In the 860v9 New Balance has proven that the runner looking for stability in a shoe doesn’t have to compromise.
They have taken the design of their deservedly popular 880 neutral shoe and incorporated stability features into the upper, the midsole and the outsole to deliver a great quality shoe that provides everyday comfort and cushioning mile after mile.
- Very comfortable
- Unobtrusive stability
- Good for mid-long mileage
- Breathable upper
- Versatile outsole suits road and light trail
- Initially feels flat and unresponsive
- Not for racing or fast sessions
Since taking up running a few years back, I’ve probably done 75% of my road running in New Balance shoes: initially sticking to the 1080’s through various revisions before trying the Vazee Rush, a few pairs of Fresh Foam Zante’s and most recently the Fresh Foam Beacon.
I was offered the chance to try out the New Balance 860v9 which is different to my usual shoes in several ways, but I looked forward to experiencing what New Balance describe as the shoe’s “exceptionally responsive cushioning and reliable support.”
The 860 is one of New Balance’s stability shoes, and whilst I don’t generally choose a stability shoe, I was very interested to see how the ride differed, and whether it might help me in any way.
I experienced shin splints off the back of last Autumn’s marathon and ultra training cycles and felt that it wouldn’t hurt to give myself a little stability as I built up the mileage again this Spring.
First impression and appearance
The 860v9 is a good-looking shoe and reminded me very much of one of the pre-Fresh Foam iterations of the 1080 such as the v5. It has a flexible, breathable upper, stiff heel cup and a fairly rigid mid-sole.
The men’s shoe is currently offered in three colours: “Black with Magnet” as seen here, a slightly more colourful “Petrol with Flame” and a vaguely titled “UV White with Blue and Black” which also throws in plenty of grey and some lime green for a distinctly 80’s feel.
Out of the box, the shoe looks and feels well built, comfortable and durable.
The “N” logos on the side of the shoes are reflective which is welcome for runners running at night or in low light.
The New Balance 860v9is listed at 327.5 grams (11.5 oz) which is a little heavier than their current premium neutral cushioned shoe, the 1080v8.
This is, however, a stability shoe, and the additional support provided by the shoe in both upper and midsole which incorporates the T-beam will contribute to this additional weight, though it still weighs in more heavily than similar shoes from other manufacturers such as the Brooks Adrenaline (284g / 10oz)
As expected, my UK 13.5 (US14) shoe weighed in heavier than the standard shoe, at 430g (15.2oz). This makes it the heaviest shoe I’ve run in, although to be fair it didn’t feel significantly heavier on the foot than a shoe such as the 1080v8 or the Brooks Ghost 11.
As with all New Balance shoes, I find that I need a ½ size larger than would be my “normal” size in UK sizing, although this may be in part due to the New Balance conversion from US sizing as I remain a US 14 in most shoes.
So in this case, I wear a UK 13.5 (US 14) which is the same size I’ve used in all other New Balance shoes, Hokas, and Salomon trail shoes. For comparison, I generally use a UK 13 (US 14) in Brooks, Inov-8, and ASICS
Out of the box, I laced up the shoe and found that it holds the foot well in the heel and throughout the midfoot, before opening a little in the toe box to provide sufficient room to allow the toes to splay and move a little. I’ve found the shoe comfortable on all runs, with no hotspots or areas of concern.
According to New Balance, “the men’s 860v9 features engineered mesh on the upper for a lightweight fit, breathability, and freedom of movement”.
I’m inclined to agree with New Balance that despite the overall weight of the shoe, the upper manages to combine a lightness of feel with support and a good degree of comfort.
The front of the upper comprises an extremely breathable double layer of engineered mesh. In the picture shown, the yellow colour is the sock showing through the mesh, which provides an indication of the breathability of the upper.
The toe box is not as generous as some similar shoes on the market, though as suggested above, it should provide plenty of room for most runners. The toes are protected by a low-profile toe bumper glued inside the upper.
The midfoot saddle is more substantial to provide support for the foot. The engineered mesh gives way to a ribbed synthetic fabric which is further supported by the N logo overlay, as well as printed overlays which run from the midsole, on each side of the foot, and which are also used to form the lace holes.
The heel section of the shoe is well cushioned within and includes a good solid heel cup.
There is also a well-cushioned tongue, sewn at the bottom, and held in place by a higher-than-usual lace loop which ensures that he tongue does not slip during your run.
Overall, the 860v9 manages to hold the foot extremely well in a comfortable, yet breathable upper which is precisely what you’d hope for in a daily supportive shoe.
The “Trufuse” name of the midsole describes the fusing of two full-length units of New Balance’s “Acteva” and “Abzorb” EVA foams, seen coloured black and white in the photos of this shoe. The upper, black foam unit is firmer.
