New Balance Minimus Zero

by Charles Friday, March 2nd 2012

In 2011 New Balance released the MT10 and WT10 - a great minimal shoe with breathable mesh, good flexibility, 7.1 oz weight and a 4mm drop - a favorite with our staff and customers!

This spring New Balance is adding a new style to the MT/WT series that adds a 0 drop option - the MT00 and WT00 (Minimus Trail Zero). In addition to having no differential between the heel and forefoot the Minimus Zero has a number of other great features:

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The synthetic upper is lightweight, nearly seamless (better comfort) and is reinforced in critical areas (for durability and to provide the structure needed to keep your foot stable inside the shoe).

Rubber only where it is needed on the outsole – this helps reduce weight and increase flexibility.

The ACTEVA™ midsole is a set of to a set interconnected ‘pods’ rather than a solid sheet – this also helps with weight and flexibility.

The MT00 weighs in at an incredible 4.4 ounces (compare this to the MT10 at 7.5 ounces)!

The features of the MT00 and WT00 combine to create a very attractive choice if you want a sensitive, minimal, lightweight shoe that lends itself to a 'barefoot' style of running/movement – and New Balance is offering these in a number of different width choices which will improve the chances you can get a great fit in these.

We have had Summit Hut staff members testing the MT00 - here are some impressions:

Logan Lichtenhan - ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Crossfit Level 1 Coach, Summit Hut Floor Staff

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As a huge proponent of the Vibram Five Fingers I am skeptical of most shoes and sometimes especially the ones that claim to be “barefoot” shoes. That being said I do like that there are more and more minimalist shoes out on the market that seem to really be trying to make a good option for people who can’t or won’t venture into the “weird” world of five toed shoes.

The New Balance Zeros are one of the best offerings I have seen in the genre of “barefoot” shoes, they real do have a very sensitive feel to them and allow the kinds of movement in the toe box that I prefer to have. I have not had them long enough to give an accurate durability test but so far they have held up to some trail running and a little rock scrambling. Their traction seems to be fairly good and definitely on par if not better than some other minimalist options that I have seen and tried.

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On my first trail run with them I was pleased to find out that the ground feel was very similar to some of the Five Fingers. Segmented pods make up the thin foam and rubber sole allowing it to contour to the terrain, which for many is one of the main benefits of a minimalist shoe. On rocky terrain, which is the name of the game here around Tucson, these shoe definitely require the runner to stay focused. Because these shoes are so flexible and light each foot placement needs to be performed with accuracy and control in order to avoid discomfort. Some might see this as a hindrance I think it is a huge benefit. Many trail running injuries occur when a lapse in focus causes the runner to trip or land on a rock wrong, minimal shoes force the runner to pay more attention and plan ahead to avoid even minor discomfort. One of the main reasons I prefer minimalist foot wear is because it forces me to really pay attention to what my body is doing from the ground up.

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The Zeros, as you may have guessed, also have zero heel lift so that the heel and ball of your foot are on the same level, there is no extra cushion under the heel. This puts your foot in a more anatomically correct position and discourages the impact heavy heel strike running stride. For me the only way to comfortably run in this shoe is with the lower impact fore foot running stride, another big plus to these shoes. They could be used as a training tool to help teach heel strikers to switch over. Another benefit to a zero heel differential is in weight lifting and various other athletic pursuits correct posture and a grounded foot are very important to keeping your body aligned and safe.

So far I have been impressed with the Zeros from New Balance. They are a well-designed step in the direction of a truly minimalist shoe that can be used as a multi sport cross trainer or trail runner. I think this is a definite win for New Balance and I look forward to doing a little more trail running and possibly Crossfit in them!

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Charles Miles - Summit Hut Footwear Buyer

Over the past few years I have come to really appreciate the benefits of 0 drop footwear as I have worked to improve my running form and the MT00 is a great option. I have put both road miles and trail miles on my pair of MT00 and they have performed quite well - some of the details I have enjoyed:

-The weight: SO LIGHT, while I prefer more protection than these shoes offer for some runs/activities I think about these frequently because the weight is so attractive.
-My foot is secured nicely inside the shoe: With a very thin tongue and upper I initially wondered if it would be able to hold my foot in place on uneven terrain and during downhill runs - and if the laces would bight into the top of my foot. But it did no take long to realize that my foot was stable inside the shoe and the thin tongue was not a problem!
-Great for barefoot form: You can run with good 'barefoot' form in almost anything - but the sensitivity for the ground and zero differential between the heel and forefoot that these offer are certainly advantages when you are trying to maintain good 'barefoot' form.
-Good grip: The outsole is nicely sticky and the reduced amount of rubber compared to the MT10 does not seem to be a disadvantage.
After doing a number of shorter run/hikes in this shoe I headed up Agua Caliente hill in my pair of MT00 - I did just over 10 miles of running and hiking that day on fairly rocky trail - and, for me, this was really at the limit of what I am currently comfortable doing in the MT00. Certainly other New Balance options like the MT10 and MT110 are great options to keep in mind and have available since you may – like me – have trails, terrain or distances that the MT00 is not the best choice for!

One interesting detail to note is that water comes into this shoe VERY easily thru the bottom of the shoe - because it lacks a solid layer of material under the foot you may be surprised the first time you step in a shallow puddle and come away with wet feet!

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Gear

2012 Fleet Feet Arizona Trail Race Report

by Charles Monday, February 20th 2012

The day started with a early morning departure to Colossal Cave Mountain Park for the 8 mile 2012 Fleet Feet Arizona Trail Race - it was cold as we got in the car and hoped that it would be just a little warmer by the time the race started. The start and finish is the La Posta Quemada Ranch, as we turned into the Ranch we immediately saw the start/finish line and runners warming up, seeing so many runners ready to hit the trail was exciting!

It is still chilly as we line up for the start - but in no time we are running and beginning to warm up. The start of the race winds around the road/parking area to spread everyone out before running past the Arizona Trail sign, thru the gate and onto the trail. After about a mile the temperature starts to feel perfect - this trail is a blast to run as it winds across and along Posta Quemada Canyon.  The scenery is gorgeous and the lines of runners on the single track create bright ribbons of color.

The layout for this course is great - a loop at the end of the course ensures that there is a minimum amount of time spent contending with runners trying to go both directions on the narrow trail (although you will have to step aside for the leaders if you run at my pace). To create the loop you turn off the Arizona Trail (a big thanks to the race staff for such great directions at all the intersections!) and turn onto the dirt road that that takes you back to the final section of the trail. The final climbs are a nice challenge before the fast downhill finish.

Part of the fun of this race was having so many friends and colleagues at the event - from the Summit Hut we had Jeremy Davis - Owner, Dave Baker - Founder, Richard Allen - Buyer, Charles Miles - Buyer, Dana Davis - Owner, Frank Camp - Marketing Director and Alison Taylor - Buyer (race results) - a great group to enjoy the fabulous breakfast with after the race.



If you missed this race this year think about signing up next year - but sign up early, this race is fantastic and will certainly sell out quickly! You can find quite a few pictures of this race on Flickr from Everyone Runs.

A few notes about gear we used on this run:


Photo Credit: Fleet Feet Tucson and Dave Barger.

Hot Peak 60, Inov-8: I like the fit on this cap and the sweat band does a good job keeping sweat out of my eyes and off my glasses - plus in the Black/Lime color it looks fast! - Charles 


Photo Credit: Fleet Feet Tucson and Dave Barger.

UV Arm Sleeves - Print, Moeben: Moeben arm sleeves were perfect for this race! The start was quite chilly so having some extra warmth was great while the last mile of the race, when I spent a great deal of energy trying to catch Frank, I got hot and was able to push the sleeves down for a cooling effect. The UPF 50 would have been great as well if it had been sunnier! -Dana

Performance Mini Crew and Ironman Thunder Pro Low-Cut, Injinji and Wigwam: By combining my original weight Injini socks with the Wigwam Thunder Pros I get maximum cushioning while keeping the toes separated so they do not rub against one another- they are the perfect match! -Dana


Photo Credit: Fleet Feet Tucson and Dave Barger.

F-Lite 230, Inov-8: I put quite a bit of thought into which shoes to wear for this run. In the end, the 230's won out - solid protection, great fit, minimal enough that I had to put some focus on good form. -Frank

Summit Hut Go Hat, Headsweats: This hat is incredibly lightweight, offered some sun protection and kept sweat out of my face! What more can you ask for? -Frank

Events | Gear

Rosewood Point and North Rosewood Point

by Charles Friday, December 9th 2011


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Driving to the trailhead.

Rain and clouds... The perfect day for a hike! To enjoy the somewhat rare grey skies I decided to hike up to Rosewood Point. My reward for braving the weather was getting to watch clouds swirling around Table Mountain and The Cleaver - different from the usual views in Pima Canyon!

Rosewood Point is a highpoint above the eastern cliffs of Pima canyon. Rosewood Point, and nearby North Rosewood Point, offer great views of Pima Canyon and surrounding locations including Pusch Peak, Table Mountain and The Cleaver.

Parking for this hike is the Iris O. Dewhirst Pima Canyon Trailhead located at the end of Magee Road.

This hike is in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness area – two restrictions to be aware of: travel more than 400 feet off trail is forbidden January thru April (this hike is partially off-trail - Rosewood Point is 'closed' during that time period) and dogs are not permitted on the trail (except seeing-eye dogs or handi-dogs).

From the parking area take the Pima Canyon Trail. At 1 mile the trail enters Pima Canyon and at 1.8 miles the trail turns southeast and begins to parallel a small canyon (you will hike up this canyon to get close to the saddle below Rosewood Point). Stay on the Pima Canyon Trail and cross the canyon - after a few minutes look for a faint off-trail route on the right (approximately mile 2) - there are a number of faint trails in this area but you should be able to use any of them. Hike (roughly) south towards the bottom of the small canyon via the path of least resistance.

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A view of the clouds moving over and around The Cleaver - taken from near where I left the Pima Canyon Trail.

Once in the canyon bottom cairns begin to appear that may help you find the easiest path up the canyon. As you get higher in the canyon the cairns become less frequent and the drainage will begin to turn to the east. Make your best guess about the location of the trail and work south up the hillside to the saddle.

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Table Mountain thru the rusted barbed wire fence at the saddle.

The saddle is a great spot to take a break and enjoy the views. Several faint trails leave the saddle and take you up thru the cliffs. Above the cliffs it is an easy hike to Rosewood Point. Enjoy the views from Rosewood Point - but leave time to hike to North Rosewood Point.

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Looking up Pima Canyon - a few minutes before reaching Rosewood Point.

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Rosewood Point with Table Mountain in the background.

North Rosewood Point is another high point to the northwest that is just a few minutes of hiking from Rosewood Point. The views from North Rosewood Point include an interesting look at the cliffs on the east side of the Pima Canyon.

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Looking down Pima Canyon from North Rosewood Point.

There are a number of possible ways back to the parking area from Rosewood Point. Following the ridgeline to the west is suggested as an interesting route in "The Santa Catalina Mountains: A Guide to the Trails and Routes" by Pete Cowgill and Eber Glendening (see the Rosewood Point description for details). But watching the rain roll across Tucson convinced me to take the easiest route down - back the same way I came up! This hike totals  just over 7 miles.

Rosewood Point Map

Trails

Airmen Peak

by Charles Friday, December 2nd 2011

Molino Basin is a gateway to a number of truly fantastic areas in the Santa Catalina Mountains. One great off-trail destination is Airmen Peak. Although no official trails exist to the peak there are several ways to the top - this blog post describes hiking to Airmen Peak by of way Molino Canyon to the east and the West Fork of Molino Canyon to the West. While certainly not the fastest or easiest route it is interesting because it takes you thru two wonderful canyons on the way to and from Airmen Peak.

As always, be very cautious about off-trail travel in the Santa Catalina mountains - the route below is only on official trails for about the first five minutes. If you are not comfortable scrambling off trail, on steep terrain and near sheer cliffs this hike should be avoided.

Mile 0 - The starting spot for this hike is the Molino Basin parking area. This area is on the left side of the Catalina Highway between mile markers 5 and 6 as you head up the mountain (well signed). There is a campground at Molino Basin that is open during the winter. After starting just off the parking area the trail crosses the road. You will pass a large Arizona Trail sign and just a few minutes after that leave the trail to begin travelling up Molino canyon. To work up canyon to the top of the first falls you have two choices - an obvious, but unofficial, trail that starts just before the Arizona Trail crosses the canyon - or simply walk up the canyon bottom. While the trail may be faster the canyon bottom is more beautiful and often has small pools of water and plenty to see - Canyon Treefrogs, Ferocious Water Bugs and Black-necked Garter Snakes were some of the animals I saw this trip.

Start of the path to the top of the first falls in Molino Canyon 

As you approach the first falls (pictured below) the trail will take you up the left side (looking up canyon) of the canyon and eventually deposit you in the canyon bottom. If you followed the canyon simply work up the hillside to your left and catch the trail to get to the top. Once you are above the falls the rest of the hike will be off-trail.

