The 10v2 Trail is a trail running shoe and here’s what NB has to say about it:
“With a natural foot position, a lightweight, flexible upper, and a rugged Vibram outsole, the 10 Trail is designed to endure the demands of the outdoors while providing a nearly barefoot running experience.”
Length of Testing: 4 months
Weight: Men – approx. 175g/shoe and Women – approx. 136g/shoe
Differential: 4mm drop (this is the height of your heel from the ground in comparison to your forefoot)
Sizing: Mens 7 – 14 and Womens 6 – 11. NB also offers width sizing for Men in D (narrow) and 2E (standard). The women’s width is only available in B (narrow).
*Note: Not all colours are available for every size.
Design and construction:
The band that crosses over the top of the shoe looks like it has been cut to reveal the mesh upper, making the shoe look a bit incomplete or like a showroom sample, showing the inner elements of the shoe. The mesh upper adds breathability but also makes it a bad wet weather training shoe as water comes straight in. The sole extends up to cover the front of the big toe and should limit some toe stubbing (though your technique should really stop that). The sole is also reinforced under the big toe which is likely to be valuable to a lot of practitioners who wear through their shoes in that spot. When the initial Vibram rubber compound wears away, it may render the shoe useless as the next part of the sole is a type of foam.
The Vibram sole and additional fabrics layered on the mesh upper creates mid-range flexibility – between rigid runner and true minimalist style shoe.
The Vibram sole is definitely grippy. It has a raised honeycomb pattern that excels when training on surfaces that are non-uniform, uneven and unpredictable (example: natural obstacles like rocks, trees and urban obstacles like concrete with ridges and the edges of obstacles) like they would be when trail running. The raised tread elements results in less surface area in contact with obstacles however, reducing the grip on railings and obstacles of other smooth/flat materials. Like most shoes, they do lose traction in the wet.
After a couple months of training the tread is wearing on the forefoot as expected but is holding up pretty well. [Update – 09/07/14] As time goes by, or if you’re doing a lot of arm jumps the honeycomb pattern begins to tear away from the foam. Once the rubber tears away it will render the shoe useless.
You can definitely feel the ground better than a standard running shoe, but the rigidity of the Vibram sole and the raised honeycomb pattern still numbs some impacts.
A lot of Kiwi’s have wider feet due to more time spent barefoot, so my suggestion is to choose the 2E width like I did. Most minimal style shoes hug the heel and midfoot while giving a wider toebox for the toes to splay in a natural way. The 10v2 is similar and hugs tightest around the midfoot. The inner stitching of the forefoot-most corner of the “N” sticks out and digs into the side of my foot. This can be lessened by adjusting the laces, but is an unfortunate aspect of the design that bothers me (may be different from shoe to shoe?).
Re-soling the 10v2 may be difficult due to the unique tread pattern, so these are likely to be a one life shoe. If they get dirty and your want to clean them (I don’t bother if they’re just training shoes), NB suggests:
“Use a light bristle brush (old toothbrush) and a light detergent (dishwashing or laundry). Scrub the shoes with the brush and use a damp cloth to wipe clean. You can also immerse them in water. Allow shoes to airy dry thoroughly for about twenty-four hours. If purchasing a cleaning product, be sure that it is silicon-based to prevent any possible damage to the footwear.”
$120 – $200 NZD – the price is based on your colour and size choice (NB offers free delivery on purchases over $200). The pair I received was $200 which is quite expensive in my books.
- If you’re transitioning from a cushioned (standard) running shoe into more minimalist footwear (or eventually barefoot) then this is a pretty good transitional shoe with it’s 4mm drop.
- I think the shoe is great for what it was designed for and in parkour it excels on natural and uneven obstacles.
- I wouldn’t wear this shoe for casual wear though. The design and its slightly uncomfortable fit make it best suited as a training shoe only.
- $200 is pretty steep for a training shoe, but if the tread holds up then I might change my tune.
- I’m a fan.
Overall score: 3.3/5
Thanks to NB New Zealand for providing us with the Minimus 10v2 Trail to test for our reviews and to Matthew and Hannah Beames for the photography.