New Balance 110
Editor’s Choice/Best Minimal Shoe
$79.95, 7.7 oz, www.newbalance.com
The Dirt. According to one tester, the New Balance 110 is the "futuristic, space-moccasin love child of the 101 and Trail Minimus." New Balance's newest minimal trail-running shoe, the 110 is built on the same last as the Minimus and boasts a more barefoot-simulating, 4mm heel-to-toe drop than the 101's 10mm drop.
While the 110 possesses a revamped heel counter to offer more cushioning around the ankle than the 101, testers still complained of "hot spots" in that area. It is well ventilated, thanks to a breathable, porous upper, which, however, readily allows in dirt and debris.
Considering its low-to-the-ground ride, the 110 provides a surprising amount of rock protection and cushion on gnarly singletrack, while still allowing good trail feel and responsiveness. With a slightly more rugged outsole than the 101 and Minimus, the 110 provided adequate traction on most surfaces.
Fit. Although, they run a bit long (one tester went down a whole size and still felt he had plenty of room), the 110 fits snugly around the heel, hugs the mid-foot and allows ample toe wiggle room. Best fits medium- to high-volume feet.
Best For. Mid- and forefoot strikers over all distances and terrain. Testers praised the 110's ability to handle everything from rocks and mud to paved roads, but felt traction was lacking on wet or grassy surfaces.
Tester-monial. "While these shoes perform very well over a variety of terrain, they are not protective enough to bomb down steep, rocky singletrack. But I would wear them in most other conditions over any distance. These are the best shoes I have ever worn." —Louis Brenner, Glenwood Springs, Colorado