New Balance MT100 Trail Shoe Review

New Balance MT100BK Trail Shoe Review

Update: $59.95 + $6 shipping is the best price we’ve found thus far – Holabirdsports.com

A Four-Mile Muddy Test

There’s nutin’ quite like the feeling of coming home from a frustrating day in the world of Advertising – all grouchy and agitated, full of misdirected creativity – and finding that New Balance box sitting in front of the garage.

“My new MT100s, …yes!”

It’s like New Balance knew how badly I’d needed to hit the trails and run off all that corporate nonsense; so, I yanked on a long-sleeve wicking shirt, grabbed the step-fella’ and headed to some technical trails to get put these new bad boys to the test.

I chose a section of trail near my house with lots of roots, short-n-steep ups-n-downs, plenty of muddy creek crossings, and some fun, fast sections to give the shoes as much varying terrain as possible. We’ve been pounded with rain lately in good ol’ Atlanta, so our trails are ‘G’ N A R L Y right now.

yeeee ah!

Light as a Feather

Wow, these shoes are light. It’s the first thing I noticed pulling them out of the box.

As you might know, the MT100s were created as a collaboration between Anton Krupicka and Kyle Skaggs, as a follow-up model to the New Balance 790.

At only 7.6 oz., the NB 790 is a minimalist trail shoe and one of my personal favorites for any type of trail race up to fifty miles.

The MT100s are every bit as light, if not lighter, than its predecessor; but, I still recommend that you buy up as many pairs of 790s as you can find.

Raise Your Hand If You Like a Little Tongue

Shoe tongue, that is.

MT100 tongue

If you’ve ever read Anton’s blog, you know that he tells stories of dissecting his shoes and cutting out the tongue foam to make the shoes lighter and fit his running style best. Along these same lines, the MT100s have the most unique tongue I ever experienced in a pair of running shoes.

It’s simply a piece of fabric.

No foam. No thickness at all. Just a piece of material.

Also, you’ll notice {photo above} that I had to tie the shoelaces in a knot because they weren’t long enough to tie in a bow. At first I was annoyed – now I like the idea of not having little “bows”.

Get a Grip with the MT100s

As much as I love’em, the 790s have some pretty weak tread; but not the MT100s.

MT100BK trail shoe tread

It’s not the super gnarly, knobby tread that 800 and 840 shoe wearers have come to love, but it’s a very acceptable alternative to the mellow tread on the 790s.

The bottom of the shoe feels more solid and firm, bordering on hard, but out on the trails this felt sturdy and solid.

I don’t know all the fancy New Balance branded shoe jargon, but that orange that you see on the bottom of the mid-foot is a plate designed to protect the underfoot from rocks, roots and other technical trail obstacles. The 790 supposedly had the same thing, but I could never tell…

In these shoes, you can tell – and it’s much appreciated.

Because We All Need a Little Love and Support

MT100 shoe back

Well, I dunno if New Balance loves me (although they should with all the shoes I buy and how much I evangelize the brand like a teeny-bopper does Hannah Montana) but the MT100s have definitely stepped it up a little in the support department.

Is this a good thing?

I don’t know.

I liked that the 790s were simply “cloth on top” and that’s pretty much it. The MT100s have some plastic supports on the outside front and back sides of the shoe, PLUS a very unique, light-but-stiff backing that I can only guess is designed to prevent friction while also adding a little stiffness in the heel. If you can think of a better reason, please lemme know in the comments section below this review.

MT100 texture and support

And you’ll also notice that the material of the shoe is less cloth-like, and more like the quicker-drying mesh upper found in the 800 and 840 trail shoe models.

While the shoes feel rather stiff in your hands, once you put them on, they feel really light and comfortable.

General Observations During the Trail Run

I love ‘em.

From the first step, they felt like they were made for me.

As we ran down the first hill, I noticed that the shoes felt harder on the bottom, but that was actually a good thing. I felt less of the roots and jagged rocks. The “rockstop” plate thing actually works noticeably in this trail shoe model.

As we charge through the mud, I noticed how much grippy-er the MT100s handled the short, muddy climbs. No more energy-sucking, foot slipping.

