check out my MT100 review from last year. You can also refer to that post for details on the midsole and outsole specs of the 101, because they’re essentially unchanged. From the midsole down, all the features of the 100 are carried over: the aggressive outsole with directional heel lugs for downhill braking; the 18mm/8mm midsole with ACTEVA cushioning; the Rock Stop forefoot protection. Even the overall weight of the shoe is identical at 7.8 oz.Another contributing factor to my toe-mashing problem in the 100 was the upper itself, which is super-thin and framed only by a skeleton of EVA around the heel collar. It was fantastic for being lightweight and providing ventilation, but allowed a lot of foot movement on top of the midsole. One major improvement on the 101 is the addition of stability overlays on the upper (see first photo), which hold the foot more securely and prevent slippage towards the front of the toebox on downhills. (Just to be safe, though, I’d still recommend sizing up one-half size for these.) For more extensive background about how the shoe was developed,
The MT101 also maintains New Balance’s RL-3 racing last, which I find runs a bit small and short. One of my big problems with the MT100 was that my toes hit the front of the toebox on steep downhills, a condition partially attributable to the short cut of the last. I took the cautious route and sized up one-half size for the MT101, and I’ve had no issues with toe contact at all.
As you’ve probably gathered, I’m extremely impressed with the MT101. It’s not a true minimalist shoe - that New Balance offering is coming soon – but it’s an ideal combination of the lightweight, low profile benefits of minimalism with a little bit of cushioning and protection so you can run like a maniac over any kind of terrain. These are my shoe of choice for our weekly 12-mile trail run where we often hammer the downhills at 6-minute pace, and it’s a perfect choice if you’re looking to PR at your local trail race. They’re durable enough to handle the most demanding ultras – in fact, Krupicka wore these for both Western States and Leadville this year – and comfortable enough that they haven’t given me any issues with blisters or hot spots, even right out of the box. I have more than 250 miles on my pair already, and they’ve shown no indication of wearing out yet.
In other words, this shoe is a keeper, and my training partners will just have to buy their own. Fortunately for their sake, as well as yours, the shoe is pretty affordable as well. The New Balance MT101 retails for as well as the New Balance store (link above) and other online retailers.
*Product provided by New Balance USA
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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