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Review: New Balance Minimus 10

New Balance Minimus 10

The New Balance Minimus 10

This week, we take a moment to review a pair of New Balance’s Minimus 10 shoes.

Item: New balance Minimus 10
Price: $125 USD or $160 AUD
Manufacturer: New Balance
Purchase: New Balance AUS/New Balance US 

When I first started CrossFit, I was wearing the average “gym” shoe – a cross-trainer built for just about any athletic activity. The one-size-fits-all of sportswear, if you will. But as you already well know (and what I learned in those beginning fundamental classes), functional fitness is not a one-size fits all sport. It was time for a new shoe.

Before I went out to try on anything, I started my research with what comes naturally: vanity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone who gets all dolled up before I head to the box (much to my peers’ dismay). But I have a rather, er, large issue with which to contend—my feet. For my 5’7” female size, which is not terribly tall or short for a girl, I have Sasquatch-sized 11 feet. While larger sizes are more available today, growing up I remember my father being very excited when he found a shoe store in downtown Chicago that sold up to size 15 shoes for women. Too bad it turned out to be a store for cross-dressers. But I digress.

With feet this big, Vibram Five Fingers were immediately out. I don’t care how much people love their pairs or if the shoes would’ve shaved minutes off my mile time. There was no way I was going to put that kind of spotlight on my personal freak show. This in mind, my search was immediately narrowed to a more traditional-looking shoe. It eventually came down to the Inov-8 or New Balance Minimus. And the Minimus MultiSport WO10 won.

New Balance Minimus 10 sole

New Balance Minimus 10 front and back

The Good

Construction: New Balance Minimus 10 is a minimalist shoe designed with a Vibram sole and a fitted synthetic mesh upper. The drop is 4mm from heel to toe, although from the outside of the shoe, you would think it’s much higher. New Balance says that the purpose of this construction is to help promote proper running form. I’ve never been a stellar runner, so I can’t say whether or not my stride has changed all that much. However, I will say that cross-trainers and they’re typical high arches have always bothered my flat feet (yet another strike against my foundation). Within minutes of running, the bottom of my feet would cramp up and ache terribly. With the Minimus, I have none of that—and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Weight: Minimus are super light (161 grams or 6 oz), which make them perfect for functional fitness activities where you don’t want cinder blocks strapped to your feet—think, box jumps, burpees, toes-to-bars, and rope climbs. And speaking of rope climbs, the shoe soles grip well going up and seem to show less wear than Inov-8s going down the rope (or so has been the case at my box, anyway).

Toe Base: I wouldn’t consider Minimus to be a shoe meant for a wide foot specifically, but the toe base does offer more room than that of most athletic shoes. Since my little toe seems to go numb in most cross-trainers, being able to feel my littlest pig was a welcome change. The extra toe space is also a nice benefit when lifting. A common correction for keeping your weight in the heels is to wiggle your toes. In Minimus, that’s no problem.

Colors: Minimus 10 offers a lot of different color combinations. While I went for the understated gray-and-yellow scheme for obvious reasons, orange, turquoise, beige, black, blue and red are just a few of the choices available.

Odor: While I don’t have the research to back it up, I’m pretty sure most people don’t like smelly feet.  But when you’re working out in shoes that don’t require socks, odor seems like something that would go hand-in-hand. The New Balance site claims Minimus are odor-resistant. At first I found that statement hard to believe. However, I’m months into wearing these shoes and still no stink. (And yes, I’ve actually sniffed to check—not my proudest moment.)

New Balance Minimus 10 inside

New Balance Minimus 10 inside

The Bad

Insole: Overall, the inside of the shoe is really comfortable. In fact, when I first began wearing my Minimus I didn’t notice any issues with the insole. But now months later, I’m starting to notice that the insole area beneath my toe feels slightly wrinkled or bunched. It could be an isolated event related solely to my freak feet, but it also might be a product of bare feet friction on fabric over time.

Rubbing: I was nervous that switching from a lifetime of wearing heavy cushioned, thick-soled athletic shoes was going to make for a tough transition to a minimal shoe, so I decided to break them in slowly. As it turns out, the lack of rise of the sole wasn’t an issue, but where the shoe hit on my Achilles’ tendon was. There was a little bit of rubbing that would’ve resulted in a blister had I not walked around the house in them a few days and wore socks the first few times I worked out. It was a quick process, but one that I’m glad I did.

New Balance Minimus 10 back

New Balance Minimus 10 back

Conclusion

Honestly, the goods far outweigh the bads. The New Balance Minimus 10 is a comfortable, lightweight shoe that is perfect for a majority of CrossFit activities. At just over $100, the price is pretty comparable to other minimal shoes on the market. But you might be getting more for your money with New Balance as they seem to show less wear over time. You will need to break them in a bit, but that’s true of most shoes. And best of all, Minimus won’t make a spectacle of your feet—but now I’m just projecting.

