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New Balance Minimus MR00BS: Verdict

I have been meaning to write a longer review on these trainers following my first impressions post ages ago, I have run a marathon in them (my first in zero drop shoes) and several medium distance road runs since, I have come to a painful (literally) conclusion; “Not for me”.

This was not the decision I wanted to come to, I love the Minimus trail range of shoes and really wanted to like their road focused brother but it was not to be. In terms of the design I love some of the tweaks that New Balance have put in place over their other Minimus shoes, such as the tongue being attached one side. I also really like the feel when you put them on, almost like wearing a slipper they do feel really comfortable which makes the issues I have had with them all the more surprising.

Wearing such a shoe for the first time on a marathon probably wasn’t the best idea, but having run in other Minimus trainers (including the trail zero drop version of this one) I was reasonably confident that blisters wouldn’t be an issue. I was mistaken in this belief, and about 3 miles into my run noticed a sore point occurring under the ball of my left foot, this progressively got worse as the race went on and although it didn’t prevent me from finishing, I was left with a rather angry blister at the end.

Post-race I put this down to the socks that I had been wearing, I couldn’t believe it would be the shoes as I had never had this problem with the others from the range. With this in mind, my next run (after blister recovery!) I wore them again with some socks that I knew were never going to give me a problem (I wore these for my Ultra) but again, same spot on my left foot a blister started forming. I persisted with the shoes for a few more runs but with no respite from the blistering I have had to shelve these for running completely.

I am still not sure why this problem occurs, it could simply be the fit of the shoe, the repetitive nature of road running over trail running, or a combination of both which gives me the issue; although I have run in the MT00 trainers on the road and have not had any blisters so I am more inclined to think it is the trainer. As I have said it is a shame because the trainers themselves from an aesthetic point of view are really nice, well designed, light weight and made with good materials.

I guess that a lesson here is that just because you have no problems with other trainers in a range, you can’t assume that they will all be alike. I am still going to wear them, as I say they are comfortable to wear so I will continue using them as casual wear.

Training Update: 11/02/2013 – 17/02/2013

I now consider myself back in training and am now looking to construct a proper plan to get me ready for May. In terms of actual running this week I have only been able to get my Saturday long run in, weekday training has consisted of cycling to and from work Monday to Wednesday.

Looking at Saturday, this was a good run for me. It was the first run where the Achilles didn’t hurt at all and even after the run, pinching the tendon yields no pain whatsoever, leading me to hope that this is the last of it. I headed out wanting to do a stage of the North Downs Way 50 (and 100) so ran from the Gravelly Hill checkpoint location to the Botley Hill checkpoint (plus running back) totalling a distance of 13 miles. The pace wasn’t quick and well under my planned Ultra pace, but it felt good.

Another reason for the slow pace was that I had recently taken delivery of a GoPro camera and this allowed me to do something that I have wanted to do for a while. I have filmed my run, but focusing on the details of the NDW between these checkpoints with a view to putting it on YouTube to hopefully aid anyone who is racing the NDW50 or 100 and can’t get to run the Downs prior to the event. As part of my training I am going to try to get on all of the sections and will upload them as I get them done.

I have an edited version ready to go, but need to work out the best way of getting it onto YouTube as it’s a rather large file size. I have added some quick test films already which can be seen at my channel: UltraPlodderdotcom

Links to the specific clips: Clip 1, Clip 2

Next weeks plan, probably going to run to work at least once plus another long run on Saturday. I will be cycling the other days and have finally put the mountain bike away and got the road bike out.

I am more confident for May now, I have a lot of ground to make up but it is achievable.

North Downs Way Signpost