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. César

    Has anyone had any problems with the MT1010´s upper? Some spanish reviewers and an american reviewer have had the same problems with tearings in the upper. Funnily all of them had the same colorway as the one in this review. One of the reviewers had the problem of the sole almost disintegrating.

    I´d appreciate any comments on durability of the MT1010, as I am searching for something with a wide toebox as in the MT10s but with rock protection and still minimalist!

    1. Andy

      I have two pairs — in two different colorways (red and blue) — and the uppers on both have ripped open completely on the medial side, exposing the sock liner. They started to give way within 100-150 miles and were completely shot by 200 max. I'm still running in both pairs but at this point they are essentially a comfy sock liner attached to a sole, which has held up OK. They are roomy in the toebox, snug enough in the center and rear, and super comfortable with plenty of cushion and support for the minimalist runner for at least 50 miles (the longest I've taken them). I hope v2 has a more durable upper. Hope this is helpful. I do understand that NB is responsive and may send you a replacement pair free of charge if they fall apart.

      1. César

        Andy thanks for the prompt reply!

        do you know or have any info about any possible new version which improves this?

        I think I am going to wait until there is a V2 of these, and they figured out the upper. Unless I find a great sale on them.

        1. Andy

          No, I think it's too early for a V2 — NB usually waits about a year, and these were released in July, I think. I hope the problem is addressed in a V2, and suspect it will be because I think the shoe has been popular, pero, como se dice en Español, "¡Vamos a ver!"

          1. César

            hehehe, así es, vamos a ver que pasa. ;)

            in the meantime I´ll somewhere else for a trail shoe. The MT10 V2 sounds to have a bit more protection than the original, we´ll see.

      1. Andy

        This thread is re the 1010, not the 110 (tough the way NB names their shoes!). Totally agree with you on the exposed midsole on the 110 — it has zero traction on anything wet. And there's also the raised lateral edge that everyone has complained about, which reportedly is fixed in the upcoming V2 (January release?). We'll see if they've addressed the outsole issue.

  2. rms

    I of course meant MT1010, which has a mind-boggling lack of vibram lilypads on the entire instep area. This makes the shoe unstable on technical surfaces, as there is effectively less than a one-inch-wide strip of tread on the very outside of the sole, that behaves completely different than the inside, which has a six-square-inch cavity full of squishy nothingness.

    The gap also exacerbates any pronation issues the wearer might have, and eliminates this shoe as an ultramarathon candidate for me, as I cannot relax while wearing it. Even with superfeet black insoles, odd metatarsal pains surface after 15-20miles.

    It is interesting that you complain about the MT110's outsole but don't even mention the 1010's. I've done several technical terrain marathons & a 50k in the MT110, without ever feeling the need for an insole. This is due partly to the greater stiffness of the 110 sole, but partly because it is side-to-side symmetrical. It's a harsh shoe, in it's lack of cushion, but completely predictable and very precise on technical terrain. The exposed midsole is a non-issue around here — weathered granite, which gives good grip even when wet — even when it wears completely flat, as it wears flat *symmetrically*.

    Contrast this MT110 exposed midsole to that of the MT1010: The 3 'floating arch' midsole pillars compress and shear off to less than half their original height, *but only on one side*. The shoe behaves completely differently after 20miles than it does in-store.

    If I seem so annoyed about this, it's because the rest of the 1010 is stellar: the close-weaved upper — no tearing issues here, and I hope this material and a fully-gusseted tongue appear on the MT110V2 — the wonderful rock plate, the cushioned ride. But the lack of instep tread and the inherent instability of the lilypad design fad negates all those positives. I can only hope that New Balance is not wedded to this outsole design, but have heard no mention of changes to the MT1010 for 2013, in which case I'll be looking elsewhere.

  3. Andrew N

    Very interesting sentiments – almost as if your upper is made of different material to everyone else's? Obviously not the case but my upper is shredded after 200km of seriously technical terrain. I have run in snow, mud, gravel, sand, high mountain rocks and slippery beach rock and the outsole has been awesome for me.

    I cannot understand the obsession with the MT 110 – for me, compared to the MT 1010, there is not enough cush and the heel is too narrow to be stable when tearing downhill.

    Really hope the MT 1010 V2 has an upper like the MT 101 – that's all it needs to be my perfect shoe for 10km to our 90km weekends in the high mountains.

      1. Andy

        :-) for comfort and performance, :-( for durability. Maybe the stitching will be improved: they seem to come apart at the seam on the forefoot on the medial side.