Running through two streams soaked the shoes pretty well, but surprisingly, the uppers protected my socks and feet from getting completely soaked themselves; and at the end of the run, the shoes had almost all but dried out.

In fact, I’m sorta bummed because I didn’t want to sound like all those lame reviews I read all the time in Runner’s World or other various magazines, where it’s obvious the Marketing Department (or a guaranteed paycheck) had a heavy influence on the editor or freelance writer’s opinion.

Nobody’s paying me for this – I just dig running in the woods on sketchy trails, and finding shoes that make it that much more fun.

The MT100s fit that bill perfectly.

Light. Fast. Sturdy. Grippy.

The perfect minimalist trail shoe.

Get some!

{TinyURL link for this post: http://tinyurl.com/mt100BK}

~

New Balance Product Manager Weighs In

Byran Gothie, New Balance Outdoor Project Manager, sent some great feedback regarding what went into the production of the new MT100BK.

We tried not to treat the 100 as a direct update to the 790 but instead a new shoe to our lightweight trail category. We did start with the 790 though to figure out how we could build a better shoe. In addition, we added ultra trail runners Anton Krupicka and Kyle Skaags to our Outdoor Ambassador Team around the time we started looking into an update. The first thing we did was look at shoes they ran in for high wear areas. The attached image shows how we built the outsole specifically around the high wear areas of an ultra runner’s efficient gait. The lateral mid/forefoot has been built up the most to provide support to the highest wear area. The midfoot/heel is actually ground contact so that there is a smooth transition or just a contact point. The heel has been designed specifically for braking, as we found that the only time they landed on their heels was when they needed some control going downhill. The heel and forefoot heights are the same as the 790, 18mm in the heel and 8mm in the forefoot.

New Balance MT 100 spec sheet

Anton and Klye then came out to our sports testing lab in our Lawrence office where we ran them through a bunch of tests like force plates and motion capture. This helped to validate our theory and solidify our work on the midsole/outsole.

Kyle Skaggs testing the New Balance MT100 trail shoes

Anton tests the MT100s at New Balance

A big “Thank You” to Bryan and New Balance for sharing this helpful and interesting information.

- Christian

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Comments

hanks Christian, I just ordered a pair. If you and Doom like them I got to try it. I’ve been running in Inov-8s for almost three years now, but I need some new shoes. I’ll check in again after I’ve had them on a long run.

[...] of years now.  Most recently, I was wearing the Mizuno Wave Rider 14′s, but I had a pair of New Balance MT100′s sitting around, practically unused, that I had bought the year before for trail running.  So, one [...]

Just bought a pair a couple of hours ago after trying on AT LEAST 8 other New Balance tennis shoes (NB is ALL I can ever wear). If they aren’t comfortable when I put them on, it will not be any better later. Well, last pair I tried are the 100′s, put them on and was ready to walk and run. YAY! I also have the 420s that I love just wearing around but they are worn enough that not great for walking/running anymore but fine for bike riding. Please keep these shoes in your inventory forever! I love that it doesn’t have the thick tongue, that is a new concept and also the short shoe laces are awesome. Just call me Happy in LA (Lower Alabama that is).

Hi Christian, great site and review. Would you be interested in a guest post about tennis shoe reviews or something similar?

[...] The 790 has since been replaced by the NB MT100.  I’ll have to get my hands on a pair.  You can find a great review here:  http://run100miles.com/gear-reviews/new-balance-mt100-trail-shoe-review/ [...]

@Samuel: I’ve had luck at local Fleet Feet stores.

I’m in Josh’s position, but with a little less luck unfortunately. I’ve been searching for months, but can’t find the MT100s anywhere (size 11 required). Is there any chance I could find them online? http://www.holabirdsports.com did not provide…

I was searching around for a pair of these MT100′s for a while now with zero luck, most places are sold out and the stores that aren’t only have really small sizes (8′s and smaller). I just ran into this article and saw a tip to check out holabirdsports.com and whaddya know, they’ve got my size (11) and only $59.95 just like you said. There’s free shipping for orders $65 and above too, so I just threw in a pair of socks and whalla, no shipping charge. Thanks for the tip!

