Here at Benosh, we have had the chance to really get to know New Balance’s Minumus line this summer. We tested the MT20SBs Winter Runs, 20s, and MR00 Roads, and we loved them all. So we jumped at the chance to check out their new 1010 Trail runners.
The 1010s deviate from the uber-minimalist formula of nothing but a strip of rubber between you and the ground because, well, frankly most of us are tenderfoots. Trail running in your Vibram FiveFingers or shoes like VIVOBAREFOOT’s may be great if you grew up barefoot on the Sahara, but for the rest of us, it can be a brutalizing experience on any kind of a trail with rocks or debris. Can you adapt? Sure. Do you want to…?
New Balance understands this and seeks to strike a good compromise with the 1010s—and, honestly, I think they’re capturing the best of both worlds. The 1010s have a very minimalist feel but with padding between their excellently grippy outsole and your tender feet. The ROCK STOP forefoot protection and foam padding underwrites a super flexible sole and next-to-nothing mesh upper that breathes very well.
The 1010s are very light, but while the aforementioned minimalists can be as punishing as a rice rocket with cut springs, the 1010s feel like luxury sedans for your feet—not in a Cadillac kind of way, but in a BMW 3-series sense. Everything is tight, controlled, and communicative, with just the right amount of sport and damping so you get done with a run feeling good, not abused, by your canyon-carving hijinks.
Gripes are minor. Dust and crud—guacamole for instance—can get trapped under the top mesh layer and make it slightly difficult to clean the 1010s. I’m not a fan of the gold snake print faux leather patches on the otherwise good-looking red and charcoal of our testers, but I guess it does spice things up.
At $110 on New Balance’s website, the 1010s are pretty much par for the course with New Balance’s other minimalist shoes and with competitors. For my money, I would for sure go for these over the hard-core true no-drop minimalists, as I feel like I got most of the value with few of the detriments. If you’re a trail runner, I strongly suggest getting a pair of New Balance’s 1010 Trails.