New Balance MT110 Preview

New Balance has had a string of hits with lightweight and minimalist trail shoes. From the MT100 to the MT101 and, most recently, the Minimus Trail. In January 2012, New Balance will release the MT110/WT110 ($85), its follow up to the popular MT101 that will include a number of features from NB’s Minimus line. We thought you’d like some preliminary info on the MT110.

[Here’s our full MT110 review as well as our in-depth Making of the MT110 article with Anton Krupicka and Erik Skaggs interviews. We highly recommend reading all three pieces.]

New Balance MT110

The New Balance MT110 (men's).

Minimalist Construction

With the MT110, New Balance has brought minimalist principles to its flagship line of lightweight trail shoes. First off, the MT110 will be made on the company’s natural running last, which debuted in this year’s Minimus line. The natural running last encourages a mid-foot strike while featuring a wide forefoot for natural toe splay. Second, New Balance has dropped the heel-toe drop from the MT101’s 10mm to a mere 4mm in the MT110. The shoes have a stack height 19mm at the heel and 15mm at the toe. In addition, both the men’s MT110 and women’s WT110 will be available in wide sizes from the outset! So while this is not a “barefoot shoe,” it’s sure to please many a minimalist shoe fan.

At least on the spec sheets, at 7.7 ounces for a US men’s 9, the MT110 are slightly heavier than the MT101’s 7.5 ounces. Still, that’s quite light for a “lightweight trail racer” that many folks will undoubtedly wear as an everyday trainer.

The MT110 features a two-piece upper. There’s a lightweight, synthetic, laser cut outer layer for support and a soft interior lining. The heel counter has been “redesigned,” which, considering the minimal counter on the MT101, could actually mean that one’s been added. Moving further away from the heel chafing issues of the MT100, the interior lining has been brought up and over the top of the heel for comfort. The tongue will essentially be the same as found in the MT101.

New Balance WT110

The New Balance WT110 (women's version).

Additional Construction Details

  • As with the Minimus line, the insole will be non-removable.
  • There’s a full forefoot rockplate albeit a thin one.
  • The outsole only has rubber applied to high wear areas as found with athlete testing of the MT101.
New Balance MT110 WT110 outsole

The New Balance WT110's outsole

Additional Notes
We’ve seen the MT110 out at the Hardrock 100 where a competitor wore them for the entire race as well as at another race this summer. Since full reviews will be going up so soon, we feel comfortable sharing that the MT110 held up well although, unsurprisingly, they may have been “a little thin” for 100 miles over incredibly difficult terrain.

New Balance MT110

The New Balance MT110 after completing the Hardrock 100.

Call for Comments
What do you think of the forthcoming New Balance MT110?

There are 130 comments

  1. Mary Arnold

    Very excited about this shoe, as I was a fan of the MT101. Have to know though how much push-though protection does the rockplate provide, given the holes in the sole? Also, how about the upper? Is it monomesh or traditional? Wondering how much it would keep dirt and gravel out.

  2. Patrick Cawley

    I have really been looking forward to news about the MT110. In particular (and like Mary above), I am curious about the push-through protection offered by the rock plate. I love the Minimus Trail, but I sustained a nasty stone bruise while running on mere gravel. Once that healed, I gave them another try and it happened again. If that happens on gravel, I cannot imagine wearing them on real rocks and roots. So, is the MT110 a real trail shoe?

  3. Adrian

    This is all very exciting. I love the look of them. I know, that's a bit silly and vain but they really do look cool. There are some shoes (which I shouldn't mention lest I upset sponsors) which look like they're out of a 1980s hair band video – I just can't take them seriously. Maybe NB went overboard and is making them look too future-y but what the hell, I like it.

    More substantially, I also like that they're selling a slightly beefier trail shoe than the Minimus with all the bells (like a rock plate and bigger lugs) but with the very low heel drop. I've heard so many positive things about the MT100 and MT101, I'm confident that this could be a big winner for them.

  4. Panos from Greece

    I am in love with the MT101 (european version), and i am really curious how much better a minimalistic trail shoe can be.

    But those holes in the outsole are not a good sign

  5. briderdt

    If they've fixed the inward sweep at the little toes on their Minimus last, I'll be first in line for something like this. As it stands, though, they may define the forefoot as "wide", but it cramps my toes.

  6. Anton K

    I'm sure Bryon will be able to answer all of these questions after he picks up a pair at OR this week–and I obviously have a big bias towards this shoe–but my thoughts:

    The upper is a laser-cut synthetic leather; it keeps dirt/gravel out at least as well or better than your standard mesh upper w/ synthetic overlays. It is also very supportive and durable. It was basically untouched after 100+ uber-gnarly miles at Hardrock and I have put over 500 miles on a pair with zero breakdown in the upper.

    This shoe is really–again, in my biased opinion–a perfect mix of the positive elements from the 100/101 and Minimus series. The Minimus last means a 4mm drop, broad forefoot, and a sock-like fit through the mid foot and heel. The protection in the forefoot–because of the 100-style rock plate–is at least as good as in the 100/101 and to me it feels even better probably because of the increased rubber lug depth. The protection is not at all comparable to the Trail Minimus, which I would deem more of a "barefoot-simulation tool" than a shoe that I would be comfortable racing 100 miles in.