[...] MT101s are the follow-up to the MT100 trail shoe. As a huge fan of new Balance minimalist trail shoes, I was very excited to learn more about the [...]

Found the MT100 at http://www.dsw.com for $49.95 with free shipping for men’s sizes 9.5 and 10…$44.95 for women’s 6..alas I wear a women’s 10.

I feel just the opposite of the last poster, I wish these shoes had less support, much less support. No arch support would be perfect; my arches work just fine, I don’t need a shoe to support them and make them weak.
Inov-8 does a much better job implementing minimal arch support and a flexible sole than New Balance, but I can’t fit into any of their shoes because they’re all so narrow.
I do like the MT100, NB has done a great job of making it lightweight and it fits like a sock, which is awesome! I hate that the heel is 10mm elevated from the forefoot, I’m going to peel back the tread tonight and remove the excess EVA to make the sole flat and then glue the sole back down with Barge Cement. I have to do this with all of my shoes though, I’m just waiting for the first company to put out a flat, wide, lightweight shoe and I’m going to buy 20 pair of them.
As far as the eva around the achelis, it doesn’t bother me whatsoever, I think it does an awesome job of keeping the shoe secure! Looking at Antons blog though I can see that it rubs his foot on the outside a bit, from what I can tell he removed some of the padding from the area and folded the foam inward.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_4xMske-B6FM/S8uwAlQZo9I/AAAAAAAABR8/0cP-IHAf7D0/s1600/003.JPG
http://antonkrupicka.blogspot.com/

LOVE these shoes…

Only hoping for MORE ARCH support!!

These shoes are SOOOO light weight and sooo wonderful.
Doing Grand Canyon this week, and bought these shoes….concerned about support. They are THE most comfortable shoes ever!! But still concerned about the Grand Canyon. If these shoes has more support — I think they would be the most bought shoes EVER!! seriously. I’m sooo finicky about shoes…nothing is ever comfortable… but these are great — however, they NEED MORE support. Just a tinge more…and they would be the perfect shoes!!!

Set a 50 mile PR this weekend, (LBL 50), and took third overall happily.

OUCH. Ankle bruising was pretty serious and had to switch out of my NB 100′s into different shoes at mile 36.

LOVE THE stiff SOLE. LOVE the weight. HATE the ankle collar.

I’m really hoping the ankle collar can change up a bit, because the bones in my ankle are actually bruised.

The sole is great.

Hey – just to pile on. I have 200+ miles on my 100s, and I’ve been running mostly on pavement with a run or two a week on trails. Last weekend, I did a trail half marathon out at Ft. Yargo. Still completely in love with these shoes. I haven’t experienced any issues at all with the EVA heel, but I’m a forefoot striker.

One slight issue this past weekend was on steep downhills. As someone else pointed out, there is a tendency to slide around a bit. However, I just clenched my toes and forgot about it. No bruising, no blisters.

These are my go-to shoes. The only other shoes I ever use are some Asics Piranhas for simulating barefoot running.

…quick question guys..I read meters for an electric company for my day job here in Southern California and am looking for a great all around shoe to wear while reading..At first I was interested in the MT100 but from reading some posts about how fast the shoe was falling apart I became some what skeptical..I know this may be off topic but if some one could possibly help me out here it’d be great..what I’m looking for is the style of the mt100; thinner sole, not so bulky top, rock blocker bottom, heel and toe protection, lightweight..I am currently using the 749 but I don’t like the thickness of the rear of the sole which tends to make me roll my ankles alot due to the fact that i’m in and out of yards and am constantly on uneven terrain be it asphalt or rocks, grass, hills.The bottom of the 749 has a wierd tred and seems more of a walking shoe than anything..any help would be greatly appreciated and please reply to my email address…Thanks Guys!!!

Thanks for the review Christian. I am kicking up my trail training a bit and need some minimalist shoes for gnarly terrain. I have always wanted to try these out.

