The barefoot running revolution is headed off-road and companies are scrambling for a foothold. The New Balance Minimus Trail or MT10 ($105) is just as the name suggests: minimal. As in only a 4mm drop from heel to toe; a traditional running shoe by comparison is about three times that. The Vibram designed outsole means you’re getting a durable and lightweight base to run on.

We found the shoe to be amazingly stable given how little material was actually on our feet. A real plus on uneven terrain. To keep the shoe secured, New Balance uses an elastic band that runs across the forefoot. That took some getting used to, but we hardly noticed it after a few minutes. As for the rest of the shoe, it can be best described as a webbing or matrix with a mesh cover. Visually cool and great for wet, sloppy conditions as water simply drains out as you run. Plus they can be used sockless. Doesn’t get a whole lot more natural than that.

Traction was never an issue and we ran several miles off-road and off the beaten path. One item to note, the Minimus Trail does not come with a rock plate (to maintain the barefoot flexibility) so avoiding trails with jagged, rocky sections is recommended. Otherwise we hardly noticed the debris underfoot, even with the minimal sole. If you’ve been training in natural style sneakers this will be an easy transition, otherwise you’ll want to ease into it.

Buy Now: $105