Our verdict

The New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 emerges as an interesting choice in the evolving landscape of mild-stability shoes—packed with modern features like a EVA plate and unobtrusive support that might let down those needing serious stability, yet it offers a remarkably comfy yet supportive ride. In our view it still needs another diet, and with its 6 mm drop and current dimensions, we believe it’s better suited for forefoot and midfoot strikers.

Pros

  • Flexible design
  • Comfortable, high-quality upper
  • Exceptional durability
  • Perfect for easy paces
  • Also suitable for neutral runners
  • Excellent for long runs
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Noticeably heavy
  • Limited breathability
  • Not the best for heel strikers

Audience verdict

90
Superb!

Who should buy

We're convinced that the New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 stands out as an excellent running shoe for:

  • Runners with mild pronation looking for exceptional cushioning.
  • Fans of the New Balance 1080 series seeking added support.
  • Forefoot and midfoot strikers needing a stable, durable shoe.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6

Who should NOT buy

We're under the impression that the New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6, while a solid shoe, may not completely satisfy those loyal to its earlier versions due to its revamped features—including a novel EVA plate. For those seeking a traditional stability experience with a single layer of foam and no plates, we highly recommend the ASICS Gel Kayano 30.

Furthermore, we've noted that the Vongo v6's weight, exceeding 10 ounces, could be a deterrent for runners prioritising a lightweight ride. In this case, we suggest considering the Hoka Arahi 7 for its exceptionally light build or the Saucony Guide 17 for outstanding balance and support.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 parts

Breathability

At first look, it appeared to us that New Balance designed the Vongo v6 with an abundance of ventilation holes. However, our practical tests using a smoke-pumping machine were underwhelming, and lead us to assign a disappointing rating of just 1 out of 5.

When we shone a light through the shoe, we discovered a thick engineered knit.

Curious about this, we turned to our microscope for a closer examination.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 microscope

Here, we confirmed the exceptionally thick knit material. While this upper offers incredible comfort and is ideal for cooler conditions, we think it's less suitable for warmer weather.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 knit

Our evaluation also revealed that the upper part of the shoe snugly wraps around the foot, providing stretch and comfort with a feel of high-quality material.

Nonetheless, it clearly lacks in terms of ventilation, as previously demonstrated. From our perspective, there is significant potential for enhancing airflow in the Vongo v7.

Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 1
Average 3.8
Compared to 226 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

In our lab tests, knit uppers usually don't fare well against the rigorous Dremel challenge—however, the Vongo v6 was a standout exception.

Impressively, it sustained minimal damage and earned a good score of 3/5 from us, a remarkable achievement for such a soft, engineered knit upper.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Toebox durability
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 3
Average 2.4
Compared to 160 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

During our second rigorous Dremel test, we put the Vongo's heel padding to the test—an area that often wears out quickly for many runners.

Impressively, the heel padding showed remarkable resilience, scoring a strong 4/5. This result equals robust protection that can withstand even the roughest socks, highlighting an improvement in durability over the toebox.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Heel padding durability
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 4
Average 3.1
Compared to 156 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Our initial satisfaction from previous tests was high, but we knew the outsole, particularly critical in a stability shoe, needed thorough scrutiny. Thus, we embarked on our series of rigorous tests in this area.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 outsole

The rubber coverage is great, incorporating numerous grooves to boost flexibility.

The first test, always the quickest, gives us the hardness value. Employing a Shore C durometer, we determined that New Balance uses a hard 86.5-HC rubber for the outsole. This choice aims to reduce wear significantly, though it may slightly compromise grip in certain conditions.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Outsole hardness
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 86.5 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 277 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

Next, we put the blown rubber to the test with our Dremel, exerting more speed (10K RPM) and duration than used on the shoe's upper—necessary given the material's toughness.

The outsole showed a minimal wear of only 0.7 mm, affirming its durability. Even for runners who pronate heavily, this outsole promises long-lasting performance without wearing down quickly.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Outsole durability
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 0.7 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 138 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

To boost even more its durability, New Balance has generously incorporated 3.5 mm of rubber in the Vongo v6.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Outsole thickness
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 3.5 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Right out of the box—and on our first run with the Vongo v6—we couldn't ignore its weight. Tipping the scales at 11.0 oz or 312g, it's clearly not aiming for the lightweight stability shoe category.

For those unconcerned with a heavier shoe, the Vongo v6 excels in nearly every other department. However, for runners for whom weight is a critical factor, this could be a deal breaker.

Oh, and we really believe New Balance has the capability to reduce the weight in future iterations of the Vongo to under 10 ounces—so we certainly hope they will.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Weight
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 11.01 oz (312g)
Average 9.35 oz (265g)
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Boasting a substantial 36.1 mm heel height, the Vongo v6 now firmly stands in the max-stack category of stability shoes.

This thick cushioning, we feel, is New's Balance's effort to cater to runners across the whole weight spectrum, including those on the heavier side.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Heel stack
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 36.1 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot is exceptionally cushioned too, exceeding the 30-mm mark, ensuring that forefoot and midfoot strikers have ample foam for a comfortable and luxurious ride.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Forefoot stack
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 30.5 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

New Balance advertises the Vongo v6 as having a moderate 6-mm drop, and our precise measurements, in accordance with World Athletics guidelines, showed a slight deviation at 5.6 mm.

