Up until a couple of weeks ago I had been doing some aggressive trail running on the weekend but not much midweek, then I caught a nasty cold just as winter break was beginning. I recovered relatively quick but had to ease back into hills and distance. For Christmas, I made sure I received a pair of New Balance MT101's.
The weather has been mild and we have absolutely no snow. Christmas Day I put the new shoes on and head out to some nearby trails. I liked that the MT101's required me to run with a barefoot gait. The three-pronged nibs on the soles provided decent traction. That is it for the pluses. Descending even the slightest incline did not feel right; my impression is that more forefoot flexibility is necessary for the feel I'm looking for; the rock stop layer certainly makes the front stiff. This also made my foot/ankle want to twist too easily with any uneven step, although I was able to plow through rocky trails without much concern for the bottoms of my feet. The shoe also doesn't come in anything broader than a D width. I had to buy an 11 instead of a 10 1/2 which was snug all the way around. By the time I was done with 6.5 miles my big toe was screaming with every step.
It seems as though New Balance just took a racing flat or cross country shoe and put a stiff piece of silvery plastic in the sole and called it a minimalist trail shoe. I suppose that would be a manufacturer's strategy to get something on the market in a hurry. I hope someone has designed something from scratch and has it on the market sometime this spring that isn't just for the narrow-footed.
In the meantime I'm just running with screws in any old worn down pair of running shoes. I have enough of those.
Mid-week Daylight Run
3 years ago