This limits the chance of overpronation by preventing the inside of the foot from sinking, thus enhancing the stability of the shoe together with the T-Beam on the medial side of the midsole (visible from the underside). The lower, white unit of foam offers greater cushioning.
The combination of these two units into the Trufuse sole is designed to deliver a responsive shoe that will also provide both cushioning and stability.
The outsole of the 860v9 is well designed and versatile, providing excellent grip, and with grooves positioned to further encourage a neutral gait cycle. The outsole is formed from segmented blown rubber in what seems to be an extremely durable and hard-wearing composition.
The images were taken for this review after I’d run approximately 50 miles in the shoes, and you’d need to look extremely carefully for any sign of wear on the outsole.
The heel section is well thought through with a separate crash pad offering excellent cushioning to the heel-striker. Furthermore, the way in which the outer heel section rises towards the back and is further protected by a thick layer of the blown rubber should ensure that this is a long-lasting shoe even for the heaviest heel-striker.
Moving towards the front of the outsole, there are several lateral grooves allowing the shoe to flex with the foot through to push-off.
The versatility mentioned above arises from the overall design of the sole which offers good traction not only on road surfaces but on hard-packed trail and sand.
If I’m completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect from these shoes. I don’t generally run in stability shoes and wasn’t sure what effect the stability element of the shoe would have and whether that would either help or hinder me in my running. Added to that was the fact that we’re looking at a fairly heavy shoe, which means this was never likely to be the first pick for a race-day shoe, but a daily runner.
The 860v9 is a solid, reliable running shoe. It's comfortable to wear with more than enough cushioning around in the tongue and inside the heel cup. The shoe is roomy and holds the foot securely. In my opinion, there should be no issue with putting on the shoe straight out of the box and heading off for a run without worrying about blisters or hotspots.
Whilst out running and despite what the scales may say, I didn’t have any real concerns about the weight of the shoe. It didn’t feel any heavier to run in that any of my other cushioned daily shoes such as the 1080v8 or the Brooks Ghost 11.
The combination of the two types of foam into a “Trufuse” midsole provided a unique feel compared to a standard neutral NB shoe. Initially, I felt as if there was very little cushioning in the midsole, and I felt almost as if I was running “flat-footed” with my foot slapping a little onto the ground, especially at slower paces (after a couple of runs, the shoe flexed a little and I no longer experienced this issue).
As I ran more, I understood and felt better how the two foams worked; the Acteva maintained the stability of the foot, preventing any over-pronation (and leading the initial flat-footed feeling). The Abzorb then provided cushioning to the entire foot, reducing the impact of each ground contact.
I’m confident that this combination works well to provide a really solid everyday shoe for medium – long runs for the runner looking for the extra stability that this shoe can provide.
I’d also suggest that this shoe could be an all-in-one shoe for the beginner, or someone who’s looking to “get to the end” of their first 10k, half- or full marathon.
What this shoe didn’t deliver for me was the responsiveness I’d hoped for at a faster pace. I’d suggest that once again this may be due to the dual-foam construction which doesn’t allow for the rapid compression and expansion of the Abzorb foam in specific areas of the foot through the landing and drive phase. This is not a failing of the design – it’s exactly what it is designed to do in order to provide the extra stability required, but it does make it hard work to increase the pace.
This shoe is made to run and run. After approximately 50 miles of road running, the sole barely shows any sign of wear. Furthermore, the design of the outsole ensures that the outer heel, often the first part to wear, is protected from premature wear by even the heaviest heel-strikers.
I’d have no hesitation in suggesting that these shoes should last far beyond the generally accepted 400-500 mile mark and should be good for 700-800 miles in my opinion.
This is my first time running in a stability shoe, and to be honest, I was expecting to feel as if I was running in a rigid boot, though that was far from the case! I was really impressed with the feel and comfort of the shoe, and the way that the stability features are so well incorporated into the upper, the midsole and the outsole, working together to prevent over-pronation without compromising the quality of the run.
It does genuinely feel like a daily running shoe, and I’d certainly recommend it for runners looking for stability in a quality shoe.
As mentioned above – this isn’t a race shoe. It won’t get you to the end first, but it will get you to the end!
I wasn’t meant to be receiving these. When New Balance in partnership with RunRepeat offered me the chance to review the new 860 v9, I thought I had decided to pass, since the shoe is rated a stability road shoe and I run mostly in neutral shoes.
However, when the shoes arrived in the post anyway due to a mix-up, I just accepted that as fate. After all, any running shoe is better than none! Having spent the past few months and a lot of time and miles in them, however, they have become a firm part of my shoe rotation.
