Company History and Background
As one of the oldest shoe and athletic apparel companies in existence today, New Balance continues to succeed through iterative improvements and advancements on every product they manufacture. New Balance began as an American footwear manufacturer in Boston, Massachusetts over 100 years ago, and it continues to gain momentum as one of the largest sportswear manufacturers in the world.
Unlike Nike and Adidas, New Balance’s main focus is footwear. The company does sell a limited amount of apparel, including t-shirts, hats and socks, but its main goal is to provide the highest quality shoe with the most innovative approach in the market today. New Balance is dedicated to improving the shoes it currently manufactures and to creating new, improved models for athletes to embrace. New Balance’s philosophy is quite simple – listen to what athletes are looking for in a shoe, learn about ways to make improvements, and use what they learn to repeatedly refine their products.
New Balance Cross Fit Options
Since footwear is New Balance’s main focus, you should be able to find a great pair of New Balance CrossFit Shoes in their stable. To this point, CrossFitters have generally adopted the company’s cross training and minimalist options. The Minimus 20v3 shoe is one of their more popular options, as are the Minimus HI-REZ and Minimus Zero.
Minimus 20v3 Cross Trainer
The Minimus 20v3 has been discussed on various Cross Fit forums online as one of the favorite CrossFit shoes on the market. It is marketed as a minimalist cross trainer, but it solid foundation allow it to serve well for power lifting (you’ll want something with more drop for your olympic weightlifting). The shoe features a drop of only 4mm, but also provides plenty of support and cushioning. It also offers welded seams as opposed to sewed construction. This type of technology prevents blisters and chafing, allowing the athlete to wear it with or without socks. Many reviewers appreciated the odor resistant material the shoes is constructed from as well. CrossFit workouts can leave you a sweaty mess but, regardless of how much sweat ends up on these shoes, the odor will be kept at bay. Retailing for around $100, this New Balance model is an excellent choice for CrossFitters, as well as weight lifters and minimalist runners alike.
The New Balance Minimus HI-REZ is one of New Balance’s latest createions. This barefoot-style minimalist running shoe features a sole with almost 50 independent cushioning pods. Each of these pods was designed and positioned to move with the foot’s natural movement. This technology is intended to provide unmatched flexibility and connection to the surface beneath. The Minimalist HI-REZ also combines a 0mm drop with an EVA molded midsole. This combination makes it feel as if you are running or performing CrossFit workouts barefoot, while also providing cushioning to protect the bottom of the foot from harsh impact. The shoe is constructed almost completely of a synthetic mesh upper for breathability and a feeling of weightlessness. Each shoe weighs less than 4 ounces. At approximately $120, the shoe is not inexpensive, but it is still considered to be moderately priced considering the high quality construction and design.
***Update as of 2/8/15 – This shoe hasn’t received the greatest welcome. Zappos doesn’t even carry it. So, probably best to stick with the 20v3 mentioned above.***
The Minimus Zero is yet another zero-drop minimalist shoe by New Balance. This low profile type of shoe is the closest a runner can get to barefoot style running. The insole of the Minimus Zero is constructed with New Balance’s own REVlite midsole, making it almost 25% lighter than the standard foam used in athletic footwear insoles. Some of the reasons CrossFitters love this shoe is the no sew welded seams and the superior traction provided by the Vibram outsole. An added bonus to this shoe is the odor resistant materials it’s made of, and, for about $100, it is definitely a shoe that a CrossFit athlete should consider.
***Update as of 2/8/15 – This shoe has been updated to the Minimus Zero v2. It’s worth your consideration
Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s I first started experimenting with New Balance’s running shoes. Before that, I never would have considered them because they seemed to cater to the military or to the retired. They had a good reputation among that crowd but you weren’t going to find a teenager willing to give them a shot. But then, something happened. From the outside looking in, you could tell they were trying to refresh their brand and cater to a younger, more athletic crowd. So, I gave them a shot and was, for the most part, really impressed.
Fast forward a decade and the company has really made significant progress. If you’re looking for a good pair of of New Balance CrossFit shoes, you’ve got at least three, and likely more, options to choose from. To get a quick overview of other popular options from a number of other manufacturers don’t forget to check out my comprehensive shoe guide.
New Balance 20v3 Cross Trainer Video