Rating

8.5 out of 10

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  • Philip

    How do they fare against the dreaded rope climb?
     

    • I saw one person Philip who actually burnt a big chuck out of the bottom of the sole. He had slide down the rope so fast the rubber sole had just burnt away. I wish I had taken the picture as the rope had taken a decent chunk out. I have a pair of these myself and that has never happend to me so not sure if that was a one off.

      • Ugh…that sucks! At my box, it was Inov8s and a believe a pair from Nike that the rope tore up. The Nikes were first day out of the box. It was one of our youth members. He got the shoes for Christmas, but there was nothing merry about the sole hole!

  • I have a pair of NB MT10(trails) and they are the best rope climbing shoes ever.  The soles on the shoe above looks the same.  There was no issue with the sole at all from rope climbs and it was the most grip I have ever felt whilst doing the dreaded rope climb.
     

  • Timothy Donegan

    Ill stick to my inov-8’s and reebok, but good review!

    • Go with what you know! Thanks for the feedback!

  • A good read… and I’d think about getting them if they looked nicer :o)

    • LOL…yes, they aren’t pretty, but neither are my feet in general. 😉

      • Athletes should take pride in having awful looking feet… teehee

        • Awful looking + gigantic = hard to have pride! 😉

  • Looking to get a new pair or NB… these seem to fit the bill.  Time to make a trip to my local NB store.  Thanks for the review…

    • I usually wear Vibram Five Fingers John but also have a pair of these. Then I noticed when I was on the C2 rower that my 500meter split times were faster when I wore the New Balance. I guess the thickness of the shoe allows you to pull the foot strap of the rower on that much tighter and gives you just that little more torque. I never noticed any issue with the VFFs but will say if I was ever going to do a competitive workout these would be my choice. 

      I should note if I wear these with sock they are not comfortable. 

      • The sock thing is a good point. I’m still on the fence with that but thin socks so far work very well for me. Thanks for the note.

  • emma_nicole

    Loved reading this Carrie. Great review!

  • Nels

    I wore my NB Minimus my first 6 months of crossfitting.  Finally learned to climb the rope and upgraded to the Nanos for rope-climbing reinforcement feature.  Loved the Minumus though, great crossfitting shoe! 

    • Good to know. Maybe at 6 months, I’ll do the same.

  • great review carrie, and you’re funny 😉

    • Thanks. My husband says the same thing about me being funny, but he usually adds “looking” or “smelling” after it. So thanks for not doing that!

  • craig_d_smith

    Awesome review, and funny at the same time. It will be great to compare these to the Nano 2.0’s

  • Great review Carrie – look forward to reading more from you!

    Cheers!

  • Awesome Review, been thinking about some of these for a while now.

    • Now it’s less thinking and more buying…go, go, go! (I enjoy spending other people’s money.) Thanks for reading!

  • Ven

    Nice to read something for a CrossFit womans perspective. I was going to get some of these for my wife so it was very helpful. Thanks you Rx Review

    • Thanks…ladies like shoes, so I think you’ll score big points with your wife!

  • I love my minimus, I’m on my second pair after I lost the first during a move.  Great shoe and I find myself wearing them even more than my inov-8s.  For a general WOD shoe you can’t beat em.  Next on my list as is to try the Trail Gloves.  Anybody here used them?

    • A couple people at my box where Trail Gloves. I’ve heard good things about them, but haven’t tried them myself.

    • You wear these more then the Inov-8’s? Care to elaborate?

      Feel? Comfort? Etc..

  • afto

    never have had a pair of NB, not sure this is enough to get me away from inov8 or the nanos…..

    • I get it…you gotta go with what you know. If nothing else, try on a pair next time you’re at shoe store.

  • I’m deciding between these and the Nano’s for my next shoe.

  • After reading these, I’m going to go try on a pair this weekend.

    still not sure if I’d go with these over Inov-8’s or the new Nano’s. But for an everyday summer shoe, they look super comfy.

    Thanks for the review!

  • Minimus 10 sounds a great product!

  • Barefoot running!

    • Never got the courage to just go out totally barefoot. Where I live I would be worried about syringes

  • BlakThundar

    Got a pair of the NB Road Minimus that I like. However, I don’t really use them too much for crossfitting, as I tend to use my Merrell trail gloves (which are pretty similar to these) and some V5F’s. I was nervous about the V5F’s as well, but ended up taking the plunge on some Bikila LS’ and like them as well. I have to say though, I like a mono-toed shoe much better when doing burpees as I feel it’s easier to stub your toes in the V5F’s.

  • Awesome review carrie. Very humerous. May give these a try

  • Nick

    I saw these being worn at last years Games. Wifey might be getting a pair after reading this

  • Dale Bower

    I got these about 2 month ago i love them!

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.