Despite stability features, they worked well for me and the fit and ride is great. The understated colorway means they also work great for casual use. Read on for my Likes and Dislikes!
The shoes came in a black and grey colorway that was nicely understated. I could see myself using these for casual wear with jeans and indeed that is exactly what I’ve been doing. That is when I’m not running in them.
Nicely understated colorway
My size UK 10 shoes weighed in at 346 grams, which is not bad for a stability shoe, and with a heel-toe drop of 10mm.
The upper is of engineered no-sew mesh and nice and airy. A dual density midsole incorporating a medial post for support is complemented by a robust blown rubber outsole, with Ndurance hard-wearing rubber at the heel.
For a support shoe, 860 v9 felt light and slim. Not in a racing flat sort of way, since this is a cushioned support shoe after all, but the shoe certainly felt no bulkier than the New Balance 1080 v8 which I reviewed last year, and which is rated a cushioned neutral shoe.
The laces are of the flat variety, which I’m not a huge fan of, since my OCD nature gets the better of me and I always seem to struggle to keep the laces untwisted, but they do their job just fine, which is to stay tied for the duration of the run!
One thing I noticed right away was the perforated upper in the toe box area which makes the 860 v9 nice and airy. The upper consists of an outer layer and an inner lining, with different perforation configuration for each layer.
Asymmetric and unmatched perforations on upper
While for the most part, this means that toe box is still shielded from elements while staying breathable, I did notice that some of the holes did overlap, meaning one could see straight into the shoe.
This was most evident on the medial side of the left shoe and on the lateral side of the right shoe, basically resulting in asymmetric and an unmatched pair.
While not a major issue, it did make me wonder if I had a rogue pair. In practice, it just means your bright colored socks (if you’re so inclined) would show through on the right half of both shoes!
The other notable feature – and much more important – is the medial posting of the dual density midsole.
Dual density midsole support
A key feature of any support shoe is the support on the medial side to prevent pronation of the foot and on 860 v9 this is achieved by a wedge of firmer midsole material which runs underneath the midfoot through to the middle of the heel area.
In the photo below it shows up as the area with “marbled” pattern in the midsole. A third notable feature of the shoe is the T-Beam, a TPU shank which sits midfoot and ostensibly provides both rigidity and flexibility.
The midfoot T-Beam
Very little is available both on New Balance website and elsewhere explaining the technology, but one can only surmise that the feature adds to the stiff feel of the shoe (while also providing torsional strength).
But many other support shoes have similar features, including Asics Gel Kayano 25, which has the Guidance Trusstic System.
Fit and sizing
On foot, my UK size 10 (US 10.5, EUR 44.5) felt immediately comfortable, roomy but not too much so and with the right amount of snugness. As I am EUR 44.5 in most running shoes, I would say these are “true to size.”
Great fit, sizing and looks
As mentioned above, the toe box area comes with perforations on both of the layers of the upper, making 860 v9 very breathable. Almost to a fault, since on colder days, your feet will certainly feel the coldness, right through to the end of the run.
Both the heel padding and tongue are generous without being obtrusive.
In sum, 860 v9 is a very comfortable shoe right out of the box and the fit only seemed to improve over subsequent runs.
On the road
The ride of 860 v9 is on the firm side and quite responsive, but not as firm as, say, 1080 v8 with its Fresh Foam.
Perhaps in a key distinction with Fresh Foam, which we know is higher energy return, 860 v9 seemed to soften up somewhat on subsequent runs. Very subtly, but I did sense a drop off in the firmness and along with that, some responsiveness about 150 miles in.
Of note, stability features come across as very unobtrusive, meaning the shoes are also suited for neutral runners as well as mild pronators. In this regard, the 860 v9 is very similar to Asics Gel-Kayano 25, which I also had a chance to review last year.
As mentioned above, for a shoe loaded with stability features such as medial post, dual density midsole, and T-beam, the shoes felt light, nimble, and not over-constructed in any way.
This was evident in the gait cycle, with a nice heel-toe transition that is hardly noticeable, the sign of a well-engineered shoe.
The blown rubber outsole provided more than adequate grip and felt reassuring on tarmac, wet or dry. The relative robustness of the outsole meant I could also use them on moderate trails such as dirt tracks.
Having said that, the heel cushioning is relatively substantial compared to neutral shoes and slimmer shoes designed for faster racing.
The 860 v9 for me is a very typical daily trainer for slower runs of 6-10 miles. While I would have no issues running a half marathon in them if I wasn’t out hunting for a PB, it is quite telling that I found myself reaching for them for the slower recovery jogs the day after a long run or a race.
As a shoe which accommodates heel strikers, 860 v9 is also a very comfortable shoe for walking in, and the understated black/grey colorway complements casual wear just nicely.
