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, Race Director for the Mark Twain 100, 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. Andrew Guthrie

    I have owned NB 790 and I enjoyed the minimalist structure and light weight. I would love try the MT100's and see if they are an improvement on that design.

    Send some my way!

    Andrew

    Edmond, OK

  2. Jason Contino

    These shoes seam pretty sick. I am wondering how they would do as a light hiker. I am going to be backpacking in New Mexico all summer and need a new pair of trail runner/light hikers.

    Jason

    State College, PA

  3. BK

    Great review. I appreciate the thoroughness and relevance of the content. I run in NB 875s and have been interested in trying the MT's. I understand that they revamped it slightly over the winter to make some minor improvements. Happy to see a first hand perspective on the features and lack thereof. Looking for size 11.5!

    Bret Kinsella

    Leesburg, VA

  4. Elijah Rossi

    I'd love to try a pair of these. I do most of my running in xc flats or barefoot. The beafiest shoe I use is only for longer runs and its the NB 840. A 10.5 or 11 would really hit the spot!

    Poquoson, VA

    I like it in the dirt!

  5. Tarzan Sutton

    I bought a pair of New Balance 840's this spring and am training for my first Ultra, a 50 miler! Huge fan of this site, Ive told my friends about it as well! This shoe may be the Perfect Shoe……see you on the trails!

    1. tracy h.

      I have trouble with a lot of trail shoes being too structured, stiff and heavy. I have trail races in the NB790's and I love them, so light, flexible and good for the toes to get a grip on smooth trails. These new MT 100s would be super fun to try at Kettle Moraine in WI, or Tecumseh trail marathon, IN, or Big Bend 50K.

  6. Jason

    Gig Harbir, WA.

    Sign me up. I've had mixed results with NB shoes. I'm taking a recent interest in lower profile shoes (like many others) as I contemplate the accuracy of Born To Run and what I can take away from it.

  7. Bob Holzhauer

    Byron,

    Bob Holzhauer, Fairfax, VA – Size 12. I really need something thats tough enough to replace the 07 Blurs. For the guy that asked if they'd be okay for a 200 pounder, wait'll he sees a "superclyde" coming down the trail. I'm hovering around 230… BTW, The Vasque Mindbender's soles got "soft" and the whole upper seemed loose by the end of the 24 hour race (100km) on May 1st. I admittedly wore the same pair for the entire time to see how they'd hold up. One of the reasons I liked the Blurs was a light shoe with a stiff sole that protected my feet from broken shale.

    1. Conrad

      I would like to try these out for a few hundred miles on some spring/summer single track.

      ~Conrad

      Silver Spring, MD

    1. Michael Helton

      I wore MT100's for about 6 months (up to a 5 hour run) and they were my goto shoe for all trail running (until I absolutely fell in love with Flite 230's). Fast, light, and plenty of protection.

      -run a bit more narrow than I like (I have bunions) but I just get them a size big and no issues.

      -the laces are awesome

      -the top of the heel destroyed many people's achilles but I had no issues when wearing Drymax socks

      -front of both outsoles cracked after about 300 miles, but no further structural damage

      -great grip on all dry terrain

      -very breathable and dry fast. However, the airy mesh does let in a high amount of fine dust (if you have that where you run)

      -Insole is NOT replacable, so if you wear through it the shoes may be tossers

      Overall awesome trail shoe and my second favorite. I would love another pair to replace my worn ones.

  8. Ben

    Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please

    Ben Reeves

    Highlands Ranch, CO

    Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,Please,

    :-)

    Any extra consideration for being annoying?

  9. Lloyd Sifford

    No one in town carries these shoes, so I haven't even tried them on yet. Would love to try a pair!

    I have been running some in Brooks Mach 11s on the road and a dirt path. Not a bad shoe, but too minimal for me at this point. Almost feels like it has a negative heel.

    Lloyd Sifford

    Charleston, SC

  10. Matt Biggin

    Count me in. Great product but it doesn't get stocked over this side of the Atlantic so would be great to try it out on our fabulous trails.

    (in the UK so will cover any postage costs should I be lucky enough to win)

  11. Paps

    They feel like there's not much holding me in on steep descents and they stink after a few sockless runs, but I love them!

    David

    Vancouver BC

  12. Umesh S

    Thanks for the excellent in-depth review -really perked my interest in these shoes.

    I've just started running on trails and am currently running in an old pair of asics. These shoes definitely look more suited to the kind of running conditions I expect to encounter and would love to try them out.

    Cheers.

    Umesh

    Houston, Tx

  13. Jeff Gallo

    I really want a pair of these, I just moved from southern, coastal VA back to Long Island. I live very near a state park with some fun trails, so i'm looking for a good minimal trail shoe. I noticed these disappeared from NB's website, I hope the 101 will be as good!

    Jeff

    Kings Park

  14. Chris Luck

    Looks like I have about 20 minutes left to enter this drawing!! While I am brand loyal to NB for all of my road racing shoes, I haven't been tempted to try their trail shoes. Maybe getting a free pair will head me in that direction. Thanks… Chris Luck Whitefield, NH

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