New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V3 Review Facts
If you’re considering taking your runs to the trails, it is important to invest in a solid pair of trail running shoes. They are made for technical terrain and are designed specifically to provide stability, traction, and protection for the runner to not only improve performance but lower instances of injuries as well.
This is the third generation of the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro trail running shoe. The company took what they learned with the Hierro V2 and updated it in this third iteration. This new model features a completely revamped upper and a sock-like collar that fits around the ankle to help protect the feet from pebbles, rocks and other pesky debris that sometimes finds its way inside other shoes.
The outsole of the Hierro V3 continues the tradition it began with the V2 style by utilizing a Vibram MegaGrip compound. This material is made from vulcanized rubber and is a popular choice for the outsoles of hiking shoes because of the amount of grip it offers, as well as the durability it provides. This material helps to ensure maximum surface contact for runs on particularly difficult terrain. It will help to protect the foot of the runner while absorbing and redirecting shock to minimize the chance of injury
. The Vibram compound is built to give runners support on wet and unstable surfaces. A few reviewers mentioned that they thought the outsole in the V3 was vastly improved from its predecessor. The lug design and shapes have been redesigned in this new version and will offer better support on loose terrain as well as snow and mud. The new design of the lugs also aids in the flexibility of the shoe. As with its two predecessors, there is still no rock plate in this iteration of the Hierro much to the dismay of some of this style’s supporters. Rock plates are sometimes found in trail running shoes to help protect the runner’s feet from sharp rocks. They’re often found in the outsole of the shoe or sometimes on the front to help protect toes from debris.
Similar to its predecessor, the V3 retains the ever-popular Fresh Foam midsole. Constructed using 3D printing technology, this technology separates the midsole into three different materials to help provide a stable ride. The Fresh Foam cushioning was made to bring an element of comfort and softness to every shoe that features it. The Hierro V3 is stacked a little higher than the V2 – 4mm higher, in fact – but this extra height helps to add to the cushioned feeling
of the shoe. Some reviewers didn’t like the fact that the midsole didn’t come with an integrated rock plate, however, the height and drop help to give runners a protected feeling out on uneven and rocky terrain.
The Hierro V3 was majorly updated from its predecessor in a number of ways, but one of the most notable was in the construction of the upper. The new upper features New Balance’s HypoSkin material that is made to wrap seamlessly around the foot to provide a natural feeling fit. It adapts to the unique shape of each individual foot to help provide flexibility and natural movement.
This section of the shoe also features Fantom Fit technology to help with breathability and support without adding too much extra weight. The Fantom Fit tech is made by combining a lightweight mesh with a thicker supportive synthetic later. This material is placed strategically throughout the shoe in an attempt to keep it feeling lightweight and breathable. Another update found in the upper of the V3 is the new collar that provides a sock-like fit around the ankle. The unique construction of this bootie helps to keep rocks and other debris from getting inside shoes during trail runs. As previously mentioned, the V3 doesn’t have a rock plate integrated into the outsole but the upper does feature a thin layer of rubber on the toe to help ward against tree roots, sticks and other pesky elements of the trail. Though some of the aspects of the upper claim to be present to aid in the breathability of the shoe, many reviewers noted that there seems to be little air flow throughout the shoe.
The men’s version of this shoe weighs in at 328.9 grams (11.6 ounces) while the women’s style is considerably lighter at 269.3 grams (9.5 ounces). Most of the reviews we read made note of how lightweight this feels for a trail running shoe. It should be noted that the V3 weighs in a bit heavier than its predecessor, however, and some reviewers mentioned that this weight difference felt staggering in comparison. This extra ounce is due to the added height in the heel as well as the Fresh Foam material in the midsole.
The HypoSkin technology present in the upper of the Hierro
V3 features slits to help with breathability. The upper is also constructed out of mesh material which is supposed to help with air flow. Though there are features present in the V3 that are supposed to help with the breathability of the shoe, many of the reviews we read online mentioned that there doesn’t seem to be much air flow present. Many reviewers said that their feet overheated in their shoes and that the mesh isn’t open enough to allow for adequate air flow. The insoles of the Hierro V3 are also not removable. This may be something to take into consideration if you like to ‘air out’ your shoes once in a while.
These are comfortable shoes
, thanks in part to the Fresh Foam midsole for adding a smooth and cushioned feeling for your feet on those long runs. There were some comments from happy consumers who praised the wider toe box of the V3. The V3 doesn’t have a tongue because of the collar around the ankles and this was praised by many reviewers because we all know how annoying shoe tongues can get. Though the bootie-like construction of the upper was generally well-received by most reviewers, there were some mentions that this sock-like feature took some getting used to before feeling comfortable.
These aren’t the most attractive looking shoes on the market, but they’re not terrible looking either. The V3 is a rugged looking model with a speckled ‘dirty’ looking outsole that practically screams “Take me on the trails!” The V3 looks a little different than its predecessor and definitely has that rough look to them. The men’s version comes in color combinations like lime green/black, orange/black/grey and grey, while the women’s model can be purchased combos like blue/pink and coral/grey.
There were some questions about the durability of the V3 judging by some of the reviews we came across in our research. A number of reviewers mentioned that the shoes started to tear or break down after wearing them only a handful of times. We can’t be certain if this was just a one-off, the product of a poorly made batch of shoes, or the result of just a poor overall design. That said, not all of the reviews mentioning durability were negative. There were a few comments that said the V3 has withstood all of the terrain and miles that runners were putting upon it without hesitation or breakdown at all.
