New Balance 730 Update: 25 Solid Miles of Running

New Balance 730I thought I’d  drag my self from the depths of final book editing to give a quick update on my experience with the New Balance 730 running shoe. A few weeks back I wrote a post describing the New Balance 730 in detail, but at the time I had yet to run in them. I’ve now put in about 25 miles in the shoe, and my impression remains very positive.

In terms of performance on the road, the 730 has a very firm ride, and in that sense is reasonably comparable to road racing flats like the Mizuno Universe and Adidas Hagio. The 730 feels very much like a stripped down version of the original Minimus Road, and in my opinion is superior to that shoe in almost every way. It’s lighter, more flexible, and feels just as well constructed as the MR10. I haven’t done a long run in them yet (those have been few and far between for me of late), so can’t comment on that, but don’t see any reason why this shoe wouldn’t work well for that purpose if you don’t mind a firm midsole (note: my buddy Thomas over at Believe in the Run reports that he did a 22 miler in the 730’s, and that they felt great).

New Balance 730 Side

Because of the thin, firm sole, this is not a shoe that I would recommend for heel striking runners. On the other hand, these features combined with only a 3-4mm heel-forefoot drop (I still say it feels less, even though I measured it at 3mm…) make it a great shoe for a midfoot or forefoot striker. Although I’ve only put about 25 miles on them so far, I’m pleased to see that nearly all of scant wear so far is on the lateral midfoot to rear forefoot. The fit is great, though I do have a sense that it runs a bit small (I’d order a half size up if I were to order another pair), and the wide forefoot provides an ample amount of space for toe splay (and for those with wide feet, the shoe does come in 2E width!). I’ve managed two sockless runs in them so far, and have not had any blistering issues yet (a rarity for me).

One of the best things about the New Balance 730 is the price. It’s not easy to find a minimalist shoe these days that costs under $70, and this is one that performs very well at that price point. I see this as a great all around shoe for those who like a thin sole and a firm ride, and folks in need of a racing flat with a wide forefoot would also find this to be a very good option. Personally, I also see this as a near ideal casual shoe for just wearing around town – it’s flat, wide, and very comfortable for walking. So far so good with the NB 730!

The New Balance 730 is now available (in widths) at Running Warehouse, and is currently on sale at Shop New Balance for $64.95 with free shipping (see banner below).

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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. Pete, what is its thickness numbers overall?

  2. After 3 weeks of use, I am very pleased with this shoe. Its not everyday one comes across a shoe that does the job and more for a price that is ~30% less than the average shoe out there!

     Longest run so far in the 730: 12miles. It feels quite comfortable during faster runs on the Stanford rubber track as well. My 2cents.

  3. Thank you for your post on these shoes. I purchased them from the new balance web site on clearance for $60 three days ago. I’m looking forward to trying these out in a big way this weekend.
    I product tested the MT00 last fall, putting 200+ miles and completing the North face endurance challenge WI 26.2 before I sent them back. They were fantastic shoes! Not a single blister, perfect fit, outstanding durability, ect, ect. Before I received the shoes for the product test I was very weary of “minimalistic running/barefoot” running hype. After six weeks my perception changed. I waited for NB to release the MR 00 and the MT 00 this spring. I purchased the MR 00 and immediately had an issue with the out sole of my right foot. A 3 cm long blister developed on the outside border of my right foot right under the front part of the N. I tried lacing differently but no relief. So I sent them back and bought the MT 10. Never did run in them, wearing them around the house for 30 minutes I found that band across the toe box way too tight. Left a lasting impression. I was not going to do the “surgery”. link to runblogger.com….
    I also tried the Merell trail glove ( which my wife loves) for me a nice shoe but narrow. I did purchase the MT00 in 4e, not a perfect fit like the 2e for me but I am able to lace it to make it work.
    Wearing a 9.5 2e in most NB shoes-IL marathon this Saturday, if the shoe fits…..

