New Balance MT1010 Review

More Trail Running Shoe Options

To find more options for trail running shoes, check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article and our full collection of trail running shoe reviews.

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.]

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.

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.

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.]

Dominic Grossman: resides and works in Costa Mesa, CA as a Mechanical Engineer. On weekends, he can usually be found running in the San Gabriel Mountains. His sponsors include New Balance, Injinji, PowerBar, and SaltStick. He also runs for the charity Team RWB.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

View Comments (210)

  • Thanks for the great article. Luv the NB line of trail shoes.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Thanks for the review Dominic. How do you feel these would do on flatter, sandy terrain in a hundred?

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • great shoes! love them. good article.

    one remark though: after a bit less than 5000 m (16500 ft) of "climbing" in them (and some 80 km (50 miles), the inner lugs on the rear of the shoe started to get off. mainly running in pretty rocky terrain, the rockplate did a great job, but the issue with the lugs!? anyone experienced something similar?

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Good review, Dominic! For us shoe nerd types the stack heights on this one are 14mm heel, 10mm forefoot.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • HP, thanks for the heel/toe stats. I consider those very important too.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

      • I believe Running Warehouse has the heel at 23 and toe at 19, for a 4mm difference.

        Cancel reply

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

        • Kim I got those stack heights right from New Balance on Twitter.

          Cancel reply

          Leave a Reply

          Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

          • Stack hights seem like a simple thing to measure, but on well lugged shoes, different measurements can come about. I think the running warehouse measurement might be off the thickest lug and the new balance one off the rock plate. It's 'feels' like it's around 14/18 but that's just a feel.

            Cancel reply

            Leave a Reply

            Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Thanks for the review. I just got some MT110s on sale for $55. I loved the 101s, but they are not around anymore. I have a question for anyone: why would somebody choose the 1010s over the 110s? Is it just personal preference? Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • Justin, I think it would mainly be for the bigger stack heights. Gives a more cushioned ride. I love my 110s but switched over to Vertical Ks for that reason.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • Justin,
      For the many of us who are neither anatomically gifted nor dedicated to wearing the least amount of shoe possible, the MT1010 offers a wider platform for great stability and, seemingly, more protection. While I've yet to go long in either the MT110 or MT1010, I'd feel much more comfortable attempting an ultra distance run in the MT1010.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

      • I think the 1010 has better traction than the 110 too.

        Cancel reply

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • One thing I wish I'd differentiated more in the article is that the Minimus concept is geared more towards foot strengthening in training, and not such as much a racing platform.

      In training, I enjoy the 1010 a lot because it rides better for me running 60-80% intensity. In racing 80-100% effort, I like the snugger fit of the 110. For me, I use the 1010 much more than the 110 because I have a few thousand miles to run a year in training and just a few hundred to race.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • I have worn the 101s for several years now, and when they were discontinued, I tried the 110s. I had to return them because they were too narrow in the midfoot (I guess I have wide feet all over and not just in the toe box area). They are built on different lasts. The 1010s are built on the same last as the 110s (NL-1), I believe. I am ever hopeful, though, that maybe the 1010s will fit my duck feet.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • There has already been a fair amount of discussion/review over at the original iRF 1010 preview, with some mixed opinions. Others have noted the lugs peeling away, and one of mine has already started after only 30+ miles on moderately rocky terrain.

    The 1010 is very comfy, roomier and softer than the 110, and thankfully doesn't suffer the raised lateral edge that has dogged its cousin's first iteration. Still not sure how they (I) will fare over ultra distance in them but plan to find out in the coming month. No, it's not the perfect shoe, but perhaps the yearning is part of the game ...

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • I have to ask what production model you're running in, we did have problems in the orange mesh colorway, and my black/blue production model has been bombproof for 100 miles.

      I think it is one of the more perfect training shoes. I don't have many races that I'd pick it as the best shoe to race in, but it was never intended to be that. The 110v2 will be that ;)

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

      • Thanks Dom. My first pair is the black/blue, though I have a second pre-ordered pair on the way that I belive is black/red. I'm sure many of us will be trying the 1010 for upcoming ultra-distance races and it will be interesting to see how things play out. As a mid-packer I'm not worried about bombing down the course as much as whether they will provide comfort and snug enough support and traction over the long haul. In the meantime, will eagerly await the 110v2!