Lesson learnt: never judge a shoe by category or description alone – there is always room for a potential positive surprise!
|Understated colorway and styling||Unmatched toe box perforations|
|Sizing and comfortable fit||Unsuited for colder days|
|Great balance of cushioning & responsiveness|
|Not-overstructured for a stability shoe|
I’m a tall, medium build, fore-midfoot striker and I train mostly in barefoot/minimal shoes. But I’ll try anything once!
I suffered from shin splints a while back. I almost went for some stability shoes at the point in my running to try and help with my issue but ended up trying out barefoot shoes. I've never looked back.
Having said that I am always intrigued to try out stability shoes to see how I get on with them and to see if I think they’re actually any good for reducing the risk of injury. The 860 v9 seems to be halfway to an out and out stability shoe. None the less I wanted to see just how good this solid road shoe from New Balance was.
I wasn’t expecting much from these initially I have to be honest. They felt really stiff and weighty, but they didn’t half prove me wrong!
- UK11 weight 380g
- 10 mm drop
- Blown rubber outsole
- Dual density midsole
- No-sew material application
- Synthetic/mesh upper
I really like the look of the 860v9. The colours are nicely understated and they don’t seem like they’re trying too hard. Which I much prefer! I really like the embossed style 860 on the heel and the fact that there are not loads of hideous reflective strips all over the upper.
I’d happily wear these as a day to day shoe (if I didn’t already have a day to day shoe of course)!
The 860 v9 has a very breathable mesh upper. It’s comfortable and has enough given in it that it allows my feet to spread. It’s not too padded which I really like and I really like the overlays on the outside of the shoe. All in all, I really like the upper of this road shoe.
These are just, meh! Yes I know that’s not really a thing but I’m sure you get the picture. Nothing special here. Nothing bad, just nothing good. Moving on.
The 860 v9 has a very solid heel. I’m not usually a fan of this as I prefer a more flexible sock-like heel. Having said that I really like how secure I feel in these shoes. I didn’t once feel any movement and my first run in them was 13.2 miles long! Stellar performance.
Whilst more padded than I would usually like I can’t really complain too much about the collar. It’s soft and comfortable and locks my ankles firmly in place.
It does what it says on the tin really. Soft and padded enough to provide comfort across the tops of my feet yet light enough that it doesn’t add to much unnecessary weight. It also does a fine job at keeping out the crud (grit etc.. from the road).
Very little to say about in terms of safety on these stability shoes from New Balance. On the upper at least!
They have a very slight reflective N on their sides however it’s not very reflective so I don’t think it’s there to make the shoes more visible. That’s about all there is, to be honest. More on ‘safety’ in the next section.
The 860 v9 has a very flat sole. It is clearly aimed towards road use however it seems suitable for use on some light trails and gravel tracks too.
There’s something called a T-Beam moulded into the midsole.
New Balance says that this technology “features a lightweight, flexible TPU shank designed to deliver greatly enhanced torsional stability and arch support. This is achieved through a unique central beam structure.”
I’m not completely sure what that means but I think it could be why the shoe feels a stiff in the sole as it does. Usually, I’d say the more flexible the better, but for some reason, the 860 v9 feels great because it’s so solid.
This is where this shoe really, really shines. What New balance has done with the midsole on the 890v9 is something else!
The inner edge of the midsole is stuffed with not only a harder compound of foam but more of it too, look at the photos below. You can visibly see the height difference. This means it’s virtually impossible for your ankle to roll inward too far and cause an injury. It’s brilliant!
100 times better than the technology used on the Kayano 25!
From the best feature to the worst. This shoe is not flexible.
I mean it doesn’t try to be or claim to be. It almost makes not being flexible a plus point. But for me, it never will be. I had to push pretty hard to get the toe to flex. Better than some, worse than most.
Designed for the road the 860 tread isn’t aggressive at all. It is however very durable.
When I checked the bottom of these beasts after my first run I honestly couldn’t see any wear. None! This is a first for me as I usually wear the outside of the midfoot on most of my shoes very quickly. More plus points to New Balance!
Grippy enough for roads in all conditions. It does pretty well on the light trail too. I can’t fault it! Hard wearing and grippy. What more could you ask for?!
Fit & Comfort
I can’t really stress this enough, these shoes are really comfortable. One thing that let them down slightly is that they did seem slightly too small. I’d probably suggest going a half size bigger in these than usual but it wasn’t a killer, just marginally too close on the toes of my bigger foot.
There’s not a tonne of arch support unlike other stability shoes or even conventional running shoes for that matter. This is a welcome surprise and it certainly doesn’t limit the 860 in any way. It makes them far more comfortable!
