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New Balance Minimus TR - Women's Review

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
New Balance Minimus TR - Women's
Photo: New Balance
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Price:  $120 List | $119.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Decent shoe for transitioning to minimalist footwear
Cons:  Thicker sole, heavier, some foot support
Manufacturer:   New Balance
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 20, 2021
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53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 9
  • Natural Feel - 40% 5
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Traction - 15% 5
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Minimus series from New Balance has been popular for many years. Previous versions have had a slight heel-to-toe drop and a little bit of cushion, making them a fun, lightweight shoe for those looking to reduce the support and weight of their footwear. With this TR version, New Balance made a zero drop version for gym training and road running. The sole is a bit stiffer and thicker, so this may be a good shoe for balance and agility in the gym and those transitioning to even more minimal footwear. The smooth and grooved sole texture is well suited to smooth surfaces but less versatile in off-road environments.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $119.95 at Amazon$105 List$89.99 at Amazon$115 List$79.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Decent shoe for transitioning to minimalist footwearLightweight, supple, breathable, excellent ground feel, 2mm removable insole, great valueLightweight, nimble, extremely minimal, moderate priceVersatile, durable, comfortableLightweight, sock-like fit, simple
Cons Thicker sole, heavier, some foot supportLess durable, not water resistantPermeable to water and dust, some may experience frictionNot the lightest, less casual appeal for wearing around townLess 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 soleThis performance racing flat is fun for a variety of workouts and terrain typesThis shoe is a truly novel concept that is as close as possible to being barefoot in a closed-toe shoeA true all-rounder, these minimalist shoes are highly versatile and comfortable in a variety of settingsThis 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%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
5.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
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.

Performance Comparison


Sockless and comfortable in the New Balance Minimus TR
Sockless and comfortable in the New Balance Minimus TR
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Natural Feel


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 stiffer sole blunts some of the natural feel in the Minimus TR
The stiffer sole blunts some of the natural feel in the Minimus TR
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Weight


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 is a lightweight shoe we liked to wear to use heavier weights.
This is a lightweight shoe we liked to wear to use heavier weights.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Traction


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 smoother sole and grooves make the Minimus TR well suited to...
The smoother sole and grooves make the Minimus TR well suited to smoother surfaces
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Versatility


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 are not the lightest or most nimble shoe in this...
The Minimus TR are not the lightest or most nimble shoe in this review, but they worked well for a little indoor soccer...
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Durability


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.

The Minimus TR is not designed for rugged outdoor use, underlined by...
The Minimus TR is not designed for rugged outdoor use, underlined by the lack of a toe rand and other off-road durability features.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

The New Balance Minimus TR is a good gym training shoe for those...
The New Balance Minimus TR is a good gym training shoe for those looking for a little more support than many minimalist shoes.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Lyra Pierotti