New Balance Minimus 40 Review
Cons: A tad too much compression for weightlifting, upper not very protective
Manufacturer: New Balance
Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Balance Minimus 40 provides a mix 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 middle of the pack for our testers on weightlifting.
While this model performed well for kettlebell swings and light power snatches, during the head-to-head squat test or heavy cleans and carries, you can feel the sole start to compress a little which is why it scored lower than a Reebok Nano 8 or Nike Metcon 4. Our testers felt a little less stability due to the bouncy feel once the weights got heavy.
Keep in mind, the Minimus 40's scores are in comparison with two shoes designed for more weightlifting with the two top contenders in the CrossFit shoe market (Nike Metcon 4 and Reebok Nano 8). 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 ranked as a top three shoe, better than the Asics Conviction X, NO BULL Canvas, XERO Prio, Nike DSK Fly Knit, and Nike Free X Metcon in weightlifting, as the Minimus provided a little more lateral stability.
The Minimus 40 scored highest in the running metric. Its lightweight and thin sole helped give it the edge on endurance efforts. While sprinting, its sole provided good traction from the jump.
Although light and flexible, the snug upper performed very well in the direction changes on shuttle runs. The Nike Metcon 4 and Reebok Nano 8 both scored only slightly lower on running than the Minimus 40, though for different reasons. The *Metcon 4 had excellent power transfer on sprints, but its heel was less comfortable on longer runs. The Nano 8 created 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 compressed 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. Since the heel also provides a good amount of compression, it also was a fantastic shoe to wear all day outside the gym.
The upper on the Minimus 40 contains a textile and TPU yarn woven mesh which 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 a highly breathable shoe, which might be worth it if you train in a hot climate. While descending in rope climbing, the sole was so sticky it caused my foot to rotate medially. The Minimus 40 ranked behind the Reebok Nano 8 and Metcon 4, as both models provide a more durable upper. It topped the Metcon 4 in almost every category except for weightlifting and protection.
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 Minimus 40 scoring high 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 Minimus 40 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; if breathabiltiy tops your charts, the Minimus 40 will provide. In hot and humid environments, this becomes even more of a factor. The most breathable shoes include the Minimus 40 and Xero Prio. Both the Minimus and Prio have a very high proportion of mesh-like fabric in their uppers, providing plenty of ventilation.
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 40 was ranked just behind the Nike Metcon 4, which fit our testers' feet better. The Reebok Nano 8 was found to be more comfortable than the other minimal running shoe in our review, while the Asics 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 an excellent choice for an athlete who wants to buy a pair of good shoes for everyday use but also uses CrossFit methods to maintain general fitness and strength. If you feel the Xero Prio is a little too much of a minimalist, the Minimus 40 would be your answer. 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 lightweight 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.
The Minimus 40 provides an extremely high value. At $120, it's priced comparably to other shoes in the CrossFit arena. While the Minimus 40 did not balance performance qualities the same way as the Editors' Choice Reebok Nano 8, it offers a lot of value to those who want a multiple use show and whose workouts include lots of running, utilizes lighter weights, or occur in hot environments.
The New Balance Minimus 40 was barely beaten out by the Reebok Nano 8, the Editors' Choice winner. it provides quality performance for running and bodyweight CrossFit workouts andis breathable for hot environments and comfortable on long runs.
— Chris McNamara
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