    1. rms

      Well, a closer look at the uppers in mine shows tearing in multiple spots on both shoes, alas. At first I thought they were abrasions similar to those in my peregrines, but these are more…systemic. I'll try spackling with shoe goo, which worked well to repair the multiple peeling lily pads; but yeah, another MT1010 issue to be fixed. I also had the earlier MT101, and as I recall, the outer fabric layer was strong, but with a very loose weave that let in fine gravel, while the inner fabric layer was weak and ripped easily. Also the 101 and the 110 had ungusseted tongues, which is a no-no to me. I'd prefer a finer outer weave to reject gravel immediately, like the present 1010 or the Peregrine, if they can fix the tearing.

      The 110 is not my favorite shoe, btw, for just the reasons you give. I really like the Vertical K: Same weight but with cushion. However, it lacks a rock plate, so I wear them with insoles, the plastic frame of which acts as a rock plate, at least for the rear half of the shoe.

  4. Andrew N

    To give you an idea, the uppers on mine are torn above my toes and on both sides from the ball of the foot throught to the arch. Still comfortable but zero foothold on off camber / downhill. Purely gardening / walking shoes now. I have never caught them on anything it is just the flex points and the stress points that have torn.

  5. Reid

    Specifically referring to the MT1010 – I've gone through two pairs and ended up being fully refunded. Both pairs lasted only 20km (~12miles) before showing significant wear on the soles. The first pair was taken taken on a single trail run, the second pair on two shorter trails. All terrain was a combination of gravel jeep track, rocky clambering and very technical single track. On the first pair a lug in the arch basically ripped off, in the second pair the "foam" between the vibram protected lugs showed tears and even one of the "teeth" of a vibram lug was torn. Its basically this "foam", between the rock plate and the lugs that are the problem. I am trully dissapointed as this is the best pair of trail shoes I've had and I cannot find anything even close to as good in any of the other brands. If they could just come up with a better solution for this I would definitely get another pair but I cant spend that sort of money and get that sort of poor mileage.

  6. Jack

    The durability of the 1010 is abysmal. I'm specifically siting the upper here, where the baggy fit of the shoe promotes a sort of creasing and eventual ripping of the light weight material. I bought these in September for a 50 miler (which, incidentally, they were pretty good for) but by mid-November they were already falling to pieces (I had been rotating them with other shoes, not running in them exclusively). The worst areas are on the medial side bumpers where their welds meets the meshy upper. I agree with Andy's comment that these have basically devolved into a 'comfy sock liner attached to a sole'.

    In addition, the 'floating arch' sole design is a bunch of crap. As with the 110, these things are hyper-pronation devices, and have given me many problems with my post-tibial tendons. Less critical, but still annoying, is the fact that they simply don't feel solid underfoot, but unpredictably lumpy and anything but flat and stable. I don't find that to be a confidence-building attribute of a trail shoe, instability.

    I can't recommend these shoes in good conscience to anyone. They suck.. and not even for very long. I've now got my heart set on a pair of Merrell Mix Master 2s as a replacement for these in this category of shoe.

  7. chrisaj

    I have had no problems with the upper but the lug pads are tearing off after 30 miles of mountain running… Kind of disappointing really. I was running on some difficult terrain but 5 lugs have torn off pads already… not very happy about that.

    1. rms

      No love for the outsole from me, but to be fair, if you catch the peeling lilypads and tears in the upper early, Shoegoo does work well in keeping the shoe functional. With all my complaining, 4 months later I'm still putting them on for 10mi runs. The core of the 1010 is wonderful — Put some lilypads on the instep, NB, and I'll buy them again!

  8. Pantman

    I have used Minimus Trail 10s as my primary road running shoe for a couple of years. They are more substantial than the zero roads and more stable than the road 10s.

    1. César

      Thanks William, sadly I just saw your comment today, since I was in Texas this weekend, and you are right at 27, it is an amazing price to try them and wait for an improved version of the upper and sole…

      I was at the Academy store in El Paso, but they didnt have them in stock, so I guess this is an online only offer.

      I ended up buying the 110s and the mt00 for 80 bucks in total though.

  9. money B

    according to NB, they did not address the stitching on the upper on the current crop of colorways. i had the MT1010GY and the stitching on the inner side of each shoe (along the curved half circle) came undone after less than 3 months. no problems with the outsole – which i love BTW – or with any other part of the shoe. it's my ideal training shoe, but only if it doesn't come apart…

    i thought that because they discontinued the GY and now have the GB colorway that they might have addressed the stitching, but their customer care rep confirmed that it hasn't changed, but at the same time they don't expect it to come undone on any of their shoes.