The Hierro V3 offers fantastic surface contact for runs on treacherous terrain. This is especially important because if your shoes have maximum surface contact, you’ll feel more in control during your run and will be less prone to injury, slipping and falling. The extra 4mm of padding in the heel of V3 gives some additional cushioning and protection that the V2 model didn’t offer. The Toe Protect Bumper, a rubber compound that helps to keep the toes safe from debris that could cause injuries, has been carried over from the V2, though it seems to be slightly more rigid this time around.
Since the Hierro V3 is not considered a lightweight trail running shoe, speed seemed to be an issue in some of the reviewer’s minds. Some felt that this shoe wanted to go fast but, because of the weight, it couldn’t perform. That said, the V3 seems to be able to hold its own during long distance races
and long hours spent on the trails. Many reviewers felt that they could have ran all day with this shoe and praised its snappy and responsive feeling ride. Typically, in shoes with a stiffer outsole, some of the responsiveness will be forfeited but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the V3 thanks to the cushiony and soft foam in the midsole. The Fresh Foam midsole is to thank for this cushioned ride, really helping runners to get some extra spring in their step.
The Hierro V3 is a neutral-cushioned trail shoe. This means that they won’t necessarily be the best option for runners who under or overpronate. There isn’t much in terms of lateral motion control so if you need that extra support for your stride, this might not be the best shoe for you. It is important to note here that the insoles for the V3 are not removable. Runners who require the use of orthotics may want to reconsider purchasing this shoe. The HypoSkin technology in the upper is supposed to shape to each individual’s foot to help support movement in all directions but from what the reviewers online are saying, we wouldn’t suggest this shoe first for known over or under pronators.
The Hierro series was specifically made for trail running and the V3 is no exception to this rule. While typical running shoes fail to deliver on the trails, the V3 (and its predecessors) were made to be taken on different and difficult terrain. That said, it translates well as a road running shoe and one that can be worn for everyday use as well, at least according to what some consumers mentioned in their reviews of this product. We go more into the capabilities the V3 has for trails in the ‘Outsole’ section of our review, but it’s worth mentioning here that the reason this model fairs so well on multiple terrains is due in part to the construction of its outsole. The multi-directional lugs, referred to as ‘aggressive’ by one reviewer, really help to maximize contact with different types of surfaces you may encounter on the trails and, heck, in everyday life as well.
The MSRP for the men’s version of the Hierro V3 is priced at $169.99, while the women’s comes in a bit more affordably at $134.99. On Amazon, the price points are a little all over the place. Some styles and sizes are priced as low as $99 for the men’s style and $89 for the women’s, while other colors and sizes are priced closer to the MSRP or even higher. Some reviewers were surprised to see the increase in cost for the third iteration of the Hierro shoe, while others felt the price was fair for the updated features in this version.
As mentioned in the ‘Outsole’ section of our review, the Hierro V3 utilizes a Vibram outsole. This compound helps runners to get grip on many different types of terrain such as wet or dry surfaces, gravel, concrete, mud, and even snow. The lugs on the V3 are multi-directional, helping the runner to get grip on most surfaces, regardless of what part of the foot lands first and at whatever angle it happens to land. The compound on the outsole, known as Vibram MegaGrip, is made for runners who need traction on slippery surfaces. Most of the reviews we read said that the traction with this style is satisfactory, though there was one unhappy customer who had to return her shoes after being disappointed with the amount of traction the V3 offers.
Thanks to the mesh HypoSkin upper, the Hierro V3 feels like a fairly flexible option when it comes to trail running shoes
. This material forms to your foot and acts like a second skin, not only upping the comfort level of the shoe, but also the flexibility it allows as well. The HypoSkin upper also helps to assist with natural movement which not only decreases the likelihood of getting injured on the trails but also helps to make sure the runner is receiving support from all angles. It should also be noted that the lugs found on the outsole have strategically placed spaces in between them to allow for more flexibility (without taking away from the traction it delivers).
Thanks to the wide base, the Hierro V3 stays relatively stable on difficult terrain. Though a wide base often makes shoes feel boxy, this isn’t the case with the V3. The deep lugs will really help to provide a sense of stability for runners as the shoes grip the difficult terrain. As mentioned in the ‘Support’ section, this is a neutral-cushioned trail shoe that wouldn’t be the best option for people who are known to over or under pronate.
The Hierro V3 features an 8mm drop. While this is typical of a trail running shoe, it should be noted that this number is doubled from the V2. This increase in drop is due to the thicker heel in the newest version, while the forefoot stack stayed more or less the same from its predecessor. The added 4 millimeters helps to give consumers a slightly more cushioned ride but it should be noted that this change in drop might come as a shock to people who enjoyed the feeling of the V2 or V1 (which actually only had a drop of 2mm).
- Bootie-like construction on the upper for a customized feeling fit
- Vibram MegaGrip outsole for supreme traction
- HypoSkin upper that feels like a second skin
- FreshFoam midsole helps to deliver a smooth and very comfortable ride
The New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V3 is a great trail running shoe for folks who don’t require any extra support from their kicks due to the over or under pronation of their foot during their runs. Reviewers really seemed fond of the V3’s new bootie-like construction, stating that it helped the shoe not only fit and flex better with their feet, but because it offered some protection that the V2 was missing. While most of the reviews we came across for this shoe were positive, some of the diehard Hierro style fanatics felt that the V3 was a step back from its predecessor. There were some issues mentioned about the lack of air flow within these shoes, but the V3 still seemed to hold up well on most online reviewing platforms.