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 318 comments

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. Tracey, Colorado Spr

    I love love love these shoes! I've worn them on everything from dirt to rocks to roots to snow to scree and even some pavement. The rock plate is amazing. I can still feel the ground, but nothing pointy or painful–exactly what I want in a minimal shoe.

  6. MikeC

    I have a pair of these. Bought them after nearly getting frostbitten toes trying to run in the winter with Five Fingers shoes. Love these shoes. They aren't as low to the ground as the Vasque transistor, but feel much lighter. The laces are GREAT, such a small thing that I really like. Mine are starting to smell, would love a new pair!

  7. Ryan

    I'd love a new pair of 100's….they would be put to good use on the trails out here!

    Ellicott city, Maryland. US.

  8. Thomas Tan

    I have never worn a "minimalist"trail running shoe. My current trail shoe is Brooks Cascadia. I like it because it is very flexible for a variety of terrain and provides good protection. Come to think about, based on the NB MT/WT100 review by Travis, it sounds like Cascadia and MT100 have many similarities with the latter being a much lighther shoe

    Thomas,

    Newcastle, WA

  9. Gene Edwards

    Hey Bryon,
    Great to see you hooking up with Travis on the reviews. His webisodes/reviews are always informative. Another great addition to irunfar.
    I have been wanting to try the MT100's since I am moving towards more minimalist shoes. Thanks again for a great site. Be back tomorrow, just like every other day!

    Gene from Audubon, NJ

  10. Dan Sears

    Have found these shoes to be one of my favorite go-to runners for up to 40 milers for all trails but the most muddy, gnarsty conditions. I wear mine with lightweight socks. Very natural trail feel and the rock plate rocks.

    Bellevue, WA

  11. Edward

    What sizes do you have available? New Balance is almost completely out of stock (online), as are most other retailers. I just ordered a 13 in the hope that it won't be too big, but I'm pessimistic.

    Edward

    Philadelphia, PA

    1. Bryon Powell

      I was not been made aware of any size restrictions when I checked in with NB a week or so ago. As for sizing, the shoes are the "correct" or standard size when worn sockless or with thin socks. You could always sock up if need be.

  12. jeremy

    great review yet again. i've been wanting to take these for a spin since i learned about them last year. they seem ideally suited to the typical shoe and style of running i love.

    anchorage, ak

  13. Beth Weisenborn

    Gettysburg, PA. After reading an early post on irunfar about the NB100, I decided to give them a try. They are sock-like compared to my other road shoes (NB and Brooks) and trail shoes (Brooks) and feel great. I worry a tad about covering rocky terrain in them, so I've stuck to more 'manicured' trails. They've worked well for me. I'd love a new pair.

  14. Christian

    I would love to try a pair. I've been looking all over for a pair in my size. I can't find them anywhere. Very limited size selection.

    Does anyone know why these shoes are so hard to find, or where I can find some?

    Thanks from Braselton, GA

  15. Valine

    I bought my Suunto T6c on the back of a review you did and I couldn't be happier. I'll definitely be subscribing to your reviews Travis. Thanks!

    V

    London, ENGLAND

  16. Chris Jaworski

    How is toe protection with the MT100?

    I'm interested in trying these shoes, as I've been hearing great things about them, just as I had been hearing great things about their predecessors.

  17. Colleen, Linden, VA

    I've worn the NB 904s and loved them so I am very interested to see how these shoes compare. Would love to be able to try them out.

    Colleen

    Linden,VA

  18. Ted

    I would love to try a pair of these out on the rocky trails up here in the Northeast … keeping my fingers crossed.

    Ted Darling

    South Berwick, Maine

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