I’ve run quite a few miles in the NB 790s and love this shoe ON THE ROAD. The traction left something to be desired on anything but dry trails. But this was my absolute favorite road shoe for a while.

I then got a pair of the NB MT100BKs and noticed right away that this was a totally different shoe, not an upgrade at all IMHO. While it is definitely much more of a trail shoe I still had a lot of issues with them.

1. Traction is much improved, but still not great, especially on wet rock.

2. The uppers are too minimal. The tongue is just a thin piece of fabric! The overall result of such a flimsy upper is that I felt a lot of movement of my foot inside the shoe, especially on steep downhills. I ended up bruising my toes after a 50k trail race in these things. You can have a minimal upper, but you need to incorporate a good lacing system to keep your foot anchored into the heel.

3. Not enough of a toe bumper for a trail shoe to protect from rock strikes.

On the plus side, the extra rock plate in the shoe definitely makes for a better ride on rough terrain and gravel.

I’ll stick to the INOV-8 line, but nice to see that NB is trying to produce a good minimalist shoe. Will probably succeed after another iteration or two.

I bought a pair of the NB and was really looking forward to running in them. The first run in the shoes was short, about 6 miles. I had no problems during this run. My second run was a different story. I ran about 11 miles and half way into the run the my achilles started burning on my right foot. It’s been a few days since the 11 mile run and I still can’t run in the NB 100 without my achilles hurting. I’m going to switch back to my previous shoes for a while and see if some time off will help.

Thanks Nate: I bought mine from Online Shoes as well, but I think I wore’em out fair and square. Nica was gnarly, bro. GNARLY!

Christian,
I bought my shoes from onlineshoes.com. When they ripped I sent the customer service dept. an email explaining what happened, how many miles I had on them and what type of use they had. I was nice to them in the email. I didn’t ask for anything, but thought that they might like to see the shoes. They told me to send them back. The day they received the shoes they emailed me saying they were replacing them no charge. The new shoes arrived today. I don’t know if you have ever bought from them, but their service is incredible. NFI, by the way.
Nate

[...] My approach to ultras is pretty minimalist, so there really wasn’t a lot to prepare. A pair of shorts, a 2008 Stump Jump 50K shirt, a headlamp, some Scaps, two hand-held water bottles, a Nathan water pack and my New Balance MT100 trail shoes. [...]

yup. My right side is shredded after the Fuego Y Agua 100k. …about the same total miles.

After 247 miles on my MT100′s the entire left side of the mesh part of the shoe has torn apart (in half!!!). I’m bummed! Has anybody else experienced this?

I think someone is ripping your content:

{link removed}

From Christian:
Thanks for the head’s up Edward. It happens all the time.

Thanks for the great review. I got a pair a couple of weeks ago and I love them. Only a few runs in them so far, but they feel great and super light.

hi again everyone…
*quick question, what shoes are the guys wearing in the above pictures during the NB research?

i have back to back trail marathons coming up this weekend, so I should have some more feedback soon. I’ll probably be wearing my cascadias for the first run though, just to baby my feet a bit, and its not going to be as competetive of a race (only 22 runners doing the full) and I had some questionable stress fractur’ish pain trying to put in a 35 miler shortly after the detroit marathon…

i am definitely planning on wearing the “hundos” for the 2nd race… it will be a much faster race over some gnarlier terrain… there will probably be about 150 runners, and with some nice prize packages by ryder sunglasses, teva shoes and powerbar, there should definitely be some speedsters out there…

i have a huge test on thursday to prep for, but i’m thinking about going to my local leather boot shop (where i got my belt after my first 100) and have some modifications done to the mt100s on that heal… we’ll see though, i may just risk it and grind it out if they bloody me up again

Just a little update from my last post. I love these shoes and they’re great. The only thing is the toe guard is peeling/coming off of the upper. I also wore the 100′s sockless for about an hour and I didn’t have any rubbing or blisters. Like I said, overall I love these shoes but they are coming apart after only running about 20-30 miles in them. Going up hills it feels like you’re gliding. Really, really fast shoe. can’t wait to test these out in 2 weeks for a short trail race.

