New Balance Minimus Amp (MT1010) Preview

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New Balance Minimus Amp (MT1010) Preview

New Balance bills its forthcoming Minimus Amp (MT1010) as “part of New Balance’s effort to continue to expand its spectrum of minimal offerings,” adding, “The shoe provides a minimal fit and feel, much like that of the [Minimus Trail a/k/a MT] 10, but with more traditional midsole heights and a more supportive upper.”

[Note: We’ve since published a review of the New Balance MT1010.]

I see the New Balance MT1010 as a low-to-the-ground, lightweight – at 7.7 ounces for a US men’s 9, it’s the exact same weight at the MT110 (MT110 review) – trail shoe that’s protective and supportive enough for everyday trail running shoe for those of us who aren’t waifish, who don’t run like a gazelle, and who don’t always run on buffed out, rock-free trails. In other words, it’s a trail running shoe for most of us whether we’re training (20 or) 100 miles per week or running a 100-mile race over rugged terrain.

The New Balance Minumus Amp (MT1010)

Protection, Stack Heights, and Midsole Details
The caveat with this shoe, as with any Minimus model, is that if you’re used to running in a traditional drop shoe (10-12mm) or even a shoe with an 8mm drop, you’ll want to transition slowly and carefully to the MT1010 just as you would with any other 4mm (or lower) drop shoe.

The Minimus Amp should appeal to both the traditionally shod runner looking for something lighter and lower as well as the minimalist runner looking for protection on tough terrain. As noted, the Amp has a 4mm, which comes from 10mm forefoot and 14mm heel stack heights. More important for those looking for protection in the long run, the MT1010 has a RockStop rockplate, a feature otherwise lacking from the Minimus line. Based on a quick hands on investigation the rockplate runs to the midfoot and seems more substantial than that of the MT110. All in all, the MT1010 has more meat under feet that the MT110… so it’ll be your call which model better suits your needs.

For the real shoe nerds out there, I’ll note that MT1010 has a REVlite midsole.

Outsole
The MT1010’s outsole is best done justice with an image, but a few words first. The Vibram outsole is placed in a strategic strike-path pattern meaning it’s found only where you need traction and durability. Otherwise, the midsole or rockplate are exposed.

The MT1010’s outsole.

Upper

The laces and tongue on the Minimus Amp.

Like the rest of the Minimus line (and the MT110), the MT1010 is built on New Balance’s natural last (NL-1 or WNL1). As you’d expect, it’s also built for sockless wear and, accordingly, lacks a removable sockliner.

As to the Minimus Amp’s upper materials and construction, it’s more substantial than the rest of the Minimus line and notably different that the MT110. Rather than the MT110’s ovelay-free perforated synthetic leather, the MT1010’s upper is highly breathable monomesh reinforced by strategic overlays particularly as part of a medial (inner) midfoot metatarsal wrap. The MT1010’s tongue is two thin fabric layers that wrap the top of your foot more than being a gusseted tongue.

Other
The MT1010 will be available for men in half sizes from 7-13 as well as in size 14 with widths of D and 2E. The WT1010 will be available for women in half sizes from 5-11 as well as in size 12 with widths of 2A, B, and D. The shoe will hit retail shelves in July 2012 for $105. We’ll have more details for you before then.

Call for Comments

  • Are you looking for a more robust minimalist trail runner? A lighter everyday trail runner?
  • Do you think you’d up for the MT1010 over New Balance’s other Minimus Trail and MT110 options?
  • What are you most excited about in the MT1010?

Bonus Photos with Additional Colorways!

The Minumus Amp in orange.

The medial side of the orange Minimus Amp.

More MT1010 colorways.

Even more Minimus Amp colorways.

Bryon Powell: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com. Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

View Comments (125)

  • hey bryon you said "Based on a quick hands on investigation the rockplate runs to the midfoot and seems more substantial than that of the MT110. All in all, the MT1010 has more meat under feet that the MT1010… so it’ll be your call which model better suits your needs." but the 110 has a midsole of 19mm and 15mm vs 14mm and 10mm for the MT1010 so the 110 sounds like the more substantial trail shoe.

    also the outsole looks best suited for buffed out, rock-free trails. not my kind of running.

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    • Dan, More height doesn't necessarily mean more substance - part of the difference is the tall lugs of the MT110 vs the lower laying lugs of the MT1010. The MT1010 definitely seems more substantial in hand.

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  • It's like they made a different color scheme and patterned area to denote the spot where I have blown out my last 3 pairs of 110's. I think I'm going to have to snag a pair of the 110's first and see how they run

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    • correction : "spot where I have blow out my last 3 pairs of 101's"

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  • Right on, I love the range of options we're getting out there. I had some good runs on my NB Minimus Trails this year but when the foam got crushed the protection dropped to nil and they got pulled from the trails. (As as aside, the broken-in MT00s make a good road shoe.)

    For 2012 I'm looking at the 110s for a couple ultras and see how they perform. If they don't work well, there are a lot of competitors. So much different than just a few years ago.

