New Balance provided the team with both the 880 v3 and the Minimus 10v2. Both shoes skew to the extremes. Where the 880 was bulky and super cushy the Minimus 10v2 is super light flexible and has very little cushioning. Between the two shoes, the Minimus was closer to the preference of most of the BITR reviewers. Here are our thoughts…
Meaghan: The Minimus 10v2 is a good looking shoe with a pretty unique design. Built with a mono-tongue, also referred to as “burrito-style” (personal preference), the tongue is connected on one side and wraps around the mid-foot of the shoe. It’s lightly padded and allows for plenty of control over the fit, which is great for my wide feet. In fact, it’s probably one of the best fitting running shoes I’ve ever worn. They’re super light (5.2 oz), flexible and constructed with a very generous toe box. Built on a 4mm drop, you can feel the ground as you run, but the cushioning provides some bounce and the Vibram outsole keeps the foot feeling protected.
Stein: Light! 6.5 oz. Great road feel. A very flexible shoe, with minimal overlays. They felt like bedroom slippers with serious tread under-foot, almost like the lugs on a trail shoe. While I heard a few squeaks on wet roads, the Vibram soles always had plenty of traction. The 4mm drop was imperceptible. Considering the minimal materials used all around, the upper was surprisingly plush both underfoot and around the ankles and toes. There was also plenty of room in the toe box and I enjoyed total foot freedom with every run! I liked the off-center lacing system and the tongue stayed where is was supposed to. The outsole is tough and shows minimal wear after 60 miles.
Thomas: These shoes are deceptive. They look so minimal, but actually provide a nice mix of light cushioning with an extremely flexible midsole. They kind of remind me of the GObionic from Skechers. The heel fit is superb. I don’t normally run with out socks, I tried some sockless miles in the Minimus 10v2 and was happily surprised with no irritation from the shoes seamless interior. During my speed work the Vibram outsole and the light weight upper helped keep my turn over on the track.
Jenny: I was terrified to test this shoe. I even texted Thomas and said, “I don’t have my review because I’m scared to run in it”. I consider myself a minimal runner and even this was TOO minimal for me. After some coaxing, I was grew a set and decided to give them a try. I don’t think I’ve ever run in a lighter weight shoe. My go to shoe at the moment is the Saucony Virrata but from the exterior, it looks like there is so much more to that shoe than the Minimus 10v2. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised after the first wear. I was worried that the Vibram sole would feel too hard and lack protection, but I was totally wrong on this one. Not only was the shoe comfortable out of the box, it had ample cush for my feet. The outsole is super flexie, making it easier to feel the ground and the seamless upper is a nice touch. I will say that these worked on trails, which are much softer than asphalt/concrete but I’m still wussing out on taking these to the road…I also wore them casually, as a lifestyle shoe for several hours standing on my feet and didn’t end the day having my feet ache.
Stein: Shoe length seemed correct but there was slightly too much width in the toe box (I have never complained about this before haha). A 10 mile run caused under-toe hot spots and a blister appeared a couple days later. Subsequent 10 mile training runs did not cause any issues. However I have to attribute the blister to the roomy toe box (rather than to a unlucky day or poor sock choice) because I normally don’t get blisters.
Thomas: I have a narrow foot, and while the heel fits great, the toe box feels a little baggy and sloppy. These are not enough shoe for my higher mileage runs.
Meaghan: I don’t have many negative things to say about this shoe. The one complaint I have is you can feel the hexagonal Vibram lug underneath the big toe and it caused some irritation on a few of my runs. That being said, it isn’t enough to keep me from running in them.
Jenny: This shoe may be too minimal for high mileage. Again, I’m afraid to try so this is just speculation. I also found the upper to gap some. I almost wish it was a little narrower or had less material in the toe box. I prefer more of a fitted, “big squishy hug” feel and this toe box had plenty of splay room.
Meaghan: I really like this shoe. A lot. I ran in them for my last race (the Baltimore-10-miler / 71 minutes) and they felt great the whole time. I’m always a little hesitant to run more than 10K in minimal shoes, but I had no apprehension with the 10V2. It provides the perfect balance of support and cushioning, while still giving you the “minimal” running experience. If you’re in the market for a transitional shoe, (that looks awesome) check out the 10V2 from New Balance. They’ve officially been added into my rotation for the summer.
Stein: Very flexible and very natural. These shoes feel awesome. They felt so good casually walking around that I was tempted to run without socks, but the blister incident scared me. For distances past 5K or 10K, you will need to listen to your body and be aware of your foot and leg strengths. On the other hand, if you’re already into minimal footwear, the NB Minimus 10v2 can handle any distance! I would recommend the NB Minimus 10v2 Road to any runner, especially those wishing to improve their foot strength or in need of a fast racing shoe. Two thumbs up.
Jenny: The Minimus exceeded any expectations I had for it. I should’ve known better than to judge a book by its cover–guess that’s why companies do BLIND wear tests. I’ll definitely work this shoe into the rotation and may even venture out onto the roads (someday). For now, I’ll take it out for another long(er) trail run this weekend!
Thomas: All of the materials used on the shoe have a look and feel of quality. These are a little different than any other shoe I have on my rack right now and are a fun shoe to run in for some of my lower mileage runs. If you are looking to fill a gap in your running shoe collection between long slow distance trainer (Saucony Kinvara, Adidas Boost, Newton Gravity) and speed training shoes (Skechers GOrun Speed, Saucony A5), you might want to give the Minimus a try. I would recommend the New Balance Minimus 10v2 for runners that like minimal shoes with light cushioning and have strong feet.