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New Balance Minimus Trail: Is the MT20 Coming Soon?

I’ve written a number of posts about my up and down experience with the New Balance Minimus Trail shoes. The original version, the MT10, is an awesome shoe, but suffers from what I feel is a serious design flaw in that the black band across the forefoot is rather constricting (for at least some people). I initially attributed this to a manufacturing flaw in my pair, but have subsequently heard from many others who have had the same problem, and the clerk at a local shoe store indicated to me that he has had trouble selling them due to this very issue.

Earlier today, I received a message from a friend on dailymile (thanks Mike!) who had found the MT20 listed as being available for sale on June 1 at The Shoe Mart. The site also includes images of what appears to be and update to the existing shoe. The construction of the upper is noticeably different, and though there is still a band across the forefoot in the same area, it looks quite different than the one found in the MT10. In the new version the band is continuous with the material supporting the eyerow for the laces, which will hopefully alleviate pressure caused by the seam in that region on the MT10. The forefoot material is uniform in the MT20 – no stitching over the toes as seen in the MT10 (I had no problem in this area). There are other differences, but the forefoot is of most interest to me as that is where my troubles arose.

I’m wondering if this sequel may have been pushed to market quickly due to known issues with the MT10 – total speculation on my part, but it is awfully fast turnaround for a sequel to appear to what is already an almost brand-new shoe. I know no other details about this other than what is on the Shoe Mart webpage, so feel free to post a comment if you no anything more. I’m hoping this update fixes the problem to what is one of my current favorite shoes.

Update 5/15/11: Here’s a tidbit from the Onlineshoes.com blog for those who question the reputability of Shoe Mart (a store about which I know very little): “…OnlineShoes.com won’t carry the Minimus MT10, but this summer we will carry the MT20 and the WT20 from New Balance, which are pretty much the same shoe as the MT10 with some awesome updates.”

Below are comparison pictures of the MT10 and MT20.

New Balance MT10 Side

New Balance MT10 – Side View

New Balance MT20 Side

New Balance MT20 – Side View

New Balance MT10 Medial

New Balance MT10 – Medial View

New Balance MT20 Medial

New Balance MT20 – Medial View

New Balance MT10 SoleNew Balance MT20 Sole

Soles of the New Balance MT10 (left) and MT20 (right).

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Imaginenoplastic says:

    I have the WT10 and really like them, with no problem with the band across the top as you noted. I like the look of the WT10 better than WT20. My WT10s though wore out at the upper part that covers the toes, that is my only complaint, I wish the upper hadn’t worn – it seems fragile at that point. I’m still wearing them but they don’t look so good. They are extremely comfortable for me.

  2. Just wondering if anyone has had issues with the MT10 tread separating from the sole?  I’m on my second pair of MT10′s, and within two months the tread is separating just under the ball of my foot.  All my miles are on rocky trails but nothing outrageous.  I had been running in the FF Trek KSO for two years and have to say the MT10′s are far more comfortable but have concerns with the durability.

    • Yep, the soles in my red pair (with grey coloured vibram rubber) started to come apart within a few weeks (both at the heel & forefoot).  My orange pair (with black rubber) seems to be holding up better.  However, I do prefer the red pair as the rubber seems tackier/more grippy.  Actaully, my prob really is with the insole coming unglued &/or tearing apart.  I ended up pulling most of it out as it started giving me blisters.  Still a great shoe though!  

    • Pete Larson says:

      Can’t speak for others, but i have not had this issue.

      Sent from my iPad

  3. Benjamin says:

    They’re online at shoemart!

  4. Runnrgurl1 says:

     The MT20 IS NOT the update to the MT10!  I manage a New Balance store and this is definitely not the case. The response to the MT/WT10 has been outstanding!  The 20 is simple a “cheaper version” of the 10 that New Balane is making available to big box stores such as Shoe Mart. These big box stores are not allowed to sell the 10 because they do not have associates that are trained to sell and service this customer. The 20 has the same tooling on the bottom with a different upper, made with different materials.

    • Strange that Shoe Mart would be offering the cheaper version for $100 also…

    • That doesn’t make sense…you said These big box stores are not allowed to sell the 10 because they do not have associates that are trained to sell and service this customer, yet Shoe Mart DOES sell the MT10.

    •  They’re listed at the exact same price. Is this post for real?

    • If correct I’m guessing NB’s top tier dealers may feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick. The proof will of course be in the pudding, but this ”cheaper version” may actually be a better than the premium offering.

      Time will tell.

      • Pete Larson says:

        Well put Chris, I agree. If it fixes the forefoot fit, it will be a better
        shoe. Wonder what’s so different between the two that big box stores can
        handle one and not the other, especially considering that the sole looks to
        be virtually identical. Also interesting that this supposed non-update is
        numbered sequentially from the first version…

        • ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT THE NUMBERING SYSTEM WOULD KNOW THAT IN THE CASE THE 20 WOULD MEAN LESS MINIMAL, IN FACT THE UPDATE TO THIS SHOE IS GOING TO 0 NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. THE MT20 IS A CHEAP IMITATION OF THE 10, JUST LIKE YOU CAN GO TO KOHLS AND BUY A NB SHOE FOR $40 BUCKS AND ITS NUMBERED A 380. 

          • Pete Larson says:

            The zero shoes are not updates, they will be sold in parallel to the MT10 from what I understand. Interesting that a “cheap imitation” that is supposedly less minimal has the same sole and is being sold for the same price…

  5. I contacted Running Warehouse and they said they will be stocking the mt10 thru july but have no idea when the mt20 will be available.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Interesting as RW does not stock this shoe yet.

      •  I thought the same thing. A couple weeks ago I asked them if I could order the shoe from them and they said I could by phone and they would give me the discount. So I don’t understand what they mean by saying they will continue to stock them thru July. My understanding is NB won’t let them sell them online.

        • Pete Larson says:

          Here’s some additional information from the Onlineshoes.com blog:
          OnlineShoes.com won’t carry the Minimus MT10, but this summer we will carry
          the MT20 and the WT20 from New Balance, which are pretty much the same shoe
          as the MT10 with some awesome updates.”

          • I wonder what is going on?  Will the mt10 be discontinued? Thanks for keeping us informed.

      • Ashwyn Gray says:

        RunningWarehouse mentioned on their facebook page in March that they have the NB Minimus line in stock. But, because they aren’t allowed to sell it online, customers can only purchase the shoe from them via phone orders. 

  6. Ashwyn Gray says:

    It is interesting that NB would follow up with a sequel so soon, I agree. I’m fortunate enough not to have experienced the same troubles you suffered with that band. And, I’ve read several other accounts from happy MT10 owners who didn’t have a problem with the band. So, I’m surprised that this was such an issue that NB felt a need to release the MT20 just to address the band. But, then, who knows. Shoe Mart seems to have special access to other color versions of the MT10, too.

    Judging by the picture, it seems that the MT20 still includes a heel lift to some degree. So, if zero drop is still not part of the follow-up design, I doubt a simple band adjustment and shallower toe box will help sell many more of the shoes.

    Thanks for the post, Pete!

  7. RunningPT12 says:

    Pete, you’ve probably learned as much as anyone has on this – things have been quiet on NB’s weartest department end (which has been in a staffing change mode for the last several months).

    • Pete Larson says:

      I emailed my contact at NB to see if I can get a pair to review for improved
      fit. We’ll see what happens.

      • RunningPT12 says:

         I’d suspect, though, that this change was in the works well before any of the post-release complaints about fit were evident – it’s just too quick for a normal shoe build cycle – likely some of the changes were suggested by WT’ers before the original shoe builds made it to market here.

        • Pete Larson says:

          I agree – it is strange that it is listed at an online store since the other
          Minimus shoes cannot be purchased most places online. I’m wondering if maybe
          this update is to coincide with a wider online release of the shoe? There’s
          a lot here that doesn’t seem to make sense. The fit issue seems to be hit or
          miss, but the telling thing for me was my local store clerks comment that he
          has had a really hard time selling them for this reason. Who knows though,
          all just speculation on my part.