  4. I usually wear 12.5 kinvaras and ghost, what size would you recommend to try since I noticed that they don’t come in half sizes at the larger sizes.

  5. Gregoryjohnwhite says:

    I tried on the MR00s today and the only real difference (aside from zero drop) seems to be that they hug the arch a little more, and have that nice Nike Free tongueless tongue. I put in a hilly 11 mile run in the 730s today and they felt great. The price is fantastic, too.

  6. Hey Pete! 
    Is there a lot difference between the 730 and the free run+? I thinking to get for my 1st minimalist shoe

  7. adasd

  8. Gregoryjohnwhite says:

    Aside from the zero drop, any idea how this differs from the Minimus Road Zero? Is it lower to the ground? Gotta say, they really nailed it with the 730.

  9. These shoes (orange color) are on sale for $25 at Joe’s New Balance Outlet with a $6 shipping charge, comes to $31. I just recently bought the Adidas Hagio, which I love. If these shoes feel similar as you suggest, I’ll be pretty happy!

  10. Aaron R. says:

    Heads up.  NB is presently discontinuing these, but they will re-appear later in the year.  Get them cheap while you can.

  11. How would you compare these to the MR00 other than the 3mm heel-to-toe drop?

    • Pete Larson says:

      Very similar, main difference is the thinner sole and zero drop in the MR00. Similar fit and upper materials, and similar firmness.

  12. Chris Szumigala says:

    As I recover from two broken metatarsals over the last 8 months I’ve been slowly starting to “run” again using a progressive walk/run cycle. I’m currently at a run 2 minutes/walk 1 minute period repeated for 5 or six cycles so I’m not doing much more than a mile a few times a week on the treadmill.

    So far I’ve done all that in the Kinvara 2′s, but I picked up a pair of these last week using your Running Warehouse link. (Thanks!) I may start working the 730′s into the mix and wonder what I can expect?

    And yes, the #5 Jones fracture and the #3 metatarsal stress fx were from my overly enthusiastic, unwisely implemented charge into minimalist running. I have to believe it was purely “operator error” though and I’m forced to try in a much more gradual fashion this time around!

  13. The 730 is on sale now for $25 plus $6 shipping.
    http://www.joesnewbalanceoutle

  14. jared irish says:

    Got mine in Feb at your suggestion, and have done 75 miles of training for a marathon, longest of 12 miles, on cobblestones.
    I love these shoes. They fit my feet great, no rubbing, I’ve done long runs barefoot. With the different padding I do get sore on the cobblestones, but I think thats probably good for to make my feet stronger.  I have been able to get a lot faster too, but that is probably attributed to all this training. I think it allows me better form while running as well. All of this is why I’m considering doing my first marathon in them in Madrid this Sunday. Either that or I will wear my Nike Free Run+’s. Still haven’t decided. What do you think?

    • Pete Larson says:

      Glad they are working out! Better you to decide than me – go with what you think will better handle the distance, and use your experience on training runs as a guide.

      • jared irish says:

        Ran in the Free’s and did better than I thought i would, with 3:26! Yay First Marathon!  I think I will continue to rack up miles in the NB though, as I think my footstrike and speed are better in them.

  15. Johns43 says:

    On your recommendation I tried the 730s – I have run about 50 miles in them and think they are great. I am a MR10 fan but these may be better – firmer, great toe box, neutral, light…and a great deal. Thanks for the review!

    • Pete Larson says:

      No problem – I’m on vacation in Disney this week and they are one of my shoes of choice for a day of walking as well as being a solid running shoe. Loving them so far.

  16. Vonda Mcneil says:

    Hi Pere. I saw these today at Sports Authority and was considering getting them. But was not looking for running, but for walking. I am registered to do the Avon walk for a cure in September, and am trying to get a good shoe. These seemed like what I would want, but after reading your blog, specifically that “this is not a shoe that I would recommend for heel striking runner” I’m a little concerned about choosing these as the shoes for this event (distance walking). Any thoughts?