    The 101 simply didn't have deep enough lugs for optimal traction and this shoe corrects that. The 110 also uses a softer rubber compound for better sticky rubber traction on rock and wet surfaces, which the 101 was terrible at. Also, all the blister/achilles trouble (I had it too) with the 100/101 collar/heel counter is completely gone. This shoe has a more traditional but very minimal collar/heel counter.

    And, all this at 7oz and for only $85. Again–my bias–but it's the best mountain/trail shoe I've ever worn in terms of performance/function. My buddy who wore them at Hardrock is the only person I know who is as big of a shoe geek as me and while he could wear any shoe on the market to race in this summer he couldn't resist the opportunity to wear the 110 because he deemed it to be simply the best tool for the job. I think a lot of other people who are tuned in to their footstrike and what their bodies are doing while running will agree. While I've really liked the lightweight protection of the MT100/101, there were always a couple issues that prevented me from giving it a full-fledged endorsement of "best shoe I've worn". Those issues have largely been corrected (I'm a nit-picker, though, and there are always improvements to be had) and I am entirely comfortable assigning it that label.

  7. BJ

    Slightly disappointed about the $10 price bump compared to the 101's but love the idea of a more durable upper. I've blown out the mesh on every pair of 100's/101's I have other than my new pairs.

  8. Dan

    These do look mighty fine indeed!

    I'm in the UK running a mix of road, track, some field, bridlepaths to footpaths, then some road again.

    Would this be appropriate or is this more truly off-road? Would road running in trail shoes for the first/last 10 miles knacker the tread too much, or am I better off with simply making my routes more trail-y?

    Anyone care to chime in on this?

  9. Christopher Whelchel

    Well Anton, I sure hope you like them since I'm sure you played a huge part in the design :-)

    Love the MT101 but the new tread pattern appears to a tad more aggressive, which I personally welcome. I had trouble up in Idaho during the Dry Creek 1/2 Marathon due to slippery conditions in the 101's and was thinking a bit more traction could make these perfect for occasional muddy encounters.

    I consider myself a bit of shoe geek as well so I raise my glass to others like me out there on the trails!

  10. dominic

    Tony said they were thinner, but I do believe that toe looks a bit thicker that the 101. Maybe the 110 is little thinner in the heel. At any rate, I never felt that 10mm drop as being all that big of a deal because I usually put 1,000 miles or so on a pair and when you compress the sole down 50%, the drop also decreases 50% due to consistent compression rates. 20/10 at the start is a 10mm drop but it then goes to 10/5 which is a 5mm drop. At any rate, get these shoes out there! I think this will leave some peregrines on the shelf ;)

      1. dominic

        The terrain and distance I run through compresses just about every inch of that shoe, but I'll eventually get out some callipers one day and figure out an accurate answer.

    1. Bryon Powell

      I suggest flying out to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer show and then mugging a journalist during our run in the MT110s Friday morning. However, there may be better ways.

  11. Brenton

    Can't wait for the release. Seems to be a great mix between the Minimus and the 101s. I've been anxiously awaiting these. Thanks Bryon for the preview. And Tony for the additional info.

  12. Martin

    I broke my second metatarsal after stepping on a rock with my forefoot in Trail Gloves. This cooled down my minimalist zeal a bit, but I haven't been afraid to run in MT101s (haven't tried the Minimus yet) since then as the rockplate is pretty good, though fairly light. Hope this is not changing.

    Lowering the heel is very much the right step:) as it felt high and I hope the toe area gets a bit wider. If the padding stays about the same as in 101s, this could be my dream shoe.

  13. Dave Bales

    I'm stoked! These sound great, but am I the only person who thinks that these look horrible? What's up with the silver bling crap?

  14. Stephen

    Can you tell me how narrow these are? I'm not sure if it's the angle on the last picture but they look pretty tight in the toe box.

  15. Aaron

    Sounds good. I'm really looking forward to these as well. The chrome-like sheen is neat too. And Anton's approbation, sponsorship bias notwithstanding, is not to be taken lightly.

    1. Panos from Greece

      Hello Leah

      No it does not have a rock plate.

      It has more cushion and a more aggresive outsole, thus better grip.

      This is the european version: [broken link removed]

  16. Joel Aaron

    They kind of look like they belong in an early 70's David Bowie video. 'Ziggy ran real far…'

    Either that or Buck Rogers. But I'll probably buy them since it sounds like they fixed the things that kept me from buying the 101s and also because I love David Bowie.

  17. Spencer

    It is thicker than the mt 101, which is why I am a cautious about it. I like stiff shoes, that are thin, that allow you to bomb hills. I usually run in the mt10, or merrel trail glove on most of my runs, but any gnarly trails, meaning huge rocks, and lots I gravel I prefer something that will protect my feet. But once something begins to get really thick, I lose stability, and that is why I really don't like the mt 101 too much.

