New Balance 730 Preview: A Minimalist Running Shoe that Has Flown in Under the Radar!

New Balance 730A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader asking if I had seen or tried the New Balance 730 (thanks for the heads up Robert!). He indicated that it was for sale at Finish Line, and that it felt very low drop and had a super wide toebox. Needless to say I was intrigued, and in looking at the photos on the Finish Line website the shoe appeared to be built on the Minimus last. As far as I can tell, There has been zero fanfare associated with the release of this shoe, and it would appear that it’s not a shoe targeted to the specialty running market. Instead, you can find it for sale on-line at places like Finish Line, Sports Authority, and Backcountry.com.

Being the running shoe sucker that I am, I couldn’t resist ordering a pair (~$70 with a $10 off coupon ain’t bad for a pair of shoes these days…), and they arrived today. I have not run in them, but I wanted to put up a quick preview post as this looks to be a pretty promising option in the wide-forefoot, transitional shoe category.

New Balance 730 Side

New Balance 730 Medial

First, I can confirm that this shoe is indeed on the Minimus last – fit is very similar to both the New Balance MT110 and the Minimus Road (maybe even a tad wider in the forefoot than the latter). (Update: For those needing an even roomier fit in what is already a roomy shoe, the New Balance 730 is also now available in 2E width at Shoes.com – you can get 10% of shoe purchases at Shoes.com by using this link) It even has the <=> logo printed inside. It weighs in at 7.2 oz in my size 10, which is a full ounce less than the Minimus Road, and it seems like it may be a bit more flexible than that shoe. There is no plastic heel counter, which I love, and the material lining the ankle is very soft – feels like the same stuff lining the interior of the Minimus Road and MT110. There is no insole, and the shoe is clearly intended to be wearable without socks (I intend to put it to the test soon). There is also no noticeable arch support built into the shoe. The outer layer of material on the upper is similar to that found on the Minimus Trail MT10.

New Balance 730 SoleNew Balance 730 Top

Perhaps the biggest surprise came when I put the shoe on my feet. I had heard from fellow blogger Zak Branigan that the shoe is listed as 4mm drop, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t feel pretty flat. I pulled out the calipers, and after several repeat measurements I pretty consistently get 16mm heel, 13mm forefoot – 3mm drop, but it sure feels like less. The sole is also pretty firm – no mushiness here, which could be good or bad depending on your preference.

New Balance 730 BackNew Balance 730 Front

I’ll leave it at that for now, and post again after a few runs. This looks to be a pretty promising shoe, and ticks off a number of key minimalist check boxes (low drop, wide forefoot, no arch, no heel counter…). I’ll also add that my friends Thomas over at Believe in the Run and Zak at Average Guy Hits the Road have purchased this shoe, and will be sharing their thoughts in the near future as well.

Stay tuned, and if you’re as impatient as I am when a shoe like this hits the market, you can check out the New Balance 730 for yourself at Finish Line. They are also available for sale at Amazon.com.

Update: The New Balance 730 is also now available at Shoes.com (including 2E width), and using this link you can get 10% of shoe purchases at that site as well

Below is a coupon code for $10 off at Finish Line:

Finally, here are additional color options available for men (top two) and women (bottom two):

New Balance 730 BlueNew Balance 730 GrayNew Balance 730 Blue Yellow WomensNew Balance 730 Purple Womens

Running Warehouse: Great prices on closeout shoes! View men's and women's selections.
Amazon.com: 25% or more off clearance running shoes - click here to view current selection.

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. That’s a nice looking shoe. It’d be nice if they’d slap a rock plate in to to replace my 790s.

  2. Benjamin Chan says:

    The 730 just showed up at Runningwarehouse

    http://www.runningwarehouse.co

  3. Aaron R. says:

    I noticed that these are marked for clearance on the NB website, so I emailed and asked if they are being discontinued.  Here is the response I got today: 

    Hi Aaron,

    Thank you for your interest in
    New Balance and for taking the time to email. After looking over your
    inquiry I can tell you that while the 730′s are being phased out, they
    are being continued later this year and our stock will replenish in each
    style. No worries about them leaving any time soon but I doubt they
    will be at this price for much longer so take advantage while you can!

    Please
    let me know if you need anything else and I would be happy to help!
    Thanks again for your interest in New Balance; have a great day!

