Mar 27, 2012 at 8:39 am #1287896
I had a pair of MT101's that I thought fit me almost perfect. I learned they didn't quite on a long downhill day, and ended up with a couple of blackened toe nails. I've still been using the shoe barefoot as I have a smidge more room that way, but knew I needed to size up eventually.
Unfortunately, NB doesn't seem to have many shoes in size 13-1/2 so I bought a pair of MT00's in size 14. They looked comically long on my feet, but I was amazed at the fit and feel. The heal stays firmly seated, I had almost a full inch from my big toe to the front of the shoe, and about half that from my pinky toe to the front. I planned to test them on a short, easy trip to Joshua Tree this last weekend.
We headed out on the Boy Scout Trail and made good time. We finished it early in the afternoon, and my feet felt great, maybe a smidge tender in the heel and some ligaments felt slightly sore (I fully expected as much, adjusting to a 0 mm drop), but I was very happy with the shoe.
The next day we set off to Willow Hole, into the Wonderland of Rocks, and then cross country to Indian Cove via Rattlesnake Canyon. This was our first time in that area, and we turned east too soon, and it turned into quite an adventure. I spent a good 5 or 6 hours jumping, sliding and lowering myself down the rough, sticky rocks of Joshua Tree (going a total of maybe 3 miles if I mapped our actual route taken correctly). This abuse turned out to be way too much for my feet to handle, and a little too much for the shoe. I have impact blisters on the bottom of both heels (pretty much the whole heel on one foot) and the balls of both feet. I don't really blame the shoes at all for this, the terrain was much rougher than I thought when I first mapped out the route. I'm not sure if taking the correct route would have even been any better.
The shoes themselves are fine except for one thing: a couple of the glued on lugs have begun to delaminate.
The rest of the shoe did remarkably well considering the torture test I threw at them. I'm kind of torn as to whether I should try to return these or not. Total miles on the shoe is only 20, with about 6 hours of sustained "torture testing".
So… Would you return them, or accept that you put them through something they weren't entirely designed for?
TLDR: Feel and flexibility are amazing, sole durability is questionable.Mar 27, 2012 at 9:49 am #1859953
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
Joshua Tree the shoe destroyer I was backpacking their about 8 years ago in the last part of the month of April. I was hiking back out of the wonderland of rock to my car after a lot rock scrambling. As I was hiking the glue on a pair of Asolo Boots got soft and the soles were coming off and flapping off like dog tongues. I have also destroyed Nike version of a hiking/clmbing shoes in Joshua tree.
Personally you owe the feet blister and black toe nails to buying a shoe the wrong size. But if you have the receipt for the shoe and their brand new you could take them back for a refund because of the delamination . Just don't tell them what you were doing with them then and why you bought the wrong size. Buy yourself a pair of approach shoes that are made for scrambling. if your doing technical climbing get a pair climbing shoes. I use to sell running shoes and we use to rip the tongues out of shoe to get a full credit from the manufacture for returns.
TerryMar 27, 2012 at 10:00 am #1859959
Yeah, the MT101s that gave me the toe crowding was certainly a shoe sizing issue. The MT00's Im not too sure about. They seemed locked down, and the blisters weren't in areas that I would normally get friction blisters, they are on the bottom of my foot.
I think it was more that I was repeatedly coming down very hard onto my tender, wussy feet, with very little padding in the shoe. I definitely could be wrong, tho. I have a feeling that if I wore these a lot my feet would toughen up some.Mar 27, 2012 at 10:05 am #1859961
"So… Would you return them, or accept that you put them through something they weren't entirely designed for?"
For me it would depend on what they were marketed for. I see manufacturers advertising their equipment all the time doing things it wasn't really made for. In those instances, I say return it. If a manufacturer shows an advertiesment of their equipment in some scenario, and you repeat that scenario and the equipment fails, then sure…make them eat it.
I have my doubts about the MT00 being advertised to be used in the way in which you used it, but maybe it was. And delamination of the sole after 20 miles is pushing it even for off-label use. But I can't say I didn't expect that from those shoes.
That's one problem of selling high performance specialized equipment (and let's face it the MT00 has many durability tradeoffs to achieve the performance and lightness that it does) to the common consumer. Back in the day Salomon used to do it with their S-Lab line of products. But they would explicitly state things to the effect of: this product was designed to be as light as possible for our sponsored athletes and is designed only to last the duration of a couple adventure races….etc. No warranty. The current S-Lab stuff is a different story though. I've found it very durable and more suited to the general market. I don't think they do that no-warranty thing anymore either.
One downside of people returning these shoes for durability when using them outside of the intended use is that NB will hesitate to bring such a radical shoe to market in the future. I applaud them for making the MT00, but I'm afraid they may discontinue it and not push the envelope if they end up eating too much of the cost due to warranty claims.Mar 27, 2012 at 10:07 am #1859962
delamination? … take it back …Mar 27, 2012 at 10:09 am #1859963
" They seemed locked down, and the blisters weren't in areas that I would normally get friction blisters, they are on the bottom of my foot.