    1. Jack

      Maybe they've stopped undercutting the arch of this shoe and will have a full, flat, stable platform? Ahh.. what do I care? I've moved on from NB already anyway. Merrell offer a much better line IMO, and their durability seems to be vastly superior.

    2. Andy

      Hadn't until I saw your post. With a full outsole, light weight, and same platform, this would seem like it has the potential to be the perfect 100-mile shoe for those of us who have loved the 110 and/or 1010 for up to 50m. Why haven't we seen or heard anything about it before this?! (BTW – aren't M080s the firecrackers the neighborhood miscreants used to set off in our youth?)

  10. Andrew

    Top Man! I managed to get a pair and they are on my feet now. I think that price may have been a mistake beacause they are back up at $99.99 now. Thanks!!

  11. DStinson

    I bought two pairs at that price! Definitely worth $27.44 considering I only get 4-5 weeks out of them before the uppers tear badly. I bought the 2 pairs before bed, woke up the next morning thinking I should buy more, logged back on to Academy and… they were sold out already. You snooze, you lose. Thanks for the heads up on that price.

  12. Andrew

    I just got a tweet from New Balance UK after asking them if these shoes will be available in the UK any time (they are not at the moment) and they have told me that the MT1010 V2 will be coming out in the Autumn/Winter so it will be interesting to see how they have addressed the concerns people have raised here. This could perhapse suggest that they held off from releasing the V1 in the UK because of the problems that people have had in the US. @Runtothehills1

    1. rms

      I see no mention of a rock plate in the description [broken link to New Balance product page removed], so this may not be a MT1010 replacement for me. Went ahead and ordered another pair of the Vertical K, and am waiting on a Helios review and I guess the Pearl Izumi line.

    2. Andy

      Strange – the NB site lists the shoe as a "hiking/multi-sport" shoe, even though it's 7.8 oz and has a 4 mm drop. Definitely have to wait for reviews on this one, though the fact that it didn't make iRF's Outdoor Retailer review or any other reviews leaves me wondering.

  13. Dr. Payam Larijani

    Have had the MT1010 for about a month and have been using them exclusively on the trails. It is my first minimus shoe and I'm not sure to keep them or not. First of all the positive, I really like the look, design, comfort, water repellent, and great grip on mud, rock, and dirt. They are so light weight that I can barely feel that I'm wearing a shoe. Now for the negative, it is painful to wear for my ankles, achilles tendon, and basically the muscles and tendons all around my feet. I usually go uphill for 45 minutes but at a fast hike/jog pace to warm-up and then run back downhill about 30 minutes to get back to my car. On the downhills, I can really go fast and keep a short gait with these shoes. Surprisingly the hard landings on the decent don't hurt my feet or knees even though there isn't much padding, why I don't know? I have noticed less pain around my feet as the weeks go by, perhaps my ankles, tendons, etc. are getting stronger? I have made an effort to stretch a bit more as well as swim laps to work my ankles in the water. I would like to keep these shoes but am not sure if it is bad for my ankles to be sore? My schedule is Monday, Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, then again go on Thursday, and Friday. by Friday afternoon I really need to rest but by Sunday morning I usually feel fine and look forward to my Monday workout..

    Has anyone had a similar experience getting used to wearing these "low-riders"… minimus shoes?

    I have NB M790's just for daily use and they are super comfortable but not as light as the minimus..

    1. rms

      I like it! The gap under the arch on the outsole was specifically addressed, and hopefully this will extend the distance range of the shoe. I'm still wearing the V1 (and gluing them back together every other run pretty much) for shorter runs.

      1. Robbie-RunTramp

        Yeah it looks pretty solid, the TPU overlays look a little flatter too, more flush with the upper, so it may help with the abrasion at those points. All in all a promising looking shoe.

    2. Andy

      suhh-weet! Too bad we have to wait 5 months.

      BTW – just sent *2* pairs of shredded 1010s back to NB with the promise that they will send 2 new pairs. Like everyone else, I have been gluing them together and still running in them, but decided to contact NB after my newest (3rd) pair opened up with less than 50 miles on them. Maybe if we all keep sending our trashed 1010s back NB will be prompted to release the v2 a bit sooner!

      1. César

        I just saw a video of the new M21010 V2, where they comment the upper has been improved, so I expect them in about a month to hit the stores! =))

  14. rms

    While we wait for July, give the LaSportiva Helios a look: Light, roomy, some cushion, and a rockplate. I've put about 50miles on a pair, and am very pleased. Stiff enough that an arch support insole isn't needed, plenty of room for thick socks and swelling feet in the same 47.5 that was very tight in the Vertical Ks. You might even consider going down a size in the Helios, though I'm happy with a slightly loose fit for longer runs.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  21. 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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