Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Balance Minimus Trail Zero: The Shoe That Broke My Heart

This shoe. I really loved the way this shoe felt on my feet. The sole was so flexible, the footbed so soft and smooth, just enough cushion under foot for rocky trails. It shed water like a duck. I really liked this shoe.

But. . .

Did I mention I really liked this shoe? I took it on its first trail run,    8 1/2 miles at Mammoth Cave National Park, me my wife, our dog, and my new shoes that only had 9 miles of running on them, all on pavement. The trail we were on was a shared use trail also used by horses. If you've never run on horse used trails this can mean some pretty rough conditions on the trail, especially after a rain like the day we went on this run. Squishy, muddy, mucky puddles. Deeply cut trails carved out by horses hooves, areas of high erosion. Also this trail had several areas of running on large rocks, or even bedrock. Quite a variety of terrain.

These New Balance Minimi Trail Zero shoes took such good care of my feet, and when they got wet, three steps later I would forget they had gotten wet.

Then when I got home and cleaned them off, I noticed something. The padded cuff around the ankle was peeling off.

I took them back to the store I got them, they had no more in stock (moving on to cold weather merchandise I suppose.) They called NB who said they would be glad to give the store credit on their next order, and I settled for my money back.

I walked out shoeless.

I went to a local discount shoe store and found at less than half price a beautiful blue and black pair of NB Minimus Trail Zero running shoes. In Blue and Black, a color scheme I would like much more than my "Road Stripe Yellow" ones. They were in my size. I picked them up and looked at the cuff around the ankle. It was peeling off.

Today I saw another pair at Gander Mountain. I looked at the cuff around the ankle. I rubbed it gently with my thumb and it peeled off.

New Balance, please fix this problem, this is a wonderful minimal shoe, but I don't want to buy an expensive shoe that I then half to repair with gear tape before I can run in it.