New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 Review

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$149.95See Deal
Custom Store Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Our Conclusion
The New Balance 860v11 has the heart of a stability trainer with a sleek and modern style of a neutral runner. What I love most about this shoe is that it helps to support and cushion your feet without that heavy and blocky style of most stability trainers. The midsole is composed of Fresh Foam X, which is New Balance’s latest innovation in midsole cushioning. It won’t give you that bouncy step-in feel when you first slip it on but will give you excellent stability and shock-absorption when you start to move through your gait cycle.

Unlike other stability trainers, this midsole is just as supportive at mile 5 as it is at mile 1. I love the unique styling of the upper that looks more modern and stylish, and also works to really lock your foot in place as you start to move. For easy tempo runs or long distances, this is one of your best options.

Below, I wanted to dive deep into all of the advanced features that make the New Balance 860v11 worth checking out!
Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$149.95See Deal
Custom Store Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons
Pros
Fresh foam X cushioning
Medial support is great for high arches
Incredibly durable
Flared heel cup provides extra ankle support
Durable rubber outsole
Cons
The midsole is a little too stiff for speed
Narrow in the midfoot
Extended break-in period
Key Features
Key Features
MIDSOLE

The biggest change made in the 860v11 is the inclusion of the Fresh Foam X in the midsole. New Balance’s latest innovation in midsole cushioning has really been making waves among the running community. While the Fresh Foam is good, Fresh Foam X is even better. This updated foam material is a little bit stiffer than basic Fresh Foam, which means that it won’t give you that plush step-in feel. However, once you start to pick up the pace, the midsole really sings. It provides excellent energy feedback throughout your entire gait cycle, and won’t flatten out into a pancake by the end of your run.

Runners also love the addition of the medial post found in the midfoot. This post gives your arches a bit of lift that may feel a little awkward at first but really helps to improve stability, help with overpronation, and limit foot fatigue when running long distances. The supportive Fresh Foam X in addition to arch support makes this stability shoe great for overpronators or those that suffer from plantar fasciitis.

UPPER

There are a few points on the upper that I wanted to dive into. This design boasts a flared heel cup, which seems to be a pretty big trend in modern running shoes. From what I have learned from runners is that you either love or hate this current trend. Personally, I love the flared heel because it provides more support to my Achilles and ankles without the need for bulky foam padding. Some runners hate it because if you have ankles that are even slightly thin or thick, these static styles will feel awkward and uncomfortable. If possible, be sure to try on these shoes before you buy them!

I also love that the upper is breathable, but not too breathable. It is composed of mesh materials that help lift hot air up and away from your feet with synthetic overlays the help promote strong lockdown. Modest breathability is perfect for me because I run 12 months out of the year where the weather swings wildly between sweltering hot to freezing cold. Paired with the right socks for the right climate, this shoe will keep your feet nice and comfortable no matter what the weather conditions are outside.

OUTSOLE

The outsole of the New Balance 860v11 isn’t breaking any molds. It’s durable, it’s made of rubber, and it offers a bit of bounce to your step. One thing worth noting, however, about the construction of this rubber outsole is that it is pretty heavy. It has a higher concentration of rubber in the heel, which adds to its overall durability. However, this higher rubber content on the heel is quite noticeable as you run through your gait cycle, which makes this trainer a little less than ideal for high speeds.

This outsole boasts modest lugs that are perfect for running on treadmills or sidewalks. It boasts a slightly tacky finish that prevents you from slipping when running on slick surfaces in the rain. Due to the shallow lugs on this design, it’s best to stick to paved surfaces and steer clear of uneven trailheads.

PERFORMANCE

At first fit, you may feel that this shoe is a little bit stiffer than you initially expected. It doesn’t have that super soft cushioned fit like you may have come to expect in a stability shoe. However, that Fresh Foam X midsole really starts to sing as you move through your gait cycle. As you run, this midsole offers excellent energy feedback that feels like you are running on mini-trampolines. Hard and unforgiving sidewalks won’t send shockwaves of pain up your legs, even when running for long distances.

Overall, I would recommend this trainer to those that like to take nice and easy tempo runs, or to those that like to put a lot of miles behind them. Due to the stiffness of the midsole, overall weight, and the stiffness of the upper, this shoe isn’t designed for high speeds. The added weight in the heel and the rigidity of the footbed will feel awkward when trying to beat your best lap record.

STYLE

Personally, I love the style of this shoe. It has the soul of a minimalistic trainer that looks sleek and modern, with the soul of a stability shoe. When shopping around for a great stability trainer, I often encounter big and clunky trainers that in no way scream ‘stylish’. The New Balance 860v11, however, is very deceptive in its appearance. It has a low profile cut with that sleek heel cup that is often only found on speed trainers, and an outsole that is sleek and slim.

If you are looking for bright and poppy colors, the color palette of the 860v11 is a little limited. It comes in basic black and shade of grey, and also includes blue, teal, as well as white. It has subtle pops of color in the trim of some of the designs, but nothing quite as punchy as some of the bright and happy colors offered by other brands such as Adidas.

PRICE

The price of New Balance sneakers typically falls into the budget-friend category of under 100 bucks, however, the 860v11 is one of their higher-end designs. The price tag of this shoe is very comparable to stability trainers from Mizuno or Brooks, but it also hosts high-end materials and modern design features that warrant that higher price point. I feel that this shoe performs at par, and sometimes even a little better than stability trainers from some of the higher-end brands.
Comparisons to Previous Versions
Throughout the life cycle of the New Balance 860 series, there haven’t been that many updates to the shoe. That is, until version 11. This shoe has undergone some pretty impressive updates that are worth looking into.

The biggest change in the performance of the shoe is the addition of the Fresh Foam X. New Balance has experimented with this foam midsole material in some of their other shoes, and found that users absolutely love the performance and the feel of this springy midsole, so they added it to the 860v11.

While the cut and fit of the upper remain the same, the 860v11 decided to jump in with the cool kids and drop the thick padded upper for a flared heel cup. Not only does this modernize the 860, but it also helps to really lock your ankles in place without the need for heavy and bulky foam padding.
Verdict
There’s a lot to love about the New Balance 860v11. It’s a great stability trainer that is perfect for those easy tempo runs or long distances. It is designed to help with overpronation and provides excellent lockdown and energy feedback when running on hard surfaces. It boasts strong and durable materials from the rubber outsole to the Fresh Foam X midsole, while offering a sleek and modern style that doesn’t actually look like a stability trainer.

It’s important to note, however, that while it may look like a neutral trainer that is made for speed, it is actually quite stiff. The Fresh Foam X is quite stiff, and slightly limits your full range of motion. This means that this shoe is built for modest tempo runs, and isn’t quite built for speed. Instead of running on marshmallows (like the Fresh Foam series) it feels more like mini-trampolines. Personally, I love a bright and springy ride when running long distances!

New Balance trainers are often on the more affordable side of the price scale, but the 860v11 has a price tag that is comparable to many of the higher-end stability trainers out there on the market. When compared back-to-back with, say, the Mizuno Wave Inspire, some runners actually prefer the New Balance 860v11!
Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$149.95See Deal
Custom Store Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
By Tara Summerville
Last updated:
AnaN
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 26. 2021

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.