New Balance Minimus 10v2 Road ReviewMarch 3, 2013
- Almost 20% lighter than previous version
- Improved traction from Vibram Road Lite rubber
- Very comfortable upper against bare skin
- High standing height
- 4mm heel-to-toe drop instead of zero-drop
- Positioning of outsole rubber leaves key areas of EVA exposed for medial foot strikers
Although it’s promoted as a minimalist shoe, the Minimus 10v2 Road is more properly considered a transitional shoe based on its stack height and 4mm heel to toe drop. Its light weight and overall comfort provide a nice ride, but long-term durability of the outsole area may be questionable with high mileage use.
This is the most significant improvement from the first generation Minimus 10 Road to the second: instead of weighing over 8 oz, the 2013 model is a much leaner 6.5 oz. The upper mesh is thinner, with fewer overlays, and the new generation RevLite midsole foam helps conserve unnecessary ounces as well.
Fit and Comfort
New Balance excels in combining just the right amount of lightweight padding with plush interior materials to provide comfort against sockless feet. Cushioning around the ankle collar is moderately thick but very soft. The dual-density upper breathes quite effectively and dries easily after getting wet.
The Minimus 10v2 Road pulls the burrito-wrapper tongue style from last year’s Road Zero. This seems to be a personal preference thing in terms of overall comfort and your ability to customize the tension and fit through the midfoot; I tend to like the traditional tongue structure better, but your opinion may vary. Either way, it’s easy to make the 10v2 feel snug against the foot without feeling any hot spots or pinching.
The 10v2 Road has moderate flexibility through the midfoot and forefoot, with decreased mobility in the heel area due to the thicker midsole.
Minimalist fans were hopeful that New Balance would drop the updated Road shoe much closer to the actual road…but with stack heights of 16mm in the heel and 12mm in the forefoot, these numbers remain reflect a slight 2mm drop down from the first version of the shoe.
Considering that most road shoes in the minimalist category run well under 10mm, the height of the Minimus 10v2 Road has to be considered a relative weakness in this regard. Standing height for the Road version is virtually equivalent to the Minimus Trail, but you don’t have the justification of rocky, irregular terrain to justify it.
Consequently, when running in the Minimus 10v2 Road, you’re more inclined to feel the midsole foam underfoot rather than the ground itself.
This outsole update on the v2 is good news with bad news. On the current model, New Balance again took a page from the Road Zero handbook and reinforced selected portions of the outsole with Vibram Road Lite high-abrasion rubber. Grip is noticeably better on all surfaces than the previous model, with only mild slippage on slick asphalt. That’s the good news.
Here’s the bad news: Unfortunately, placement of the rubber is noticeably lacking on the medial aspect of the heel area, which just happens to be a spot that a lot of runners (including this tester) wear down most quickly. It only took about 20 miles to start grinding away the soft midsole foam in that area during testing. If you’re not a neutral or laterally-landing runner, the functional life span of this shoe will probably be short.