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

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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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