As you know, I’ve published quite a few running shoe reviews over the years.
But there’s a big limitation to my reviews: they’re written by me (a guy, in case you haven’t noticed) and they review men’s shoes.
Obviously, this is somewhat necessary. But my reviews then take a biased look at only the men’s version of any shoe.
And last month, a female reader pointed this out to me, saying that she would love to see women’s shoes reviewed by a woman.
And I’m happy to oblige!
My wife Meaghan is the guinea pig in this experiment and she’s written the review below of the New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail.
When she’s not designing illustrations for my warm-up and core routines, she runs her own education company that helps kids learn how to read.
But she’s also a runner. We met in late 2003 while we were both running for the Connecticut College cross country teams.
What she doesn’t tell you below is that she’s quite accomplished: Meaghan has 5:45 mile and 2:28 800m personal bests, as well as 9 years of competitive running experience that started in middle school.
As a middle-distance runner in college, I’ve never convinced her to run a marathon. The only response I get is condescending laughter…
But as a different type of runner than myself, she offers a different perspective.
I hope the women in the SR audience enjoy this review. And guys, we can still learn about this shoe so read on!
Take it away, Megs.
The Women’s NB Minimus 10v2 Trail Shoe Review
I’m not a shoe whore like many other runners.
So when my husband Jason asked if I wanted to review a pair of New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trails, I had to think about it.
With so many options available and the constant style updates of today’s shoes, I’m always overwhelmed when purchasing new shoes. I usually just buy whatever Coach Jason recommends because that’s easiest. [Jason’s note: this is the only time my wife ever listens to me]
I love minimalist shoes and when I saw the cool purple, gray and orange colors of the Minimus 10v2 Trails I got excited and immediately said yes.
First, I’ll say that I’m biased: I LOVE minimalist shoes. I’m addicted to ground feel.
I enjoy the lightweight and flexible feel that makes me feel like I’m wearing a slipper. The whole experience of feeling my foot bend and grip the ground with each step is exhilarating.
If I could train in minimalist shoes all the time and not get hurt, I would. However, as my husband likes to say, “minimalism is a tool.” I respect that as I know I’m not super-human.
First Impressions & Specs
I immediately loved these shoes because of the fantastic way they feel, both while running and on my feet while hiking and walking. The word that comes to mind most often when I think of these shoes is comfortable.
Before I describe more, here are the important details:
- Weight: 4.9 oz (139 grams)
- Heel-toe drop: 4mm
- Material: Vibram outsole and synthetic/mesh upper
The Minimus 10v2 Trails are a great fit for me. They’re snug yet flexible. The toe box is roomy, but not too big. Since I have narrow feet, I often find that many minimalist shoes do not fit well – my heel slips or there is too much space or material in the toebox.
The Minimus 10v2 Trails have no superfluous material. They are designed to fit like your favorite sock and they accomplish that quite nicely (see more views of them – and colors – here).
Not only do these shoes fit my feet well, they feel great while running with fantastic ground feel, allowing you to pleasantly experience all the ruggedness of the trail.
But they work well on other surfaces, too like dirt, cinder, and even a light dusting of snow. While I enjoy wearing them for short periods on the road because they’re so comfortable, you’ll gain the most benefits from using them off-road.
How to Use the Minimus 10v2 Trails to Enhance Your Training
So how can the Minimus 10v2 Trails help you become a better runner? Minimalist shoes are a great tool to help decrease your injury risk and build strength – when used wisely.
The flexibility and minimal support of the shoe engages more muscles in your lower legs and feet than traditional, more supportive running shoes. Engaging these muscles helps build strength in these areas.
However, for the same reason, minimalist shoes are also very taxing on your lower legs and feet. Most of us are not used to using these muscles too often, so this strength needs to be built up slowly and with caution.
Just as you would not start a lifting program for the first time doing heavy deadlifts every day, the Minimus 10v2 Trails should not be used for every run. If used strategically, you should be able to avoid injury and maximize your training.
Here’s a short, fun video clip I put together for the Minimus Trails:
Best Training Uses for the Minimus 10v2 Trails
Here is a list of runs that would be most beneficial for the Minimus Trails:
- Short to medium length easy runs
- Short, fast workouts trails/off-road
- Just for a workout (i.e., change into the Minimus Trails after your warm-up)
The main thing to remember is to keep your mileage low in these shoes. If you want to do a faster workout in them but have a lot of mileage planned for that day, change into these shoes right before your workout but do the warm-up and warm-down in more supportive shoes.
Although these shoes are designed for trails, I still love the feel of them so much that I occasionally wear them on the road. If you do wear them “on-road” keep the runs easy and short. You don’t want to be pounding the pavement too long with such minimal support.
Just because I only use these shoes for a small percentage of my runs doesn’t mean they sit in the closet the rest of the time! I love wearing these for walks in the park and hikes in the mountains. The Minimus Trails feel fantastic on a hike gripping roots and rocks, strengthening my feet and lower leg muscles with a low injury risk.
I try to practice minimalist principles in other ways such as not wearing shoes in the house (or outside in the summer) and keeping my shoes as minimalist as possible but still comfortable during the day. [Jason’s note: for more on this, see my video on the spectrum of minimalist shoes]
The lightweight and flexible Minimus Trail allows me to move quickly over uneven terrain with an efficient stride. Moving fast while feeling my feet grip every contour in the trail gets me excited about running in its rawest form.
Nothing feels better than dominating a fast workout on the trails!
When to Exercise Caution
The Minimus Trails work well for me, but they might not be the perfect shoe for you. The first thing to make sure of is to get the sizing right. New Balance does say that these shoes run a little small.
I tend to wear a 6 – 6.5 in normal shoes and a 7 in running shoes. I got a size 7 and the fit is perfect; I wouldn’t have gone any smaller.
In addition, your foot shape and shoe fit preference may leave you feeling differently than I do about the Minimus Trails. As I mentioned before, I have narrow feet and I really enjoy how they fit. But if your feet are wide, they may not be roomy enough and you may not like them.
I also happen to enjoy their snug yet flexible fit. This may not be a feeling you enjoy, especially if you’ve been wearing supportive, motion-control shoes and this is your first minimalist shoe.
The best thing is to try them on in the store – you can always order them online to get a better discount once you find the proper sizing.
If you’re looking for a new minimalist off-road shoe, try them on and see what you think! And remember, minimalism is a tool!
Check them out on Amazon, where you can get the best prices with free shipping.
And see all of Strength Running’s shoe reviews on its Running Shoe Reviews page.