This small discrepancy is likely just a result of manufacturing variations or the natural compression of the foam after our test runs. Absolutely nothing to worry about.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Drop
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 5.6 mm
Average 8.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

We found that the 4.9 mm thick insole significantly enhances the softness of the ride.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Insole thickness
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 4.9 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

We're back to the midsole, and there's a lot to unpack. New Balance has shifted from a single-slab, simple layer of Fresh Foam X to a dual-density midsole with a plate in between.

For us, the primary layer is the one closest to the ground. We discovered that New Balance tweaked the Fresh Foam X formulation, making it almost twice as firm as their neutral running shoes. Our durometer reading was 18.9 HA, indicating that the ride is still somewhat plush but not overly soft like a 1080 v13.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Midsole softness
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 18.9 HA
Average 21.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 224 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The other layer of Fresh Foam X is closer to the feet, and here, New Balance has used a bit less density to achieve a softer feel (15.8 HA), which makes sense. We believe that in a stability shoe, the right approach is this—a softer layer near the feet for comfort and a firmer layer closer to the ground for stability.

With that said, don't expect the ride to be ultra-stable like in hard-like-a-brick shoes. In running shoes, there are always trade-offs, and this is one of those.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 15.8 HA
Average 25.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Our 20-minute freezer test showed that the EVA midsole hardened by 27.1%, which is a decent outcome. This demonstrates how well the midsole retains its softness even in coldest conditions. 

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 27.1%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 223 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Plate

One of the standout features of the Vongo v6 is the black "EVA film" plate sandwiched between the two layers of Fresh Foam X.

We found it to be a super-thin, 1.5 mm plate made from rock-hard EVA that acts as a stabilising agent without adding too much longitudinal stiffness. And it works wonders in this all-new Vongo design.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Plate

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Vongo has traditionally been a stability shoe within the New Balance range, yet here from the lab, the distinction between neutral trainers and mild-stability footwear is increasingly blurring. This trend is evident with the Vongo v6, which perfectly suits neutral runners while still offering adequate support for those with low to moderate stability needs.

However, for those with more pronounced pronation issues, while the Vongo might suffice, we believe opting for a stiffer, dedicated stability shoe like the Hoka Gaviota 5 is a smarter choice.

Torsional rigidity

We discovered that the Vongo v6 offers exceptional comfort underfoot, largely because it features less torsional rigidity than typical stability shoes, scoring a moderate, daily-trainer-like 3/5 in our evaluations.

Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We tested the stiffness of the heel counter and discovered that New Balance has strategically increased its rigidity to enhance stability, particularly benefiting heel strikers.

We rate this feature a solid 4/5—it appears to be a smart adjustment for the Vongo based on our knowledge.

Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 4
Average 2.8
Compared to 259 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

With a moderate 6-mm drop and substantial cushioning under the forefoot, New Balance had to ensure ample width to prevent lateral foot collapse.

We measured the forefoot at its widest point—118.3 mm—and were pleased with the generous design.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 118.3 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel width of 91.7 mm doesn't feel as substantial compared to other competitors, aligning more with the dimensions of an average trainer. This dimension suggests that with its moderate drop, the shoe primarily supports midfoot strikers rather than heel strikers.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 91.7 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Stability shoes are usually very rigid, but we knew from the start that New Balance aimed to make this shoe as flexible as possible to keep it comfortable in various activities and easy runs. The outsole grooves, the plastic plate instead of a rigid one, and the midsole design all contribute to creating a flexible stability shoe.

We found that they succeeded. With a flexibility rating of 22.8N, it’s even less stiff than some neutral daily trainers like the ASICS Novablast 4.

Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 22.8N
Average 29.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 279 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

In cooler conditions, the Fresh Foam X midsole performs admirably, stiffening by only 18.8%. This is impressive for an EVA-based foam, showcasing its ability to maintain a consistent feel even in lower temperatures, like with the previous midsole softness test.

Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 18.8%
Average 36.2%
Compared to 279 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The Vongo v6 follows the 1080 design and offers a comfortable fit that's slightly roomier than standard at 100.0 mm in the widest part of the upper. We believe that this ensures a great fit for most runners right out of the box, even for those with slightly wide feet.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 100.0 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We measured the big toe area to assess the toe cap's space. With a measurement of 78.9 mm, it aligns with our previous findings.

Overall, it's slightly wider than many other running shoes, but in standard width, it doesn’t qualify as a super-wide option for us based on these measurements. However, good news is that New Balance also offers this shoe in a wide size option in most countries.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 78.9 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 171 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue features a semi-gusseted design, meaning it's partially attached to the shoe's sides. This addition enhances the lockdown and stops the tongue from sliding sideways, providing a more stable fit.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

Our testing revealed that the tongue is padded with a generous 7.7 mm of cushioning.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 tongue

We discovered that New Balance has omitted the tongue loop, a feature typically used to enhance lockdown. At least it's fixed to the sides!

This exceeds the usual padding found in many shoes, although some may still want a bit more, given the shoe's emphasis on comfort. Nevertheless, we consider this design a wise balance—it offers sufficient padding to enhance comfort without adding unnecessary weight. And this shoe is already quite heavy...

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Tongue padding
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 7.7 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 294 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

The Vongo v6 lacks the finger-loop heel tab found on many other shoes; however, it features an extended and ultra-padded heel collar.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Heel tab
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Extended heel collar

Removable insole

The insole isn't fixed with adhesive, which we applaud. This design allows for effortless swapping with custom orthotics or third-party insoles!

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Removable insole
Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

In this review, we've highlighted similarities between the Vongo v6 and the 1080 v13, and one standout common feature is the large reflective N logo. We love it!

Test results
Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Yes