2021 marks the return of one of our favorite looking trail shoes in quite a while, but also one we didn’t entirely love all that much as well, it is the New Balance Hierro v6. The v5 really just had folks in love because it looked totally different and could have been mistaken for a style shoe. The big problem with it was, this thing was a tank. It was just too heavy overall. The Hierro v6 looks to change that and tries to get everyone to fall in love again and while it’s on the way and will work great for many, it still needs a little work in our mind.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Style-wise might be one of the best-looking trail shoes on the market.
- Has lost some weight from the v5, but is still a monster and could lose more.
- Weighs in at 11.9oz or 337g for a US Men’s 9, 9.9oz or 281g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 28mm of cushion and has an 8mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $135.00 USD and comes in 4 colors for Men and Women.
The first thing the Hierro v6 has going for it is its looks. The v5 was a huge success so to follow that up with something that people would still love is always a challenge, but New Balance seems to have succeeded in this area. The v6 still looks really good and is solid casually just as much as it is on the trails. It honestly might be one of the strongest looking trail shoes on the market right now.
To that end, let’s get into what has changed. First, it has lost some weight and that is a really good thing. It is not a lot of weight, but by dropping a once it becomes a bit more approachable and a bit more usable. It doesn’t sound like much but just ask someone about that extra weight after 20+ miles. The upper has gone through a bit of a redesign both aesthetically and in its materials and with Fresh Foam X added to the midsole. They still make use of a big piece of Vibram rubber for the outsole, which is where some of the weight is coming in, but traction and durability are never a concern here.
The underfoot game has not changed all that much from the v5. The v6 definitely feels lighter than the prior iteration, but that plush Fresh Foam midsole definitely delivers a comfortable ride. We would never call this a performance shoe, it is really about just putting in the miles and taking it easy out there because inevitably your legs get a little heavy at distance. The midsole does a good job of protecting your feet and the upper does provide an ample level of movement, breathability, but not too much that you feel sloppy. The collar is really well padded and the heel counter really holds you well in place.
In all our testing, we would you never refer to this shoe as an ultra level shoe which is how New Balance bills it. The only case we would make here is a 50k because you can take that nice and slow and then it could work well enough. Anything past that and things just feel really heavy as the miles tick on. However, we do see this as a really successful everyday easy-going trail shoe that a ton of people honestly can enjoy and we would tell New Balance to relax the positioning and focus on folks who just want a cool-looking well-cushioned shoe to hit the trails in. This shoe will make a lot of people happy but don’t expect to win any races in them.
The upper is an engineered mashed that has been TPU infused for increased durability. They have also provided additional TPU in areas where you need more protection or that suffer from increased wear. Their Toe Protect acts as a nice protector upfront and doesn’t break down at all. The tongue is lightly padded and gusseted and then that collar is very well padded and really locks you in place. They also built the entire upper in a way that allowed them to give the shoe a better carbon footprint. You can actually see in the collar the recycled foam that has been used and you can’t tell the difference in fit or feel. They even finish it with a little cork badge on the tongue.
That midsole is just a big block of Fresh Foam X, 28mm of it, so you should expect a nice plush ride. This has enough cushion to eat up most of the debris you’re going to find on the trail without needing something like a dedicated rock plate. Fresh Foam X does balance cushion and responsiveness, but this shoe is really about comfort more than anything and for that, it does a good job.
The outsole on here is just a big sheet of Vibram rubber. It features multi-directional lugs throughout and the shape does help with uphills and downhills as well as side to side. We do think they could be a little more aggressive in the lug design to make it a touch more controllable. They also elongated the outsole which benefits you on the downhills.
Style & Aesthetics
I think we have beat this issue enough, but these shoes are great looking. It is hard to find people that complain about the Hierro whether it is the old v5 or the new v6. This comes in 4 colorways and all of them have great personalities so it’s going to be hard to go wrong. The weirdest part of the shoe is that elongated outsole which even if removed would not affect performance dramatically and would improve the overall aesthetic.
The New Balance Hierro v6 definitely improves on the v5 and they are slowly moving towards what we would like to see which is a shoe that falls into the mid 10oz range. To do this, New Balance can definitely reduce that outsole rubber just a bit and still retain the same level of traction and durability. Other than that, right now the shoe is fantastic for easy runs on trails, recovery trail days, or for folks who would just like to take it slow. At distance, the weight will become noticeable, but for shorter runs, it’s a pretty solid experience. The best part is they are one of the best looking trail shoes out there so you will look good regardless.
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.