Other than this they’re pretty great! They hug my feet at the same time as locking them down. It’s a win-win.
The toe box is adequate, though not the roomiest. I’d prefer a bit more space in there though I didn’t feel overly constricted.
I didn’t get any toe pain on any of my runs which is a good sign and the upper material provides enough flex that my feet could splay a bit more than in other conventional shoes.
As I mentioned in the heel counter section, the heel on the 860 v9 is great. More structure than I would usually like but I can’t knock it for comfort or performance. No heel pain whatsoever!
I’d say that the focus for these road shoes was longer distance runs. You’re not going to break any speed records in them anyway, let’s just say that.
They perform admirably over most distances but I really enjoyed running in them at slow paces for long runs. My first 13.2 mile run in them was brilliant.
I didn’t notice their weight whilst running and actually think that they helped me to maintain a good steady pace. It’s hard to explain but perhaps the technologies built into the 860 v9 really do work!
- On road
Ideal for the road, the flatter the better but they can cope with pretty much anything and any weather. Top scores!
- Off road
If you’re looking to hit some light trails and paths these are fine. Though they certainly shouldn’t be your first pick. You’d be much better off with a dedicated trail shoe like something from Inov8 for example.
- For speed
No, no, no!
- For distance
Great! I could run in these all day long and still keep going. I’m not sure if I’ve run in a shoe that’s better suited to long slow runs as these before!
- Brilliant technology
- No gimmicks
- Highly Comfortable
- Quite a lot of padding
- Not very flexible
- Slightly undersized
Dear New Balance
The technology in the 860 v9 is without a doubt the best I have come across for stability shoes. One thing that I would love to see would be a racing version of this shoe with all the padding stripped out, a flatter sole but the same great midsole technology. That would be something else.
New Balance has managed to create a stability shoe that bucks the trend of stability shoes. The arch isn’t overly intrusive, it’s not too heavy, it doesn’t try to force you to run in a certain way, it’s not painful to run in.
It quietly does it’s a thing and it does it brilliantly. I really can’t rate these shoes highly enough. If you’re looking for a stability shoe, look no further!!
New Balance 860 v9 is the successor of v8 and it is a stability and cushioning shoe ideal for everyday running on hard surfaces.
The upper mesh is very soft, and it leaves plenty of room for your toes. However, the latter feature is often a double edge sword, because sometimes more room means also chafing.
It didn’t happen in my case and I think for most feet there would not be any problems of this kind, so you can enjoy the extra room.
Outer sole, transition, and support
Compared to its predecessor, New Balance has done a big step ahead. The outer sole might feel very rigid, but after a few runs it becomes softer, also on top of it it has a very pleasant cushioning.
Again, compared to v8, the transaction is very smooth, v8 had fairly cumbersome stability support compared to v9.
Workouts and surfaces
If you live in a city and need a supportive and protective shoe, with the majority of your miles on hard surfaces, like road or footpath, 860 v9 is a very good choice.
860 v9 as the whole series is not conceived as a fast shoe, so for fast and race days, it might not be the best choice unless you do not fancy to rotate your shoes.
860 v9 instead can be a very good companion for your long runs and easy paced runs.
860 v9 is not a light shoe, the weight of a UK 7 is 289g, but I don’t think it matters much because if you are considering 860 series you do not care much about lightness, but you are more concerned about cushioning and stability which are two great features of this model.
The fit is true to size and it reflects all other New Balance models fits. So, if you already own a different model from NB, just go for the same size without too many thoughts.
Also under the design point of view, New Balance has done a big step ahead. The model that I got does not have a super captivating look. But compared to its previous version I really loved them. I like them in black and in general the color choice for the new series.
Also, one thing to mention is that the New Balance logo is reflective, so it can be useful for those who do their runs when dark.
I think 860 v9 is overall a good compromise which does not lack in anything.
For example, compared to Nike Structure they are softer, I would go for Nike Structure only for the look and if would like to have a shoe which leaves a lighter feeling. However, I would not be surprised if you find 860 v9 more comforting than Nike Structure, that is exactly what happens to me.
While I would go for Mizuno Inspire only if you need even more room for your toes and a firmer ride.
Instead, the choice between Saucony Guide, Brooks Ravenna, and New Balance 860 v9 can be completely based on your personal reasons, those three shoes look very close under all points of view for what I tried.
A good alternative for rotation on faster days is NB 1500, it is another stability model from the American manufacturer, it is much lighter and suitable for faster paces, but you lose a bit of cushioning.
- Stability support less cumbersome than its predecessor, but not at cost of less stability
- Look and design
- Good cushioning
- Not the lightest shoe
New Balance 860 v9 is one of the best choices in the segment of stability shoes for everyday running. Look and design is captivating enough, and with no compromises in cushioning and comfort.