    So, the take-away is, get them now while they are cheap and still in stock, because, when they come back later this year, they will be more expensive.

    • Pete Larson says:

      So they made a solid shoe at a cheap price that has become popular, decide to phase it out so they can bring it back at a higher price point? Not sure what is going on here, but this shoe shows me that it is perfectly possible to make good shoes and not overcharge for them, will be pretty crappy if they bring it back at $100.
      Sent from my iPad

  4. Pete, thanks so much for your review of the 730. Just used them for a 1:42:47 in my first half marathon and was very happy for the wide toe box near the end of the run!

  5. Aaron Harrell says:

    Update: after about 70 miles I am less impressed with this shoe. The midsole has broken down considerably and the upper has started to feel, well, a little sloppy. This was an uninspiring shoe to begin with, I think because it is not specialized, but that makes it pretty unexciting for the purposes that I bought it for (road running). I want something light and snappy that has a decent toe box. Any ideas?

  6. After a week’s worth of runs, the 730 is working well for me. The wear pattern beginning to show distinct mid-foot/front-foot landing. Pleased with that. The 16mm cushion also seems optimum for road/pavement running. 

    Talking about cushion, the new MR00 and the MT00 both have reduced cushions to 12mm/12mm(as seen on http://www.runningwarehouse.com). I wish they had kept it to ~16mm. Do not know if my feet will ever be strong enough for a 12mm heel training shoe :(

  7. Thanks for the review.  Is it possible that this is meant to replace the MR10 as their 4mm road shoe?  Or are they planning to keep a MR00 and MR10? 

    • Pete Larson says:

      I think this is intended to be a “mass market” Minimus to be sold at big box stores and shopping malls. But, seems to be a quality shoe to me. They did the same thing with the MT10 and MT20.

      • though the sole doesnt really look very “natural” inducing or as flexible as the Vibrams the  minimus use to mimic barefoot running =/

  8. Thericciflow says:

    Wow, I was psyched for these based on all the kudos but I just got them today and they feel awful.  There seems to be a kind of reverse arch-support going on (on my feet at least)  - some kind of rise on the lateral midsole that would force pronation.  It’s hard to detect by inspecting with the shoes off but it’s very pronounced and awkward when I walk or run in them.  Back to the store.  (New Balance shoes normally fit my feet very well, e.g. MT10s.)

    • I get the same thing with a lot of shoes, but only with my left foot. I guess I have two different feet! The right foot feels perfect to me. I tried a couple of different pairs, and they were all the same.

  9. Schusssocial says:

    The NB730 is already on clearance at ShopNewBalance.com for $60.  Does anyone know if they’re updating it or discontinuing it?

    • Pete Larson says:

      It’s been on clearance for a long time, no idea why.

    • Azydecosailor says:

      I just got a pair on the daily deal at joe’s for 39.99
      and $1 shipping!!! can’t find it but someone said they weren’t transition shoes and had no cushioning…. 
      well they have a 4mm drop, and they have nowhere near the cushioning of say a kinavara but def more than they 
      m20…. there’s a thin layer….

  10. brainwash says:

    $41.99 at Finish Line today. 2 pairs for the price of 1 pair of Nike Free 3.0, or 4 for the price of Vivobarefoot Evo’s. They’d have to be pretty terrible to not be worth a try at this price.

  11. John Hanks says:

    I love the minimalist design!  I may have to pick myself up a pair of them purple and green shoes.  I hope to have a shoe information section at http://runningforspeed.com

    Great Review!

  12. Does it have a removeable sockliner/insole?

  13. I finally purchased a pair in the gray/orange colorway, courtesy of Joe’s NB Outlet for less than $30. I have not run in them yet, but they feel great sockless.

  14. I found a pair at sports chalet for $70, white and hot pink. I have small wide feet and this is the first shoe I have ever tried on and had plenty of wiggle room in the toes. Super comfortable.

  15. Matt Bauer says:

    Picked up a pair today at DSW for $65.  Nice looking shoe.  I liked the MR10.  But, I really like the roomy feel of these.  Now, I need to take them for a run.

  16. Puppy runner says:

    I’ve been running in NB Minimus Road for about 6 months and love them. I wanted to try these just to have a second pair if they were similar and cheaper.  Sports Authority just put them on sale today (Sun, Feb 26) for $59.99! So I grabbed a pair and took them for a quick 3 miler and I’m very pleased. The inside lining is not as butter soft as the minimus, so I might be wearing them with socks more often than not, and the laces are cheaper. But for the price, I’m really glad I got them and the color combos are much nicer for women than the Minimus road.