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  • Looks interesting. I'm glad to hear about the rock plate but the tread hardly looks grippy enough to be a trail shoe. Also, the heel cup looks interesting. I'm thinking this is the offspring of the Hoka and MT10.

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  • In almost all respects MT 1010 looks like a "for trail improved" Brooks PureFlow. Weight, drop, and especially the heel design and pods on the outer edges of the outsole/midsole. It doesn't seem to have the filled in area to the outer edge of the mid foot which I suspect is what really keeps me on my midfoot in combination with the heel. I really like the outer sole. I think it will have effective grip on most all surfaces except mud. The PureFlow is a road shoe with minimal out sole profile. I wonder how MT 1010 will feel on hard surfaces and even pavement. I bet pretty darn good.

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    • Isn't the Brooks PureGrit the "for trail improved Brooks PureFlow"? Seems like the 8oz near-neutral trail trainer is getting a lot of play these days...

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      • Matt-while I have not tried the PureGrit reading the reviews and seeing pictures it seems to me that this MT 1010 is closer in design to the PureFlow than the PureFlow is to the PureGrit on a number of levels...All the Pure shoes with the exception of the split toe and inverted heels have after that have different uppers (different fit) and outsole/midsole designs.

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  • New balance now hates runners with 4E feet and it really makes me mad.

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    • That's a bit of an overstatement. If I recall correctly, the MT110 will be available in 4E and this will initially be launch with an additional wide model... unlike the vast majority of trail shoes.

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      • I am pleased that it does have a 2E wide size. I really don't understand why more companies don't at least offer some wide models in their trail running shoes?

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      • Have been told by NB and running warehouse that mt110 will only go up to 2E. Not an overstatement. Look at the new minimal and neutral shoes that they've released in a 4E???

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  • Also thought it bears some resemblance to the Brooks Pure line and might be a direct competitor with the Grit, though weighing in at about an ounce less.

    I share the concerns about the outsole: Are those huge spaces showing orange actually exposed midsole? I've loved the Minimus, but here in rock-strewn New England the exposure between the lugs has been an issue and, based on the photos, looks even worse with the 1010.

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    • What is interesting is that the True Grit does not have the outrigger pods and has a full outsole. I have not tried the PureGrit but love the PureFlow on the road. The few times I have taken them on trails I found them mushy and unstable for me. I bet the rock plate and the fact the outsole pods are connected will help with stability on the MT1010. Agree with you Andy about the spaces and New England. I have found that anytime the outsole is made of pods there can be early wear and de lamination at the edges of the pods. I do see that the pods are connected in groups so that may help mitigate wear. I run in New England and Utah. The MT 1010 should be excellent for the smooth (relative to New England) trails in UT not so sure in New England.

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    • The exposed yellow is midsole. The exposed orange is a rockplate.

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  • So awesome to have all these 4mm drop options coming out. (see also Merrell Mix Master). They are either realizing that (most) true minimalist runners need more protection for long distance on rugged trails (compared to VFF or flimsy stuff good < 20 miles) or they are trying to draw in the Cascadia crowd. Probably both. The 110 looks to provide better ground feel, so I'll try that first and see if protection is adequate past 20 miles on rocky stuff.

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  • Andy - it seems you are forgetting about the rock plate, which the other minimus shoes lack.

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    • True - thanks for the reminder. And the PureGrit doesn't actually have a rock plate either, but plenty of protection with a full outsole. The only shoe with a rock plate I've worn is the Cascadia, a great shoe but in no way minimalist. Very excited about both the 110 and now the 1010.

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  • I guess I'm waifish then, although I don't think I run like a gazelle, since that looks way to cushy for my liking. If I can run 50 in the Saucony Hattori, I imagine the 110 will be enough for anything. But I am glad to see those served who would like more.

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    • Alex,

      How was the Hattori? I've enjoyed the Kinvaras a lot, but it feels a bit too much for me. On the other hand, the Harrori seems awfully minimal for 50 miles! Was your 50 on road, smooth trails or what? For trails, I'm New Balance all the way (101, and now waiting for my 110s). But roads the best (for me) so far has been the Kinvara. Just looking for a little less shoe.

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  • That shoe looks solid for the low weight and seems like it fills a big gap in the NB shoe line (the gap where most runners run). I do think a few angled blade/lugs for sidehilling and canted trails are necessary. Would like to see a bit more drop than 4mm, but it's better than 0 drop. I need to start a counter-culture website bucking this rear-lower leg destroying fad. I think I'll call it....

    "Big Stack Differential Afficionado."

    Our motto..."I like big drops and I can not lie"

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    • Count me in, Jeremy!

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  • Is there a release date yet for the 110? It's probably been announced but I'm too lazy to go and look it up... ;]

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    • MP, they're out next month. I'd guess some stores are already taking pre-orders.

