New Balance Minimus 1010 Shoe Review

The New Balance Minimus 1010 is the latest addition to the Minimus line, but it seems like it is more of a (much needed) back-track towards their earlier minimalist offerings--the NB 100 and NB 101 which struck  a nice balance between cushioning and feel.

Out of the box the 1010 didn't impress me, which is unfortunate because most of us will never get shoes out the door that don't feel good on the floor of the shop. My main complaint was simply that it didn't seem to fit as well as the other New Balance shoes I have worn, including the 110 and the 101 (which I ran the 2011 Angeles Crest 100 mile in.)  Once I got them on the mixed-surface singletrack of Lower Rock Creek canyon however, my worries disappeared as the 1010 was set loose on the terrain it was designed for.

On the trail, the octopus-sucker-meets-cheese-grater Vibram outsole performed well on everything from velvety forest floor to angled-foot-plant rock hopping. The Revlite midsole strikes a good balance between cushion and performance feel--I'd say it is more sensitive in feel (even with the forefoot rock plate) than the Brooks Pure Grit while providing the same level of cushion. The wider toe box (while feeling odd in the store) let my toes splay naturally without feeling loose or imprecise on more technical sections. Running through water crossings didn't leave me sloshing and in general the fit kept gravel intrusion to a minimum--something I couldn't say about the NB 110.

A solid offering overall for anyone wanting to feel the run and keep their brain engaged with sensory data from their feet.

As with all minimalist heel-to-toe drop shoes (the 1010 is 4mm) you are well advised to start a slow and deliberate transition to having your heel lower than in traditional shoes. Rush it and you'll likely suffer.

Chris Gaggia, Sage To Summit