New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11 review
- Excellent stability shoe
- Good lacing
- Looks the part
- Consistent ride in any condition
- Good grip
- Perfect daily runner
- Runs half a size small
- Heel counter not for everyone
- Quite heavy
79% say it's true to size.
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New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11 review and lab test
The 860 v11 is a strong, supportive stability shoe that offers a lot of underfoot cushioning and plenty of correction for overpronators.
If you’re someone who needs a reliable shoe to help your form, this is an amazing option.
Who the shoe is for
The New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11 is for the road runner that needs extra stability to help fix problems of overpronation. Made specifically as a daily trainer the shoe has a plushy midsole to help rack up lots of miles over training weeks comfortably.
Who the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 is not for
It’s probably best to avoid the 860 if:
- You are a neutral runner, something like the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11 is a better option
- You want to run fast, you’re better off with a race-specific shoe like the New Balance 1500 v6
A fresh heel design
If it wasn’t obvious, the 860 v11 is the 11th iteration of the New Balance 860, and aside from the Fresh Foam midsole, the other glaring difference is the flared, sculpted heel counter.
Made to both help with putting on the shoe and create a strong lockdown in the heel, the 860s heel is hit or miss. For many, the significant cup in the heel offers a huge surface area to keep the heel in place.
For many others, myself included, the shape of that cup doesn’t match up with the shape of my heel, meaning the lockdown is worse than a traditional heel counter.
Unless you’ve tried these on, or a similar shoe design like the 1080 v11, it would be impossible to know whether you’re going to struggle or not in these.
Go half a size up for the New Balance 860 v11
Through experience, I almost always order a half size up in any New Balance running shoe from my regular size US 10. The 860s were no different.
Moreover, they’re a tiny bit narrow, which might be down to the elastic knit upper, which I otherwise quite like.
A great looking upper
As I said, the upper is a nice, eye-catching design on the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11. With a sock-like design to the forefoot and a synthetic material covering the molded heel.
I particularly like the continuation of the midsole design up into the heel counter.
The New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11 stay classic in the lacing
One thing I really appreciate about this stability shoe is the fact that New Balance hasn’t changed anything that they didn’t feel they needed to.
Although it looks like a new design, and there’s upgraded foam in the midsole, the 860 has kept the same classic lacing system. No speed lacing, just good quality laces long enough to fit through the extra eyelet in the upper.
Fresh foam isn’t too noticeable
Between the 860 v10 and the 860 v11, New Balance seemed really excited about their new Fresh foam midsole. So excited that they put it in the title.
There’s a fair amount of foam in the shoe as well, with a stack height of 21.8mm in the forefoot and 34.2mm in the heel, there’s a lot of foam between your foot and the road.
I’m pretty sure some people are not going to like how it feels though. Even though there’s a lot of padding, it feels a bit hard, and not as plush as many would like.
While not the plushiest shoe out there, the New Balance Fresh Foam offers an ultra-consistent ride day in day out. What’s more is that the durometer only saw a 12% increase after sitting in the lab freezer, meaning this shoe doesn’t change much in ground feel whatever the condition.
Noticeable stabilizing in the Fresh Foam 860 v11
As with the lacing, New Balance has taken an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to their stability. There’s a medial post in the midsole, which helps push the inner side of your foot back out when it collapses in.
There’s also a dual-density foam fused the upper which works a bit like the bumper system in Brooks stability shoes to help guide your foot straight.
This is a pretty classic way of fixing overpronation, but it does work. This is probably one of the most controlling shoes that I’ve run in because of that large inner post system.
The 860 v11 grips anything
There’s a chunky amount of rubber on the outsole of the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11, which is great for pretty much any surface I ran on.
Alongside the consistent feel, this outsole really staples the shoe as an all-day any-day trainer.
Definitely not a racing shoe
Thanks to all that dense foam, the medial post, and the anti-minimalist heel counter, the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11 doesn’t come in a lightweight package at 11.2oz (317g) there’s no escaping the weight of this shoe.
Thankfully this isn’t meant to outpace anyone, the 860 v11 is meant to help build a consistent running routine that protects their joints and keeps you going. I felt that I could run all day in these without having to stick my feet, ankles, and knees in an ice bath for weeks after, and that’s something special.
The New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v11 tries to break out from the silhouettes of 860s past, and it sure does. While that might not be right for every runner, when the shoe fits it’s a dream to run in.
With tried and tested pronation correction from a useful medial post and dual-density midsole, the 860 is a brilliant choice to help with your running technique.
Complete lab-specs overview
|Flexibility of the shoe (N)||
|Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N)||33.8||48|
|Flexibility of the shoe (% of change)||21.6||34.1|
|Lace slip test with the knot (N)||12.3||24|
|Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||3.0||3.2|
|Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||3.0||3.4|
|Thickness - Tongue (mm)||10.28||6.2|
|Width Upper - Forefoot (mm)||98.9||98.7|
|Width Upper - Heel (mm)||79.8||82.5|
|Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy)||4.0||2.7|
|Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||3.0||3.0|
|Tongue: gusset type||Yes||-|
|Heel: pull tab||None||-|
|Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm)||112.3||112.2|
|Width Midsole - Heel (mm)||86.5||89.0|
|Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm)||21.8||24.2|
|Stack - Heel with insole (mm)||34.2||32.6|
|Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA)||41.8||26.0|
|Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm)||4.5||3.7|
|Lugs Depth (mm)||N/A||3.3|
|Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC)||86.8||81.1|
|Insole Heel Thickness (mm)||5.1||4.3|