        Cancel reply

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

        • I definitely reccomend you get return anything defective and get credit if you haven't already. I hope it works out!

          Cancel reply

          Leave a Reply

          Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • I'm looking forward to the revised 110 (without the high lateral edge), but ordered the 1010 for trails that demand greater underfoot protection. I'll see how these work, but I'm especially interested in how they fit. One thing that NB has over every other shoe I have tried (many!) is real options for wider feet. I think the last is a little funky (at least not shaped like my foot, so maybe it is my feet that are odd-shaped), but the 2EE width of the 110 and especially the 4EE width of the Minimus Zero Trail have given my toes plenty of room. The other attraction for me to the 1010 is that they promise more foot protection but not at the cost of higher weight. We'll see how that goes too. My biggest concern is that they not be too cushy. Cushioned shoes always mess with my knees (I guess I have weak ab/adductors ;) ). This review gives me some hope that the cushioning will not be excessive.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • I don't think you'll find the cushion excessive, but certainly more than the 1010. I also have put a few miles on a pair of Brooks PureGrits and would say the feel is not entirely different, though the PureGrit is ever-so-slightly cushier and a bit looser, less foot-cradling all around.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • It seems like NB is the only company making trail running shoes for (truly) wide feet. Montrail seems to have stopped a few years ago. It makes online shopping easy, but no stores ever carry wide models in stock for trying on.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • I'm with you on the last. It's not perfect for me either, but in the wide version I can get by. I like the 110. Interested in this shoe too though as I've peaked out at about 20 miles in them and I have my first 50 this fall and I need a second pair of shoes.... another 110 or these 1010 is my question now.

      To Anonymous's point ... I hear what you are saying about trying to find wide options. The Altra last is great for me, but the Lone Peak is too "hefty" for me. It's a gamble buying anything on line, but the only way.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • I think sandy terrain is tough in any shoe, but the fact that these are firmer and lower to the ground minimizes that overly mushy feel.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Which production run did you get? Pre-production (orange mesh) model had some faulty glue that went out on me too. The factory fixed that problem for the production models for sale now.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • Well, ordernd "normally" in Germany (living in Austria). They are orange/Blue with Orange lugs and a yellow rockplate... thanks for the Information!

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • I've ran in the PureGrit and think these two shoes are going at the minimalist training in different ways. The PureGrit offers a bit thicker cushion 20/16 (8.9oz) to make up for it's lack of a rockplate, and the 1010 feels thinner 14/10 (7.5oz) and more responsive with the rockplate. The PureGrit has a bevel under the arch that gives a little more support on long runs, the 1010 avoids support and gives that "floating arch" feeling with the foam lugs. I think you'll notice a bit more proprioception and grip in the 1010, and a bit more support and cushion in the PureGrit. Still, similar concepts.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • My feet do discern these differences but are simply unable to articulate the details so precisely. thanks!

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

      • PS - much better grip with the 1010. The lack of traction with the Grits, especially when wet, is a great disappointment.

        Cancel reply

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

        • Oh to be a trail runner in 2012.. What a selection!

          Cancel reply

          Leave a Reply

          Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Thanks for the review. I use a more substantial shoe (Cascadia 7), but would like something lighter --but still with enough support-- for shorter mountain runs (14-33K), as many of them are here around Mexico City).

    Dominic, would you wear these for the AC 100 if you were to run it again?

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • I definitely train in these on the AC course, but for racing I'd probably go with a 1400 with some trail modifications. Everyone has different opinions on drop, and I think low drop is a huge benefit in training, but not always in competitive racing.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

      • Curious what the "trail modifications" are for the 1400...seems like they need a rock plate to me. I'd swear they aren't any thicker in forefoot stack than the Road Zeros and can't imagine running anything very technical in them. I also have trouble handling the drop in both the 1400 and 890v2. I want to like both those shoes, but something missing for me (maybe a tad soft on trails).

