The Minimus Zero V2 Trail is best for those looking for a zero-drop shoe that has cushioning. The midsole is almost beefy. That takes the sting out of the trail, and let me relax and fully enjoy the sticky grip and nimble ride on everything from grass to gravel to some rock hopping. It’s great agility makes it a fine pick for speed in technical trails.
The minimalist trend seems to be coming back to center with manufacturers adding back some of the cushioning many of us enjoy. New Balance layers 19-mm of underfoot protection (10mm midsole, 2mm lug and 2mm outsole) into a flexible shoe that still allows good proprioception and weighs in at about 8-oz for a women’s 9.5. Some testers found them to run narrow, especially in the toe box.
Security of Fit Overlays and a narrow construction make for a locked-down fit in the toe box and forefoot and a bit more room in the heel. A quick re-lacing dialed the fit and mitigated the slight heel slippage. The toe box was not as wide as some (say as in an Altra), but I had no complaints.
Comfort & Protection The comfort level on these comes from a dialed fit and built-in cushion from the relatively soft lugs. There is no excessive heel or tongue padding. But a small yet adequate heel counter and a respectable amount of heel and toe scuff protection meant I could relax about foot placement.
Speed Forefoot runners will rejoice in the fast ride. While the beefy lugs may slow down the speediest of the bunch, middle-of-the-pack runners may actually gain speed and confidence on technical trails due to the increased lugs. But, if you aren’t accustomed to zero drop shoes, take the time to transition to the ride. Otherwise, speedy eagerness may result in sore calves.
Agility & Traction The multi-directional lugs held tight in a variety of surfaces, and gave just enough so that I felt steady, even on precarious terrain.
Energy Efficiency These had a peppy return energy return making for fun running, and thus the reason they kept appearing at the front of the test line.
Value The price of the Zero V2 Trail is near the low-middle of the spectrum. With both stitched and heat sealed overlays, the upper is made to last, maybe not as long as the aggressive tread, but long enough to get in plenty of miles for the $110 price tag.