The sharp granite and rolling trails in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve don’t exactly scream, “Go barefoot-style here!” But the Minimus 1010, which has a decidedly barefoot profile—14 mm in the heel and 10 mm in the toe—proved cushioned enough for one tenderfoot tester to run hard and fast through potentially foot-pounding terrain. “I never feared where I would land on the rocky trails,” he says. “My feet were so light, I felt like I was flying.” One of a small cadre of truly trail-worthy running shoes under one pound, the Minimus 1010 achieves its balance between freedom and protection via a unique sole made with an exclusive high-traction Vibram rubber.
Twenty-two circular lugs—or pods—of foam cushioning react individually to the terrain, giving runners instant feedback, which helps them adjust their gait and promotes a lower-impact, midfoot strike. A thin TPU forefoot plate rounds out the protection. The 4-mm offset from heel to toe will please those who like a barefoot feel, but the 1010’s aggressive tread gives them a higher profile than a true minimalist shoe (like the New Balance Minimus). The lack of both an insole and foot-facing inside seams makes the shoe comfortable sockless. An extra-wide forefoot allows toes to spread out naturally. Best for medium to wide feet. $110; 15 oz.; m’s 7-14, w’s 5-12; newbalance.comThe New Balance 1000 is a waterproof, insulated boot featureing 200gm PrimaLoft insulation for plush, slipper-like warmth, a waterproof seam seal construction for protection, and a suede/mesh upper for lightweight comfort and a great cosmetic. The 1000 is an all-weather multi-sport boot built for staying active outdoors even when the temperature drops.
An extra special feature on this boot is the Vibram Ice Trek Outsole which was developed to grant maximum grip on snow and ice and in extreme cold. It allows the wearer to work or play safely and with confidence in alpine and cold weather environments. The compound’s softness allows it to adhere to smooth surfaces and grip onto iced ground. It won’t scratch or ruin interior floors and it doesn’t absorb humidity or dirt.
Other useful features in the New Balance 1000 include a heel counter that is snowshoe compatible and gaiter-compatible features, making this boot the perfect choice for an active day on the powder, an afternoon shoveling the driveway, or walking around town après ski. The boot will be offered in one color for both men and women and offer gender specific styling, including faux shearling on the upper collar for women and more functional, rugged details for men.