    • My husband just surprised me with these shoes. I’m doing the Avon Walk in SF in July. I’ve only clocked about 15 walking miles in my shoes, but they’re great so far. Good luck with your Walk!

    • Pete Larson says:

      No problem at all walking in them – I used them quite a bit at Disney a few weeks back for walking all day and they were great!
      Sent from my iPad

  17. Aaron Harrell says:

    Pete, I picked up a pair a couple of weeks ago and I will agree with you that these are a great value in a shoe. I have put about 30 miles or so on them and find them to be a solid all-around shoe. Unlike you, I consider them a pretty soft shoe, but I also mostly run in Inov-8 Bare-x 180s and the MT110 right now.

    The 110s and now the 730s are the only experience I really have with the Minimus last, and the 730 is pretty roomy and comfortable. I don’t like the 4mm drop very much , since I think that I get a more responsive stride from zero drop, but overall the shoe has a great feel that made me okay wearing for a 7-mile trail run with 1200 feet of climbing one day and a 8 mile flat road run the next. Not a specialist, this shoe is going to be good at a lot of things. Thanks for the heads-up and the review!

  18. Whoa…that is “Thick” in my books :-) Thx for the info.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Yeah, not a barefoot style shoe for sure, but thinner than most of what’s out there.

      • After using the 730 for a few weeks exclusively, I ran 8 long and slow miles yesterday in Inov8-150(7/7); curious thing, this morning no soreness anywhere. So don’t know what to make of that…

  19. I’d agree with everything in this review. I could easily be convinced that it has zero drop. I’ve worn it for a fast 1 miler to a 10 mile tempo run. And it doubles as a great shoe to wear out and about. Fantastic value in this shoe, that’s for sure.

  20. I like these shoes quite a bit but am wondering what others’ thoughts are when using them for fast stuff.  I’d assumed they’d be good simply for the lightness factor, but the lack of “spring” in them makes me think they’d not be the best racing shoes.  I’ve only used them for one fartlek workout though, so maybe it’s just me. 

    • I’ve found that a good minimalist shoe is not necessarily a good racing flat. A flexible forefoot is comfortable at lower speeds but doesn’t provide the springy feel of stiffer flats at faster speeds. I think a slightly stiff forefoot helps running fast by restoring some elastic energy and decreasing the need of active push off.

    • Aaron Harrell says:

      Flo, agree that these are not the snappiest shoes. I assumed it was the r.m drop because I have been road running in zero drop. But it just mght be the foam. They are nice all around shoes, but no pop.

  21. Gregoryjohnwhite says:

    Ah, just checked running warehouse: the 730 is listed at 13 forefoot and 16mm in the heel, while the MR00 is 12 throughout. I’d like to use this shoe for marathons, but am wondering if 12 mm is enough cushion for me. I currently run in the first generation minimus road, which is 14 in the forefoot and 19 in the heel. However, with a softer ride like the 730s, the 12mm might be okay… Thoughts? 

  22. Fragmentaryblue95 says:

    I just got a pair – bright yellow too! I did a speed workout in them, hurdles and all, and they feel like the spikes I wear during meets. Great shoe, thanks Pete for the update!

  23. Aaron Olson says:

    Bought these shoes last week after reading your review. I really like them! I feel that they are much better than the MR10 and MR00. I usually run in fivefingers, but these will be good for winter running.

  24. Greg Strosaker says:

    Looks like an intriguing shoe Pete. With the Kinvaras being a bit more padded and moving up in price in May, I’m wondering if these won’t get a bit more attention.  I’d written off New Balance but it may be worth another look.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Definitely a different shoe than the Kinvara, but a very solid offering for those who like a firm shoe with a wide fit.

  25. Very informative blog. Keep up the good work!

    Just a quick question: How does this fit relative to the Road Glove or MR00? I only have those shoes to try on and would love to buy a pair of the 730s.

