- Was it a replacement for the MT10 in response to perceived complaints about the original model?
- Was it an update in the product line for the sake of an update? If so, why so soon?
- Was it the promised zero-drop version that so many of us had been wanting in the initial Minimus?
Stay here to compare the MT10 and MT20 from an artsy-fartsy perspective. As an aesthetically inclined fellow, I appreciate things that look nice, products that exhibit good design. And, I'm more than happy to subject two seemingly similar products to my unfounded opinions. So, let's begin:
MT10 vs. MT20: Profile
From the first time I saw photos of the MT10 last Fall, I was enamored with it's unique design and ambitiously minimal construction (for a mainstream shoe company). Once released to the general public this past March, the MT10 met my expectations in spades. It looked great right out of the box. And, one of it's most conspicuous physical attributes is the toe spring.
That toe spring really adds some charm and down-to-earth ruggedness to the MT10. You can imagine your feet nimbly traversing rocks and roots on the trail when you look at that toe spring.
The MT20, on the other hand, seems to exhibit a much more minimal (pardon the pun) toe spring. In fact, from the profile, the MT20 resembles a sleek sports car or shark with the way the shoe's nose seems to form a blunt point.
Sports cars are cool. And, I like sharks even more. But, as far as trail running goes, I prefer the rugged, more loosely fashioned toe box profile of the MT10. I mean, yeah, of course, a shoe as light as the MT10 or MT20 should evoke a sense of speed. But, there's just something about the MT10's profile that makes me want to run on the trails more than the MT20's does.
Moreover, comparing the profiles of these companion shoes, I prefer the linear balance (omg another pun!) imposed by the strong lines on the side of the MT10. There's that black line extending from the midsole at the front of the heel up through the back of the "N" to the laces. This line is not present on the MT20, which really emphasizes that curved band running from the back, top of the heel to the midsole at the forefoot. With that black line missing as a counterbalance on the profile of the MT20, there's an impression of front-facing heaviness while the lighter orange color seems to beg for something to weigh it down, something like your heel.
So, if you look at the black lines on the MT10, you see that they appear to emphasize a foot strike towards the midfoot. And, the upward momentum of the toe spring gives a sense of active flow to the design.
But, the MT20's black lines put a lot of emphasis closer to the base of the forefoot, leaving the heel area open and a little incomplete. Plus, the flatter toe box seems to put a stop to the forward momentum that those black lines imply.
MT10 vs. MT20: From the Top
Once again, the MT10 and MT20 direct our attention to their toe boxes. Each shoe clearly has a wide toe box with ample room for most runners' wiggly piggies (especially true since the Minimus is available in widths). And, while these two photos were obviously taken from entirely different perspectives, it's safe to assume that the lasts of these shoes are the same, thereby promising the toe box widths to be equally spacious.
But, look how the MT20 has that piece of black overlay where the MT10 does not. It covers an otherwise well-ventilated area with some sort of snake-skin-like material. Why would New Balance want to do that? I mean, sure, there are some grey dots on the black toe cover to add some sort of design interest. But, toes need to breathe!
Perhaps this extra bit of covering makes the MT20 look more like a traditional shoe, which would assure New Balance a more promising market share. Maybe not.
Clearly, I prefer the more breathable toe area of the MT10.
I'll also add that the wider black band punctuated by white stitching on the MT10 looks nicer than what we have on the MT20. It just does. I suspect that NB diminished the presence of this band across the top of the metatarsal area on the MT20 due to some complaints by the public about the MT10. There was some pinching, see, pinching that never bothered me.
If I were to complain of pinching, I'd attribute it to the little Vibram wave thingies on the medial and lateral sides of the midsole. These are the elements that exert pressure on my feet. But, it's not a bad pressure. I don't feel pinched. It may be that I bought the correct size for my feet.
MT10 vs. MT20: The Heel
Ah, now, here we see a design altercation that can truly be labeled as a correction. The tab at the top of the heel seam on the MT10 appears to be sewn over on the MT20, rendering it nonexistent. (Do we really need pull tabs on our shoes? I never use them)
The tab itself is not necessarily a bad thing. But, the inner seam of the MT10's heel cup is problematic, at least for me and a few other runners. It irritates bare heels to the point of blistering. And, this is not a good feature on a shoe that's designed to be worn without socks. So, the MT20 clearly has a bit of seam padding sewn onto it. And, I'd be curious to know if that solves the irritation issue.
This view of the heels also gives us a close look at the MT20's black overlay material. It looks cheaper than the MT10's black overlays. Yet, these shoes are priced the same. So, surely it's not cheaper.
MT10 vs. MT20: Which to Buy?If I hadn't already purchased two pairs of the MT10, I'd still choose the 10 over the 20 simply because the former looks better. One is clearly the less attractive sibling. Sure, they're both good looking, especially compared to some of their friends. But, the first is better than the second. That's just my opinion. But, I defy you to disagree!
Oh, and I'll leave you with this amusing, if not laughable (in the at-them ["them" being the perpetrators of this ad] rather than with-them sense of the word), new addition to the "Like Barefoot, Only Better" campaign: