New Balance has just released a new pair of shoes called the MT 101. I currently have two pairs of it’s previous little brother, the New Balance MT 100s and have been itching to figure out what improvements they have made to the new model. To give a bit of background, the MT 100 was designed by ultra trail marathoner Anton Krupicka. Anton is probably one of the most rock solid long distance runners out there. If you go to his website and read his daily miles, he runs about 10 miles in the morning and 10 miles in the evening. The cool thing about Anton is he has always supported and used minimalist running shoes. He has perfected the art of buying a shoe and then cutting it down so it just has enough protection to stop the rocky paths of Colorado from hurting his feet. So when New Balance wanted to design a shoe that was minimalist but great for the quick and fast runners, they asked Anton to help them.
What they ended up designing was a perfect grippy shoe, with a minimalist drop and an incredibly lightweight breathable construction. Most of the MT 101s form and shape comes from EVA foam which in itself is a lightweight material. The rest of the shoe is covered in a breathable mesh which is great for those long hot runs. The sole has a layer of ACTEVA midsole cushdion, which is very light and they also use ROCKSTOP a material meant to prevent debris from the trail getting at your feet. The front of the shoe has ripstop protection so you don’t tear the mesh when you might jab your foot into a sharp object.
I have a very skinny, low volume foot, which is an absolute perfect fit for the New Balance MT 101s. They are designed like a racing flat (the shoes track runners use) which mean they are tight and hug the foot so you have maximum control. I’m a huge fan of this design because it feels like I’m wearing feathers on my feet, not big bulky trail runners that used to exist a few years back. Running is an incredible experience for me, and the more minimalist I am in all my gear, the better I feel.
New Balance created a really cool lacing system called Sure Lace. The laces are on a lot of their models but works really well on high use running shoes like the 101s. It’s hard to describe exactly what they are but imagine a string of beads, but the beads are stretched out and part of the string. What you end up with is a string that has sort of waves in it, skinner and thicker parts. What this does is secures your laces because when you tie them on they secure themselves on the skinny and thick parts.
Now when I pulled out the shoe from the box it seemed they hadn’t changed much. It looked a lot like the 100s and I was disappointed being that I loved the previous models so much I wanted these new ones to be even cooler and amazing for my running. Once I looked a bit closer I began to see the difference. They changed the design and coloration a lot to make the shoe look “cooler.” Whether that is successful or not that is up to the viewer. With that design change though they added in some more form to the top of the shoe. What that means for me is that after I used my 100s a lot and washed them a lot the top mesh part of the shoe lost it’s shape and form. I think the MT 101s would hold up a bitter better because there is a new stabilizer in the middle of the shoe. On top of the design changes they have fixed the one complaint I had with the 100s. The back of the 100s uses EVA foam to cushion your achilles tendon. This is a great idea because it comforts you while still being light, however the very top of it came to a tiny point which for me caused rubbing and blistering, especially when that skin to EVA foam area got dirty from mud. The new 101s now have a nicely rounded top to that achilles support so it shouldn’t blister there anymore. Keeping in mind that New Balance does release new versions of it’s shoes every year, I was still impressed with the changes they made. They already had a great successful shoe designed by an awesome runner, now they have an even better one.
On top of the 101s they have just released New Balance is also soon to release a new line of shoes called the Minimus. This includes 3 different shoes, the Minimus Trail, the Minimus Road, and the Minimus Life. I am incredibly excited to try on the NB Minimus Trail, being also designed by Anton Krupicka the Minimus has a more minimalist sole then the 101s. The bottom is made from Vibram rubber like Vibram Fivefingers so it is incredibly grippy on wet surfaces and also very flexible. I saw the demo models of these shoes a few months back and can’t wait to put one on my feet and try them out, I will quickly write up a review when we receive them in.