Rating: 5 / 5
I give these a 5 but maybe it would be more like a 9 on the 10 scale.
These shoes do it all. I wore these for about 800 miles before deciding to retire them (a conservative estimate). At that point they still had structural integrity, ie the stitching was still in place, no rips in the uppers or laces, and there was even tread left, but the soles had been mashed and softened to the point that rocks were becoming a nuisance.
I used these for about 150-200 miles of trail running and the rest for backpacking. They performed excellent for both. I bought them initially just for running as a more minimalist shoe than my Brooks Cascadia. They were certainly lighter, had more arch support, a lower heel, and an overall lower center of gravity. This meant that I ran faster and rolled my ankles less.
I decided to backpack with them on a long trip this summer and I don't regret my decision. They let my feet breathe fairly well, but I wished the tongue was thinner because it made the top of my foot sweat, but alas the cushy tongue was also very comfortable. Water drained well and they dried fast with the padded tongue drying last of course. I really loved the heel of the shoe. The back did not rub against the ankle or the achilles and really held the hell in place and was VERY comfortable. By the time I was ready to toss them they were the most comfortable shoes I owned, but the smelled like sin and had the aforementioned dead sole. If I could make one improvement it would be to upgrade the rock plate. Otherwise traction was good except for in bad mud. Although traction is never perfect in bad mud the tread is somewhat inset and can collect mud which it doesn't let go of. Living is So-Cal this isnt a deal breaker for me.
It was really remarkable how long these shoes lasted for trail running shoes that are regularly on sale at runningwarehouse.com for $80. These are a good choice for anyone transitioning to minimalist shoes. I still have my Cascadias (which I also love) and when those die I will replace those with another pair of MM and try the NB MT101 as my new minimalist choice for shorter runs and hikes.
Here's a good review: