Tuesday, March 17, 2020

New Balance Fresh Foam X More Multi Tester Review: More with Less!

Fresh Foam X More ($160)

Estimated Weight:: men's 9.25 oz / 262 g (US9)  / women's / (US8)
  Samples: men’s 8.96 oz  / 254g US8.5, 8.61 oz / 244g US M8 
                  women’s: 8.0 oz / 226 g  US8
Stack Height: 30mm heel / 26 mm forefoot, 4mm drop (not including sock liner)
Available now including Running Warehouse here. $160

Sam: The More is clearly New Balance most cushioned, biggest stack shoe with its 30mm heel / 26 mm forefoot stack (plus sockliner for about 5mm more). It updates last year’s original (RTR Review) with a new Hypoknit upper with 3D molded heel counter, some flex grooves up front in its relatively low rocker forefoot and a Fresh Foam X midsole whose composition differences are at this point unknown to us but does include new data based shaping of the side walls as well as new laser cut holes on the lateral side. 

Weight drops to 9.25 oz / 262 g  from about 10 oz / 283 g putting the More into the lightweight super cushioned category where shoes such as the Hoka Clifton reside. Clearly the new streamlined upper contributes a great deal to the weight drop. The question for me was did the ride of the original, flat feeling while quite responsive and certainly well cushioned version 1, evolve.

Hope: Tall, bright, and handsome! The FreshFoam X More is an update to last year’s FreshFoam More. Looks like a beefcake, but it’s more beef than cake — stunningly, this high-stack model shaved about an oz of weight in the latest version. I increasingly choose to uptempo trainers for my everyday runs, but a shoe with a high cushioning to weight ratio deserves a look. I appreciated the surprisingly snappy feel of the OG FFM and gave it high marks in my review. Is the FreshFoam X More everything that meets the eye (and maybe more)?

Michael: Ahhh, the New Balance FreshFoam X More - a lot of words, for a lot of shoe. But seriously, opening the box on the Fresh Foam X More (herein “More”) is a nice surprise - you have in your mind what is going to be there (chunky, beefy trainer) and somehow what you see exceeds even your wildest dreams. There really is more! This isn’t a trainer I normally gravitate towards, but after several runs - primarily on warmups, cooldowns, and recovery miles - I think there’s a place in my arsenal for the More. Sure, I wish there were some tweaks - it’s far from a perfect shoe - but ultimately the More provides exactly what it purports to: more. 

Sally: I did not run the original Fresh Foam More, so I can't comment on the updates. But my first thought when I saw these shoes was wow,  that’s a lot of shoe! As a height challenged person, I think the heel height might help me at a cocktail party. Seriously, they are beautiful, but do look a bit like a tank. But there is a place for a highly cushioned shoe in most runners’ arsenal, so let’s see how these feel!

Michael: Truth in advertising - the FF More has more cushion than any other I’ve tried; an overall competent (if unexciting) upper.
Hope: Feels less stiff than the OG FF More
Sam: Significant drop in weight into the lightweight super cushioned class. Strong weight to cushion ratio,
Sam: While having no rocker, the additional flexibility upfront is a welcome improvement, reducing the flat feeling of the OG.
Sam: Improved upper fit. I swam in the prior upper.
Sam/Sally: Slightly softer bouncier Fresh Foam and tons of it for a well cushioned but not mushy ride.

Michael/Sam/Sally/Hope: traction from lugless ground contact midsole foam is sketchy
Michael: ankle and lacing setup is janky; who needs this much shoe?
Hope/Sally: Ankle collar caused irritation for me
Sam:  Light weight upper is somewhat rough feeling for a $160 shoe
Sam/Sally:  Combination of 4mm drop and giant stack cries for a more effective rocker. 

First Impressions and Fit

Hope: Similar to the OG FFM in terms of purpose and stack height, but that’s about it. I notice an airier feeling foam and a reduced upper. The FreshFoam X More is a lighter shoe than its predecessor, aiming to give you more with less.

Michael: The first two things you’ll notice are the height of these - it adds at least an inch to your vertical! - and the ankle-lacing situation. I’ll address those in turn, below, but I don’t want to detract from the overall experience: for a shoe that calls itself the “More,” you really feel like you’re getting your money’s worth at first impression. 

Sam: A wonderful looking blue with subtle fading gray/black midsole highlights. The More v1 had a stark white midsole which over accentuated the giant stack especially at the heel . 
More v1
For sure the look and shoe says massive cushion yup "More" but this is a bit deceptive as at the heel the foot sits down in the midsole.

In hand this massive shoe feels very light and is with a very strong stack height to weight ratio. 

The upper feel is light, pliable and thin and a bit coarse in feel especially the unpadded (but for two side of the achilles) rear collar. Unlike v1 with its more conventional rear collars, similarly big volume and less pliable thicker upper which had me swimming and struggling to get lock down and actually wishing for the women’s last, the More 2 has a much more secure lockdown, if not the most plush, somewhat of a contrast with the super plush walking around feel of the midsole.