I think it was more that I was repeatedly coming down very hard onto my tender, wussy feet, with very little padding in the shoe. I definitely could be wrong, tho. I have a feeling that if I wore these a lot my feet would toughen up some."
I had a blister develop like that when using some VFF shoes on repeated lengthy downhills on pavement (I rarely run on pavement). Big blister developed right on the bottom of my heel.
As for NB shoes, I've found that when running sockless in my MT10 shoes that my foot will feel as if it's sliding around a bit when the shoe is soaking wet. Very smooth liner. I've never developed blisters from it, but it is a little disconcerting when running on technical terrain at high speeds (relative term, my speed isn't all that high, haha).Mar 27, 2012 at 10:19 am #1859967
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
NB very likely had to make compromises in materials, etc. — to make their MT00 running shoes both minimalist and light weight (coming in at just 4.5oz each).
IMO, it would be dishonest and unfair to return for exchange or refund because you wore them over miles of rough / sticky JT rocks. To me, it's like subjecting an ultralight silnylon pack through hours of tough abrasion against jagged granite — and then wanting to exchange for a new one or to get your money back.
Ethics aside, there is also the issue brought up by Nathan:
"One downside of people returning these shoes for durability when using them outside of the intended use is that NB will hesitate to bring such a radical shoe to market in the future. I applaud them for making the MT00, but I'm afraid they may discontinue it and not push the envelope if they end up eating too much of the cost due to warranty claims."Mar 27, 2012 at 10:33 am #1859972
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
This is a zero-drop trail-runner, and New Balance talks about the proven durability of the Vibram sole — perhaps you found the limits, but I think delamination points to a problem with the adhesive used in the sole construction…Mar 27, 2012 at 10:40 am #1859976
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
You could also buy a $5 tube of Shoe Goo and glue the sole back down. I've done that several times before and the repair basically lasts forever. Or go to a local shoe repair place and have them do it for you (probably also about $5)
AndrewMar 27, 2012 at 10:45 am #1859981
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
There is another thread running about longer shoe sizes, might want to read it.
Regarding ethics. Only you can answer that question. Did the shoes fail because they were used for something they were not designed to do? If one is have an ethical conundrum, just take them back to the retailer or manufacturer and explained exactly how you used the shoes and let them decide whether or not it is covered under warranty.
Maybe we should consider this ethical question…
Hiking boots used to last almost 20 years for me, including resoling them occasionally. Leather and rubber are somewhat renewable resources. The past 4 years I have switched to very light shoes and wear out 3 – 4 pairs per year, and at about $100 a copy if not more… I could have bought a pair of custom made Limmers for that. Yes, I can hike much faster and probably with less injury in these light shoes, but money-wise it isn't smart; and are these synthetic shoes using up unnecessary natural resources and filling up our land fills? As backpackers are we more likely to be stewards of the environment? Or are we just selfish and self-centered only wanting the lightest gear for our individual pleasure?Mar 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm #1860034
"IMO, it would be dishonest and unfair to return for exchange or refund because you wore them over miles of rough / sticky JT rocks. To me, it's like subjecting an ultralight silnylon pack through hours of tough abrasion against jagged granite — and then wanting to exchange for a new one or to get your money back."
What you do is be honest in your description of how you were using them when they failed and let them decide if they want to warranty it or not. Chances are they will replace it. Stuff like that makes a loyal customer. Repeated return business is worth eating the cost on a pair of shoes.
Example- a friend of mine had a Crank Bros mini bike pump. I was using it and was unfamiliar with how it attached to the valve stem, and I broke a small plastic screw on ring. The pump had two on it (one for Schrader valves, the other for Presta) so it was no big deal to use the part from the other side to be able to use the pump. So, I called Crank Bros, explained to them how my user error broke a part, and asked how I could purchase a replacement part. They said to not worry, they'd send a part out. A couple of day later in the make came a whole brand new pump!
BMMar 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm #1860038
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
Not really an "ethical" question, imo, if you're honest about how you used it and let NB or the store where you purchased it decide. It may very well be that you have a defective shoe.
When I bought my first pair of Sportiva Wildcats, I hiked about 25 miles on them over two days at Zion right off the bat. Lots of rock. Totally shredded the lugs on the bottom. I brought them back to the store, and simply asked whether that should have happened. (They marketed the shoe as a "mountain runner", after all.) They (and Sportiva) said absolutely not and replaced it. The second pair has a couple of hundred miles on them now, including about 100 GC/Zion miles and the lugs are fine.
Who knows, the manufacturer may even appreciate the feedback.Mar 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm #1860130
Exact same thing happened to two pairs of my Minimus Trails (the first model). Delamination of the rubber under the ball of each foot. Though it took about 100 miles on each to do it.
They're such good feeling shoes, but the durability is just crap. I'm hoping that NB gets over this blown foam sole nonsense (like the fake lugs on the instep of the MT110) as quickly as possible…but it seems to be a staple on nearly every shoe they make now.
