The New Balance Minimus Multi-Sport (MO10) is not so much a new shoe as it is a variant of the New Balance Minimus Trail MT10. As such, this review will not be comprehensive, and you can read my original NB MT10 review if you’d like more detail on how the shoe performs all around (disclosure: the shoes reviewed here were media review samples provided free of charge by the manufacturer).
In reality, there are only two significant things worth discussing that distinguish this shoe from the MT10, and both have to do with the upper. First, instead of the breathable mesh upper of the MT10, the MO10 has a water-resistant synthetic upper. Functionally, it’s important to emphasize that water-resistant does not mean waterproof. I’ve run in these shoes quite a bit this winter, and they do a good job keeping my feet dry. I’ve held them under a running faucet to see how well they shed a steady flow of water, and the water beads up and rolls right off. However, I ran in them in some really nasty wet conditions yesterday, and they do allow water in near the junction of the upper and the sole if you submerge your foot in a puddle. In contrast, the Merrell Sonic Glove, which is also billed as water-resistant, prevented leakage even when submerging my foot in a river to a level just below the laces. In any case, the MO10 will keep you dry in rain and help shed splashing water, but don’t expect it to keep you completely dry in puddles.
The second significant point I’ll make about the MO10, and this is a big one, is that the forefoot band in this shoe has not caused me any problems. With the MT10, I had to sever the forefoot band on the right side to prevent it from squeezing my foot to the point of causing pain. I’m not sure why things have improved with the MO10 – perhaps it’s just the case that there is some variability from pair to pair in how tight the band is. Alternatively, perhaps the more rugged upper has changed the fit in some way. In either case, it’s made for a much improved shoe, and one that does not require me to pull out my scissors. That’s always a good thing!
I’ll finish this brief review by saying that both the New Balance Minimus MO10 and the MT10 are among the most versatile shoes that I own. They’re solid performers on non-technical trails (I’ve run a trail 50K in the MT10’s, but the lack of a rock-plate means you’ll feel rocks and other trail debris through the sole), and the 4mm heel lift provides just a bit of cushion for roads (I’ve run up to 20 miles in a run on roads in the MT10). I also use these frequently as casual shoes, particularly when it’s wet, snowy, or slushy, and I have been known to wear them to work on occasion as well. A very solid offering from New Balance.