New Balance is adding to its barefoot-inspired Minimus collection with the introduction of the innovative HI-REZ road shoe. This shoe is designed for the minimal runner looking for the latest cutting edge product to enhance a hyper-real sensory running experience. The new Minimus HI-REZ construction delivers a completely different experience for the runner by allowing the foot to move as it would naturally while still offering underfoot protection.
This new addition to the Minimus collection is made with 42 independent lightweight midsole pods mechanically bonded to a durable yet flexible fabric base that allows the shoe to move and flex in closer unison with the foot. The midsole pods are a high abrasion ground contact EVA which offers a strong balance between durability and shock protection with additional outsole rubber post-applied in areas that needed extra resilience and traction.
Made with the NB Minimus Zero drop last that eliminates any height difference between the heel and toe, both at around 6mm, the shoe encourages a midfoot strike while an enhanced width allows for a natural forefoot splay.
The upper is made of a skeletally engineered FantomFit material with a support structure in the form of an hexagonal print pattern fused to a single layer of breathable mesh, giving the foot crucial lightweight support.
In keeping with all shoes in the Minimus collection, HI-REZ encourages the runner to go sockless with interiors created to fit the bare foot comfortably.
The tongue connects seamlessly to the lateral side of the shoe to further encourage barefoot use and reduce potential points of irritation. The sole and uppers come together through a unique stitching process and are reinforced with a rubber that runs along the entire perimeter of the shoe.
My US Men’s Size 10.5 of the Minimus HI-REZ weighs in at a scant 4.2 ounces. The shoes slip on easily and sockless as usual, it felt super-comfortable. I’m surprised the standard width HI-REZ fit my 2E+ width feet – the uppers and outsole are so soft that it contours to my feet. However, New Balance is launching with only the standard width…
At first glance, I was worried that I will feel the gaps between the midsole pods on my barefoot – I had used my fingers to feel them on the footbed before I put the shoes on. But it felt normal and comfortable instead! The HI-REZ felt like a sock or thin glove on your feet – even better than the Minimus Zero Trail. The HI-REZ uppers are much more comfortable and the taco-like tongue wrap is my preferred configuration. And super-breathable to boot.
There is absolutely nothing in the HI-REZ from holding or preventing your foot from its natural movement. The HI-REZ is so flexible in all directions. The outsole rubber posts are applied to the exact spots where my foot exerts the most pressure/wear (midfoot/forefoot strike) thus making it more durable and having good traction.
I’ve tried speed work on a tartan rubber track in the HI-REZ and there are many times where I felt the need to slow down (on the curves) and not slip. Other than those situations, traction is very good on rubber, asphalt, non-technical trails, and concrete.
For those looking for the most minimal running shoes in the market, the New Balance Minimus HI-REZ fits the bill. The only other comparable shoe is the new Merrell Vapor Glove. And both are awesome shoes.
Overall, the Minimus HI-REZ is an incredible shoe: awesome design, zero drop, super-lightweight, great proprioception, super-flexible, and ultra-comfortable racer. And it will definitely get you noticed with its bright and vibrant colors.
The New Balance Minimus HI-REZ is now available at: New Balance