The Minimus 40 is a good CrossFit shoe for someone who prefers the feel of a minimalist shoe with enough comfort for long runs. It was ranked highest of the shoes tested on running and our testers were very happy with its comfort and breathability. While not as stable on heavy squats and cleans as top performers like the Nike Metcon 3, the New Balance Minimus 40 performed well under moderate loads for lots of repetitions.
New Balance Minimus 40 Review
Cons: Lacks support for weightlifting, upper not very protective
Manufacturer: New Balance
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Minimus 40 provides a blend of performance qualities which favors light weights and bodyweight movements. It was ranked highest on the running metric by our testers, and provides good comfort and breathability.
The Minimus 40 was scored behind the bulk of our tested shoes on weightlifting. While this model performed well for kettlebell swings and light power snatches, it did not earn high marks during the head-to-head squat test or heavy cleans and carries. Our testers felt a little less stability and support once the weights got heavy. Keep in mind, the Minimus 40's scores are in comparison with two shoes designed for weightlifting (the Fastlift 370 and Powerlift 3), plus the two top contenders in the CrossFit shoe market (Nike Metcon 3 and Reebok Nano 7). If your CrossFit workouts don't involve a lot of moderate to heavy barbell work, the Minimus 40 could work for you. The Minimus 40 scored slightly better than the ASICS Conviction X on weightlifting, since the Minimus provided a little more lateral stability.
The Minimus 40 scored highest in the running metric. Its light weight and thin sole helped give it the edge on endurance efforts. While sprinting, its sole lost only a little power from twisting between heel and toes. Although light and flexible, the snug upper performed very well in the direction changes on shuttle runs. The Nike Metcon 3 and NOBULL Trainer both scored only slightly lower on running than the Minimus 40, though for different reasons. The Metcon 3 had great power transfer on sprints, but its heel was less comfortable on longer runs. The NOBULL absorbed more impact in the heel on long runs, but its sole didn't provide quite as much grip on sprints and changes of direction.
The Minimus 40 ranked a little behind the other shoes tested on support. The sole flexed more than most for weightlifting, jumping movements, and sprint accelerations. The connection between the upper and sole also allowed more lateral movement than the top-ranked supportive shoes. With that said, the lacing system provided the ability to provide different tension at the toes and the ankle. This model gives up some support for increased sensitivity and breathability. This may be a worthwhile trade-off if your workouts typically use bodyweight or lighter weightlifting movements.
The upper on the Minimus 40 offered less protection than other shoes in the review. It has some reinforcement at the toes, but more mesh than most of the other shoes we tested. The trade-off is increased breathability, which might be worth it if you train in hot environments. This competitor scored the same as the Inov-8 Fastlift 370 BOA on protection. Both shoes have a high amount of mesh in the uppers. The Minimus 40 was ranked behind the Nike Metcon 3, Reebok Nano 7, and NOBULL Trainer - which all had beefier uppers.
A CrossFit athlete needs to feel the ground (or box or rope…) as readily as possible to make the minute adjustments necessary to stick the landing, change position or direction, or start the next movement. Sensitivity is a combination of flexibility and responsiveness. A sensitive shoe allows your foot to feel the ground, and also transmits the force of your movements. Weightlifting and gymnastics movements require sensitivity for top performance. The ASICS Conviction X scored highest in sensitivity. Its thin, responsive sole allowed testers to feel whatever surface they were on, and make rapid adjustments. This was particularly useful on high-rep explosive lifts like power snatches and kettlebell swings. The Conviction X allowed testers to feel when they were starting to come out of balance and make fast corrections.
The best shoes help the athlete shed that heat so the focus stays on performance, rather than foot discomfort. In hot and humid environments, this becomes even more of a factor. The most breathable shoes include the Minimus 40 and Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA. Both the Minimus and FastLift have a very high proportion of mesh in their uppers, providing plenty of ventilation. Next-best for breathability were the Nike Metcon 3 and ASICS Conviction X. Both have less ventilation on the back half of the shoe, but well-ventilated toe boxes.
This competitor was a little narrow for our lead tester's feet, but another tester found they were a good match. The sole's shock-absorption was good for long runs,and the upper conformed well to testers' feet. The Minimus was ranked just behind the Nike Metcon 3, which fit our testers' feet better. The NOBULL Trainer was found to be more comfortable than the other minimal running shoe in our review, while the Conviction X was narrow on our testers, and the Minimus 40 had more effective padding on the tongue and ankle area.
This pair of CrossFit specific shoes is a good choice for an athlete whose primary sport is running, but uses CrossFit methods to maintain general fitness and strength. The Minimus 40 would also be a good match for someone who favors a minimalist shoe. If you're willing to trade some support to get more sensitivity, this one might be for you. The Minimus has a relatively thin sole, flexible upper, and light weight that allows high-performance jumping, landing, and gymnastics movements. Anyone who does CrossFit workouts in a hot environment would benefit from the excellent breathability of the Minimus 40.
At $120, this model is priced comparably to other shoes in this test. While the Minimus 40 did not balance performance qualities the same way as the Editors' Choice Metcon 3, it offers value to those whose workouts include lots of running, utilize lighter weights, or occur in hot environments.
The New Balance Minimus 40 provides quality performance for running and bodyweight CrossFit workouts. It is breathable for hot environments, and comfortable even on long runs.
— Scott Francis