  17. Aaron R. says:

    I checked with NB, and the 730s are presently being phased out but will be continued again later in the year.  Kind of odd.  The message is to get them now while they are cheap.

  18. Aaron Lord says:

    How’s the sizing on this shoe? Would you pick the same size you wear in MT10s or the same size you’d wear in MR10s?

  19. Keep Running Free says:

    Interesting shoe. I have a pair of Nike Frees and a pair of Vibram Bikilas, but have never tried a New Balance minimalist shoe. To be honest I had no idea they sold such a shoe haha. I have been considering an Adidas shoe as my next pair, but this New Balance definitely caught my eye.

    Just a quick question, how high up on the ankle does the shoe go?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I’d say it’s comparable to the Frees. If you’re interested in Adidas, check out the Hagio – great shoe.

  20. I’m immediately jealous of the men’s colors. 

  21. Any more thoughts as to performance of this shoe? Do you think they are capable of withstanding marathon to ultra distances on the road? I picked up a pair based off you’re review. Do you like the more than the MR10? Thank you

  22. They also make a NB 310 which looks like the MT101 same sole and style, also at sports Authority for $49.99

  23. Margiemcg3 says:

    I have had these shoes for less than a month and they are falling apart. Even though I am rough on my shoes, this is ridiculous. I called NB and they are replacing them. If the new pair is as bad, I doubt I will ever buy NB again

    • Pete Larson says:

      Have not had issues like this myself, we all do tend to wear down shoes differently, or perhaps you just got a lemon of a pair.

  24. $39.99 for New Balance M730…only black. Use coupon code “SHOEGIFT20″
    link to sears.com

  25. Thanks for the specs.; The site you mention do not give the specs(drop etc.), I could not find them on the NB site either. May be I am looking in the wrong places. Oh well, shoe looks promising.

  26. Jesse Scott says:

    I realize I’m a little late here, but thanks for the heads up, Pete. I’ve been running in my 110s since July, and kept thinking “I wish they made this exact shoe, sans rockplate and a bit lighter.” The 730 seems pretty close.

  27. Kyle Schmidt says:

    Looks like something I’d like to wear!

  28. how is it? any updates? And what does the B market mean? Thank you for your information

  29. I noticed these myself on the Finish Line website and liked what I saw….looking forward to reading a full review by someone….

  30. The question I have is, do they have that same weird slant the MT110 has from outside to in?  I tried those on and they felt like I’d definitely have some sort of injury if I ran in them for long.  I can’t believe they got past testing with that one.

    • T Waltz says:

      NB did it purpose.  I don’t notice it much on trails but can’t stand them on pavement.  A shame b/c otherwise an awesome shoe. 

      Dear t,

      Thank you for contacting New Balance Consumer Support concerning the MT110. The outsole on this style is beveled to be more accommodative on uneven and irregular surfaces. This should aid you on trails and should not negatively affect your stride.

      Upset about it enough to think 2x about buying another NB product but I did buy the 730′s b/c of $60 price.  Glad I did. The 730′s are really good. 

      • Pete Larson says:

        I’ve heard this from a number of people, and matches my own experience. I’m going to grind down the lateral forefoot on the MT110 and see what happens.

    • Laid Back Runner Girl says:

      Never tried the MT110, but the slant is what brought me here tonight. Otherwise love these shoes, but worry about the injury potential.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I can’t stand the slant in the MT110. Don’t feel anything prominent in these, but will be on the lookout.

      • Hey guys,

        You’ll need a machine grinder or some cutters but if cut down the lugs along the lateral border by a margin, the slant issue is helped considerably. Hope this helps- it’s a shame cause the the rest of the 110s are great (to me.)
        Cheers

  31. jared irish says:

    Love these. Considering either getting these or the Merrell Barefoot Road Glove. How do you think they would compare?

  32. Hey Pete,

    FIrst of all I love your site. I keep coming here for reviews and updates keep up the good work. How do you think the 730 stacks up the Altra Instinct? I ran in the Instinct today, love the shoes but I think I over did it. More cushoining than the Instinct?

    Thanks….

