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2012 Trail Running Shoe Review

  • By Brian Metzler
  • Published Jul. 13, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM UTC
Photo: Scott Draper/Competitor

New Balance Minimus Zero Trail, $110

www.newbalance.com

Weight – M: 4.4 oz.; W: 3.5 oz.

FIT: These featherweight minimalists fit similar to ballet shoes in the heel and arch/midfoot—with a snug, wrap-like connectivity—but like open-toe sandals in the forefoot. The outsole and the upper are both extremely pliable, creating a dynamic fit that remains reliably snug as the foot flexes through various phases of a stride.

FEEL: This is the essence of modern minimalism in a nutshell: über-light and supremely flexible with low-to-the-ground construction. Although the durable outsole pods offer a bit of protection, there’s nothing to inhibit the natural movement of your foot or interfere with your stride whatsoever.

RIDE: The near-barefoot sensation promotes and demands an agile style of running and gait with soft landings. Even though its thin yet durable rubber outsole offers some protection against most trail clutter, you still have to run nimbly and avoid hard heel-striking and pointy rocks.

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