I have had these shoes for a while and I figure that it is a good time to chat about them specifically. My reviews are what I think a non-technical runner would like to know about a product and of course what I would have liked to know before purchasing. If you do a search for them I am sure you can get more specs but here are the generals.
Weight: 7.2 oz (size 9)
Drop: 10mm (18mm-8mm)
Color: Black or Green (with shiny NB highlights)
Overview/ First Impressions
My first run in the 101’s was the ’10 Xterra Topanga Turkey Trot. The trail race was amazing and really helped me understand not only my abilities but also how much the shoe helped or deterred. Since then I have ran with them on different surfaces and they have performed. I do believe they are a “proceed with caution” type of shoe.
The shoe is well made, and is extremely breathable and fits securely. The toe box is wide and I felt that I could spread my toes when running, similar to the feeling I have with my VFFs. The laces are great, they seem gimmicky at first but they stay where you place them and the spacing allows you to get a consistent feel when you lace up. The shoe has a rock plate that will save the forefoot from jagged rocks.
Pretty much the whole shoe is legit, but I do have my reservations with the sole. The sole is not my favorite. And I do not say that because it is light on the cushion, that’s a given. This shoe is minimalist and that includes sacrificing a moon landing type experience in exchange for ground feel. I just do not like the design for my type of running.
It has triangular type lugs that are in my opinion too spread apart from each other. I did not notice the difference on trails, but when confronted with other surfaces the smooth area (non lug) slipped. I ran on a beach trail and then onto the pier, I had a couple slips on the pier, nothing significant but definitely enough to guarantee I was not going to open it up on the wood surface.
I also was not the biggest fan of the midsection between the heel and the forefoot/mid-foot. I liked it in the beginning of the run because I felt that I was motivated to land on the forefoot, but it did not feel like I was in control of how I landed. It felt rigid, fine, but at some points like downhill on a technical part of the trail I wanted to land closer to the heel or at least have some flex so I felt I griped the rocks instead of just powering through them.
I am not saying that it is not a shoe to run on fire roads or trails on or that other much more experienced runners may not hail it as the best shoe of 2010. I am newer to trail running than others but the sole was just different, very different.
I like the NB101. I like them as a strictly trail show, I think they perform best in single track spongier trails where the lugs have a little bit more to grab onto. Because of my concerns with the lug separation I hesitate to take them out on roads as often as others do.
On the trail, they own it, but on multiple surfaces I would be more cautious, especially after rain. I would purchase this shoe again if I was exclusively running trails or fire roads, but if you are like me and just walk out the front door, I would probably look for something more versatile with regards to surfaces.
*images courtesy of runningwarehouse.com (awesome site, great customer service)