New Balance MT1010 Review

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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.]