Though I primarily prefer to exercise outdoors, working out inside is not off limits especially for fun cross-training opportunities. In recent years I’ve had good luck with New Balance putting out some lean shoes cross-fit type shoes which have a wide toe box and low to the ground profile. I wore out a pair of New Balance MX20s using them for treadmills, spin class, aerobic classes, running, and basketball.

So I was hopeful the Minimus Prevail line of shoes would provide a similar type of performance at the gym. Especially because reviewers seemed to like them for Cross-fit type workouts.

Cross fit involve a great mix of multi-directional movements under loads. Since I tend to employ these low profile shoes for basketball (it’s hard to roll an ankle if a foot is already flat to the ground), lateral capability with a solid base was a must.

Minimus Prevail Features

One of the key feature promises of the Prevail shoes is they appeal to stability. The shoe even has a flared up support in the heel area New Balance is calling a “heel counter”.

…our new men’s cross trainer that’s designed to help bring strength, style and stability to your workout.

New Balance
  • 4 mm drop
  • Asym collar with molded foam allows for a more natural heel fit
  • Engineered Knit
  • External TPU Heel Counter to increase the stability during your run
  • Innovative REVlite midsole provides premium responsiveness and durability at a 30% lighter weight than other foams with comparable performance
  • Vibram® outsole provides maximum surface contact and multi-directional traction.

Minimus Prevail Performance

After trying the Minimus Prevail out in the weightroom, on the treadmill, and in the gym — they don’t seem like a trustworthy shoe for quick lateral movement. Instead of the heel counter helping with lateral movement, it acts more like a cast which doesn’t want to move. This might be excellent for doing squats or forward and backward motions, but it feels wrong going side to side.

The profile of the shoe is fairly tall with an extremely rigid sole and weirdly flexible upper. The sole is very unresponsive and has acute edges which don’t taper. This seems like a recipe for an ankle roll, which I nearly had when making a quick cut.

A cross-trainer with limitations. It feels too risky to do quick lateral motions with the New Balance Prevail. “Lateral support” should probably be interpreted as keeping the foot from flexing out while lifting weights.

Traction

The Prevail has excellent traction on indoor surfaces. I’ve never had any issues with losing traction or wishing grip were better.

Lacing and Tongue

The lacing system was disappointing. To get the strange knit uppers tight enough required tightening the lacing to the point the top of the forefoot slightly folded in.

After running around in the shoe for a bit, the lacing inevitably loosens which lends to the impending feeling of ankle roll and requires the shoes to be retied frequently.

Additionally, using the top eyelet for lacing is a must to lock the foot down but then the laces actually slide up above the tongue once the action starts as the tongue slides down a bit.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a good gym shoe that can handle straight on running and weight lifting movements like squats, this might be a 7 or 8 out of 10 kind of shoes.

For true cross-training purposes, I’ve found the New Balance Minimus Prevail to be disappointing. My foot doesn’t feel low and stable to the ground, the sole is overly stiff, the upper too flexible, and the lacing system frustrating.