Gear Review – Minimalist running shoes – New Balance 100

For more than ten years I have been running in New Balance 850 series shoes. I have been very happy with my shoes, running on roads and trails, racing 5Ks through half-marathons, with minimal injuries over the 10 year period. Every 500 miles or so, I would replace the worn pair with a new one. On a recent trip to visit my brother-in-law in San Jose, we went running in the hills above San Jose with my 8 year old, and we talked about the importance of proper running mechanics in both kids and adults to maximize the enjoyment of running and minimize injuries. He talked to me about barefoot running and recommended I read the book Born to Run.

Back home in Connecticut, I ordered Born to Run (Christopher McDougall) as well as the book Barefoot Running (Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee) and started reading. I also researched barefoot running using online resources. I did not wait to finish reading, and drove to the local New Balance store to pick up a pair of NB 100 (my preferred choice based on my research). Disappointed that they didn’t have my size 8 in stock, but encouraged that the store owner told me that his customers’ feedback had been positive, I patiently waited. The shoes arrived last week and I couldn’t wait to take them for a test run.

Continue reading my review below the photos.


Side profile and uppers of New Balance 100


Good arch support of New Balance 100


Bottom trail profile of New Balance 100


Thin sole in toe area of New Balance 100


Minimal rubber heel of New Balance 100


Side view of New Balance 100


Side view of New Balance 100

On Saturday, my 8 year old son and I headed to the high school track for our interval workout. I had laced up my New Balance 100.With temperatures in the mid-80’s and low humidity, the weather was a welcome change from the sweltering summer we’ve had so far. I ran 14 x 400 intervals, with my son running alternate “quarters” with me (he ran 7) at around 1:50 pace (7:20 mile pace), and I ran my solo quarters at around 85 (5:40 mile pace).

The New Balance 100 performed like racing flats during my interval workout. Light. Almost as if I had nothing on my feet. But better grip and support than I expected. I could feel the track with my forefoot gripping the rubber under my feet. Able to push off with more force. Excellent foot and ankle control. I ran the straights as well as the turns on my toes. I was able to run the turns faster than with my New Balance 850. The feeling was of me flying down the track with wings. I ran the 14th interval in 80 seconds. And felt like I had something left in the tank. My son and I jogged home, both happy with our workout. And me looking forward to Sunday, when I would try the shoes on the Waveny Park trails.

On Sunday, my young running buddy and I planned a 45 minute distance run on the trails of Waveny Park. My son pushed the pace the first couple of miles before we settled into a more reasonable pace. With my New Balance 100 on my feet, I navigated a diversity of trail surfaces, including dirt, gravel, grass, roots and rocks. Small inclines and declines. Sharp turns. Nothing serious as far as trail running is concerned. Just different from a road or track workout.

Instantaneously, I had a greater self-awareness of the ground I was covering, better feel for what was under my feet, enjoying being in touch with nature, better control of my stride, my speed, my turns. More forefoot strikes, fewer midfoot and heel strikes. The light feel was delightful. As we approached home, my son and I both had smiles on our face. I was proud of my buddy. And thrilled with my new shoes.

Today was a day off. As expected, calves a little sore. Ready to go back out tomorrow.

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6 comments

  1. […] Running With Kids A resource for parents and kids Skip to content HomeAbout ← Minimalist running shoes – New Balance 100 […]

  2. What type of shoe can I get for my 10 year old that would be like a NB 100 or similar.

  3. I’ve bookmarked, Dugg, and I joined the RSS subscription. Thanks! .

  4. Hi Matt, sorry for the late response. In April, I purchased my 9 yr old son a pair of NB Minimus (he is a size 5, Men’s start at size 7, so I bought him a grey Women’s pair, can’t tell the difference). He runs 3x per week, once in his Minimus on trails and grass. A few times he has complained of a sore heel, because is a heel striker, so I skipped a week. In June, NB will introduce a youth version of their new NB 890 Revlite, which is not quite a minimalist shoe, but it is a light neutral shoe with a lower heel/toe drop. You may want to check these out.

  5. […] Running With Kids A running resource for parents and kids Skip to content HomeAbout ← How do I train with my 9 year old? […]

  6. […] The barefoot running movement was starting to gain traction among the broader running community. To make a long story short, in the Fall of 2010, I bought a pair of New Balance 100 trail shoes (which I reviewed here), and […]

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