Just a little update on the MT 100′s for me, I haven’t had any issues with the EVA foam portion of the shoe on my achilles heel area since my first posting. Not a single blister or hotspot, I think it was a less than ideal arroyo crossing while wearing these barefoot that was responsible. I’m a solid forefoot/midfoot striker, so much that the heels on my 100′s have seen little to no wear, however the lugs on the toe have worn down flat, not a huge issue, except maybe when digging in on steep climbs with loose and technical footing. I have about 215 miles logged on my first pair and they are amazing, 2nd pair is on the way. I wish there was a little more torsional flex in the forefoot portion of the shoe, however the Rockstop plate really manages to keep the rock bruises at bay. This is still going to be my shoe of choice.

Ok this goes with my previous post. I found the link to the guy that is doing this. His name is Brian Beckstead in Utah.

http://barefoot-running.blogspot.com/2009/10/barefoot-meets-ultra.html

Michael Carroll

Do you know if Anton Krupicka is still modifying the 100′s like he does his other shoes.

Over on Barefoot Ted’s forum there is at least one guy that is pulling the cushioning off and grinding down the heal section and ordering the shoes 1/2 size bigger so that he is getting some good toe spread.

Thanks,

Michael Carroll

http://www.redrocksbluesky.com
michael.vision360@gmail.com
435-773-8975 Cell

Just got these shoes today from Matt Booth. Thanks dude! What can I say? I love these shoes! I ran just an easy 5 in these tonight after work. Unlike a lot of people I didn’t feel any rubbing in my Achilles area. I am also a forefoot striker, so like Christian mentioned, maybe its a heel striker vs a midfoot/forefoot striker thing? The real test will come this weekend at SweetWater Park.

Thank you Christian for spending so much time writing up the 100′s. I hope they work well for you in the long races.
I’m a rep for New Balance and see that a lot of people have a question regarding the collar or lip of the shoe. As you mentioned in your article, the shoes were designed with the help of Anton and Kyle. We wanted to develop a shoe that they would run in right out of the box with no adaptions.(They like to take knives to their shoes and do all sorts “custimization”. Good times. ) We essentially gave them carte blanch with our designers, and said whatever you guys want, you get.

Part of the deal is that they don’t like running in socks. Hell, sometimes they don’t even like running in shoes! So the shoe had to be comfortable running in sockless. The heel counter was removed because that can bother the heel and cause blisters. That created a problem of not having enough support in the heel. You can imagine a shoe that was just fabric back there and the issues that would cause. To give the shoe a little structure and support in the heel, we built up the collar with EVA. This did a couple things.
1) EVA does not absorb sweat/water like other collar fillers
2) The shoe now has the structure to hold your foot while being very lightweight. (weight was another key driver with this shoe)
3)You have a smooth surface on the inside of the collar so not to cause blisters

Sweet!! Problem solved! What a genius solution! Go NB! Not so fast. Half of the responses have mentioned an issue with this collar rubbing the a-tendon. That’s very concerning. Bryan Gothie and his team are fantastic (got a little something on your nose Matt) and have seen these posts. We are also constantly collecting information from runners like yourself so please keep sending in the honest feedback so we can make the best shoes possible for you.

Keep up the good work Christian, I’m diggin it.

matt b.

Holabirdsports.com still has the New Balance 100 BK (black) in a few sizes and the 100 GR (grey) in nearly all sizes for $59.95. Shipping is cheap, and free if purchase is over $64.95. Almost too good to be true.

October 18, 2009 ::: 16.5 miles @ Appalachian Trail Approach trail, MT100BK shoes put to the test.

I am very pleased with how well the MT100 trail shoes worked on this run. The AT approach trail is uber-technical with big, scraggly root systems, lotsa rocks and lotsa elevation change.

I had no issues with the 100s at all, and I have not experienced the heel/achilles digging-thing yet that others have expressed. Part of me wonders if it’s a mid-foot vs. heel striker thing. (??)

The best part is the new rock plate – it’s really a HUGE help during the rocky runs.

Next test, an actual ultra race. Start with 50K and see how they do.

Stay tuned.

Christian.