        MT1010s look good and I have some on the way so I'm excited to give them a spin. Mainly racing in MT110s now and training in racing flats (Nike Streak XC and Adidas Hagio) and more recently running some in the Inov-8 Trailrocs. Tons of good options out and/or coming out in the near future!

        Cancel reply

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

        • Drop is a highly personal thing with trail runners. You can take the top 5 guys at Western States or North Face and find no consistent trend.

          I think the 1400 and 890v2 aren't the best for technical terrain, but the 1400 does let you open up your stride on things like cruiser singletrack and fireroad and the 890v2 does a stellar job protecting your feet in a tough 100 miler. The 110 is super precise on technical trails but they give up some cushion on exposed fireroads. When it comes down to it, the best feeling is having exactly what you need for the task at hand; nothing lacking and nothing getting in the way.

          Cancel reply

          Leave a Reply

          Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

          • Oh and their is a demmand for a trail 1400, no design work yet. In the meantime I add some rubber on the foam cut-out under the pinky toe, and trim in the heel.

            Cancel reply

            Leave a Reply

            Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

          • Ah, adding some rubber on that cut out would be a good idea; definitely a tad exposed. I actually had already trimmed the heel on my pair too.

            Cancel reply

            Leave a Reply

            Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • The 110 and mt10 are my favorite trail shoes. It looks like the 1010 is a little looser in the heel, hope its not too dramatic.

    My only complaint on the 110 is the tread doesn't stand up to alpine scree abuse, most shoes don't though..

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • I appreciate the lugs on 90% of terrain, but that rare exception is super sharp and wet rocks that are narrow enough to get to the plastic rock plate i.e. alpine scree. Tony's rigorous mountain running demands are going to be seen in the 110v2.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

      • I was hoping the 110v2 was going to head in a more mountain running direction...sounds like it will be a killer shoe and a type of shoe (mountain oriented) I've been longing for a company like New Balance to make.

        Cancel reply

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • These look and sound great, esp. considering NB doesn't stock the 110 in New Zealand. My concern is the space between the lugs. Or is the combination of exposed rockplate and midsole sufficient enough protection? Of course it will depend on terrain I guess. (My normal running trails are generally very hard-packed in summer with lots of volcanic rock, turning pretty muddy in winter.)

    Cheers

    Andrew

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • The 1010 will slice through the mud, but volcanic rock is a tough surface for minimalist shoes. Depends how you run, but it should protect your foot well enough at the very least.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

      • Sounds good. I like to use my Frees during summer anyway, but they are no good in the winter slop. These are definitely worth a try. Thanks for the review.

        Cancel reply

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • Andrew,

      Hi, I live in NZ too and had a pair of 110s shipped from Zombie Runner(out of Calif.US).

      They shipped them to my door within 6 days and cost exactly NZ$123, freight included. Have had them out through the Hunua Ranges here in Auckland and they have been great so far. I don't find them too thin although I have been wearing the MT10s for a year or so. I plan to train in and race them at the Tarawera Ultra in March.

      Good Luck

      Steve

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Interesting comments about the Pure Grit's lack of traction. I've definitely experienced that over the past few months while running on even well-groomed trail. I'm getting ready to try the MT110 for the groomed stuff and the 1010/Amp on more technical trail. Looking forward to seeing whether NB has dialed a shoe that provides the right balance of minimalism and bombproof protection on technical trail.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • It's good to hear they widened the toe box some. That was the reason I didn't enjoy the feel of the MT110. Or the plastic-y feel of the upper.

    Lack of stable feeling traction has me passing on these... Lately that foam is appearing in many a midsole. It doesn't , to me, seem to be conducive to traction , especially not laterally. These "bubble pod" outsoles/midsoles that NB keeps using seem to be designed more for the visual composition of the shoe rather than actual functionality of the traction.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • The spread out bubbles help to keep the shoe more flexible a normal sheet of rubber. The rubber pods have a sawtooth pattern that lock firmly in any terrain on the uphill: if it's soft, the pods sink in down to the rock plate; if it's hard, the rubber teeth lock in.

