New Balance Minumus Line: A Sneak Peak

Flying New Balance logoFolks are really excited about New Balance’s forthcoming Minimus line. We think there are a few reasons for that. First, it’s a major brand’s foray into the whole minimalist running thing. Second, it follows on the success of New Balance’s introduction of the MT 100 last year. Third, the Minimus line (like the MT101/101 before it) was designed with significant input from top ultramarathoner Anton Krupicka. Below is a video in which Anton talks about many topics, such as the simplicity of running, how he came to start shaving the heels off his shoes, what minimalist running can (and can’t) do for you, and what its like being sponsored by New Balance. As a bonus, the video is very well put together with great images. You can also see the full Minimus running shoe, including its sick Vibram outsole.

Check out the full New Balance article for a written interview with Krupicka and senior designer Chris Wawrousek. They discuss how New Balance found Anton and Kyle Skaggs and why the company started working with them a few years after researching ultramarathoners, who were “grueling along.”

In the written article, Wawrousek also shares how the MT 100 started as a racing shoe for Krupicka and Skaggs, but had to be watered down for the broader market. The timing for such a minimalist shoe wasn’t yet right. Here’s a great quote, “So, a lot of what we had talked about with Tony and Kyle and the origins of the 100 – the 100 itself didn’t really live up to all of those ideas, but when we were able to free ourselves up and do NB Minimus, a lot of the seeds had been planted with the 100.”

New Balance MT 100 vs Minimus

Anton Krupicka comparing the New Balance MT 100 vs Minimus.

A later question about Krupicka’s personal modifications of the NB 790 and MT 100 yields reinforces that just a year or two ago, companies were bound by consumers’ concept of the running shoe. Now, after Born to Run, a company such as New Balance can move forward with radical designs.

The second half of the article goes into the nuts and bolts of how Krupicka was involved in developing the Minimus line. In the most telling question (and answer), in our minds, Anton was asked, “Is the feedback you’re giving [for the Minimus], Tony, geared toward making a better shoe for racing, for training or just for running?” Krupicka responded “The 100 is kind of a racing shoe that I’ll use for long runs, and the NB Minimus is something I’ll use more as a training tool. Over the last few months, I’ve begun to gear my feedback to the two shoes with that in mind.”

If you’re looking for more detailed shots of the Minimus trail shoes, they’re up over here.

Call for Comments
What are your thoughts on New Balance’s Minimus line? What did you think of the video and interview?

New Balance Minimus outsole

A sneak peak at the New Balance Minimus outsole.

There are 19 comments

  1. Kovas Palubinskas

    I've been kind of down on NB for a few years, after many years of loving their shoes. This kind of attempt to reinvent themselves and reach for a niche market will have me looking at them once again. Loved the video, though it seemed an outtake of something longer perhaps.

  2. Nick

    I agree with Kovas; I was out with NB for a while after their quality seemed to tank (based on my experience). However, I gave them another try with the MT100 and absolutely fell in love. While I do my long runs and races in Vasques (I don't quite have legs and feet of steel like Anton), I keep my MT100s in my car as my everyday training shoe for any run shorter than 20 miles. I'll be giving the Minimus a try for sure.

  3. Joe Gerard

    I like New Balances comitment to American Workers. I just bought some NB's recently and I was so happy to see they are made in the USA. Way to go NB.

    1. David

      @Joe Gerard

      My NB MT100's clearly say MADE IN CHINA. While I believe there are 1 or 2 NB plants in the U.S., I believe you are confusing Made in the USA with assembled in the USA.

      I think NB is purposely misleading consumers.

      1. Mike Norton

        New Balance has 6 plants in the US with about 5 shoes made in the US. New Balance is the only shoe company making athletic shoes in the US be it made or assembled

  4. mtnrunner2

    Enjoyable video.

    One of my all-time favorite shoes was the slipper-like NB 828 of many years ago, which was a light neutral cushioned shoe. Then, everyone started using clunky heels and motion control. Ugh. For years I jumped around from shoe to shoe until settling on the Brooks Cascadia because it's essentially a neutral cushioned trail shoe. Love it.

    However, I do look forward to trying out the Minumus. Bonus for Boulder-area runners: I bet they're Green Mountain rated ;)

  5. frank

    For many.. the NB 100/101 and the Minumus Line of shoes don't work.. I guess the logic is if you have wide feet take up another sport.. i am not sure.. but after 17 or so Ultras.. it would be nice to run in something a bit lighter..

    Tony is right about one thing.. there is more to this then the shoes.. it is getting up every freaking cold winter morning.. and running to the top of Green Mountain.

    or something like that..

    1. Ken

      Frank,

      Agreed that it's frustrating for us wide-footers that many companies seem to only have "normal" sizes; and really isn't the whole minimal/barefoot running concept support to allow the forefoot to expand as it increases in contact pressure?

      I've been on New Balances for a while now, with generally good success although I like many would like to get more weight off the feet. My latest purchase that I have yet to receive in the mail is my attempt at getting there (for wide feet): The New Balance 507, specifically the RX507RG which is a very minimal-TYPE shoe but for cross country. The RG variant has rubber spikes instead of ceramic or metal, it's under 7oz (!!!!) and… it comes in WIDE sizes. As far as I can tell, it's an MT100/101 for wide footers. Again, I haven't received mine yet, but this might be an option for you. Plus, at newbalandwebexpress (.com) they're under $50; I got mine for $44 on sale with free shipping. Really. Ugly as heck, but who cares?

      1. Tony Mollica

        I like NB shoes because they do have wide sizes. My feet seem to have gotten wider as I've aged. I wear NB trail and road shoes. Plus I wear NB as my work (I'm a PE teacher) and every day shoes.

        I liked the video with Anton and enjoy following Anton's career on iRunfar! I enjoyed the video; although it stopped and started when it played which is annoying. Bryon the videos you make are superior to the ones NB makes. Maybe you could give them some pointers?

  6. David

    Exactly, 5 shoe models out of what? A 1000 or more? Albeit more than other shoe companies still nothing worthy of them touting a Made in USA motto other than for their misleading marketing use. Don't get me wrong I like the shoes, but the whole china/usa thing is left a little unclear.

  7. Heidi Dietrich

    I love my WT 100s and ran all of White River 50 in them with no foot issues at all. I'm psyched to try the new NB products.

  8. Rod Bien

    I have tried these shoes recently (there will be 3 in the "minimalism" line) and my first impression was that I was very, very impressed. I think with a product like the 5 Fingers, most folks (with less than perfect biomechanics) have a better chance of getting injured than of getting the benefit. I think that these shoes are a nice natural progression from more of an "outlier" product. More people will be able to use and get the benefit from a very minimal style footwear. I booked them for our shop the day I first saw them and cannot wait to get them in and start doing easy workouts and cool down runs in them.

    On another note, the new NB 101 is a far, far superior product than the former NB 100. Much better upper and a more substantial rock plate makes it fit and feel better on tougher trails. As always, just my two cents….

  9. Andrew

    I don't understand why everybody is so concerned about where their shoes are made. I couldn't care less if my shoes were made in the USA or China. As long as the shoes are made well with quality materials, its all the same to me.

  10. Barry

    David, it matters a great deal where the goods are made. We've lost hundreds of thousands of quality jobs to overseas manufacturers. Sooner or later we pay for it, we have to care for the unemployed, homeless, and others.

    Some New Balance shoes are made entirely in the USA, you have to look for the label. They are all I buy because I care about other Americans and our economy.

    Buy American, it's the right thing to do.

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