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New Balance introduces their Zero Drop Minimus Lineup for 2012

Update 7/11/2011: New Balance contacted me and asked me to take down the photographs that I had posted – apparently somebody in the company jumped the gun by releasing the video early (they asked Frunning to remove the video as well). Should have more info in August – stay tuned!

A twitter friend (thanks @glin23!) alerted me to this post on the Dutch running blog Frunning. In the post the authors discuss three new zero drop shoes in the New Balance Minimus lineup that are set to be released in 2012. In addition to providing pictures, they included this video in which New Balance discusses the details around the design of the new models. I’ve been getting emails from people who have seen them (apparently reps are showing them off at stores), and early reports are exceedingly positive. Looking forward to giving them a try, as my surgically modified MT10’s are among my favorite shoes right now!

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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.


  1. briderdt says:

    Glad to see NB leading the way of the Big Shoe companies (maybe in step with Saucony) on zero drop. Now if they’d just fix their last issues, I’d be all over these.

  2. RunningLawyer says:

    I agree that New balance has stepped their game uo with the widely popular minimus collection in this 2012 collection. The current line has alot of issues with wear on the mt10’s. The only issue is that many mainstream runners do not like the bright colors because it causes too much attraction to their running. However I myself love the brightest shoes I can get my hands on and these have me excited for their release. I just picked up the rc1400 and love them. Let us see what saucony can do. Also be on the look out for Inov-8 to become more popular with trail runners. The bare grip 200 are amazing.

  3. Richard Ayotte says:

    It’s time to look at NB again now that they finally have a 0mm drop shoe. I like their road shoe, the MR00 with 0mm drop, a bit of cushioning and a flat sole designed to resist wear. I might be able to get 2000Km+ on those.

  4. Charles Therriault says:

    March 1st, 2012 is what the new New Balance catalog is saying for a date for this line up.

    I think I am most excited about the road shoe in the line.  I for some reason still like to lace up my shoes, so the saucony hattori just does not do it for me.  I also would love to get rid of my socks in the summer.  I am wear testing a shoe right now that I can wear sockless and I love it.  These shoes just might get me out of my adizero rockets for road running.

    Also on January 1st, 2012 the MT110 comes out.  This is the update to the MT101 and has a 4 mm drop.  Anton is saying that it is his favorite shoe ever. 

    I am not too excited about the new trail shoe in this line up because I think you can get a get option from Merrell right now if you are into that minimal of a trail shoe.  For me I feel like I need the rock protection of a MT101 when I am hammering down trails in the Whites.

  5. Frunning says:

    Hi Pete, I’m one of the two guys behind Frunning, and since posting this video our website traffic is going through the roof! 🙂
    Normally we write in Dutch, but because of this scoop we tried our hands at English too. There’s a definite spike in traffic since you posted it, so thanx!
    It’s cool to share this with so many people this way.

    Thanx to all the others for retweeting and replying… keeping a website up to date takes a lot of time and things like this make it worthwhile.
    Keep on running!


    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks for posting the video Marc, glad I could send some traffic your
      way! That’s what blogging is all about.


  6. Looking good – I really hope these aren’t too narrow…
    Is it really so hard to make a nice roomy toe-box? Im looking at you Inov-8.

    • Roberto says:

      MT20 comes in a 2E width.  Hopefully they continue that through the new Minimus models.

    • Just read from SGB performance -magazine, that “The new NL Zero last provides increased width in forefoot that allows the foot to expand laterally on impact”. Sounds good…

    • Road-X models have plenty of room for my toes!

      • Pete Larson says:

        Just ordered a pair of Road-X 233’s, should arrive today. My first crack at

      • Ok, thanks for that info. I’ve only tried the f-lite series, which are too narrow – though otherwise great…

        • Pete Larson says:

          I can second this – just went for a first run in the Road X 233 and
          found it to be plenty roomy. Fit is kind of similar to the Mizuno

  7. Man I am stoked! Both shoes look great. I currently run in the Merrell Trail Glove and the Saucony Hattori and like them both. The Hattori is a little sloppy. But I am definitely going to give these NB’s a try. The colors even look great.

  8. RunningPT12 says:

    I wonder if a proto. of these was what my local running shoe store was talking about when they told me that the next version was to be a 0-degree lift shoe – must have been.

    Others here mentioned the RC1400 – I’ve been wear testing the RC1300, which appears to be a lower profile version of the 1400 – nice shoe!

  9. Scott Covington says:

    Wow! I love the look of these! I’ve really enjoyed my MT-10’s. I only run in them once a week, but find them to be great walking shoes for around the city.

  10. Kyleklockars says:

    I love the idea of zero drop but I am willing to keep the weight where it is to not sacrifice durability particularly the trail shoe. I have had more than a few rocks find the area between the vibrum lugs and they can smart. Loose the foam keep the vibrum.

    • Pete Larson says:

      This is a problem with the MT10. the only issue I had with them in my
      50k earlier this year was mashing my forefoot on a rock. No rock
      plate, and not protective enough in some spots for tough trails.

  11. Nice, I run all my mileage in no cushion, but would like to add some cushion to my rotation.  These seem good, but the current minimus lineup is way to maximal for me.

  12. plumbing says:

    Honestly, I find a hard time in choosing new shoes. Good thing this one is nice.