      The foam pods under the arch are to discourage the use of pronation support. Other models give wedges under the arch to provide support, but the Minimus line is focused on developing the arch. Initially a pronator might feel like there's a hole in the arch, but as they strengthn their foot, they'll find it floats more and the foam pods under the arch aren't even used.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • I was dreaming about a Minimus with a rock-plate for these Pa/Ny trails virtually from the first time I took the original MT10's out for more than two hours. Unfortunately it looks like that in addition to giving us the rock-plate, they've also taken away the glove fit and lower stack height that made the MT10 so appealing to me. I haven’t worn the 1010’s yet but it seems like they’ve, more or less, designed it to replace the 110’s. I’d expect the 110 line to be discontinued next year, if it hasn’t been already, assuming they are trying to get all their minimal trail shoes under one moniker (Minimus). I’ll still be buying a pair of 1010’s, but I still think they should take an MT10, stick a forefoot rock-plate in it, stick a sliver more rubber under the heel to maintain the 4mm drop, and call it good.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • You can definitely expect to see a reinvented perfomance trail/mountain running flat in the 110v2 (already in prototyping). I'd argue that the Nike Free collection hasn't taken away from Nike's racing flats, and New Balance hasn't shrunk their performace trail line with the addition of the Minimus collection.

      Placing a rockplace in an existing model isn't quite as simple as it sounds (you can actually try it on your own with a good saw, some plastic, and shoegoo). The less there is to a shoe, the easier it is to make it fit like a glove. However when you add a rockplate, the forefoot requires some addition/subtraction of rubber and foam to deliver a good forefoot feel.

      The 1010 is designed to help trail runners transfer to minimalist trail running and also give minimus runners more protection. The 1010 was not designed as a racing platform, but it might be the ticket for some runners. (I've seen people finish 50 mile races in the minimus recovery shoe MX10). Hope this helps!

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Dom- I am currently trying to get in shape for my first 5k and need a shoe that will get me to the finish live in one piece. I only have 5 weeks left on my training schedule before my 2 weeks taper. Will this shoe help me achieve my life long goal to become a runner?

    From the pictures they kinda remind me a bit of the 790s. I loved that shoe. How about a bro deal on pair?

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Awesome Steve - maybe i should try the mail order - that is a great price! How did you know what size to get?

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • Same deal in oz. I get mine from zombie runner or wiggle(uk). Size is normal for the 101's and 10's, although wiggle list uk sizes which is 1/2 smaller than us in NB shoes. I order some brooks online, got the wrong size, and sold them to a mate for a loss of about $40, still saved over $100. Wiggle also ship for free. Try amazon too.

      btw, I called NB australia about a pair of 101's when they were released, and they would special order them for $150 + $100 shipping per pair! yeah right, great service... wonder why we go online!

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • They are on the Minimus last so I picked up the same size as my MT10s

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • SIDE NOTE: the pictured 1010's are from an early prototype run. The production 1010's feature a vibram outsole with super grippy, durable lugs.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Just received my 1010s. Strange thing - I ordered a 10.5EE, the box that just arrived says 10.5EE (US), which is what I ordered, but the shoes inside are labeled 11EE. They are noticeably longer than the MT00s in 10 4E on my feet right now (my favorite casual shoes), which makes sense, but here is the really strange thing. I tried on these behemoth 11s and the fit seems ok. Width is good (4E would be better, but these are good), the length is noticeably long (>1 inch in front of my toes), but they feel ok, walk ok (have not tried running yet) and my forefoot is comfortable. I think maybe because of the shape of the last (the way the lateral side angles on a line from midfoot straight to the big toe, my small toes get cutoff by shorter length sizes, but because these shoes are "extra" long, all my toes have space. Its just that the big toe has lots of extra shoe in front of it. The shoes do not slide around - they lace snugly enough that I don't feel any heel slippage or lateral foot motion, so I'm keeping them and I'll find out tomorrow how they run.

    Other stuff - weight does not feel to bad, proprioceptive feel is good (not as good as the MT00, but there is a reason I like those so much for everyday wear).

    Now, where is that 110v2!! ;)

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*