The amazing people at New Balance recently sent us a selection of their Minimus shoes to test, and I had a chance to check out the MT20SBs Minimus Winter Run Trail models. These differ from the Minimus 20s that Brent reviewed by way of ventilation—while his are mesh-coated waffles, the Winter Runs are a solid black material that provides better insulation and durability.
The Winter Runs are popular with the CrossFit crowd due to that durability aspect—the heavier weight material simply holds up better to rope climbs, box jumps, and all the other abuses a CrossFit WOD put shoes to at Bellator. The tradeoff is that the Winter Runs don’t breathe particularly well and as the weather warms up, it’s become more of an issue.
The Minimus 20 Trail (MT20s) shoes have soles by Vibram with a unique shallow but versatile lug pattern that performs well on uneven trail surfaces but isn’t intended for crossing over into hiking or bouldering or climbing. The minimalist feel to the shoes is one of the very best in the industry, with a four mm drop from heel to toe but still a very near-barefoot experience that I actually find preferable to the straight barefoot experience from some other shoes. Splitting the difference makes this a very good compromise that promotes good “barefoot” form yet preserves some traditional running shoe elements to create a great product along the barefoot spectrum.
While New Balance sent us the MT20 Winter Runs to get our review in a CrossFit setting, I’ve enjoyed getting them dirty outside as well—a pastime that may have to now give way as warmer weather roles in. Brent’s mesh MT20s won’t have that problem.
The MT20s are still on sale for $70 as of this writing, which is a fantastic deal on an excellent shoe. While not a totally “barefoot” shoe, the MT20 provides enough of that feel to make me want to observe good form but enough of a traditional feel to keep me as comfortable as can be. OK—I’m impressed. With the Winter Runs not currently available, check out New Balance’s Minimus 20 Trails here while the great price lasts!