Just sent back my new NB 100s and ordered a pair of the older 790s. The 100s were too narrow in the forefoot area and I didn’t like the more rigid sole. The 790s are much more comfortable and flex really well. The 100 does have better traction/tread, but that doesn’t make up for the rigidness and narrower fit. I’ll be grabbing more of the 790s as I spot them on sale.

Like your style Matt Kahrs

It just so happens I have a new pair of NB790′s and NB100′s right here – both ordered so I have something more conventional than my VFF KSOs for various situations. I’ve been walking around with one different shoe on each foot for about an hour, and then did a little treadmill work.

I’ve never owned either, and now I am torn.

There’s no doubt that the tread of the NB100 is superior: better traction, better pressure point distribution, and therefore what will be better wear. Winner = NB100.

The NB790 is much MUCH more flexible, while the NB100′s are as inflexible as my old “conventional” running shoes that need replacing; in other words, the 100′s aren’t very flexible at all. The 790′s are practically Nike Free flexible. As I do more minimalist running, I’ve come to learn flexible is good.

On the other hand, the 100 is much harder with much denser cushioning overall. Maybe this is the rockplate. Maybe this is foam density. Maybe it’s both. That said, I like the harder feel, as it forces me not to get lazy with heelstrikes, and the resulting running form is more similar to my VFF’s.

Flexibility versus firmness. It’s a tough call. Winner = tie.

Fit and appearance. The NB100′s are narrower, the laces press a bit unto the topfoot because the tongue is just cloth, and the heel cup and lip-construction is annoying and possibly injurious – I can see how folks complain of it rubbing on the A-tendon and heel. There’s no doubt that the NB100′s material breathes better, but it gives the silver shoes the appearance of being made of chain-mail, or at least being made on The Moon. The NB790 is slipper-like in its fit and padding, and it looks good running or even under jeans in more casual situations. Winner = NB790.

Overall score: it’s a tie by the numbers in my book.

My judgement: I think I prefer flexibility over firmness. I think I’m gonna keep the NB790′s and return the NB100′s unless someone points something out I don’t see.

Note: My trail-running experience is very limited: I’m looking for a more minimalist shoe for pavement running with only occasional trail running when I’m not wearing VFF’s.

I received the following email from a runner who also is experiencing “achilles/heel bite” issues:

“I think it was just straight up rubbing. Even with fairly thick running socks, it totally bit into the back of my foot, leaving a nice little flesh wound. I assume that either the back of the shoe will loosen up or that part of my foot will toughen up — not a big deal, just something different about the MT100. I like that they’re a little stiffer, in general, than the 790′s and, obviously, the tread is just way better designed. (I once destroyed a pair of those in less than a week of running here in AZ.)

This weekend, I’ll be doing a reasonably technical 18 mile trail race in them, so maybe I’ll have more to add after that, but I really like the direction they’ve gone with that shoe. I’m not sure that I’ll throw away the Cascadias just yet — there’s something to be said for a more heavily cushioned shoe under certain brutal conditions — but I wouldn’t hesitate to bust out the MT100′s for anything normal under 50 miles.

Thanks for posting that review!”

—————-

personally, I haven’t experienced this, but it’s appearing as a pattern in feedback from other runners.

please keep the feedback coming so we can ensure New Balance has the opportunity to perfect these already awesome kicks.

Christian,
You’re a crazy bastard! I love the report, and I might go cop a pair, even though my feet might be permanently F’d! I’ll just wear them at night and dream of the days I used to run. AHHHHHHHHH, those were the days. One of these Mags need to pick up some of your articles/reports and pay your ass. Keep up the stellar work, G!

K. Kahrs

Just to echo what everyone else is saying, these are great shoes. I picked up a pair in Portland and ran the PDX Marathon in ‘em last Sunday, they worked out great. Since then, I’ve done some trails and whatnot and they feel amazing on the hard, Arizona rocks. Tons of control on the downhills, just like the PM mentioned… and I thought it was just my imagination. Anyway, they fixed the tread — that was my biggest complaint about the 790, so that’s awesome. Those shoes were rad, but just got shredded out here on the hard terrain.