  18. Jason Nemecek

    I like my MT101s but as others have said the tread is a little weak even on gentle trails. I'm excited that they're widening the toebox. That's the only other complaint I have about the 101, my pinky toes get beat up because it's so narrow. I love the nice wide toebox of the Merrell Trail Gloves, and I hope that NB has a similar width in the toebox of the new MT110s.

    The colors look like ass though. I don't want reflective shoes. I'll be happy to get out for a muddy run as soon as I buy them.

  19. Andy

    Great stuff, like all have said, mixing the benefits of the Minimus Trail (which I have loved but agree the forefeet take a beating on rocks and especially gravel and crushed stone) and the 100/101. The top photo actually makes them look like they share some features with the Minimus Road, which although not a true minimalist shoe I have really loved for occasional forays onto blacktop.

    Don't really give a rat's ass about the colors (no offense to David Bowie), but the real question is: How do we get a pair before 2012 without mugging the press in SLC?!

  20. Andrew N

    I saw the 110 here in South Africa in the dingy back room at the local New Balance store…They look awesome but I have had enough of paying the equivalent of $ 115 for the 100, 101 and now 110 when you guys all seem to get them so much cheaper!

    (I'm still gonna get a pair though and I'm sure after my first few steps on my first run the extra $ will be forgotten…)

  21. Jordan

    Got a chance to try a pair out when we had a sales meeting at my store with NB. Fit is like the MT10 but without the narrow fitting metatarsal band. The secondary liner inside is just plain comfortable. The profile is of course very low but normal for those used to the 101's. Should be a phenomenal shoe at $85. I'm secretely hoping it kills the MT10 in the end since that will be going up to $105 next year and the minimus trail zero will be $105 as well. Definitely the sleeper shoe for Spring 2012 after seeing all of the brands

  22. Joel

    Dear New Balance,

    Please make the obsidian/yellow colorway available alongside the silver colorway! Both are awesome, but it will be good to have that awesome dark option as well. I cannot wait for these, and dearly hope they will be out by November. I'm waiting – money in hand.

  23. Anton K

    For everyone concerned about the Z. Stardust-style colorways, have no fear. There are two men's colorways and two women's colorways (one for each of NB's Trail Ambassadors).

    The silver colorways shown here are the LH (Liza Howard) and the ES (Erik Skaggs–with a profile of the Siskiyous/Mt. Ashland on the insole). The black colorways are the AK (with Boulder's Green Mt./Flatirons on the insole–pictured on Joe's feet post-HR) and the BE (Brandy Erholtz–black w/ highlights of purple and lime green). The women also have their respective training grounds featured on the insole (San Antonio and Bailey, CO). All colorways should be equally available upon production, depending on whatever your local running shop brings in.

  24. Jeffrey Noel A.

    Thanks, Tony and Bryon!

    can't wait to get my hands on these. note taken on the bias thing, tony. I'm debating whether I should take a step back and get the 100's, as I went straight to the minimus trail when i picked it up 2 months ago (trained/and/ran with Saucony's Xodus, vibran soles for over winter/spring) .. been using the minimus for both trails, and roads, mind ya, and it definitely "forcing me to become a better runner". no blisters!

    running my first 50miler in 3 weeks in WV: xodus or minimus?

  25. Joel

    My main beef with the 101s is that the toe box is too narrow. Anything over 6 miles and I start to feel a blister forming on my little toe–sometimes on one foot, sometimes on both. I think the farthest I ever ran in the 101s is about 10 or 12 miles for that very reason, and to do that, I had to wrap my little toes in band-aids before the run to minimize blistering. (The heel was initially a problem, too, but I just cut that off; problem solved.)

    I tried on a pair of Minimus trail shoes the other day in the 2E width, and that was pretty decent, but I'm still kind of on the fence, based on my 101 experience. At this point, I just wear Mizuno Wave Universe 3s everywhere, even on trails. But I know that's unsustainable (too hard on the shoes, chews up the tread), and I am looking in earnest for a good trail shoe that won't cause blistering. Bottom line, I want something that's as well-suited for my foot as the Wave Universe is, but that can take a beating on the trails. Still looking…

    1. Andy

      Joel — Wave Cabrakans? They served me well most of last year til I switched to Cascadia 5s alternating with Minimus Trails for shorter or less technical stuff. The Cabrakans are a bit clunky, especially compared to 101s, etc., but otherwise a great shoe.

  26. Spencer

    So what I am wondering, when Anton said that the heel counter is more traditional, does that mean it is a stiff clunky, obnoxious heel counter? Because one of the reasons I love the 101 is that I could collapse the heel of shoe, so it provided no additional support.

  27. Shad M

    I've worn the 110s and noticed quite a bit of room in the toe box. I was just curious if this was by design or if they fit slightly large. Other than that they are wicked.

  28. bikernate

    Room in the toebox to be able to splay your toes is awesome. I get blisters in almost all shoes running 100 miles because it causes my toes to overlap and rub. On paper, this looks like the perfect shoe to me. Light weight, Cushioning, flexiblity, toe room and low heel. Perfect. Can…not…wait.

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