I say take them back and don't feel bad about it for a second. A "trail" shoe that can't last 20 miles, scrambling rocks or not, is ridiculous.Mar 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm #1860138
"I'm hoping that NB gets over this blown foam sole nonsense (like the fake lugs on the instep of the MT110) as quickly as possible…but it seems to be a staple on nearly every shoe they make now"
That was the worst part of my old NB 790 trail shoes. Thought they had gotten over it when that model became the new MT10X line, but apparently they've gone backwards.
Personally I'm hoping for grippier rubber on the soles. Hate the rubber on my MT101s and have heard the 110's are an improvement, but haven't tried them yetMar 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm #1860141
The 110s have the best rubber I've used, far better than the MT100 or 101. 300 miles and the lugs still have sharp edges, but all the blown foam has been worn completely smooth. Too bad it's only on the forefoot and heel.Mar 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm #1860148
Would you say it's sticky? I'm willing to give up longevity (if I have to) for grippiness on smooth rock. I really lack confidence on steep slabby downhills with the 101s.
Any experience with innov8 sticky rubber?Mar 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm #1860177
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Garbage, take them back.
20 miles is piddly mileage for delamination to occur, rough terrain or not. The culprit is NB's flawed use of adhering rubber outsole to blown foam in such sparsity. Craig nailed it with the lack of a one-piece continuous outsole. Of course NB assumes everyone who uses their MT shoes has a perfect forefoot strike. Why does anyone need rubber in the heel or instep right? Pfff.
NB has made some compromises IMO, particularly in the Minimus line, in the durability of their shoes in an attempt to elevate the minimalist shoe bar higher. An additional ounce or two in weight from a one piece Vibram outsole would probably make a world of difference.
Stick to your principals NB, function before form or fad.Mar 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm #1860180
@hankinsohlLocale: Pacific Northwest
Rob – Does New Balance state that the MT00's are not supposed to be used for repeatedly scrambling down rocks? From my perspective, the shoes are being sold as trail runners. Since backpackers typically use this type of shoe for backpacking, I wouldn't think that scrambling down rocks constitutes unintended use absent any guidance to the contrary from New Balance.
As an aside, I too recently purchased some New Balance MT00's from Amazon so I could try them on and evaluate them for use as a backpacking shoe. When the shoes arrived, right out of the box, one of them had a manufacturing defect: the sole wasn't properly glued and was detaching from the shoe in the toe area. I sent the shoes back for a refund.
I did like some things about the MT00's though. They were extremely comfortable and fit my size 7.5 6E feet very well (I had to order a 7.5 4E though since none of the New Balance trail runners come in size 6E). I also appreciated the ultra light weight of the shoe. But I didn't like the blown foam rubber at all – not nearly enough protection against rocks.
If New Balance made the MT00's with a full vibram sole I'd definately use them for backpacking. Meanwhile, I think I'm going to try the Vibram Fivefinger KSO Treks for backpacking. The treks are extremely lightweight, have a complete vibram sole and fit my very wide feet quite well.Mar 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm #1860186
Return them. RETURN THEM.Mar 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm #1860219
@killerbLocale: Pacific Northwest
I suggest that you used these shoes way out at the limit of what they could possibly be expected to do…and they came back in good shape with the exception of a minor spot of delamination. Joshua Tree is no joke, a shoe graveyard. Having just bought a pair of MT00's myself I'm reasonably impressed with the shoe's performance.
A tube of shoe-goo, not a return, seems appropriate to me.Mar 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm #1860242
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
It's a shoe designed to provide very high performance for one specific style of running, not a general purpose zero drop lifestyle shoe.Mar 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm #1860249
Thanks for all the input, much appreciated. I bought them at a New Balance store, so I decided that I would just let them decide. I took them in, and told them where I had been and what I was doing. Honestly, I don't think they cared much. They seemed to care much more that I had owned the shoes for only 5 days. They immediately took them back, issued me store credit (that I asked for). I hope this doesn't contribute to NB cutting their line of minimal shoes, but looking at the marketing for them going on right now that would be hard to imagine.
It is completely possible that the shoe had a minor defect. It only happened on my left shoe (I favor the right foot), and only in two spots – one of them that didn't seem like a logical spot to delaminate.
All said and done, I still really like the feel of the shoe. I was really getting hooked on being able to really feel the trail, rather than just plodding over it.Mar 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm #1860280
I'm 99% sure Anton Krupicka and Erik Skaggs winning Ultra's in New Balance's minimal shoes is going to keep them around for a looooooong time.Mar 28, 2012 at 9:26 am #1860442
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
The problem with Joshua Tree National forest rock scrambling compared to the buttermilks out side Bishop,Ca. Is the heat in the desert the ground and the rocks heat up really fast from sunrise to sun down even in the late winter early spring. That why the glue delimitates in the shoe.
I have noticed the boots made for the USMC for Iraq have light gum rubber looking tan soles, the midsole is even light colored, combo of light tan leather upper with light tan 1000d cordura to endure the heat of the hot Iraqi desert.
I really miss the days when when hiking boots Vibram soles were glued and sewn through so the sole would not delaminate.
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