    Thanks :)

    • Pete Larson says:

      Similar fit, nice and wide up front. Maybe a tad shorter, but not enough to justify sizing up for me.

      Pete

  26. Aaron R. says:

    I just took my first run in my 730′s, and in my opinion, this IS a zero drop shoe. I didn’t feel any rise in the heel at all. For kicks, I put on one of my Kinvaras and immediately noticed the difference in the heel-toe drop. The 730′s are definitely firmer than the Kinvaras, but I think the upper of the Kinvaras are a tad more comfortable when sockless. Mine did not come with a sockliner, which is fine. Is that the norm for this shoe? I ordered both the D and 2E widths. The wider version arrived first, which is good, because I’m sure they are the keepers. Having run barefoot quite a bit over the past couple of years, my feet have widened. The 2E 730′s feel just right in the toe box. Thanks for turning me on to these shoes.

  27. Hey- thanks for this review!

    Just a quick question, how do they fit compared to the MT101? I don’t have any to try one:(.

  28. Pete, thanks for informing me about this  I have been looking for a minimal running shoe like this for a while – it seems to tick all the boxes for me and typical it is not available here in the UK! I am looking at importing this (it is still quite cheap overall to do this) so I need to be sure about sizing as I won’t be able to send this back. My Nike Free 3.0 V3 are a US 10.5 (in most running shoes I am usually a US 10 but the frees run a bit small). What size would you recommend?

    I wish New Balance would release the 730 in the UK.

    • Just discovered the shoefitr tool at running warehouse 
      http://www.runningwarehouse.co… looks like the 730 is more of a standard fit that the nike free 3 v3. So it will be a size US 10 for me.

      • Pete Larson says:

        It has a wide forefoot, so is more forgiving than the Free. I’m also usually a size 10, but needed to order a 10.5 in the most recent Free. I have a 10 in the 730′s, and though there is a bit less than a thumb’s width in front of the big toe they work fine.

        Pete

        • Manny Reyes says:

          I am a size ten as well but I tried the size 10 and they fit me snug and toes were rubbing up a bit. Than I got the 10.5 and they feel like 1 hole size up instead of 1/2. I’m kind of frustrated because I like to find the perfect fit. Should I stick to the 10 since they look like the will stretch a bit or should I got with the 10.5 and suck up the 3/4 of inch space I have between my big toe and the end of the shoe?

          • Pete Larson says:

            I aim for about a thumbs width of space in front of my big toe – given a choice between too snug and a bit too roomy, I’d usually opt for the extra space.
            Sent from my iPad

  29. Man from OZ says:

    Very interesting. How does it compare to the Kinvara?

  30. It sounds great. And looks great. And the price is great. Come on New Balance – release it outside the USA would you?!

  31. highwayman says:

    So far I love this shoe.  The sole is a bit harder rubber than the Minimus Vibram soles.  That is probably what makes it a little stiffer as well.  They don’t stand out as much either, which was a plus for me.  The light weight is great too.  One thing that I miss from the Minimus – the tongue loop to keep the tongue from sliding to the outside.

  32. I picked up a pair of these for something like $35 on Joe’s NB outlet. Eased into them, loved them at the track, wore them for a 12 miler and a 10 miler, they were going so well I decided I’d wear them for my half marathon this upcoming weekend. At the end of last weekend’s 10 miler I was surprised to look down and see several rips in the outer layer of the mesh, both lateral and medial sides. Up by my pinky toe, by my big toe joint, and near my arch. I don’t have wide feet, and the shoes are roomy on me so I don’t think it’s due to poor fit. I’m at 105 miles on the shoes so far. So bummed, contacted New Balance today, curious to see what they say.

    • Just thought I would report back that NB got back to me. They sent me a return authorization for the shoes and online store credit which was more than I was expecting. Kudos to NB. I am kinda bummed to part with the shoes though, I did like them!

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