Here we are with version 9 of New Balance’s popular 860 running shoe. I have not tried any of versions 1 to 8, so I did not know what to expect when I first put them on.
I figured they were a distance training shoes so I thought they would be well padded and comfortable but likely to be a bit heavier than my normal choice of running shoe. I think the Asics Gel Kayano 25 and the Mizuno Wave Inspire 13 are the closest shoes I have tried, so they will be my reference point.
First up, the 860 only seem to come in two colors – black with magnet and petrol with flame. Not as bright as I would ideally choose but the black and magnet pair I was sent to try to look fairly smart without attracting too much attention.
They look well proportioned, not too chunky and rather understated. The single mesh upper is well made, and there is plenty of padding around the tongue and collar. They are comfortable straight away and feel a bit lighter than expected.
To be clear, they are not a stripped down racer, but they did feel lighter than the Asics Kayanos which have a similar weight of 325g. This was an early bonus as I did not feel they were going to slow me down as much I had anticipated.
How do they feel?
The 860 are marketed as a responsive, cushioned and supportive shoe, and they fit that description well. There is a substantial midsole with two layers of foam that absorbs bumps and shocks well - meaning no leg soreness even on longer runs.
They do not feel overly soft or wallow and give you just enough feeling to tell what is going on beneath your feet. There is something called a supportive medial post providing support for overpronators which works well.
They felt stable with no feeling of rolling inwards that I sometimes get. They would be ideal for longer runs for neutral and overpronating runners alike.
The mesh upper is a bit different compared to most distance shoes I have tried in the past. The upper is super soft and flexible and cossets your feet without ever pinching or feeling tight.
Despite this, my feet felt securely held in place from the first run and were never anything but comfortable. There is a heel grip which helps to keep your feet in place without ever being noticeable.
The mesh helps to keep your feet cool as well. As you can see from the picture, the mesh stretches when you put the 860 on. This may not be ideal for the cold, wet winter months but is great for warmer days.
Collar & tongue
The collar and tongue are well padded without feeling like slippers. The padding is light which helps to keep your feet cool and also keeps the weight down. This makes a big difference in terms of comfort and fatigue.
The 860 may not feel like they will last forever as the Kayano 25, but to me, they feel easier to run in. It's a sort of halfway point between a racer and a distance shoe filling a welcome hole in my shoe collection.
Sizing is as expected. I am a UK 10.5 in the majority of running shoes, and the 860 were no exception.
Sole & grip
The sole and grip work fine on the 860. I cannot comment yet on durability, but so far so good. I have had no issues with the grip, and the T beam plate does a good job of providing rigidity beneath the midfoot.
This does restrict the flexibility a bit but not enough to be a problem. The sole run up a bit at the front to offer a small amount of protection, but I don’t think they are designed to face the worst of the British weather.
I won’t be going off-road in them either as the grip is definitely best suited to pavements.
The 860 is a great shoe for medium training runs and a half or even full marathons. They are comfortable straight away, don’t overheat, are well cushioned and provide support for pronators.
They are subtle and don’t do one thing amazingly well, but I think I will find myself coming back to them when I want to head out on a run without a set distance in mind. I feel like they will never let me down or negatively affect a run but will do their job without me noticing.
Their discrete styling also means they could be worn casually if needed. For me, the 860 is a dependable shoe. A big thank you to New Balance for sending me these shoes to test.
Looks and feels good – the color is subtle, without being too bright and without being monotone. As a runner who looks for support, these shoes look like they will provide both stability and comfort.
I previously had the 860v7, and these feel more comfortable in comparison. I also really like the color!
Upper & comfortability (Design)
One of the first things I noticed about these shoes when using them, is that they offer an engineered upper mesh that provides breathability. I found this was of particular importance when going for a run in all types of weather, as they dry quickly after a wet run.
However, with the recent colder weather we have had, they could potentially be a little cooler to run in. Although your feet should warm up fairly quickly! They are flexible and fit around the foot snugly, but I do feel like a little tighter than the 860 v7, but this may be just as a new shoe they have not had chance to loosen up yet.
They also provide midfoot support, as did the 860 v7, which is of particular importance for me as a runner who overpronates, and with flat feet. With previous shoes, I have found the midfoot support not to be as sufficient, and have ended up with large blisters on the inside of my foot.
I have also ended up with shin splints which I believe could be a cause of the lack of midfoot support in other shoes. I took these out on a 12-mile run to wear them in (silly I know!), but they did not cause me any blisters at all which I was very happy with.
