The New Balance 110 trail running shoe has been named "Best Minimalist" in the TrailRunner Editor's Choice awards and sets a high bar as a near perfect lightweight trail shoe.
The New Balance 110 trail running shoe has been my most anticipated shoe to date. Having transitioned to a minimalist shoe philosophy thanks in large part to the blogging of Anton Krupicka and the assistance of runner Alex Nichols at Colorado Running Company, the New Balance 110’s were highly desirable – especially in 14 wide! After 500 miles, it’s time for a review.
New Balance 110 Shoe Description
New Balance says, The New Balance 110 trail running shoe sets a new precedent in lightweight trail racing, making such a powerful impression that it has been named “Best Minimalist” in the TrailRunner Editor’s Choice awards. Built in close collaboration with leaders in the sport, this minimalistic trail runner is built to deliver the optimal race day experience…
New Balance 110 Specifications
- WEIGHT:219 grams (7.75 oz)
- Synthetic upper provides lightweight comfort and durability
- 4mm drop
- Aggressive lugged outsole
- Rock Stop® embedded into forefoot provides protection from sharp rocks and debris
- ACTEVA™ Midsole cushions and resists compression set – 12% lighter than standard foam
New Balance 110 Shoe Review (After 500 Miles)
The 2013 110 trail running shoes are nearly identical to the 2012 version of the shoe, the only difference being a 1mm adjustment to the outsole on the medial part of the shoe. At the time of writing, New Balance is selling last year’s shoes (red/gray and black/orange/purple) alongside this year’s versions (gray/green and red/blue). Their website contains a bullet point mentioning, “MT110BL and MT110GR have an added 1mm to the medial side of the footbed” and offering these older model at a reduced price. Having run 500 miles in the MT110GR, I think the adjustment is sound, but commend the 2012 shoes as an absolute steal at $50! To learn more about the 1mm adjustment, check out runblogger’s article mentioning the issue. If you encounter any foot pain, take New Balance up on their superb customer service or pay $40 extra and buy this year’s model.
Below, I break down these trail runners by performance, comfort/fit, quality/durability, style and price. First, four photos of my 110 shoes after 500 miles (I swear these have seen hundreds of miles of dirt and weather). It snowed today and my lunch run gave the shoes a thorough cleaning!
500 miles of dust, scree, snow, asphalt, water, branches, toddlers, treadmills and gym bags validate the 110’s as excellent all-around trail running shoes.
- Tread provides satisfactory grip on a wide variety of surfaces
- Shoe is lightweight a breathable
- Rockstop plate does a nice job of dulling blows to the forefoot (it’s still better not to stomp on pointy objects)
- 4mm drop from heel to toe is comfortable and unobtrustive, I find it to be more comfortable than zero drop
One of New Balance’s best traits is their consideration of people with wide feet. The wide version of the 110 provides a perfect fit on my foot. The tongue, footbed, and seams are all comfortable.
During the break-in period for the shoe, I did experience some pain in one of my arches, but this may have been due to increasing mileage too quickly. If the problem was related to the aforementioned 1mm, it soon went away and I’ve run a few hundred miles pain free.
The Acteva foam is definitely light and reasonably tough. However, the lugs under the midfoot soon wear down to nothing. This fact seems nearly inconsequential since the heel and forefoot remain “lugged” for traction. Foam lugs are a curiosity. They don’t seem particularly functional. Perhaps their purpose is really to shed weight.
My first observation when I received the 110’s was of the uppers: plastic!? They seem to stink less than cloth and mine have held up better than most trail running shoes. Results may vary (especially in the case of Joe Grant), but plastic uppers have been a good experience for me.
The lacing seems natural and my feet don’t scoot around. Plus, the 110’s come with no-slip laces ( similar to these ) which seem to stay tied and tight.
The shoes look nice. My only beef would be the same as with the Minimus 20v3 shoe, why such ostentatious colors? Black, orange and purple on the same shoe? Happy Halloween. Still, this year’s gray and green is handsome, especially when compared to the red white and blue version.
The New Balance 110’s are cheaper than their model number! These days, any quality shoe for less than $100 is a deal. The price point for the shoes is fair, and steals are to be had for those buying last year’s colors.
Ruin Your Knees highly recommends the 110 as an all-purpose trail running shoe. Faced with precipitous terrain and inclement weather conditions, a shoe with a bit more traction might be preferred, but for most uses these are a good minimalist choice. Visit New Balance to see their Men’s and Women’s version of the 110.
Sidenote: Transitioning to Minmalist Running Shoes
It is recommended to transition into minimalist shoes gradually. My own transition has happened over months, even years. A visual timeline of this transition looks like this (with plenty of overlap between shoes and hundreds of miles in each shoe):
What do you think of the New Balance 110 trail running shoes? Please share in the comments below!