Although running shoes have grown increasingly complicated with constantly evolving materials, support and cushioning, at least one product has gone in the opposite direction. The New Balance Minimus Zero Road, or MR00, eschews fancy cushioning and support systems for a true "barefoot" experience.
The MR00 has a number of performance attributes that set it apart, including a deconstructed REVlite midsole for greater flexibility and a featherweight cushion; no-sew forefoot construction that minimizes weight and reduces seams; lightweight blown rubber for effective bounce; odor resistance; Vibram outsole for maximum surface contact and multi-directional traction; and a synthetic mesh upper for lightweight comfort and support. But what really sets the MR00 apart from the crowd is its zero drop. The heel of the shoe is actually totally level with the ground, and the shoe maintains the exact same thickness to the toes to create a truly minimalist feel.
The MR00 is unlike any other minimalist running shoe on the market. Its barefoot experience is so intense that the shoebox features a warning for wearers to break the shoe in slowly to allow their bodies to adapt. In documented runs, runners' feet needed up to a month to get completely comfortable with the MR00. If you're new to barefoot running, you should check out our Beginner's Guide to Minimalist Shoes.
After you get comfortable in the shoe, you won't notice anything on your feet at all. The shoe becomes part of your foot, with a lacing system that's directly attached to the body of the shoe and folds over like a burrito. Its breathable mesh and roomy toebox make it extremely comfortable. One feature that may surprise some runners is the sticky Vibram outsole, which grabs the ground with each step. It takes some getting used to, but the suction quickly becomes a natural part of the barefoot run.
The shoe won't win over runners who prefer a lot of cushion or strike the ground with their heels first, but minimalist runners should find the MR00 to be a new favorite. Buy it in stores or online for $110.
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