    • I love the Altra Intuition, the women’s version of the Instinct. I just bought the NB 730. Less cushioning, but yet I don’t find the feel as natural. Standing in the Intuition feels exactly like standing barefoot to me (or standing barefoot on a piece of rubber). In the 730, my feet feel a bit constrained, as though something is pressing very slightly against my inner arch. (This feeling is not as extreme as the Merrills I’ve tried, though – to me, those feel like they have arch supports.)

    • Pete Larson says:

      Actually, possibly less cushioning than the instinct, though the feel is not dissimilar. A lot lighter though.

  33. David Henry says:

    They actually do show up on New Balance’s official site: link to shopnewbalance.com…  nice to see that…I remember a mass market version of the 101 with a different upper that New Balance didn’t even have on their website…kinda makes you leery if they don’t have it on their site.

    • The NB numbering system is confusing. In Europe, New Balance 730 is a totally different shoe: link to newbalance.co.uk

      The american 730 is pretty cool but I guess you can’t get it outside U.S.

      • yea they aren’t really consistent with their numbering system, i have a pair of new balance 800  shoes which promote midfoot striking. they have been  continued since i bought them and now searching for  a pair of NB 800 brings up some females only toning shoe which isnt related at all. or a pair of track spikes

  34. austin_tx says:

    I picked these up a couple months ago for $65 as yet another pair to add to my rotation (brooks pure connect, saucony kinvara and mirage, skechers go run, mach 13′s). I just wanted to drop my comments on them after prolonged use.

    They are not cushioned at all, very firm sole but I love the ground feel.  I have struggled with them with speed work and wonder if better laces might help (the flimsy laces tend to come untied and also cause slightly more pressure). I have noticed very good wear pattern so far, after 100 or so miles almost no heel wear and very minimal lateral forefoot wear. The longest I’ve run is 8-9 miles and they were comfortable but began to get a little more foot pain then I would like from the firm sole.

    I like ‘em but I will probably stick with the kinvara as my marathon shoe and I’m a sucker for flats on the track. 

  35. On this video, the Gentleman from NewBalance says the 730 is a 4mm drop shoe. Seems much flatter than the Inov8 195, which is listed as a 2/3mm drop shoe. I guess the shape of the sole makes the feet feel the ground differently!? Not sure.
    link to youtube.com

    I did some interval work today with the 730, still no complaints. Felt quite nice.

    People seem to like the White/Green model; They(Runningwarehouse) are all out of the 9.5D!!

    • After 2 runs I have been very pleased with this shoe.  I have been running in Kinvara’s for a couple years.  I will say the 730′s definitely feel flatter than the Kinvara’s with more ground feel.  My only complaint so far is that the tongue seems to slide out of place while running.  I could just be my feet though.  

  36. Bkraft0131 says:

    Man what have i been missing??? these shoes are great!! closest thing i have found to my old Nike Reax Run 2′s. Wide forefoot and firm sole (not mushy) but still quite flexible. These shoes are perfect. I own a pair of Vibram KSO’s and love em but running on the pavement will take it’s toll on you. These shoes are minimal enough to allow you to feel natural, light enough you hardly notice they’re on and protective enough to stomp a few pieces of stray gravel without buckling at the knees!! Get em’

  37. I am more a fan of their retro stuff
    link to retroshoestop.com

  38. SeamusDupree says:

    Just picked these up.  They feel great.  I had been running in som Saucony Bullet Originals with the insole removed…these actually feel like they were built for running. 

    I am amazed that these aren’t getting more attention from the minimalist community.  I wonder if these will be more durable than the upcoming Minimus Road given the appearance of a more substantial outsole. 

  39. Pete, you could probably tell us best but its almost as though they incorporated come of the features from the MR10 and soon to be released MR00 into this shoe. Especially with the pic of the outersole and the distinctive circular pattern on the outsole. 
    Drop is obviously not the same but its like a collision of those 2 shoes. 
    Wonder why there was no marketing drive being this one?

    • Pete Larson says:

      Yes, I would say it’s very much a cross between those two shoes. Better than the MR10 for sure. No idea why it was released without fanfare, though the fact that it is now at Running Warehouse suggests it may be getting some traction. and the fact that it’s now out in widths makes it all the more appealing to those with extra wide feet.

