New Balance MT1010 Review

The New Balance Minimus Trail (MT10) is known for its sock-like fit, highly flexible sole, and minimal protection from sharp rocks. The New Balance MT1010 (also know as the Minimus Amp) aims to change that with a more generous fit in the forefoot, a much more aggressive lug pattern, a rockplate that provides ample protection, but still maintains the MT10’s ideals of lightweight minimalist trail running. [Note: You can learn additional details about the shoe in our New Balance MT1010 preview.]

New Balance MT1010

The New Balance MT1010.

When you first try on the shoe, you’ll notice much more roomy fit for natural toe splay. I found going a half size smaller worked well for most of my 1-2 hour runs, but I needed my regular 10.5 for ultra distances. The toebox is slightly pointed and features a suede-like toe cap with a few key overlays that provide a durable blister-free fit up front. The midfoot and heel are looser than the MT10, but still provide a good firm fit. Overlays are thin and precise and add to the lightweight feeling of the shoe. A heel counter is included, but it is a very flexible plastic piece that accommodates a variety of foot types.

New Balance MT1010 - upper

The New Balance MT1010’s upper.

Throughout the product development process the Revlite midsole was wear tested at different durometers, and eventually a firmer formula won out. In general, the MT1010 is a bit more cushioned than the original Minimus, but it is far from mushy. Where this shoe shines is in the responsive rockplate and super grippy lugs. The forefoot experience is spot on and gives a solid blend of proprioception, protection, and grip. The added rockplate definitely extends the range of the Minimus Amp for minimalist ultrarunners, but it does not lend any extra features like arch support or extra heel cushion found in other minimalist ultra shoes. In fact, the arch is comprised of three foam lugs that create the barefoot sensation of a “floating arch.” Grip is maximized through 19 lugs with sharp ridges locking in immediately on impact. The spacing between the lugs kicks in two fold in soft terrain, and provides solid grip everywhere from Pacific Northwest mud to Colorado scree to California silt to Appalachian rock fields. All these features come together to give a combination of grip, proprioception, protection, flexibility, and freedom.

New Balance MT1010 - outsole

The New Balance MT1010 outsole. (Note: The production model uses a Vibram outsole.)

The Minimus line is founded on the ideals of low drop, flexibility, and proprioception in a lightweight package. The MT1010 brings these ideals to runners that find themselves on rocky trails with long distance ambitions. The shoe retails for $110 while it weighs in at 7.5 ounces with a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)

Since the MT1010 is already trickling onto the market, we should be able to have lots of feedback from reader. So…

  • What are the New Balance MT1010’s strengths?
  • What are the MT1010’s weaknesses?

[Editor’s Note: The reviewer is a New Balance athlete who we feel was able to provide insight into the development of the shoe as well as an extremely in-depth account of the differences between the MT1010 and the MT10 based on a large amount of actual mileage that other runners have not yet be able to log.]

There are 210 comments

  1. Sarah

    I'm returning my 1010s because the upper has torn away from the side of the shoe. The customer service person said they hadn't had any reports about this issue and thought I had a defective pair. They are sending me a new pair (which is really nice of them, thanks New Balance) This makes me wonder though if its a defect in the design.

  2. Dom

    The monomesh has less stretch than the original, and the fit feels a bit different with the heavier sole. 1010v2 review in a couple months?

  3. Rob C.

    Great feedback from everyone here on the 1010. I wanted to chime in with a late addition to the discussion, particularly around the durability of the upper. Like other commenters, I had the toe rip open just above the overlay on the medial side of the shoe after just two runs in them in the Shenandoahs (about 50 miles total).

    Fortunately, I called NB and they're going to replace them at no charge. Hopefully the 1010v2 upper is a bit tougher than the first edition.

  4. Timm

    I am doing the Spartan Ultra Beast in Vermont in September, I need a light weight trail running shoe that works for a neutral runner. I am looking at this shoe as a possible race shoe. So what we are talking about is steep hills, rocky steep paths, of course of course mud. Can you give me your thoughts or maybe you have a better recommendation.

  5. paolo

    Great shoe but the upper mash it is literally vaporizing after 100 miles of EASY trails and beach. Unbelievable for a 100 bucks shoe. Clearly materials are defective here.

    1. Andy

      Mine have typically vaporized in way less than 100 miles. A pair of the brand new 1010 v2s are on their way from NB as we speak, supposedly with better durability. We shall see …

      1. Dutch

        I have ~100 miles on a pair of the v2's and I really like them so far. The uppers seem durable and thus far show no sign of wear – I'm hoping this will continue to be the case.

  6. rms

    The vibram pods started ripping off on my 3rd run with the v2, after about 30 miles. I returned them for a refund and got a pair of the PI M2 (a decent shoe, but clunky compared to the v2). The new upper looked fine to me, but not definitively fixing the highly vulnerable sole pods after the disastrous v1 still has me rolling my eyes in disappointment. I recommend against this shoe if you are taking them on rocky trails. Maybe the v3 will fix the sole design *eyeroll*

    1. Andy

      I think the biggest issue with the NB shoes is quality control. I've had carnage of the upper in every pair (I've probably gone thru at least 5), some of them in the first 30 miles, but the pods have generally stayed put, even on rocky/rooty New England trails. I know many others have had issues with the pods peeling off, and it's so disappointing to hear they have not gotten it right yet.

      For what it's worth, I've been enjoying the LS Helios. It's way more cushy with much less ground feel than the 1010, but definitely not "clunky."

    2. money B

      bummer – i've had two pairs of the MT1010s but haven't had any issue with the pods. i actually love the grippy pods and rock plate combination, but haven't been able to prevent the upper from tearing in the same place as the others after a few months.

      it sounds like they've seemingly solved the problem with the V2 uppers, but the extra ounce of added weight has me thinking…

  7. firwave

    Help! My beloved 1010v2's are hard to impossible to find now. The quest continues to find a similar shoe as it seems the industry is going away from minimal running shoes. Any suggestions to a similar shoe to the 1010's? Need to be minimal cushion, foot shaped wide toe box, low drop, and dry quick. Suggestions?

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