New Balance has always been known for producing a wide variety of shoes and that includes those shoes that do a great job with both width and stability. The 860 model is a prime example of this and the new 860v11 makes use of their new Fresh Foam X along with a medial post to produce a supportive shoe for those who really need it. it definitely isn’t a light shoe, but it gets the job done. Here are our thoughts.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- New Balance’s flagship stability shoe is staying true to their recipe, it is a monster, but it does its job… if you really need it.
- Serves up a two layer Fresh Foam and Fresh Foam X design along with medial post for stability.
- Weighs in at 11.2oz or 318g for a US Men’s 9, 9.6oz or 272g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features a 10mm heel/toe drop and 31mm of cushion.
- Retails at $129.99 USD and comes in 6 colors for Men and Women.
The first thing you will notice is that Ultra Heel which really grabs on and just locks you in place. The Achilles can even feel a little off-putting, but after a minute or two things really just feel better. The toe box has ample room and while the mesh does feel very rigid, it does allow for a bit of movement and airflow is just fine. The upper honestly holds you really well overall and when you get past the Achilles mental issue, it is quite enjoyable.
Underfoot and in the run, it is clear that the 860v11 is not going to be your go-to shoe for speed. It definitely turns over well, but the 11oz+ weight is a little hefty to go real hard and that midsole is more firm than responsive. However, for recreational runners who need stability and like a bit firmer ride, the shoe is actually quite nice. For us, the upper is hugely successful and while the ride is a little stiff, the medial post is unnoticeable, but still does it’s job really well.
The upper on the 860v11 is clearly two pieces and you can see it in the design. The front portion being fully engineered mesh that opens up quite nicely in the forefoot. It is quite stiff so don’t expect a lot of movement, but it does feel softer after a couple of runs. The upper then tapers back as you approached that Ultra Heel as New Balance calls it. This is a softer synthetic material that acts as an internal heel counter while also hugging all the elements of the ankle including the Achilles. It is so rigid that initially, it might feel a little off-putting, but it does break-in. It literally is meant to hug your heel and it does a good job of this.
The midsole on here is two pieces of Fresh Foam, starting with that softer darker form just under the upper in the forefoot and right on the heel. On that medial side, you will then see that line that identifies the location of that medial post and what feels like a much firmer foam from the outside. This all contributes to overall stability, but it definitely doesn’t have the responsive feel of something like the Beacon v3.
The outsole uses a fairly significant amount of blown rubber which inevitably contributes to weight, but also makes the 860s highly durable. The shoe grips really well and the weather is not an issue underfoot.
Style & Aesthetics
Styling is a tough one here given some of the New Balance shoes lately have been killer. This shoe definitely doesn’t look as quick as a lot of the other shoes in the lineup. It is a stability shoe however so a lot of that extra structure is very clearly visible and they have done the best job possible getting it a somewhat more appealing aesthetic.
The New Balance 860v11 is a solid update to prior versions and the introduction of the Fresh Foam x does bring some level of cushion and responsiveness to what is a firm shoe. We also love that heel and the amount of padding in the upper feels just right. As a stability shoe, the feel is really going to be subjective. Some runners love a good firm platform so if you require stability, then this is definitely a shoe that will let you you go a little bit further in a more comfortable way. It may feel a little stiff when you first get in there, but the entire shoe kind of breaks in, giving that upper experience a much better feel after use.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.