  40. Will these shoes hold up on trails? Any thoughts on a decent hybrid minimalist shoe for roads/trails?

    • Pete Larson says:

      If you can do without a rock plate, the Minimus Trail MT10 would be a better hybrid. But, rock protection is compromised.
      Sent from my iPad

  41. Holabird Sports is selling them for $64.95….
    link to holabirdsports.com

  42. Kevin Dickson says:

    Just picked up a pair of these from Sports Authority.  I’ve only run in them once so far but I really like them.  They are similar to the MR10 but a bit of an upgrade in my opinion which is great since they are cheaper.  My only complaint is the laces they are quite thin and came untied less than a quarter mile in to my run.

    • HawleyHawk says:

      I’m with you. So far my only complaint is how lame the laces are. Easy fix thow and for the price I don’t mind one bit.

  43. That’s fantastic how there’s no arch structure! Just how “firm” is the midsole? I’ve been looking for something to replace the sinking feeling in my Kinvaras.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Definitely former than the Kinvara. Feels sorta like the Inov8 Bare-X 233 to me.

      • Do you mean the Road-X 233 Pete?  That was my thought on a close cousin to these, reading the review before seeing the comment.  How is the anatomical shape of the toe box compared to the Inov-8?  My Road X 233s curve inward a lot more than my feet do in the front.

        • Pete Larson says:

          Yes, that’s what I meant, Road-X 233. I like the feel of the sole better in the NB shoes, the Road-X has a lip or something like that in front of the heel that bothers me a bit, and the NB shoes have less drop. Will need to try them on side by side to feel for fit differences, but it’s the closest comparison I can come up with.

          •  Thanks Pete.  Tried them on locally and the sole is just too narrow in the midfoot for me.  Midfoot hangs out all over the sole edge unlike the Road-X.

          • I tried out the NB730 today for the first time. I ran 5 slow miles, then 2 Tempo miles, and then immediately took the shoes off and ran barefoot on grass Tempo speed for about a mile. 

            The feet did not complain at all(I like shoes that do not make my feet do stuff very different than when running bare feet). 

            The cushion is just right, the shoe is totally flat(felt like less than 3mm drop) and more comfortable to my feet than say the INOV195, which I also like quite a bit for its springy arch).

            The toe box is large enough to completely stretch out the forefoot, as much as in barefoot running.

            So all in all this unassuming shoe is going to work nicely for me. Thank you Doctor Larson for the heads up.

            IndyM
            Sunnyvale, CA

          • Pete Larson says:

            Four runs in for me and I’m liking it a lot as well. Great price and great fit makes it a winner.

  44. Hey Pete, I just bought the 730′s and have only been able to log a few miles on them. I just wanted to ask someone that has put some more serious miles on them how they’re holding up? I like them so far and I’m considering buying another pair before the potential price hike as long as they’re durable. Would it just be better to wait and get the Minimus Road Zero? I’m a student and don’t want to throw away what little money I have. Thanks for any advice.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Unfortunately I don’t have a feel on long term durability in these. Mine still look great, but only about 30 miles on them.

  45. The 730s are a total diamond in the rough. If you have felt the Kinvara was even the slightest bit tight in the toe box, you owe it to yourself to give the 730s a shot.

    Only downside is they are a little dicey for trail running. You can certainly pull it off, but overly rocky terrain makes it a bit of an arduous task.

    Overall, they are heaven on packed dirt, road and track surfaces. Not to mention, this “minimalist” shoe actually has a “minimalist” price tag. IMO, that’s the way it should be.

    • I agree, these shoes deliver the biggest bang for the buck. They have all the characteristics of minimalist shoe at half the price.
      In addition, after putting a few hundred miles in them I have not found any issues with durability. These are cheap, but not cheaply-made!

  46. The only thing that has bugged me about my MR10′s is the *slightly* too narrow toebox. This shoe sounds great for me; I’m looking forward to your full review (Though since I really like my MR10′s, i’d feel safe gambling on these)

  47. I’m going to get a friend, who is travelling to USA soon, to pick me up a pair of these. How do you think sizing compares though? I am a US 12 in Nike Free Run which are great lengthwise but a little narrow. So thinking of E-width but unsure whether to get 12 or 11.5… (The “shoefitter” on RW doesnt have these yet.)
    Many thanks

  48. I had never heard of these shoes until I saw a pair at my local thrift store, in a size only about 1/2 too big for me with less than 100 miles on them from the look of it. $6 later and a slightly-thicker-than-normal pair of socks, I have some nice wide shoes!

    Woo hoo!

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