          Pete

  8. Eugeneius says:

    Eh, looks like a style and materials update to the upper more than anything- a proper waxing.  Why eliminate the toe spring?  The MT10, as excellent of a shoe as it is, does have a ‘Frankenstein’ appearance to it, the MT20 just polishes that up from the looks of things.   The incessant revolving door of NB shoe updates and tweaks continues.  Honestly, IMO, the MT10 works just fine as a minimalist footwear option, they shouldn’t have touched it.  The EE width option is a bonus however. 

    • scottyboyswa2 says:

      I agree, I suppose those that have had problems with the toe band might disagree. I haven’t had that problem, and I love mine. Personally I think the MT20 is bland looking…

  9. Hhollines says:

     That looks very promising!

  10. Matthew Aaron Myers says:

    looks like now they several colors up and the description says this, “An entirely different approach to trail running, the MT20 New Balance Minimus Trail takes the proven versatile durability of a Vibram® outsole and combines it with a fitted, extremely minimalist upper that’s comfortable with or without socks. This update to the MT10 Minimus Trail features a modified upper on the same sole unit as its popular predecessor.”

  11.  The colors they show other than the orange match the sample I was shown by new balance as their June color change in the MT10.  The samples themselves, while in the new colors were not a different version than the current MT10.  That said, I saw these samples at the beginning of March.  In terms of an update so soon after the initial release, I find this a little hard to believe since it is very uncharacteristic of a major shoe company to change something so soon after initial release.  Especially given the extensive marketing that NB did and they have do not marketing of the “updated MT20.”

  12. briderdt says:

    I had never tried the MT10′s on, but I did the Minimus Road. My problems were with the shape of the forefoot — all the extra width is at the ball and big toe. And while it’s not bad to have extra room there, the sweep at the little toe was too much too early. Looks like they’ve retained that shape, and even made it a little narrower. I’d prefer a shape more like the Merrell Trail Glove. Not too sure about the elimination of the toe spring… 

  13. Chris Lipp says:

    I love my MT10, but I too have fairly narrow feet. Plus, having only returned to running about a year ago, my longest run in them has only been about six miles. I will definitely get a pair of the MT20 also to add to my line-up.

    The big question is when is the MT110 (the update to the MT101) coming out? I heard rumblings about it on irunfar and Tony K’s blog a while back, but nothing recently.

  14.  I love the MT10 and it’s my main shoe for everything.  I use on the track, trails, and roads and I have had no problems with the band on top of the foot.  I wonder why they would put the new version out so quickly.  Also if this is true will they discontinue the MT10 or continue to sell it?

  15. Dina Loraas says:

    I love my MT10s.  Have narrow feet so have none of the problems you speak of with the band.  They are currently my favoritest shoe of all time. :)

  16. The MT20 is a “fashion driven” version of the MT10. The upper is composed of “not so good” material. Be warned, this is not an update to the MT10. This is a downgrade, and is not driven by performance. You cannot find this in New Balance Specialty Shops, they will not carry it.

  17. This seems weird to me in several ways. It’s really fast for an updated version to come out, whether to address customer feedback (and not much precedence there anyhow) or from manufacturer’s fancy. Maybe Tony K. had a hand in here somehow? Also, it’s apparently being sold online, where so far none of the Minimus have been. Also it’s available in D and EE widths, and in a variety of colors. This would make more sense if the release date was April 1.

    My slightly wider than D feet have had no problem with the MT10 and I very much enjoy them on trail runs of varying distance and conditions. It’s near impossible to tell from a picture, but the toebox on the MT20 looks real shallow, which would be a big (toe) problem for me.

  18. Matthew Aaron Myers says:

    MT 20 is showing up on NB’s website, although it just show info for the  mt10. The shoe pictured is all black with $99 price tag

  19. TheNaturalRunner says:

    Finishline carries the Orange-Black colourway as well as the Black with red trim.

  20. They’re on the New Balance website… anyone have any new insight?

    • Just recieved my 20′s today that I purchased directly from NB.  They feel great! I purchaced the 10′s a few weeks ago but had to return them because the band was causing pain at the base of my  right pinky toe.  I tried on other 10′s at about 5 other stores but to no avail – the band fit just the same. The salesperson at told me that the 20′s are a “lower quality shoe”  But I disagree – these fit perfectly so far.  I wore a 10.5 in the 10′s but needed to go a half size up to an 11in the 20′s.

