A Great All-Purpose Transition Shoe
I usually have a hard time reviewing transition shoes and, I must admit, the New Balance (NB) Minimus 10v2 Trail is the first one I’ve really liked. Despite the 4 mm drop, I find wearing the shoe incredibly comfortable and I’ve often forgot that this is a transition rather than a full minimalist shoe. NB improved some features from their original Minimus 10 Trail to create an enjoyable ride and a nearly minimalist feel.
Price: $110 USD
Width: Narrow to Average in B Width, also offered in a D width
Sole Thickness: 8.5 mm Forefoot, 12.5 mm Heel
Drop: 4 mm
Weight: 5 3/8 ounces or 152 grams
Insole: None included
Sizing: 5–12 for women; 7–14 for men; Half sizes available; Fits true to size
Category: Transition Road/Light Trail Running Shoe
Comfort & Fit
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how comfortable the 10v2 Trail is. The upper lining is made mostly of a synthetic mesh that is soft against the skin. There are also no obtrusive seams or edges. There is considerable padding in the heel area that I found distracting at first but has form fitted to the shape of my heel and is quite comfortable now. These can be worn with or without socks comfortably.
The most significant, and extremely welcome, update the 10v2 Trail received is in the material making the band across the forefoot. The previous 10 Trail had a rubber forefoot band that I found most constricting but the new synthetic material is thinner and much more flexible, although it is definitely not stretchy. It does, however, provide room enough for my wide feet to feel comfortable while walking and only mildly constrained while running. The review pair is a B width but this model is offered in a D width for those with wider feet, which is a fantastic option.
There is no insole included in the shoe but the footbed is soft and flat across the length of the shoe.
Barefoot Feel & Function
Compared to a true minimal shoe, the 10v2 Trail is not that flexible and therefore does not have a lot of ground feel, but they do have minimal cushioning. Compared to a full traditional running shoe, the 10v2 Trail does bend around gross ground contours in the forefoot area but less so in the heel. This is not the shoe to try if you are hoping to feel the ground, however, if your running takes you to areas with roughterrains and you don’t want to feel the sharp edges, these may be a good choice for you.
With their 4 mm drop, they do not allow your ankles and feet to function as they would barefoot. They do not have an arch support included but the midfoot is quite narrow so you may feel the rise of the medial side of the shoe under your arch if you have a wide, flat foot. If this is the case, again, you have the option of choosing the D width shoe. They do have a pleasantly uniform grip depth across their outsole resulting in a smooth transfer of weight throughout the gait.
The 10v2 Trail is one of the lightest trail shoes I’ve reviewed and they feel amazingly light out on the trail.
The upper is made of a lightweight mesh with flexible but not stretchy overlays across the forefoot and wrapping the heel. Where it is just mesh, the upper breathes quite well, but does allow water to pass through easily. There is no break-in period for this shoe but the upper does get softer with wear and the padding in the heel cup will likely form fit to the shape of your heel with time as well.
As the upper is mostly mesh, dirt will collect in the upper of the shoe. When they need some cleaning, a machine wash and air dry should remove that trail dirt.
The sole is made of a Vibram outsole and an Acteva midsole for cushioning. The sole thickness, or stack height, is 8.5 mm at the forefoot and 12.5 mm at the heel with a total heel drop of 4.0 mm. It is the most flexible in the forefoot area but there is still some flex in the midfoot and heel areas. There is no arch support designed into the shoe but if you have a considerably wide foot, you may feel the lip of the medial outsole against your arch. If this is the case, you may consider trying the D width option.
The quality of the materials and manufacturing are both excellent. There are no flaws in the review pair. There are quite a number of seams but they appear perfectly stitched. These shoes will likely last a long time with their durable materials and construction.
The 10v2 Trail shoes look like rugged, low profile, runners with some logo flair. New Balance provides their customers with the choice of quiet minimalism to conversation piece footwear in the 10v2 colourways, offering three styles for both men and women ranging from subdued to extra loud. Other than the colour selection, there are not a lot of extras to these shoes in terms of looks, minimizing their fashion over function, which is exactly how I like my shoes.
As a transition shoe with a 4 mm drop, these are probably not the best choice for committed natural runners or walkers. However, if you are transitioning from a more cushioned runner to something more minimal, these may be the shoe for you. They have more than sufficient traction for dry or wet road running and enough of a grip depth for light trail use in both dry and wet conditions as well. I would not recommend them for extreme or excessively muddy trails because of their lack of lugs. Their diminished ground feel make them a good choice for sharp trails as well for those of us who don’t necessarily want to feel every rock edge while we run. They are comfortable enough to be a good all-purpose shoe option if you’re trying to step down from conventional to more minimal footwear.
At $110 USD, the 10v2 Trail is priced competitively in the trail shoe category. Due to their rugged construction and predicted longevity, I think they are worth this price.
The Minimus 10v2 Trail received minor updates from their original predecessor shoe but these updates considerably improve their functionality as a minimalist running shoe, despite the 4 mm drop that classifies them as a transition shoe by my definition. The much more flexible forefoot band greatly improves the shoe’s overall comfort. The reduced rubber in the outsole makes them even lighter than the original as well. The whole shoe is comfortable and gets more so with wear with the form-fitting heel padding. Although they do not have the greatest ground feel, sometimes there are runs where you just don’t want to feel all the sharp edges, and for those, these are a great option.
For more information about the New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail or any of their other models, you can check out their website at NewBalance.com.