‘Course, my achilles did take some reasonably serious damage in the marathon, but nothing too horrible. I assume that’ll soften up soon enough.

Thanks for the great write up. I think people will really enjoy this shoe.

“Christian, saw your post on Runner’s World and I have to say this is a great review. I did a review on these http://tinyurl.com/mt100gr and I agree with you on almost all the points you made.

Michael

I really like the shoe. I’ve got about 25 miles on them at this point and wore them for a short trail race last weekend. However, I’m also having a problem with the sharp ridge at the heel and after a 10 mile run, the shoe is cutting my ankle. I see some other comments with similiar experiences.

Questions for the product managers: are you aware that this is an issue? Is there a reason why that edge is so sharp? Do you believe this is simply a “wearing in” issue which will go away or perhaps it’s my gait? I’ve been wearing cascadia’s up to this point and have never had this problem.

Let me know what you think. I think the shoe is a great innovation and they feel natural on the trail, I just don’t want to have to wear blister pads to enjoy them.

Thanks,
Steve

[...] THE SHOE IS NOW OUT! …and we have a thorough MT100 Trail Shoe review complete with feedback, photos and spec sheet from New [...]

@Jerry: In the U.S., the best road shoe I have found by New Balance is the 769. Problem is, it’s considered a stability shoe, but it feels a lot like the MT100, minus the softer upper.

The tongue and sides are very thin and rigid, and the back of the shoe also has a similar feel to the MT100.

BUT, if you want to discuss previous models, the NB 152 lightweight neutral trainer was the BEST, most closely related shoe to the 790 or MT100, but sadly, they are no more.

I have one more pair falling apart in my quiver.

Others may have better ideas or opinions than the 769s, so check back – shoes are a passionate thing.

just ask my wife.

Maybe if I complain enough, NB will bring it back. Huh? Huh?

Forgot to mention, I have run in these solely without socks and have had no issues with blisters other than the achilles issue stated above. I haven’t tried socks yet, not sure I’m going to. The blister pad I mentioned was only to prevent rubbing on the achilles. Try these without socks, your feet will thank you.

Great honest review, my response to the MT100′s echo yours as well. Right out of the box I was stoked on the fit and simplicity of the shoe out on my local trails. I picked these up about 3 weeks ago from Holabirdsports.com for $59.95 on sale for some odd reason, and have run in them almost every single day since then.

Amazing trail feel, just the right amount of protection, and the lightness in weight and fabric is unlike any other shoe I’ve run in. I’ve logged right around 120 miles so far with about 1/3 of that being road; the shoes fit the bill for both dirt and road in my opinion. My only beef with the MT100 is the rigid “foam” type material in the back of the heel. Sand managed to make its way in between this portion of the shoe and my achilles and rubbed the skin right off in a matter of minutes on my left foot. In fact the foam support at the top of the achilles portion of the shoe has a rather sharp ridge that when running downhill could possibly dig into the achilles so I’ve had to wear blister pads to prevent my skin from being toasted. I’m ordering another pair before these things fly off the shelves this fall and winter. I’ve found my shoe. Cheers.

What’s the nearest NB shoe to this in a road version? Think flat, no jacked-up heel, Nike Free-like?

I’ve had a pair for about 2 weeks now, and probably have close to 100 miles on them, with longest run being 30. I’ve been running in 790′s all summer.

My thoughts-
Out of the box:
They seemed harder than a rock. The 790′s are all soft and ‘slipper’ like. These aren’t at all. The heal is definitely a unique feature. The soles are alot different; instead of knobby soft stuff that tears off easily (my biggest complaint with the 790′s), there’s a thinner, harder and quite functional sole.

While running:
To be honest, I don’t have much to say. I think this is a really good thing. A shoe that goes unnoticed is a good one?
I’ve been running in both the 100′s and the 790′s the past few weeks. With the 790′s you know when you step on a rock, heck, you know when you step on a pebble (which is a neat feeling). That sensitivity is kind of lost with the 100′s. I’m not sure if thats good or bad yet. But it is different.

I will say, I pretty sure they’re gonna last me a lot longer than the 790′s. I was blowing through those every couple 100 miles.

