The New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail is something we all knew was coming but really didn’t know what to expect in the final version. The road versions of the Fresh Foam More have been pretty successful for New Balance, but also kind of a mixed bag in terms of feel. With the trail version, however, what New Balance has done is to create a shoe that is almost ready to take on some of the other high cushioned trail runners out there head to head. While we have a few nitpicks, the shoe overall is thoroughly well-built and highly functional. Let’s get into it.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- The Trail version of the highly successful Fresh Foam More road series.
- Ready to take on Hoka head to head, almost…
- Weighs in at 10.8oz or 306g for a US Men’s 9, 8.9oz or 252g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 33mm of cushion and has a 4mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $164.99 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women.
The first experience out of the box and even on a shelf will be solid for most people, the shoes look super-hot. it reminds us a lot of the Hierro v5 but better and it sits on a shelf really strongly against other high cushioned trail shoes. When you get into the stats, it is also super easy to get stoked about it. It is a fairly light shoe coming in at under 11 oz which is great giving its 33 mm of cushion and while it is not a performance-oriented shoe, right away you can tell it’s going to handle distance just fine.
On the foot, you will first notice how welcoming the interior of the shoe is. For some people, this will actually be a bit of a drawback because if you run narrow, you will swim in the shoe. If you run neutral to wide, then this will feel really good. The plushness of the midsole is there from the beginning and you can feel some additional supports on the medial heel side and lateral front. The only note here is that the medial support wants to push you towards the lateral side of your foot which is a little odd, but it doesn’t seem to affect running all that much. The shoe does lace down really well, but the front half of this you will feel cavernous to some people. If you don’t like a lot of roominess upfront, then you will not enjoy this. Distance runners who lean Altra, Topo, or Hoka Challenger ATR will probably welcome this because they know that having a cramped toebox on a trail shoe is a non-starter.
On the trails, the shoe is a pillow a bunch of goodness. It is not a speed shoe by any means, it just doesn’t have that geometry and while it does have a moderate rocker, it is nowhere near something like the Speedgoat from Hoka. Tackling any distance was easy on the shoes as they can go for miles and eat up most of what the trail has to offer without the need for a rock plate given the amount of cushioning. The lugs on the shoe could definitely be better because side to side movement is fairly high depending on terrain given the horizontal lug design. This seems like an easy solution though for future editions, but watch out if the trails are sloppy.
The bottom line, the shoe will be great for newer trail runners or shorter distance trail runners that are making the transition to a longer distance. Also, distance trail runners who just want something comfortable to knock down the miles and aren’t worried about speed. These are very broad categories, but the shoe is really welcoming. It is definitely not going to work for people with narrower feet or who people who don’t like a bit of room inside the front of their shoes.
There is a ton in the upper on this shoe and it’s hard to pin down exact materials usage, but think of it primarily as synthetic engineered mesh. Upfront, that rubberized toe cap feels like it could take on a samurai sword and not be damaged. As we move into the mid-foot we get an additional layer of reinforced mesh that continues back through the heel providing mid-foot stability. The lacing system does use eyelets although there is also a loop system or reinforcement or even as an alternative, a bit unsure. The gusseted tongue is lightly padded, but the actual collar is well cushioned and feels great against your ankle. There is a mild internal heel counter and of course, they finish it off with that easy on pull tab.
The midsole on here is Fresh Foam and we are going to get away from the Fresh Foam X designation because frankly, it is just confusing for everybody. The bottom line is this is a well-cushioned and very plush midsole and feels very similar to something you might find on a Hoka. You get 33mm of it with a 4mm drop. It is not meant to be a speed shoe in any way, this is a shoe designed to go long and be easy on your legs.
The outsole is one of our problem areas frankly and while it is a full rubber outsole and can tackle most terrain well, the layout of the lugs is problematic. The whole front half of the foot features horizontally spaced lugs which means forward and backward movement is fine but side-to-side movement can be a little sketchy. If the trail is dry this is never an issue, but if things get a little sloppy these shoes move a little bit which can be a little scary. We would love to have seen a different pattern design for these lugs as we feel it does a bit of a disservice to the shoe overall.
Style & Aesthetics
We totally dig the styling on the Fresh Foam More Trail. It obviously takes a lot of inspiration from last year’s Hierro V5, but definitely improves on it. It does come in two colors and both are solid from our point of view. The color usage including the gradient effect on the sidewalls just makes it a nice appealing shoe for a large variety of runners.
Overall, New Balance has delivered a highly capable high cushioned trail shoe that is ready to compete with the other big names in the industry. The problems we have are twofold. First, the upper can feel a little loose, but two and more than anything, the shoe is just too expensive. While it is a beautiful shoe that can go the distance, we would have loved to see this come in at a price point around $30 less. There is nothing so special that accounts for that additional increase when there other shoes at the same level in the market which are priced more reasonably. A beautiful shoe though and it truly is a really easy running long-distance trail shoe.
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.