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      • Awesome. Thanks, Bryon. Sounds like I'd better hurry up and ruin my current pair of 101s. I know just the thing to do it, too. [Heads out the door, bound for Mount Aire.]

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        • Mike: Runners Warehouse is claiming arrival on 16 Jan. Doesn't mean it'll happen...

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  • Bryon, did they give you any ideas as to MSRP?

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    • Never mind. Saw it in the post.

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  • Thanks for the great preview, Bryon. These look like great shoes!

    Still, with all the variations out there, it's getting harder to keep them all straight. It would be extremely helpful if somebody put together a list that ranked trail shoes from minimalist to tank. Is that something you might be able to do? It would be so great if you did.

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    • ... like a big chart with categories, e.g., wt, drop, rockplate (y/n), traction rating, etc., etc. Nice idea.

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      • I get what you guys are saying, but I've no desire to get this info for all trail shoes. I don't feel like hearing it from X Company or Y Company's fan boy that I've not included certain products. On top of that, there's the subjectivity in things like minimalism, protection, and traction. The subjectivity would be present even if one person rated all of them. Maybe this could happen someday, but I'd rather go very in-depth on a few top models than spend time worrying about 60 or 70 models... and that's likely excluding the plethora of tiny barefoot/minimalist companies.

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        • If people were motivated, one could start a wikipedia page for trail shoe specs, and "the people" could keep track. Bryon's point of the fanboy (and fangirl) factor would be interesting in editing a wiki site though.

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  • I'm testing a pair and really like the feel and ride, but I must have ramped up to fast into the low drop heel, because I have a bit of the posterior tibial tendon pain and lots of calf soreness. Is this typical for this kind of shoe, and how long before I adapt, if ever? I like the lower shoes because I'm always tweaking my ankles.

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    • These symptoms are typical of the transition to a lower-drop shoe -- soreness is to be expected, the tendon pain is a bit more worrisome and suggests you should cut back a bit. Not that you can generalize, but it can take anywhere from 3 months to 1 year + to adapt.

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  • Currently running in Nike Lunarfly2 road and trail shoes that give good support for flat feet with a 10mm heel-to-toe drop which works well on long trail runs and see how I go with low-heel-to toe drop 3mm Inov-8 X-Talon 190 before the release of Salomon S-Lab Sense. Injury is the biggest issue for me with a lower toe drop before selecting a shoe to wear for The North Face 100. The New Balance Minumus Amp with a 4mm drop looks like a good shoe to test in the bush.

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  • I've been running in a pair of the MT110's since August. I ran the first 70 miles of Leadville in them and found the fit to be perfect. I mean perfect. This was the first time I had ever run a 100 with no blisters and that was a Godsend. I had to change out of them because of the lack of cushioning at that point in the race. To me the 110 is just about perfect up to the 50 mile or so point. I have around 400 miles on them and they have zero tears and the tread is holding up excellent. They are extremely well built. For the Bartram 100 2 weeks ago I wore the MT110's for the first 50 miles, but then changed into a pair of the Brooks Pure Grits. The cushioning felt instantly better on the bottom of my feet, but the uppers are not even close to the perfect fit and feel of the NB's. I was thinking about how awesome it would be to have a pair of shoes with the MT110 upper and Puregrit lower. Looks like NB was already on top of it. I am very excited to see the Amps! If they fit like the 110's they will be my 100 mile shoe.

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  • Slightly corn-fused, are both the MT110 and 1010 built on the NL-1 last?

    "Like the rest of the Minimus line (and the MT110), the MT1010 is built on New Balance’s natural last (NL-1 or WNL1). Unlike the soon-to-come MT110 (MT110 review). As you’d expect, it’s also built for sockless wear and, accordingly, lacks a removable sockliner."

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    • Toe, The second sentence is just a bit of bad proofreading re an unfinished thought... that I can't remember the conclusion to. Anyway, both the MT110 and MT1010 are built on the NL-1 and WNL-1 (women's) lasts.

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  • Just wondering if the outsole is in fact made by Vibram as I don't see their oh so familiar yellow "Vibram" on every peice of rubber on said outsole? Thanks for posting this review, and all the hard work you do on irunfar!!!! You rock!

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  • Will be interested to hear reviews on the cushioning difference between the mt110 and mt1010. To me these shoes really seem to overlap each other just by looking at the specs. The podded sole being the only real difference I can see. Can't help thinking the pods protruding from the side will screw with the natural landing and pronation of the foot though.

    Final thought: Why is NB putting rock plates on the shoes that already have more cushion and leaving them off the shoes with less cushion (MT10, MT00)? Rather than creating a shoe that's the same as the MT110, I'd like to see something with the cushion of the MT110, but without the rock plate, so it will have more forefoot flexibility. This would actually fill an empty niche in their product line. The disadvantage of an inflexible forefoot is that it can lead to achilles tendonitis. For that reason, I can't run more than a couple miles in the MT110.

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    • Edit: can't run more than a couple miles in the MT101 that is. Not sure about the MT110, but I have it on pre-order.

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