Having run the best part of a year in lower profile (4mmheel drop) cushioned shoes, I wanted to try these New Balance MT10 Minimus Trail shoes. They still have a 4mm heel drop but a more minimal feel to them as there's less cushioning, encouraging an even more efficient and natural running style.
With ambitions to strengthen the feet and legs, Ive found these to have just the right (New) balance(!); the grip underfoot is obviously helpful for off-road running (without being too stud-like but still great traction), Acteva midsole is thinner and flexible, but enough there to run on road as well sufficient for me to feel confident to go out in them yet not enough to feel like a conventional cushioned shoe. New Balance also uses the Vibram outsole same as the 5-Fingers.
The 4mm heel drop is enough to reassure me I shouldn't go and injure myself (calves and Achilles in particular) with these in the very near future. Despite this I am not heel striking, the shoes give me opportunity to midfoot strike in my early days with them. I am following the guidelines(New Balance provide a bit of literature to warn against doing too much too soon in them) and building it up slowly. I don't feel I am ready yet for the zero drop shoes, but more running/wearing in these and it shouldn't take too long to get there. .. with stronger feet in the process!
Theres not much toe protection (as you get with more robust trail shoes) so try not to kick roots & rocks! However the minimal nature of the shoe gets you feeling the trails with landing anticipation. A rubber band extends across the upper just behind the toes for a secure off-road running fit (possibly making it a tad narrower for wider feet), as well as a band around the heel, also for a secure fit. With the tongue attached to the upper it minimises dirt getting into the shoe. Can be worn with or without socks your preference! I haven't felt any potential chafing spots as yet.
At a smidge over 200g they're incredibly lightweight, adding to the minimal feel. If you're thinking about going into zero drop shoes but not ready for the jump just yet, these are a perfect shoe to begin/enhance that journey. Plus they're just fun to run in! And at 70 they're excellent value. New Balance say Less is More, we say you get More for Less! Also available in Women's WT10