This may be because my foot has grown used to the shape of my 860 v7 and the shape of the 860 v9 is pretty similar. You can see from the following photo as well that the logo on the tongue has a section to thread the laces through – which is just a nice looking touch.
At 272.5g, these are definitely lighter than my 860 v7, and I can feel the difference. It is nicer to run in a lighter shoe, but still, feel that the comfort is being provided.
Although these are made for road running, I have sometimes taken them off-road, and they do cope very well. However, I would only take them for mild trails, as they don’t provide the support you need from a proper trail shoe especially in muddy conditions!
Due to the cushioning technology, the shoe is very adaptable to different foot shapes, so I would say would suit all foot types. I have flat, fairly wide feet and these supported me extremely well.
The shoes do come in narrow, medium, wide and extra wide, so New Balance has really catered for all foot widths here.
Midsole, outsole & cushioning
These shoes use TRUFUSE cushioning technology, combined with ACTEVA and ABZORB foam. New Balance state that this provides the ideal balance for cushioning and support and I can concur with this.
There is also a T-BEAM which provides a foundation to the shoe and saves the runner from strain when taking each step. Although these felt lighter and thinner than my previous running shoe, I felt supported, and I think this was due to the foam, providing a bounce back for my feet.
The medial side of the platform has the stability post, and as I suffer from overpronation, it is really important to me that a shoe provides this support in this way. Having previously suffered from occasional pain in my shins, I am not experiencing any pain in my shins following my upgrade from 860 v7 to v9.
The heel to toe drop at 10mm is the same as the 860 v7 so didn’t take a lot to get used to from running in these. The shoes have a blown rubber compound which in the outsole.
When doing research, I have found out a blown rubber compound is normally only used for optimum performance in running shoes as it is lightweight and has good physical properties decreasing the impact the run has on your foot.
At around 140 miles usage, the midsole, outsole and cushioning are performing well. I have been comfortable with taking these shoes out on consecutive days, as the midsole cushioning has been supportive and hasn’t seemed to reduce with repetitive compression through running.
However, as I am now training for the marathon, I am beginning to think that I should have two pairs of road running shoes and alternate these, just so the cushioning in the shoes can recover itself. Without being able to compare though I wouldn’t be able to say that the 860 v9s would provide more cushioning if not used on consecutive days.
The forefoot section has flex grooves, which are to help the runner with toe off, and as I am in the transition to forefoot running for the duration of short runs, this is very helpful.
The picture below shows how the outsole has begun to wear down at the front and inside of the shoe after 70 miles, however, it is only ever so slight. It is not much different at 140 miles. I can only assume that the shoe is helping me stop overpronating, which is what I bought them for!
The New Balance 860 v9 come in 3 different colors - the blue and pink, grey and pink and black. The variation on colors isn't extensive, and personally, I am not a fan of black running shoes, but I love the pale, but fresh pastel color that I chose.
- Very comfortable
- Great stability and support
- Reduction of blisters
- Dry quickly
- Cushioning is snug
- Slightly expensive
- Limited color
After running in 860 v7 for a while now, I had always replaced my 860 v7 with another pair. I wanted to give the 860 v9 a chance as this is two versions up from the 7’s - and actually, they are a similar price.
Although I haven’t found a huge difference in the v9 compared with the 7, they are noticeably more comfortable, and lighter, and this, in turn, is helping me with forefoot running and giving me a more enjoyable run.
I don’t know whether New Balance has made significant improvements from the v8 as I have never tried it. I would definitely recommend these shoes to anyone who requires extra support but still needs a lighter shoe, and one that will support you over longer distances.
I have used these shoes to run regular 5km park runs all the way up to half marathons, and they have held up extremely well. They are towards the higher price range for comparable shoes, but as I need a shoe with stability, I, unfortunately, have to put up with higher prices for running shoes. It is a good all-around shoe for overpronators, and the color is lovely to top it off!
Good to know
- Stabilizing overpronated foot motion is the purpose of the New Balance 860 v9. This road-companion retains most of the designs of the previous iteration, save for a redesigned upper that focuses more on the use of tightly woven sections than printed overlays.
- The outsole unit of the 860 v9 uses two rubber compounds: abrasion-resistant Ndurance for the high-wear areas and blown rubber in the forefoot for propulsion.
- Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of the TruFuse midsole, a one-piece unit that came from the amalgamation of two foam compounds. This full-length technology offers flexible and responsive performances on the asphalt. Anti-pronation is provided by a stability post that is integrated into the medial side of this stability running shoe’s platform.
The forefoot section of the New Balance 860 v9’s outsole unit is composed of blown rubber. This material protects against abrasion, yet it also provides surface control. It also has a spongy nature which means that it offers extra cushioning and responsiveness. This material is also used in popular NB shoes.
