2014 Shoe Previews: New Balance Minimus Trail Zero v2, 980 Fresh Foam, and 890 v4

Runningshoes.com has shared a bunch of additional videos of new shoes that were previewed at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer show. In this installment we take a look at three new offerings/updates from New Balance.


New Balance Minimus Trail Zero v2 (MT00v2)

New Balance Minimus Zero v2I really don’t understand why New Balance chose to call this shoe the Minimus Trail V2 as it bears absolutely no resemblance to the MT00v1. About the only thing it shares in common with its predecessor is a zero drop sole. The v2 is luggier, beefier, and Bryon Powell at iRunFar reports that the Mimimus last is gone in favor of NB’s PL4 last. Given that the last is gone, I’m not even sure why this shoe is part of the Minimus collection…

I wasn’t a big fan of the MT00 v1 since my pair fell apart after minimal mileage and I didn’t find it protective enough for anything but the most well groomed trails, so the change doesn’t upset me much. That being said, my feeling is they should have gone with a totally new model name for this shoe.

On a side note, New Balance also moved another popular trail shoe, the MT110, from the Minimus last to the PL4 last, and the MT110v2 appears to be a radically changed (not to mention much uglier) shoe from v1. Much of the commentary following Powell’s iRunFar roundup focuses on the MT110v2, with many trail runners expressing displeasure with the direction the shoe is taking – read more about it here.


New Balance 980 Fresh Foam

New Balance 980 Fresh FoamLot’s of discussion about “software” and “safe design” in the video introducing New Balance’s new 980 Fresh Foam shoe. As far as I can tell, the story here is ample, soft cushioning, which seems to follow a trend across the board among manufacturers to add new, ultrasoft shoes to their lineups.


New Balance 890 v4

New Balance 890v4The New Balance 890 is a shoe that I have not tried myself, but I consistently hear good things about it. It’s a lightweight, 7-8mm drop shoe that is probably in the same category as shoes like the Brooks Launch, Mizuno Sayonara, and Asics Gel Lyte 33. The v4 is on a new last (NB PL8), and there appear to be extensive updates to both the upper and sole.

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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. The New Balance Trail Zerov2 bears no resemblance to the MT00v1 because it’s not a minimus! It’s an update from a European model. It’s a completely different shoe.

  2. It is a bit disheartening to see some of those changes in the trail line. They kind of dropped the ball there I think. Maybe they’ll find a few new customers though, who knows?

    The 980 looooooks interesting–I like that they’ve used a lower offset–but, HOLY CRAP! that marketing stuff is just this side of silly. The price point ain’t bad either. (Prices are getting ridiculous!)

    I’m most interested in the new 890 though. I haven’t put many miles on them, but like that it is a great go-to shoe for a broad part of the running spectrum. No bells, no whistles. Just a good, functional trainer.

    One of the things I’ve always liked about it was the full ground contact, which is one of the most underrated and underutilized design features. I know it is becoming more widely used–as it should be–and it is kinda difficult to market something so simple, but it is what makes a shoe so smooth in transition. The v4 looks a bit more segmented, which kindasorta tends not to work as well. The 890 didn’t need to be more flexible, so I think that NB may have just been trying to be cute, trying to add some “tech.”

  3. Ashwyn Gray says:

    Yep, the decision to introduce the new fell-focused shoe as the MT00v2 is a strange one, especially since they already had a shoe like this in the UK! If NB wanted to bring that fell running shoe over here for the mud running target market, why not just bring it over as an entirely new model and gently update the existing MT00? Maybe the MT00 was selling really, really badly. (I didn’t buy a pair).

    This new version is more like the Inov-8 MudClaw 265, which is a splendid shoe. And, I like shoes like that. So, I’m actually more interested in this new version of the Minimus Zero than I was in the original. And, given that NB tends to price their shoes a bit less than Inov-8, perhaps the American company will have more success with this one than they did with the previous version.

    • Matt Clinkard says:

      What is the shoe they alreday have in the UK for fell use? Surely that was discontinued some years ago? This looks promising for UK fell use :-)

      • Ashwyn Gray says:

        Good point, Matt. I had not considered that NB might have discontinued the shoe. It was called the RX Terrain and seems to have disappeared from the market in 2007 or 2008.

  4. Adolfo Neto (UTFPR) says:

    I like the MT00. My pair did not fell apart (around 300Km so far). However, I have used it mostly on (bad) roads, not on real trail.

    And I also wear it to go to work. Enough space for my toes.

