New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail General Information
New Balance’s Minimus line was one of the first mainstream brand moves to embrace the tenets of more natural running footwear.
These shoes provide adequate cushioning for daily running, yet maintain very light weights and low heel-to-toe offsets.
The new 10v2 Trail model employs these features in a practical package suited for virtually any trail. It is light enough for faster running and trail racing, and has an aggressive outsole designed to give the runner confidence on technical surfaces.
New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail Impression
Stepping into the NB 10v2 is more like putting on a sock than stepping into a running shoe- the upper is snug, the fit secure, and the feel is plush around your foot. The first thing I noticed was how accommodating the forefoot was.
It is quite wide to allow the toes to splay naturally upon ground-strike, so if you have especially narrow feet take this into account. You may need to size down so that the shoe will fit more closely around your forefoot.
There is no arch-support or technical features with this model, making it a truly minimal experience.
My first run in the NB 10v2 was on the very technical Mountains-to-Sea Trail near my home in Boone, NC. This trail crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway multiple times in my region, so it was also a good test for the shoe’s road running adequacy, as well.
I found the shoe to have adequate traction for most trails, even if the surface is muddy or slick. The ride is firm, but the shoe’s inherent flexibility allows one to fully utilize their leg muscles while running.
If you aren’t accustomed to minimal shoes, expect a little soreness in your feet, calves, and glutes after your first few runs in the 10v2. The shoe felt fine on the road for short crossings and even on longer stretches, so one could definitely employ the 10v2 as a “doorstep to trailhead” shoe if desired.
The ride is like a blend between the Merrell Bare Access and the SKORA Form; it bridges the gap between the firmness and flexibility of these two models, and is lighter than both in weight.
New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail Sole Unit
The NB 10v2 Trail uses a very simplistic Vibram outsole with low-profile lugs to enhance traction. The shoe is very flexible with no interfering features to one’s natural foot motion, but cushioned enough for moderate pronators. It serves the runner well on everything from technical trails, to smooth limestone paths, to asphalt surfaces, making it one of the more versatile models I have had the privilege to test.
New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail Upper
The upper on the Minimus is made of a lightweight nylon blend and seamless construction. I was able to wear these sockless with no blisters or cuts, which is a plus for many runners. However, without socks I did experience a good deal of dirt and trail grit getting into the shoes from the normal dynamics of off-road running.
On creek crossings, the shoe shines brightly because water is not retained for more than a few seconds thanks to the thin, vented material. Splash away!
My chief concern with the NB 10v2 Trail model involves the forefoot strap that sits just along the outer band of the shoe, crossing the toes somewhat on the lateral side. It is meant to hold the foot in place while running for a more secure feel, but it was more of an annoyance to the overall comfort of the shoes, I found.
I am a strong dorsiflexor when I run quickly, meaning my toes lift to engage and then strike the ground smartly with each stride (more than they probably should, but we all have our quirks). I noticed some increasing discomfort on my first few runs in the 10v2 related to this feature; like a bruising sensation against the firm strap that was only relieved when I either slowed down substantially or took the shoes off my feet post-run.
This was a fleeting issue that I only related to these shoes, so no injury issues were present. I manipulated the lacing a bit on each side, and the strap began to brake-in a good deal once I reached 50mls or thereabouts on the shoes. This is rarely present now when I run in the 10v2, but it was a bother at first. If you experience this with the model, consider adjusting the laces and wearing very thin socks to relieve this pressure.
New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail Opinion
Overall, the New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail is a great option for those trail runners seeking a lightweight shoe for a variety of terrains and paces. It has excellent ground-feel, enhancing foot proprioception and muscle strength.
I completed runs between 5-12mls while testing this shoe, including some long, fast ascents and light fartlek. The shoe performs best on trails without too many sharp rocks, as the outsole is thin enough where stepping on a stone could cause some pain. It thrives on steeper down-hills where a nimble shoe is needed for balance and speed, beating traditional trail shoes substantially in regard to fit, feel, and ride on most surfaces.
Aside from the issue with the forefoot strap that I experienced, I would recommend the NB 10v2 highly to fellow trail runners looking for a more natural option for daily running and racing.
We thank the nice people at New Balance for sending us a pair of Minimus 10v2 Trail to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.