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What’s Been on My Feet Lately? – Preview of Three Minimalist Road Shoes From New Balance, Merrell, and Adidas

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the chance to test drive a few new shoe models set to be released next year, and though I’m not prepared to write full reviews yet, I wanted to share a few photos and thoughts on several ultra-light, mildly cushioned road shoes that I’m really liking so far:

New Balance Minimus Road Zero MR00

New Balance Minimus Road MR00 – zero drop with some cushion

Merrell Bare Access

Merrell Bare Access – zero drop with some cushion

Adias Hagio

Adidas Hagio – ~5mm drop racing flat, but feels like less

What I like about all three of these shoes is that all have just a bit of cushion underfoot, but no more than is necessary for most of my running needs. Second, all three are plenty roomy in the forefoot (the NB and Merrell slight more than the Adidas Hagio, but the latter is quite roomy for a racing flat). Third, all three are very light – 6.2 oz for the NB Minimus Road Zero and Merrell Bare Access, 6.5 oz for the Adidas Hagio.

The Minimus Road Zero and Merrell Bare Access will be duking it out with the Altra Instinct as top choices in the “zero drop with cushion” niche, whereas the Hagio compares favorably with the Mizuno Universe among road racing flats. I would also say that the NB Minimus Road Zero feels much like a zero drop version of the Mizuno Universe (a review of the Mizuno Universe 4 is also forthcoming). The Merrell Bare Access has the fit of the Merrell Trail Glove combined with a slightly different upper and a zero drop, cushioned sole – I’ve been wearing the Bare Access to work all week, and must say I am rather impressed by it.

I won’t say much more right now other than that you can expect full reviews of each of these, as well as a few other more “barefoot-style” shoes, in the not too distant future. Let’s just say that minimalist runners are in for some treats in 2012!

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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 biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. George Lin says:

    Which has a wider toebox/forefoot, the Bare Access or the Minimus Zero? That said, March 2012 needs to get here already!!

  2. Can’t Wait for more!

  3. Jason Fitzgerald says:

    These don’t just look functionally awesome, but they’re really beautiful shoes. How soon can we expect them?

  4. Richard Ayotte says:

    I’m looking forward to the new options in 2012 but the one that I’m really curious about is the Skora. Do you have plans to review them?

  5. Paul Joyce says:

    Pete, looking forward to your reviews of these shoes. If the NB Minimus Zero functions half as good as it looks it will be an amazing shoe. That has got to be one the best looking shoes I have seen (not that looks matter!).

  6. I am a big fan of the New Balance Zero Road.  It has great feel and and fits my foot just about perfectly.  Here are some additional thoughts and Pics.  

  7. Charles E Hermansen says:

    Are you planning to do a favorite shoes of 2
    011 like you did for 2010? Also curious how the NB MR00 compares to the feel/performance of the MT 110 also coming out in 2012?

  8. I did a side-by-side comparison of the original Minimus Road and Trail shoes over the weekend.  I was surprised by how much more flexible the Trail was than the Road.  The Road seemed downright stiff.  I hope the MR00 is much more pliable.  It really does seem like NB listened and made all the right revisions for 2012.  Some reviewers have it is great but does not fit their particular feet well.  Can’t wait to give it a try.

  9. Indy Mazumder says:

    I ran the CIM couple weeks earlier in my Nike free 3V3(21/14/7mm drop); my third M, the last two were run wearing Brooks Adrenaline(12mm drop). I had a much easier time running the hills in the Nike Free than I did in the Brooks with the big drop. So much so that I did not feel the Hills this time at all. Seems like with the lower drop shoe, my core is automatically engaged and the ‘spring and dashpot’ system of the legs were being utilized, as I leaned into the gradual up slope. The lean also negated the ~7mm or so drop, as I used the ball of my feet instinctively. With the Brooks 12mm drop I could not do this, and remember walking up some of hills in the SFO M.

    So in 2012 I will be looking to run in a cushioned(~20mm) zero drop shoe, so my core and leg’s own ‘energy store’ system will be engaged even on a level surface. I will be looking forward to what the Vendor’s bring forth! So thanks for this post Dr. Larson.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I will echo this – I find it easier to run uphill in a zero drop shoe, but downhill can be a bit tougher if the zero drop shoe has no cushion.

  10. Irish Setter Shoes says:

    I like New Balance Minimus Road MT00. It looks comfortable for long walk.

  11. Tom Buckner says:

    Yes!! Zero drop and cushion!  I knew they could do it! lol 

    Been in ongoing transition and feeling great! Haven’t liked how dropping heel meant less, if not zero, cushion.  I love me some cushion! Currently loving the Grit, and running lots of trails…nice to see my next transition down will include some choices with cushion!

    • Tom, I can also recommend the Altra Instinct as an excellent zero drop cushioned shoe. Nice wide toe box too. It’s my go to shoe for longer runs.

  12. Look forward to your further posts.  I’m in search of my new pair of running shoes and this is helpful as I’m considering.  Thanks!

  13. Bach Vuong says:

    Hey Pete, any news on price point for these 3 shoes?  I’m debating on the Minimus Road zero drop and the Brooks PureConnect.  My current shoes will most likely last me through March, so I don’t mind waiting.

    Can’t wait to see a more in depth review of the shoes…particularly interested in wear patterns and how the shoes handle mid/forefoot strikers.

  14. Running Moose says:

    The NB and the Merrel sound intriguing.  I think I like the “roomy” adjective used…I need that extra width!!  The prices noted below are reasonable, too!  I’m most looking forward for the MT110’s…I may stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve just to see fi they really are available right on Jan 1 :)

  15. how would you compare the New Balance MT10 Minimus Trail shoe and Minimus Road MT00?

  16. Runnersspain says:

    I really appreciate what you write. You now have a new subscriber.

  17. Just a nitpick (that I’ve missed) but the Road shoe is the MR00 and the Trail shoe is the MT00,  There is no Minimus Road MT00.

  18. Hey Pete – any chance of a shoes of 2011 review?!

    Also any reason why you seemingly steer clear of Adidas? I’d be interested to hear your views on the Adios. In the UK it is being touted as THE best marathon shoe evermade following world records by Haile and then Makau in them. 


    • Pete Larson says:

      Going to try to put together a 2011 shoe list, just need to find some time. Cranking to beat a book deadline so I’m writing a ton, just not on the blog :) As for Adidas, they only recently got in touch with me so I now have several shoe samples, including the Adios. Adios is a bit on the high-heel side for my taste, but will give it a try. The Adidas Hagio is fantastic.

  19. Looks like Runningwarehouse is taking orders for MT00 + MR00; I am very interested in the MR00 but will wait for a detailed review from the Doc L.!

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