  21. This shoe is an update to the original, it addresses most of the complaints users had of the MT 10. I just bought mine in a New Balance store so you obviously have no clue what you are talking about. I also have both shoes, so until you own both and can make a true assessment of the new product you need to really shut your mouth and not be so critical. The MT 20 is a better shoe hands down, don’t be mad because they came out with a new model the week after you bought yours, just mow a few more lawns and maybe you can buy a pair.

    • Pete Larson says:

      It is not considered by New Balance to be an update. They are selling it in parallel to the MT10, and the MT20 is the version being sold in sporting goods stores and the like. Specialty running shops will continue to carry the MT10.
      Sent from my iPad

  22.  Hopefully everyone who sent back their MT10s with the right foot band cutting off the circulation to their toes, also gave them an earful about selling a product that is clearly flawed(I know I did). The internet has a way of calling your bluff if you are trying to pull a fast one. I’m guessing if enough customers complained loudly, they may have been forced into action. Oddly enough, I originally purchased a size 10(which had the tight band), returned them and took a chance on a size 10.5 which didn’t. Makes me wonder if the problems were only with size 10s, which are often said to be the most common mens size.

    • slomodave says:

      I wear the size 10′s and have no problem whatsoever with the band. Even after reading all the complaints, I have no “subliminal suggestion” issues with it. I have had shoes in my life – not necessarily athletic shoes – that have pinched that part of the foot, but not the MT10s. I guess it is just different strokes for different folks.

  23. THIS SHOE IS BY NO MEANS AN UPDATE TO THE ORIGINAL, YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW THIS BUT THIS SHOE CANNOT EVEN BE SOLD IN A NEW BALANCE STORE, THE ARE UNABLE TO  OFFER THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING PRODUCED FOR THE SHOE MARTS OF THE WORLD TO ATTRACT A DIFFERENT CUSTOMER BASE AND GAIN MORE EXPOSURE TO THE BRAND AND STYLE. THE FACT THAT THEY ONLY OFFER THE MT10/WT10 IN THE CORPORATE STORES I THINK TELLS THE TALE. ALSO, THE 10 IS OFFERED IN WIDE WIDTH AND MOST LIKELY THAT IS THE ISSUE WITH SOME PEOPLE HAVING THE TIGHT FIT ACROSS THE FOREFOOT, THEY WERE TRYING TO SQUEEZE IN TO A MEDIUM WIDTH SHOE.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Every other shoe that I’ve ever worn has been a medium width shoe, and never had a problem like this before…

  24.  One more thing. With the band across the forefoot on MT10 to help with that when I washed them(they smelled awful) I stuffed towels in the toe box and then that stretched out the band while they dried.  Now there is no pressure at all..

  25. Kevinwschell says:

    Just got a pair of the MT20′s. I also have the MT10 and have logged a couple hundred miles on them. Straight out of the box, I knew that I was going to prefer the MT20 to the MT10. Like Pete, I performed surgery almost immediately after purchasing my MT10′s in order to release the pressure created by the band of rubber over the top of the foot. NB appears to have targeted and resolved this problem with the MT20. The MT20′s upper seems more minimal and feels substantially roomier than the MT10 but the awesome Vibram sole is unchanged.

    I agree that the MT10 appears superficially to be the better put together model, but after looking at the MT10 and MT20 side-by-side I’m now aware of all the “extra” material on the MT10′s upper. IMHO, the MT20′s do not feel like a “cheap” version of the MT10. They feel like a more minimalist version of the MT10. On the NB website, the MT20 is described as a “companion” to the MT10 but, for me, it is an updated or improved model.

    Pete, any plans to do a full review of the MT20?

    • Pete Larson says:

      No, I tried them on and decided there wasn’t enough difference to justify the expenditure. thanks for sharing your input!

  26. Sean McPherson says:

     I don’t really trust The Shoe Mart. They have had on their website the Grey-Orange (not Orange-Black) and Red versions of the MT10 for a number of months, but I’ve never seen these colors offered anywhere else (even by New Balance). 

