Monday, February 9, 2015

New Balance MT101 Review (2015 re-issue)

The New Balance MT101 was my first legit trail running shoe and I loved it! I ran my first two ultra's in them before they were discontinued. When I caught wind that New Balance had planned on re-issuing the shoe because of it's huge following and numerous requests to put the shoe back in production I was stoked! So I got my hands on a pair and have been racing in them for the last couple of months. Here are my thoughts:
With a weight of 7.5 oz,  a 10mm offset (18mm/8mm)  and a very attractive MSRP of $90, we have the re-issue of the New Balance MT101:


The upper on the MT101 is combination of mesh, polyurethane mold and stitched overlays. Nothing super fancy here, but the design really locks your foot down to the platform while still being flexible enough for the natural motion of your foot.  Your toes have room to splay, but the overlays keep your foot from sliding around inside of the shoe too much. It's a great balance. And while the upper isn't "seamless" I've never experienced a hot spot in them.
The laces that come with the shoe are NB's "sausage" type laces which I really like because they don't loosen and don't come untied. It's really frustrating when you're racing and have to stop in the pouring rain with frozen fingers, fumbling to try and tie your laces for 5 minutes after they come untied for no apparent reason. I'm a big fan of sausage laces and I wish all shoes had them.
The shoe also has an EVA collar. NB worked to simplify the collar construction to help reduce moisture absorption and to reduce overall weight. No doubt these shoes are light and while there's nothing you can really do to keep your shoes from being soaked when you're running through puddles and streams and fully submerging your feet for 4+ hours, fortunately these bad boys drain well. 


No frills or fancy name for the midsole, just soft EVA with a 10mm offset and a TPU rock plate in the forefoot for added protection. The MT101 has great ground feel and responsiveness for bounding up hill and just enough cushion in the heel for pounding long descents without your feet getting bruised. Again, a simple and balanced characteristic of a well designed, no-frills shoe.


The MT101 has a rubber outsole with multi directional lugs for traction and circular cut outs to reduce weight. I think the MT101 performs great on a ton of varied terrain. The two places where I've had trouble in this shoe were Tucson's rock strewn technical trails (too many sharp rocks) and the muddied powerline climb at Orcas Island 50K (lugs weren't deep enough). Other than that, they have been great for me.


I've worn the re-issue of the New Balance MT101 at my last three races: Oregon Coast 50K, Capitol Peak MFA 34 Miler and Orcas Island 50K. In my eyes, the MT101 is one of the best trail shoes ever made. It has the perfect blend of light weight responsiveness and grip without sacrificing cushion and protection. It locks my heel and midfoot down while opening up in the toebox and remaining flexible throughout. With all the "advancements" in the footwear industry, you'd think I would have tried a shoe that's much better by now, but I haven't. This shoe is simplisitc, effective and comfortable. When New Balance discontinues this model again, I will be pissed, again.

The Original NB MT101 at Orcas Island 50K 2011

The re-issue of the NB MT101 at Orcas Island 50K 2015

If you want to give the New Balance MT101 a try head over to Seven Hills Running Shop

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  1. Great review, I'm loving this shoe as well!

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