Sunday, November 20, 2011

NB Minimus Road Zero

After wear-testing the yet-to-be-available Minimus Trail Zero-Drop (MT00) from New Balance for about 2 months (Check my earlier review HERE), I was asked to give the Minimus Road Zero-Drop (MR00) a try to see how the new range of zero-drop light-weight shoes from New Balance will do when they go to market in March 2012.

With the number of new minimalist shoe offerings from New Balance, I have yet to get a chance at the 4mm heel-toe drop Minimus Road (MR10) that was only recently launched. So, here I am leap-frogging ahead slightly to take a jab at the MR00 instead. The NB MR00 certainly did not disappoint as I unravel the 6.4ounce package from the box. The upper was more plush than that of the MT00, and yet retain that breathable mesh-like material and honeycomb-patterned good looks.

I found the shoe tongue to be quite interesting, with one side fixed on, leaving the other side to be just pulled in for a snug tuck-in. There were just a few lace holes to go through and putting it on was such a cinch. The MR00 retains the ever popular Vibram outsole (see NB Minimus Zero Sole) that has been synonymous with all the minimalist offerings from New Balance, with the flooring being flatter than the trail version - primed for road running.

So how is the traction of this slick beauty? I had the opportunity to bring it for a short run on rather wet and slippery concrete ground (after a bout of afternoon rain), and was pleased with the road-holding capabilities of the MR00. The horizontal strap was diminished and even softer than the MT00, giving the front of the foot much better room for movement - I could wriggle my toes with ease and yet got the snug feel without the constrained-feeling.

The MR00 retains the good mid-foot cushioning and responsiveness of the MT00 and some of its very popular racing comps like the RC1300 series. However, the pleasant surprise was that there was even some heel cushion, not too much, just good enough to give that comfort when the legs go tired and would like some heel support. In spite of the zero drop configuration, I did not feel much strain nor work on the calves as I would on some of the other minimalist zero-drop options.

After putting it through its paces for 7km-10km runs, I am convinced that this will be another hot seller when it becomes available at the stores in March 2012. With the many attractive colorways it will come in, there is no doubt that many NB fans and runners will clean out the stores as what had happened to the MT10 and MR10 in the recent launches. NB will do well to get a better gauge on demand for the Zero series and bring in sufficient numbers to satisfy the growing market for vibrant, effective minimalist offerings such as the NB Zeros!

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