First falls in Molino Canyon 

About 10 minutes past the falls a drainage comes in from the west - this is the drainage mentioned in the Mountain Project description of the approach to the Stonewall climbing area.

Drainage to Stonewall

Mile 1 - The canyon continues to steepen - occasional sections of slippery water polished rock and large boulders present some challenges to scramble up and/or work around.

Molino Canyon

Eventually the scrambling ends and the canyon levels out into a sand and rock walkway. This section of the canyon is a great destination - perhaps camp for the night and explore the surrounding area! Just a few minutes after the canyon levels out look for a smaller drainage coming in from the left (easy to spot and often marked with a cairn). This drainage will take you to west towards Airmen Peak.

Mile 2 - As the small drainage bends to the north you get a good view of the rocky cliffs of Airmen Peak and a view of the small saddle you will be hiking to.

Airmen Peak and Saddle

Leave the drainage and take the path of least resistance towards the saddle. As you near the saddle look to your left for the overgrown slope (to the south) that can be used to gain the peak - head up this slope anywhere that seems feasible. Progress is slow as you work up the steep slope and, finally, onto the rocky summit. The summit area offers views in every direction - plan on spending some time exploring - this is a great area!

Summit of Airmen Peak

Mile 3 - I wandered around the summit area and nearby ridge enjoying the views for quite a while. But eventually it was time to head down. There are a number of ways back to Molino Basin - but I love taking the West Fork of Molino Canyon down. Work back down the steep hillside, to the saddle and then continue down into the West Fork of Molino!

Beautiful rock in the West Fork

Mile 4 - The West Fork is steeper, more rugged and has more obstacles than Molino Canyon. There are several sections where you will need to exit the canyon to work around falls/steep sections - if you are short on time or Molino Canyon was at the limit of (or beyond) what you are comfortable with I strongly recommend going back down Molino Canyon rather than going down the West Fork! After some beautiful sections of carved rock you will come to the first of several cliffs/falls that you will need to work around - picture below - I have found leaving the canyon and working around the left side (looking down canyon) to be a good approach (be sure to explore your options cautiously and carefully!).

Dave Baker above the First Waterfall Down from Airmen Peak

The second set of falls is not too far down canyon and are bigger than the first set! Exit to the right (looking down canyon) and find a small, but obvious, drainage that angles back into the canyon - it will take you far enough down canyon to bypass both the falls pictured below and another smaller/steep below.

Second Falls

The hillside/drainage here can be very bushy, with some care it is possible to find a reasonable path down (although there is no escaping the brush) - you may pick up some friends along the way... 

Overly friendly brush

Mile 5 - More great canyon bottom and then one more set of falls to work around. Exit to the right (looking down canyon) and look for a faint path that contours along the cliffs, past a tree, and over some rocky sections to a chute or hillside that leads back to the bottom of the canyon. Take care working around these falls - while there is not any difficult scrambling along this path there are a few minutes of walking along the edge of a rather steep/tall cliff!

Last Falls

Once back in the canyon bottom there is a joyful section of rock hopping thru beautiful canyon and all too soon you are at the highway - continue under the highway and down the canyon - you will pass behind several camp sites and then eventually hit the Molino Basin campground road a minute or two from your car, just as your mileage hits 6!

This trip may not be the fastest way to get up to Airmen Peak and back - but it is an amazing chance to travel some beautiful terrain if you are up for an off-trail adventure.

Trails

The Authors

Dave BakerDave Baker

I'm Dave Baker, founder of Summit Hut, an independent outdoor retailer based in Tucson, Arizona since 1969. As an experienced and passionate hiker, climber and backpacker, my blog is intended to be an informative and interesting look into the outdoors and the outdoor industry.

Dana Davis

Dana Davis

I’m Dana Davis, co-owner of the Summit Hut. I mostly enjoy hiking and road biking though I often do other things to keep it interesting (mountaineering, motorcycling, backpacking, climbing, you name it!) My biggest challenge is sometimes finding the balance between career, family, and fun but it’s working out so far!

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

I'm Dan Davis, after retiring from the National Park Service as a Ranger and manager, I worked for the Summit Hut until 2009, then retired for good (maybe). I'm now spending my time traveling around the southwest writing and working on my nature and fine art photography business.

Emily Gindlesparger

Emily Gindlesparger

I’m Emily Gindlesparger, a member of the Summit Hut floor staff. Since moving here from the Midwest, I’ve been taking advantage of all possible adventures in Arizona: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, caving and trail running; I’m always excited to see what’s next!

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