I haven’t been adventurous enough to try them w/o socks yet. I’d be interested if anybody’s tried that…

I’ve logged about 30 miles in my pair of 100s so far and feel like your review is pretty dead on. I used to get occasionally heel bruises in my 790s when stepping on pointy rocks, but not with the 100s and I’ve even gone out of my way to step on pointy rocks to test them.

I’ve also tried running in them sans-socks and they still are still super comfortable but the stiff foamy piece on the back of the ankle chafes me – maybe my feet are just too wimpy? Anyway, I probably wouldn’t run without socks in an ultra because I worry more about dirt and grit causing blisters.

I’ll be running at least one hundred and a few 50s in them next year, cant wait to see how they perform!

Thanks for the review and the discount link,
Ryan

i was lucky enough to get a pair before the release date due to a store messing up…

these shoes absolutely rock… i run sockless and these puppies are uber smooth on the inside… supper light with some gnarley tread…

i wore them for a trail marathon right out of the box and ended up winning the darn thing… the shoes were awesome… the only problem was the ridged platic around the top of the shoes dug into my achilles and tore my feet up… it did look pretty bad ass after i finished up though when i took them off and my feet were all bloodied up.

i also wore them the next weekend for my first 100 miler at the RunWoodstock festival… i had some blister pads for the achilles and didnt have any problems… never even felt the need to change the shoes or socks (injiji) and my feet looked great afterwards, even with kickin a ton of rocks/roots on trail…

but once again the ridged upper ended up causing some pain around the ankles, especially later in the race when i had to walk to steep downhills, which put some on some major pressure…

i wish they left the same achilles as the 790s, but everything else about the shoe rocks, now im trying to figure out how to modify them a bit to get rid of that problem

Thanks for the nice write up Christian! After much buildup, our team is excited that the 100 is finally hitting stores. Glad to see that some of you have already been able to track down a pair.
From a product creation standpoint, it is always nice to hear when people notice the effort that goes into specific areas of the shoe. Christian – your thoughts on the minimal tongue, more aggressive outsole, increased Rockstop forefoot protection and unique heel construction are all things that were specifically built based on feedback from Anton and Kyle as ways to improve the 790. We’ve tried hard to not make this an update to the 790 though as much as a new shoe in our lightweight category. I hope everyone is happy with the results.
Should you have any questions on the 100 or any NB trail shoe, I’ll do my best to answer them. I love reading the feedback!
-Bryan Gothie, NB Outdoor Product Manager

Great write up and pics! I just finished my review of them myself. There are some similiarities but we did hit on a couple of different points which I think is what is great about these reviews.

Good callout on the heel. That has to be to add some more structure and allow for securing the heel a little better. It’s interesting that they used foam for that part of the shoe vs normal plastic covered by fabric like most shoes.

I’m digging them and looking forward to getting some longer runs in them.

Interesting… I’ll have to check them out. I’m a huge fan of minimalist running shoes, but have a hard time finding ones sturdy enough to give trails the business, and solid enough to work for me (a female runner with a normal/not 130lb body).

Thanks Christian, I just ordered a pair. If you and Doom like them I got to try it. I’ve been running in Inov-8s for almost three years now, but I need some new shoes. I’ll check in again after I’ve had them on a long run.

@Doom: I got mine at http://www.onlineshoes.com/ — free shipping and solid return policy.

@Robert: Good luck at the Heartland. I really enjoyed running with Kathy at Stump Jump. You guys sure do have some extensive ultra history between the two of ya!

Nice review. Our local Fleet Feet just got them in and I’m itching to try them out. Like you I was a big fan of the NB 790s (but not as a trail shoe!). I’m pretty invested in shoes right now with a couple pair of Nike LunaRacers, a pair of La Sportiva SkyLites (think a lighter CrossLite) and assorted INOV-8 my favorite being the RocLite 295. I’m going to get a pair of MT100BKs when I get back from Heartland 100…

Christian,

Nice write up.

Are they on the market?

OK, I know how to google, let me check it out.

Cheers,
Doom

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