Over 5 years ago, when I had very little concept of minimalism, I owned about 30 pairs of shoes — most of them which were outdoor and running shoes. I was convinced, for some reason, that different pairs of shoes were needed for different occasions (and there were a LOT of different occasions at that time of my life, apparently!)
And then I had to move to a couple different apartments and began to wonder… what’s the use of all these shoes? Most of them I only wore a few times, anyways! So I began to sell them, donate them, thrown them out… anything to trim down my shoe collection. For a few years I owned about 10 pairs or so. Until I discovered the line of New Balance Minimus shoes.
These shoes can just about do it all! I have owned two different pairs of Minimus in the past 3 years and they are pretty much the only shoe I wear anymore. Although the shoe pictured above is technically the trail running version of the Minimus shoe, I have found it great for hiking, biking, and just everyday casual use. It is also a fantastic shoe (because it is so lightweight) to take backpacking, since it can be stuffed in a backpack if necessary and doesn’t take up premium space inside the bag.
This specific shoe claims to be water and odor resistant. On top of that, it has a very grippy vibram sole. This is the barefoot running shoe for people who think the Vibram FiveFinger shoes look a bit silly.
What’s so great about this shoe?
Well, I’ve already hit a lot of those points — it’s a great shoe that do-it-all on a backpacking trip (I usually bring this shoe and a pair of flip-flops). There is no insole in this shoe, so it stays extremely light. The water-resistant sides of the shoe keep out cold air a little bit — so this shoe can still be worn in early spring/fall without any issues.
What could be improved about this shoe?
The sides of the shoe are, indeed, water resistant. However, the top of the toe area and the tongue of the shoe are not, so don’t think you can actually wear these in the rain. These are more likely to protect you a little bit if you are running through a few puddles or on a muddy trail run.
The vibram soles are very grippy. But of course, they will wear down to a smooth sole pretty quickly (especially if you wear them everyday, like I do.) Because of that, you’ll need to be extra careful if you do wear them out on a rainy day, because the bottoms of this shoe can get very slick.
One last thing I think could be improved is to find a stronger, more lasting way to secure the soles to the shoe. Both pairs of my Miminus have begun to peel from the shoe in the same places — near the big toe, and then about two inches away toward the arch of the shoe. It’s not a huge deal, since I have owned these shoes for a very long time and know that they hold up well, but the adhesive fails fairly early in the life of a Minimus, from what I’ve noticed.
Overall, I think the Minimus line is incredibly comfortable and durable. I’ve tried out the Merrell line of barefoot shoes and didn’t’ think they were as comfortable. I think these shoes are some of the best looking ‘barefoot’ shoes out there, with the exception of ‘VivoBarefoot’ Shoes!
I give the New Balance Minimus Trail Running Shoe 5 out of 5 stars!
(I’m sure these won’t be my last pairs!)
Check out their complete line of Minimus shoes on the New Balance website.