    However, Altrec also has a temporary page up for the MT20. Offering to email when the shoes are in stock. The colors listed by Altrec are Red, Orange and Blue for the MT20, which is different from what is shown on The Shoe Mart. 

    The only thing that would make sense to me if NB is already offering an update would be to have a lower heel-toe ratio. The MT10 is supposed to be a transition shoe, so maybe NB let everyone get used to 4mm and now they will offer a 0mm version. 

    • Justin Johnson says:

      I work for Altrec and also run a review site on the side, Ymmvreviews.com.  I can verify that we are going to get in the MT20′s during the summer.  July is what I have been told but things change.  Online stores are not allowed to carry the MT10.  These are considered their top of the line model and they only want to have them sold in specialty retailers, believe me we tried to get them.  

      As runnergurl1 said, the MT20 is a lesser version, lower price-point, then the MT10.  The materials are cheaper and not as robust as the MT10.  Some might like them better if they had issue with the strap.  I personally have not, I did o review of a pair I got at the OR show.  The MT20 still has a Vibram sole but even there it is a lesser version and down the road they are planning on not using a Vibram sole at all in the lower price-point version.  I have been told they have some really interesting stuff in the works and hope to find out more soon, maybe at the August OR show.  Hope this helps.

      JJ

  27. Chris Szumigala says:

    Impressive. Looks like much less toe spring as well! Ma y have to give this update a serious look.

    • Kirk Roy says:

      I just did my first long run in my MT10s, just short of 2 hours. Towards the end my toes were starting to feel a bit weird – I could feel them pushing against the toe spring. I’ll have to check out the MT20s when they come out as the reduced toe spring looks like an improvement to me… I would also like to see these in 2E width (my other NB shoes are either 2E or 4E).

  28. Blenderkitty says:

     It was a real shame about the MT10s. I tried them on side-by-side with the Trail Gloves, and actually preferred almost everything about the MT10s…except that the overtight band felt like an injury waiting to happen.

    I ended up with the Trail Gloves, and love them, but it is such a shame to have what seems like such a solid shoe ruined (at least for me) by one crippling flaw.

    Keep us posted on the MT20s!

  29. Your Bike Sucks says:

    I think the MT10 is the first perfect minimalist shoe for people with wide feet like me.  The band on the top is only uncomfortable the first few minutes of trying them on and is not noticeable long before you take the first step of your run. Since I own and run in these shoes and I have wide feet I can assure you the odd feeling from the band feels natural and comfortable however it feels terrible when you try it on the first time. I can run for hours in them without discomfort on the top of bottom of my feet. If the band wasn’t there, your toes would squish into a ball at the base of the shoe while descending a hill.

    Unfortunately the MT20 losses some of the minimal qualities of the MT10, the plastic band around the front will constrict your toes and not allow free movement for your toes to splay out naturally. I had to do major surgery on the MT101′s to remove the same band before I could even walk in it.

    • Pete Larson says:

      The band is hit or miss – I suffered through several painful runs and gave
      up on them, and only after cutting the ban did things improve.

  30. Gettinguponthe1 says:

     i have the mt 10′s also, but the yellow/black version that are a little different than the orange/black ones.  i do like them, but running longer distances in them can be a little rough on my feet.  i am definitely gonna get the mt20′s though, whether or not they hurt my feet when i run.  they look awesome.

  31. Is this an update to the MT20?

    link to newbalance.com

    When you look at the Minimus 20 the Purple and Red shoes are quite different than what is available now. 

  32. Roberto says:

    Pete, Any response yet from your NB contact?  I was all ready to get a pair of the MT10s last weekend and then saw this post.  Holding off now to see what the MT20 is all about… 

  33. Any idea abt the weight?

Trackbacks

  1. […] ¿Recuerdas las New Balance Minimus MT10? Las vimos primero en pies de Anton Krupicka y luego en las calles. Algunos probadores hablaban de problemas con la tira que cruzaba la R10 de lado a lado y es algo que New Balance ya ha eliminado de su secuela, la MT20. El otro cambio sustancial se aprecia en la eliminación de piezas en la puntera. Visto aquí. […]

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