New Balance MT101 Shoes

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Manufacturer Description

This low-profile, ultra-lightweight trail racer is designed for the neutral gait and features puncture-resistant toe material and Rock Stop in the forefoot to protect your feet from debris on the trail.

Features

  • Width – D
  • Last – RL-3, Racing Last with Narrow Heel, Standard Instep Height, Standard Toe Height, Wide Forefoot
  • Synthetic/Mesh upper provides lightweight comfort and support
  • Sure Lace secure shoe laces provide added midfoot support and keep the shoe snug around the foot
  • Rock Stop embedded into forefoot provides protection from sharp rocks and debris
  • EVA foam on the upper provides visual contrast and supports and cushions the Achilles; it does the same with the ankle as the EVA extends to the shoe collar

    Side of Shoe
  • Acteva Midsole cushions and resists compression set – 12% lighter than standard foam
  • Measured size 9
    • Weight – 212 g (7.5 oz)
    • Forefoot width – 98.2 mm (3.9 in)
    • Stack Height – Heel (19.6 mm), Toe (9.7 mm), Drop (9.9 mm)
  • Retail – $75

YMMV Review

I originally was looking at the New Balance Mt100’s and the Inov-8 F-Lite 220’s.  After trying them on and wearing them around a local store.  I decided to go with the Inov-8’s.  The MT100 was great except it dug into my ankle and the toe box was slightly narrow.  A year later New Balance released the MT101 with all the necessary changes.  They fixed the ankle area and the toe box making for a great running shoe.

Design ★★★½☆

The New Balance MT101 is a lightweight, low to the ground trail running shoe. The upper is a synthetic mesh upper. It is lightweight and breathable. Over the top of the mesh there are synthetic overlays that work with the lacing system to provide support and lock your foot into place. Over the toe there is a puncture resistant synthetic material to give some extra protection to the toes. Around the collar and down the heel of the shoe is a section of EVA foam. The EVA foam provides a visual contrast, cushions, and supports the Achilles in the back and the ankle around the collar. It also gives the heel a bit more structure. The tongue of the shoes is made out of the same mesh as the upper and provides the same benefits. There is a tongue lock to keep it in place. New Balance also uses their Sure Lace system to secure the laces and keep it snug around the foot. The Sure Lace system is a computer knit lace designed with a reciprocating wave patter that will not untie under high performance or inclement conditions.

Top of Shoe

On the inside of the shoe there is a finer mesh backing the more open mesh outer. The insole is not removable. In the midsole New Balance uses Acteva material that is 12% lighter than standard midsole foam. They have added DuPont Engage for added durability. The outsole has Rock Stop sandwiched between the outsole and midsole. It is a flexible layer that protects feet from rocks and shock. The sole is made out of composite rubber. It covers the full length of the sole and has small lugs on the sole to provide traction. Overall there are not a lot of bells and whistles on this shoe. It does not have many features to keep the weight down. The shoes though are well designed for their purpose.

Fit ★★★★½

The New Balance MT101 shoes fit much better than their predecessors did. What I noticed with the MT100’s was the heel dug into my Achilles. With the MT101’s New Balance has fixed this issue. The collar sits nice and low around the ankle give plenty of room for your ankle to move and adjust to the terrain below.  I do not really notice the EVA foam around the collar and down the heel. The heel does keep my foot locked in place well. With the combination of the synthetic overlays and the lacing system I have no issues with my foot moving around. The fit has been good and I like the lightweight and breathable feel of the shoes. I find that the shoes run true to size. I am normally a size 9 and these fit me just as I expected. I find the forefoot slightly wider than average. It is not as wide as the New Balance MT10’s but is not tight either. There is not enough room for more toes to splay in these. The insole of the MT101’s is not removable and I did not feel like it needed to. It has very little support built in. The New Balance MT101 shoes are one of the more comfortable shoes have tested.

Sole of the Shoe

Performance ★★★★☆

I have found the New Balance MT101’s to be a pleasure to run in. The ride is on the firmer side which is necessary if they are going to be low to the ground. Doing a fair amount of my runs in minimalistic shoes I have gotten used to the firmer ride. When I wear a shoe with more cushioning it is like running on pillows. =) The lacing system has been a nice feature that I am surprised is not on other shoes. It seems all too often the lacing system is overlooked. The Rock Stop also has worked well. When running on rocky trails I can feel the ground but none of the large rocks or debris has hurt my foot. The traction on these is also good. I have run in rain, light snow, and drier conditions here in Central Oregon and the traction has been great so far. I have not been able to test these in muddier conditions and with the smaller lugs that may be an issue. I will check back in if I can get some runs in the mud. So far the wear on the shoe has been very minimal, I have even put in some miles on the roads around town and the soles still look good.

My only complaints of this shoe would be that the sole is a bit stiff. This is most likely due to the firm cushioning and the Rock Stop plate. There is little flex side to side and it is also fairly stiff front to back. The other thing that I prefer is less heel/toe drop. The MT101 shoes come in at 9.9 mm of drop. I prefer less and since this is only my preference I did not dock the performance rating.

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall the New Balance MT101 shoes are a solid lightweight trail runner. This update over the MT100 is a good step forward. If you are looking for a lightweight trail runner and are not looking for a lower drop option, this is a great shoe to check out. Word on the street is that New Balance will have a lower drop option to these in the MT110 coming out in 2012. I look forward to those, they might be a great shoe to have in my rotation. These are definitely worth trying out if you get the chance. I must say that they are also a great value at $75. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Stiff
  • Higher Heel/Toe drop than I prefer

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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