The high-wear areas of the heel and forefoot are layered with Ndurance™ rubber, a durable and abrasion-resistant material that is able to protect against wear-and-tear. The extra-robust nature of Ndurance™ allows the external pad to be efficient at doling out traction for a long time.
Flex grooves in the forefoot section are meant to make the platform more flexible. These trenches are helpful during the toe-off, a stage that encompasses the bending of the toe joints. A flexible underfoot platform translates to an energized and well-rounded step.
The deconstructed heel is a design element that involves the separation of the crash pad from the rest of the platform. Such a configuration isolates the impact forces to the initial contact point while also heightening flexibility.
The TruFuse technology is a full-length unit that offers cushioning and reactive steps. It is composed of a mixture of two proprietary components: ACTEVA and ABZORB. The firm-on-top-and-soft-at-the-bottom approach of this feature aims to deliver constant comfort throughout the run.
The medial side of the platform has a stability post. This wedged-in piece is tasked with correcting overpronation. It fundamentally acts as a foundation for the arch of the foot. Being supported permits the foot to neutralize pronation, thus stabilizing the gait and preventing unsavory injuries.
The T-BEAM technology is comprised of a thermoplastic unit in the midfoot section that serves as a supportive plinth. It props the tendons and muscles of the foot-pad, saving them from strain when taking each step.
A breathable, cloth-like mesh serves as the upper unit of the New Balance 860 v9. This form-fitting textile provides a wrap that is snug yet unrestrictive. It has open holes on the forefoot for airflow. The sides have a more closed construction to contribute to a secure fit.
Thin, printed overlays guard the instep and the throat of the upper. These add-ons place a bit more health to the structural integrity and sturdiness of the materials. They also help with foot security because they assist the fabrics and the lacing system in customizing the fit.
A traditional lacing system graces this stability shoe. Semi-flat laces snake through discreet eyelets, and they cover the majority of the bridge. Adjusting the tightness or looseness of the fit becomes effortless because of this feature.
A lace-anchor stabilizes the tongue unit of this product. It is basically another loop through which the laces go. The resulting device prevents tongue deviation, thus maintaining an irritant-free shoe-hug.
The tongue and collar are padded. These parts of the shoe are designed to cushion the ankles, the Achilles tendon, and the instep. They also prevent in-shoe quivering during the run while also staving off impact shock during each footfall.
An external counter is placed on the heel section. The purpose of this fused inclusion is to hold the back of the foot in place and prevent accidental shoe removals. The ‘860’ branding is emblazoned on it.
Asics Gel Kayano
The Gel Kayano series is one of the premier Asics stability running shoes designed for overpronators that are neophyte runners or aspiring athletes. But this line of footwear has also endured contests and speed training sessions. Its versatility is one of the hallmark aspects that allow this family to thrive over the years. Though most of the Kayano shoes look visually identical to each other, the changes lie in the midsole as increments of 3 or 4 versions change foam compositions or number of features. The stability mechanism that links these shoes together is the DuoMax™, a dual-density wedge that is placed in the medial side of the platform.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
The Adrenaline GTS family of anti-pronation shoes is known for the lightweight builds of its products. The midsole units of these shoes feature a bevy of technologies that aim to maintain comfort give a customized in-shoe feel. DNA foam (and its variations) is a full-length unit that accommodates the natural curves of the underfoot, thereby ensuring support for the arch and other crevices. Prior Adrenalines like the Adrenaline GTS 17 and the Adrenaline GTS 18 utilize the DRB Accel thermoplastic piece and Progressive Diagonal Roll Bar® to correct pronation. The Adrenaline GTS 19 takes a step forward as it uses the GuideRails Holistic Support System which brings stability to the entire foot, not only the medial section.
Nike Air Zoom Structure
The Air Zoom Structure group of stability shoes has enjoyed being the go-to for many consumers. The long-running history of this series is proof that the market has gotten used to the existence of anti-pronation products from Nike. The affordable prices, the dual-density midsole configuration, the inclusion of Zoom Air cassettes in the forefoot section of the platform, and the highly appealing façades became the selling points. User feedback hasn’t been very consistent as the iterations rolled out, but the Structures are still considered to be approachable footwear to combat overpronation.
Mizuno Wave Inspire
Mizuno’s most revered line of stability shoes, the Wave Inspire, has dutifully made its rounds as a reliable option for those who want to perform well on the roads. The brand’s signature Wave Technology (in this case, the double fan wave) is the element that neutralizes flat-arch structures. This thermoplastic wedge is also tasked with steadying the foot in the interior chamber and attenuating impact shock during the landing phase. It works together with the foam technologies of the platform to deliver a stable yet reactive ride.