  5. I See MT00 V2 as a competitor to Merrell Ascend Glove and Altra Superior (or Lone Peak). NB didn’t have a zero-dropped shoe in the space, and they saw an opportunity to use the MT00 name. I have said before that exposed foam on the bottom of a trail shoe doesn’t make sense for most trail runners, and NB seems to get that now (except for on the 1010.)

    • Pete Larson says:

      I don’t disagree, this fills a niche for them very much like the Lone Peak, but it’s a totally different shoe than the v1 and should have been a new model.
      Sent from my iPad

    • But I do have to fully agree with Pete, why name it Minumus whe it doesn´t have the minimus last, bur now features a narrower last… badly done NB =/

  6. John Williams-Searle says:

    Looks like New Balance (Fresh Foam?) fears Hoka, but it’s too late. Got a pair of Bondi Bs several weeks ago and the hype is real — long runs with almost instant recovery. If Hoka dropped their prices by forty dollars and revved up their marketing a bit, the major shoe companies wouldn’t be able to compete in the cushioned-shoe division. Hokas are that good.

  7. John Shepard says:

    I had a chance to Wear Test the Fresh Foam shoes. I wish I would have had them longer. I didn’t feel like a month was enough time to get these broken in. They were a pretty stiff ride and obviously cushy. However, the balls of my feet were pretty banged up (bruised feeling) after long runs. In time I think they would have softened up and not caused so many issues. Otherwise a good shoe with plenty of room (in a wide).

  8. I guess NB wasnt thinking on us tripophobic runners out there when they came out with that weird looking sole on the 980 Fresh Foam

  9. Christian Messerschmidt says:

    really funny, the Minimus line started out with an excellent MT10 and a pitiful MR10 and the development has now reversed with a great MR00 and an ill-conceived MT00. The sneak preview at the Outdoor Life Show of the MR00v2 is very promising and what Pete is showing as the MT00v2 looks like NB mixed up the labels on this one…

  10. Andrew Bentley says:

    The current MT00 (V1) MT110(V1) MT1010 and MT1210 are a range of shoes that I love as they enable the runner to select the right tool for the run that they are about to do based on terrain and duration.

    The MT110 and MT00 both had flaws that needed correcting but in my opinion the basic formula was great beacsue of where they fit into the above equation.

    Biggest selling point of the MT00 was the 4oz weight and minimus last. I love using them for fast, short runs on smooth trails. The v2 appears to be an 8oz fell running shoe. What? If they wanted to make a fell running shoe that’s great (esp for us in the UK) but do it as a separate shoe not a MT00 V2??

    I love the MT110 V1 as it has just the right amount of cushioning for me and feels like a racing flat for the mountains. All it needed was a bit more protection in the midfoot, more grip and a tear resistant upper – there are countless reviews that have made this point. Instead, NB have totally messed with the all of the things that people liked about it! If I wanted that much protection I would wear the 1010

    Looks like I’m gonna be switching to the Inov-8Trailroc or Salomon Sense.

    Shame. For me this like the shoe version of when ‘Star Wars – The Phantom Menace’ came out :-(

    • Pete Larson says:

      Couldn’t agree more. They had a range of shoes suited for different purposes and different consumers, you choose the one that suits your needs. Now they have different shades of grey. This makes no sense to me. The MT110 with a slightly modified sole and more tear resistant upper would have been fantastic. The v2 looks hideous and doesn’t excite me in the least. Same with the MT00v2 – I have no need for a fell running shoe that looks like a zero drop hiking boot…
      Sent from my iPad

    • Pete Larson says:

      I’d also add that all of the marketing-speak crammed into the Fresh Foam video made my head spin…
      Sent from my iPad

  11. Personally, the sight of Hokas scare the crap out of me. You can actually run in those? I guess I need to try them on but I don’t know who sells them.

    My main question — anyone out there run in the M1010 ROAD version yet? I’m looking for a minimal trainer suitable for marathon distances and maybe even the race itself.

  12. I am so depressed. I love the WT00, but I use it primarily as a walking around/daily casual shoe. And the husband is pretty miffed because the MT110 has become his go-to trail shoe. Overall, New Balance has given this household a case of the sads. Le sigh.

  13. So what’s this PL4 last? NB’s homepage lists only PL1 and this doesn’t sound promising. No information on the internet either.

    Apart from that, I like the idea of another zero drop trail running shoe alternative. Whatever the marketing name is. My v1 zeros fell apart after only a few runs in rocky terrain, too.

  14. The MT110s have been my favourite trail shoe for the last few years. I have experiment with a few others, but the 110 was always the shoe for race day. The 110 did need some improvement but not a complete change. The 110v2 is completely unrelated to the 110. The folks that loved the 110 will not find anything similar in the v2. Disappointed that such a great shoe is going to be discontinued.

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