I recently switched from Brooks Adrenaline GSRs to the minimal New Balance MT110. It’s not an understatement to say it has been a *huge*upgrade. I had been battling severe hip and knee soreness and pain all season whenever I went over 5+ miles.
I foam rolled, stretched, got my yoga on, went to an Active Release Therapist, iced down after my long runs. Although the pain would subside some runs, especially after an ART session, inevitably the pain would come back on the next long run.
With my old shoes, after one run in particular I literally could not walk when I finished and was back at my car. But as soon as I removed my shoes I was able to walk, barefoot. That’s when the light went on for me and I figured the shoes may be part of the problem. I researched seemingly every trail shoe out there and found myself being drawn to the minimal shoes. In ‘Born to Run’ Christopher McDougal makes a very compelling argument against thick soled, well supported and cushioned running shoes and how they limit the foot’s ability to absorb the impact of running, in turn transferring the shock to other parts of the body. I’m summarizing here but that’s the gist of it.
I christened the MT110 with a 12 mile run with elevation on the Miwok Trail and they felt great. The knee pain started creeping back in towards the end of the run but I’d say it was about 25% intensity of what it usually had been. Two weeks later I took them on a 28 mile run. The first 20 miles felt fine, no knee or hip problems at all and this was with lots of climbing and downhills. My knee started acting up around mile 24 (5 hours) which is much longer than I had gone without pain in my Brooks.
All that stuff aside, these shoes are FUN. They’re super light (7 oz versus 12 oz), I wear them barefoot (I coat my feet in Vaseline and no blisters yet) and I feel faster in them. I also feel more stable on the trails.
I’ve worn Brooks Adrenaline road shoes since 2004 and they’ve been great but I think this minimal thing is the way for me going forward. As you’ll hear everyone say, you should take your time adjusting to minimal shoes. I’ve worn the NB Minimus to work everyday for the past 3 months and that’s helped my achilles adjust to the reduced heel.
One downside of running barefoot in the MT110 is the shoe smells incredibly awful. I can smell them while I’m running. NB added an anti-odor feature to the Minimus but for some reason did not do the same with the MT110. I can live with that though!