  13. Altra Footwear says:

    We new they would copy us sooner then later…

    Altra, THE Zero Drop Shoe Company

    • Sean Reiss says:

      Or New Balance was listening to their customer’s feedback from the initial minimus lineup. You can’t fault them for following through on the demands of their customers. 

      Altra wasn’t the first shoe company to produce a zero drop running shoe and most certainly won’t be the last, there’s no need to be smug about. Let your product do the talking for you.

      • rugbyref says:

        I run in the Altra Instinct.  It definitely does the talking for itself.

        • Sean Reiss says:

          It must be an amazing shoe to possess the ability to comment on the internet, color me impressed.

          In all seriousness, I have no problems with Altra Footwear, I just think it makes them look childish and overbearing in the manner they have presented themselves in the comments section. There’s no need to take jabs at other companies and make excessive proclamations about ones status at being first in something. It comes off as sounding like an immature tween overcompensating for their insecurities. There’s no need for it. We’re all adults here.

          As I previously stated, there’s no need to be ostentatious, let the product do the talking with its quality and performance. There’s better ways to promote a product effectively.

    • I agree with Sean – no need to bash the other competitors – for us runners, the more the merrier.

      Altra shoes do have some issues as well (flexibility, too much cushion, not very attractive) so you could just focus on improving those.

  14. Elizabeth Lembeck says:

    oh wow those are really interesting. are they glow-in-the-dark? Any word on when they will be available next year?

    thanks for sharing

  15. There will be many that follow, but let us keep in mind THE Pioneers of Zero Drop – ALTRA ZERO DROP FOOTWEAR. We are bringing a lot more to The Altra Zero Drop collection by the end of this year. Look for us building to our unique line of Zero Drop Footwear by the end of this year. Some great things in the works from the company that has brought you the World’s first Zero Drop Fully Cushioned Foot Shaped shoe!

    • rugbyref says:

      Ok, I run in the Instinct, but I also have a pair of Go-Lite Flash Lite shoes in October 2010 that were fully cushioned, zero drop and had a type of interchangeable insole.  9oz. and suitable for road or trail with a very wide toe box.  I don’t think Altra was the first, at least not based on availability.

  16. One of my main complaints would the Minimus Road was that it was very stiff. The new version can be rolled in a ball and still has a bit of cushion to boot. There was also an issue with the seam of the sole that would murder the ball of my foot. The new version seems to have a much softer transition seam.
    Oh and it’s about 1/2 the weight to. 

  17. Caleb Wilson says:

    pretty much a full blown LUNAtic now, but if I ever run in a normal shoe again it might be these.

  18. I applaud NB for jumping on the bandwagon of minimalist running. I only wish they would create shoes with a more natural last. My feet are not shaped like a banana, why can’t anybody (other than Altra) make a shoe with a straight(er) last? At least offer it as an option, say the NB Zero-S for straight last and the NB Zero-C for curved last. I know, it’s probably more work for the manufacturer, but they’re already saving a ton of material by making these minimalist shoes, they could make an extra effort to accommodate those with wide or flat feet.

  19. Claude Diamond says:

    BAck in The 90’s New BAlance was my “go to” shoe but over the years they became heavy and very pricey . I am delighted that New Balance has returned to be an innovative shoe company in the barefoot movement.

    I am now running in the Minimus 10 road and I am delighted with the width sizing (I am a EE) and the smooth comfortable liner.Note: I still rotate with my Vibram classics.

    I have replaced the laces with a stretch and lock version which make them a true easy slip on. These NB’s have replaced my Nike Free ID (2011) which have a breath ablility problem for me. I loved the older NIKE Free ID with the Nylon heel so naturally they discontinued them;-)I only hope that NB has width sizing in the entire new 2012 minimus line especially the trail version.

    Welcome back New Balance

  20. Simon Goodship says:

    What happened to the video? NB made you pull it?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I didn’t put the video up, it was posted by Frunning. If you go to the
      Frunning blog that I reference, apparently NB USA made them take it
      down. They indicated that they were given the video by NB Benelux.
      This happened repeatedly prior to the release of the original Minimus
      line – videos kept popping up then disappearing.

  21. David Landers says:

    I am a hugely devoted Minimus Road user, especially since my Bolder Boulder PR in May. They suit my thumb-like big toe and relatively wide size 12s, providing plenty of comfort balanced with snug laced fit. I have wondered how a zero drop would feel. Eager to grab the first pair I see!

  22. Jeff Bradford says:

    I know this is an older post but just wanted to let everyone know that these shoes will be well worth the wait. I was able to handle the zero drop 2012 Road & Trail NB’s at a recent event in Davis, CA.
    The funny part was that they had some test pairs of the current Minimus Road shoes for people to try. As I was putting on a pair I started talking to the rep about how I wish they were zero drop. He just smiled at me, walked over to a nearby display, and handed me the new zero drop shoes coming out in March. I have just one word for them: AWESOME.
    Taking a few minutes to examine them could tell that NB took everybody’s constructive criticism of the current Minimus line to heart. I will definitely be buying the Road version (I’m hoping that NB might be selling them at the CIM Expo in December). It looks like the perfect road running shoe: Vibram sole with just enough cushion, minimal & highly breathable upper, well made “natural” & wide (compared to other shoes) last, attractive design.
    Seriously, if you see that NB is going to be at a nearby event I would highly recommend checking them out. Pictures don’t do those wonderful shoes justice.

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