Shoe Reviews: New Balance MT 101 & INOV-8 Mudroc 290

New Balance MT 101 Trail Shoes

I bought this pair of trail shoes from Zombie Runner Store in November 2010 and I am still using them in my trail running. This pair of shoes might have reached more than 800 kilometers for almost 3 years that I’ve been using them. However, I am not sure if this kind of model is still available in the market.

This trail shoe is durable and it is only today, after running 28 kilometers of trails,  that I’ve seen the glue of the sole to the uppers starting to open up at the right toe box. For the price of $85.00 then, it is worth using it where I did not have any injuries or any problems with my feet and legs.

The shoe is very light, for a weight of 7.2 ounces in size 9.5 inches, and considered as “minimalist” trail running shoes. Even if it is soaked with my sweat or wet due to river/stream crossings, the shoes is still very light. The water that would enter the shoes could be easily extracted or dried up due to the porous nylon upper mesh. Due to its lightness, I would usually use it for my speed interval workouts at the oval track and tempo runs over paved roads.

New Balance MT 101 Trail Shoes
New Balance MT 101 Trail Shoes

The elite ultra trail runner who designed this particular model uses it without socks. However, I never tried using this shoe without any socks. Even if I used socks with it, the toe box is very wide and it gives a plenty of room with my toes which is the most that I like with this model. As compared with the other trails shoes that I have, this has the widest toe box.

Sole Of NB MT 101
Sole Of NB MT 101

The treads on the soles are not suitable for the muddy and sticky trails in the country, although they are good in running on rocks.  The treads are very durable and they are responsive in hardened and dried trails. The shoe has a toe-heel drop of 10 mm according to its manufacturer’s specifications but when I use it, I feel that the drop is less than what is stated.

Since it has a wider toe box than the other trail shoes that I have, I usually tighten the laces to feel a well-snugged fit to my feet. In doing so, the lace would still be very long after doing double-knot tie. To keep it from “flying” on the sides of the shoe, I would insert the exposed lace under two criss-crossed laces over the tongue of the shoes.

My plan is to have the sole and uppers to be stitched with one of the local shoe repair shops and have it handed down to one of my elite runners who have wider toes.

This particular trail running shoe model is highly recommendable.

INOV8 Mudroc 290 Trail Shoes

I bought this pair of trail running shoe in one of the local shoe stores, Athlete’s Foot Store, which was sold On Sale last February of this year. I bought it in less than P 3,000 and it was the only one left in their inventory. Buying it was a good decision.

It was my first time to use this brand of shoes and it was only when I bought it when I started to browse in the Internet trying to find out about the specifications of the said model. Mudroc 290 is tagged as the Original Mountain Trail Shoes and it is really true!

INOV8 Mudroc 290
INOV8 Mudroc 290

The first thing that strike me was the color. It’s black and I liked it. Second is the lacing system where there are no holes on the uppers but nylon strip sewed on the sides of the shoes and it has two holes/slots on top of the tongue where the laces would pass through. I guess, it is a breakthrough in a new kind of lacing system where it keeps the uppers and tongue in a snugged fit to the fit and keep the debris from entering the shoes while running.

Sole & Tread Of INOV8 Mudroc 290
Sole & Tread Of INOV8 Mudroc 290

Third revelation for this trail shoes are the treads on their soles. They are much thicker and more aggressive/pronounced than the New Balance MT 101.

It weighs 10.2 ounces/290 grams (thus, the numbers attached to the mode’s name) and has a toe-heel drop of 6 mm. It is also considered as a “minimalist” trail shoes but is far heavier than the NB MT 101. Additional weight is put into the shoes when it is wet after crossing some streams/rivers and it takes time to make it drier while running which is the only negative observation I had with this pair of shoes.

I immediately put on lots of mileage on this shoes when I prepared/trained for the 2013 TNF 100K but on the first few times that I used it, I would loosen the tightness of the shoe laces as the back portion of the shoe would rub on my right achilles tendon which resulted to some pain most specially on steep ascending portions of the course. However, after using it for some time, the heel counter’s cushioning had loosen up and it did not bother my right achilles tendon.

As the name of the model would imply and describe, the shoes is really perfect for wet, muddy, and sticky trails. I never had any experience of slipping or dropping on my butt on slippery trails using this shoes. This shoes really rocks on mud!

As compared with the New Balance MT 101, the toe box is very narrow but it fits well with my feet as I want my trail shoes to be well-snugged to prevent debris from entering the shoes.

In conclusion, these two trail shoes are very good choices where one would use in different environment conditions—if the trail is wet and do your workout during inclement weather, the INOV8 Mudroc 290 is the best choice; and if you want to run faster on dried or sun-baked trails, the New Balance MT 101 is the lightest shoes for your run.

Keep on running!


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