New Balance Minimus TR - Women's Review
Cons: Thicker sole, heavier, some foot support
Manufacturer: New Balance
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|Pros||Decent shoe for transitioning to minimalist footwear||Lightweight, supple, breathable, excellent ground feel, 2mm removable insole, great value||Lightweight, nimble, extremely minimal, moderate price||Versatile, durable, comfortable||Lightweight, sock-like fit, simple|
|Cons||Thicker sole, heavier, some foot support||Less durable, not water resistant||Permeable to water and dust, some may experience friction||Not the lightest, less casual appeal for wearing around town||Less versatile, too minimalist for untrained feet|
|Bottom Line||This is a more supportive shoe well suited to those transitioning to minimalist footwear and best used indoors or road running due to the smoother sole||This performance racing flat is fun for a variety of workouts and terrain types||This shoe is a truly novel concept that is as close as possible to being barefoot in a closed-toe shoe||A true all-rounder, these minimalist shoes are highly versatile and comfortable in a variety of settings||This shoe is so light and nimble you'll barely know it's there|
|Rating Categories||New Balance Minimus TR||Xero Speed Force||Vibram FiveFingers...||Xero Shoes HFS - Wo...||Merrell Vapor Glove 5|
|Natural Feel (40%)|
|Specs||New Balance Minimus TR||Xero Speed Force||Vibram FiveFingers...||Xero Shoes HFS - Wo...||Merrell Vapor Glove 5|
|Style||Barefoot gym training||Barefoot performance||Barefoot road||Barefoot road||Barefoot trail|
|Weight (per pair)||14 oz (size 10)||12 oz (size 10)||8.5 oz (size EU 41)||13.5 oz (size 10)||11 oz (size 10)|
|Stack Height (mm)||Undisclosed||4.5 mm (2 mm removable insole)||5 mm||7.5 mm||6.5 mm|
|Heel to Toe drop (mm)||0 mm||0 mm||0 mm||0 mm||0 mm|
|Outsole||Rubber||4.5 mm FeelTrue||3 mm||5.5mm FeelTrue®||Vibram EcoStep|
|Midsole||Rubber||Removable 2 mm insole||2 mm||2mm removable Feel The World® insole||N/A|
|Upper Material||Mesh and TPU||Mesh||Polyester fabric||Mesh||Mesh and TPU|
|Best For||Road running, gym||Running, gym, performance||Running, gym||Running, gym, casual||Running, gym|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular, wide||Regular||Regular||Regular|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Balance Minimus TR is a training shoe from the long line of beloved Minimus models.
The Minimus TR can be worn with or without socks for an improved "barefoot" experience. These definitely feel a bit more like standard trainers, with a thicker and stiffer sole. Still, they have a number of attributes consistent with other minimalist footwear, thus providing an excellent transition option for those interested in training into barefoot running or minimalist footwear for weight lifting and gym training.
The Minimus TR has a zero drop from heel-to-toe, and while the stack height is undisclosed by New Balance, it is thin enough to allow decent proprioception and provide a low-to-ground balance. The toe box is reasonably wide to allow for toe splay, which we like. There is a snug feeling around the arch which provides some support, making this a strong contender as a shoe for transitioning into even more minimalist footwear. The heel cup is also snug and secure, another thing we like very much.
The Minimus TR is on the heavier end of shoes in this review, but it really underlines why objective data is super important. These shoes "feel" very lightweight. Often, we find that well-balanced shoes feel lighter. In this case, the sole is impressively lightweight, especially given the relative thickness and stiffness. The uppers are similarly lightweight. But overall, they're not ultra-lightweight. These trainers are excellent for gym and road use and a great transition-to-minimalist footwear shoe where you can start to enjoy the feeling of such lightweight footwear while working on your foot strength.
This shoe is not for off-road use. It will likely perform well on smooth trails, but the sole is more smooth than textured. The grooves in the sole allow water to escape, so wet roads can still be on the table, but these shoes are really best suited to gym and court use for activities such as weight lifting, HIIT, and circuit training. You might even try some racquetball or indoor soccer!
The Minimus TR is versatile in an urban setting. These are not your go-to for hiking or trail use as loose and rocky terrain will be difficult to grip. That said, within the realm of urban adventures, these are a great shoe to help you transition to minimalist footwear and work on strengthening your feet in the gym, on road runs, and for circuit and HIIT training.
The Minimus TR is a durable shoe. The simple and smooth upper materials are a major driver of the durability: There is little to fail, no seams, no hinge points, no stress points. That said, there is a very minimal toe rand, so if you take these shoes off-road, you'll likely beat them up, especially if you kick any rocks.
This is a reasonably priced shoe for what you get. There are more affordable and more versatile models in this review, but if you're looking for a transition shoe, this might be your winner.
The New Balance Minimus TR does not come in strong in this review, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good shoe. This model doesn't fit all of our needs when it comes to minimalist footwear, but it fills another excellent niche: it's an excellent shoe for those transitioning to running in minimalist footwear. The stiffer and thicker sole make it a bit more supportive — too supportive for purists, but a great shoe for the quiver.
— Lyra Pierotti
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