many pairs of Brooks Adrenalines ASR's. They felt great in the store and I loved the fact that they were made in the U.S.A. ultimately they didn't work for me on the trail but I would love to give N.B. another chance with the MT100's. I have heard many positive things from some friends about them, as well as the review.

  15. Jason H.

    I've had a pair of MT100's for about 6 months now and have put on almost 200 miles, mostly trail, and have really liked them. They are super light and comfortable. Certainly nothing like my, now extinct and former favorite shoe the Montrail Hardrock. I am still trying to decide if I will buy another pair of these when this pair wears out. Longest races this shoe have been half marathons, but that is only because I don't want to commit to a bigger race in this shoe until I am certain my feet can handle it. I think they are getting close.

    Thanks for the great shoe review!

  16. David

    I wore these shoes in the most recent Ice Age 50 and loved them. The trail had a few technical sections and the shoes did well on those. The trail even had some mud and the shoes cruised through them. I did receive a blister on the lateral surface of each third toe, but did not have an achilles problems. I would recommend them for racing certainly up to 50 miles and I will try them at this years Old Dominion 100 too.

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