It’s baaaaaaaacck! Much to the joy of a vocal group of trail runners across the U.S., New Balance has recently reintroduced the MT101 trail running shoe. It’s a lightweight, low-to-the-ground model that made waves during the minimalist boom in 2011, only to go away as newer models—some even more minimally built, and later some with more cushion and protection—were released. (In fact, the 101 was the second iteration of the original New Balance 100, which was an even more bare-bones shoe that went away after 2010.) When it was learned that the shoe would be discontinued, fans of the model let their disappointment be known—via emails and social media—but only now has New Balance decided to bring it back.

The new version of the 101 has been updated a bit, but it is still a super-agile trail fiend like its predecessor. The most notable changes are the new stretch-mesh upper, more protective overlays on the sidewalls, a padded collar, a double-reinforced toe bumper and a stickier rubber on the outsole. It has a decidedly low-to-the-ground feeling (with an array of aggressive but low-profile outsole lugs), but it’s not quite a “barely there” shoe either (although it’s pretty close), offering just enough cushion and protection for tackling everything from smooth dirt trails to semi-technical terrain. It has a snug, athletic fit in the heel and midfoot area and just a bit more wiggle room in the forefoot. (One of our wear-test runners suggested that it feels like a road racing flat made for the trails.) The 101 has a flexible forefoot rock plate to eliminate “stingers” and bone bruising, which means runners experienced with tackling super-rugged terrain in low-profile shoes will like this shoe too. Not every runner will like this for longer or ultra-distance trail runs, but our wear-testers loved it for runs up to 2 hours in duration and found it to be an ideal tool for running fast, racing and trail-oriented workouts like fartleks and hill repeats.

This shoe is for you if … you’re looking for a lightweight, minimally constructed trail shoe with just enough cushion and protection to run a wide range of trail surfaces.

Price: $90
Weights: 7.5 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 6.3 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (18mm heel, 8mm forefoot)

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