The fit is true to size for me with a plenty of toe box width and volume although not the stretchiest and most foot conforming.

Sally: The More fit me comfortably true to size (W8), with more than ample wiggle room in the toe box. The biggest initial agitation was the stiff ankle collar that digs into the heels/sides of my ankles. The lockdown, especially at the heel, was surprisingly solid, given my narrow foot. 


Hope: I’ll start with the good. I love the toe box width and height -- Goldilocks level of roominess and security. In a maximal shoe, I don’t want my feet to have too much room to move. Since the taller stack height comes at the cost of ground feel, stability can be an issue. A snug, secure upper keeps my feet in place above the platform, exactly where I want them. There’s no mistaking this upper for race-tuned -- it still comes with plenty of room to wiggle my toes and to accommodate foot swelling that can happen during a long run. Trainer through and through. Well done, NB on that front! Moving towards the middle of the shoe, we come to some features I don’t like as much. 

Last time around, I complained about the over-engineered ventilation holes in the FFM’s tongue. 
They’re back for another round in the FFM2, and it bothered me more this time for reasons I’ll explain. (I’m not just making a mountain out of a molehill!) 

Air flow is good. A tongue that doesn’t stay centered is bad. Historically NB has made summer weight versions of popular models. To improve this, I’d love to see a simple tongue-centering lace loop on a wide-weave mesh rather than this set of rubberized ventilation holes. Or split the difference and give us tongue-centering straps inside the shoe. As it is now, the tongue slides off-center as soon as I start my run, causing the ankle collar to bite into the top of my foot. Even with mini-crew height socks, this was enough of an issue that it caused a sore. The thinness of the ankle collar means it has relatively sharp edges, so keeping the tongue in place as a barrier is crucial. 

NB’s design choice here made the shoe un-runnable for me for distances beyond about 5k as the irritation from the ankle collar was too uncomfortable. Moving to the back of the shoe lets me finish this section on another good note: I appreciated the reassuring heel lockdown and that the choice of a pared down upper made the FFM2 a lot lighter than its predecessor.

Michael: I’m with Hope nearly all the way - from the toe to the topmost lace, I quite enjoy the upper on the More. The forefoot is roomy and comfortable, and with a variety of socks and temperatures, I had no issue with blisters, hot spots, etc. I’ll add that I think they’re also quite good looking trainers, all told.

My problems come where the topmost portion of the laces begin, and continue all the way back. The laces sit a little too high on my foot, so that there’s inherently a little pressure on the topmost portion of my foot. This can be laced around - but it’s not a great start. The bigger issue is the general construction of the heel collar. In short, it feels dated - in an age of knit uppers, single-piece constructions, and overlay-less designs, lacing up the More can only feel clunky. 

There’s a bunch of “stuff” back there - a thick, sewn on element on both the medial and lateral side, which doesn’t seem to add much structure (it doesn’t connect to the eyelets) but does sort of get in the way. More relevantly, the way the tongue, laces and ankle opening converge just feels like there’s too much going on; a gusseted tongue would have helped loads here in anchoring everything together. As is, there’s nothing really coherent, and I found it uncomfortable if not occasionally irritable.

I will add, as Hope noted, that the angled heel collar caused no issues (and adds some visual flair) and - unlike some other recent beefy trainers we have tested - I found this shoe relatively easy to lock down.

Sam: Something had to give to get to the light weight here and I suspect the use of a single layer engineered mesh with bootie creating the lining and essentially a molded heel counter piece covered with a dense rough to the touch mesh, which doesn't actually touch your foot except at lace up and with just two internal pads on either side played a big role. 

They fit me fine with no issues with really good hold everywhere but overall the upper is somewhat crude and rough feeling as while pliable and thin the mesh is dense (but with plenty of ventilation holes and easily seen through from the inside) and has somewhat plasticky fishnet feel when scratched with a fingernail . 

The tongue is integrated with a bootie strap made of a padded stretch mesh which locks the foot down well. The bootie extends as an inner layer all the way from the lace up through the toe box and glad it does as without it the feel would be to rough. 

I agree with Hope that a lace loop in the mix is in order here. I also think the tongue could be widened to provide more cushion and wrap at the top lace up area.

The upper is not exactly “lux” as New Balance marketing describes the shoe and  not exactly what I would expect for the price of $160. Maybe they really mean the ride is “lux” which it truly is!
I am puzzled as well as to the purpose of the sewn on lateral and medial rear side pieces ahead of the heel counter which as Michael says above are not fully connected to lace up and given how deep the foot sits into the midsole at the rear. They seem overly thick but given the rear lockdown and no issues I will go with them. 

The toe box is commendable for its volume and hold with no overlays in the mix but it isn’t exactly the softest feeling.
Sally: I heartily agree with the others that the tongue needs a centering lace loop and perhaps more width as well - there is nothing more aggravating than tongue slippage on a run. The thin molded heel counter, relatively uncushioned, has a tendency to dig into the ankles and the back of the heel, but seemed to be helped by a thicker/higher sock choice. Very spacious toe box.  And as Sam points out, the upper is quite crude and rough for such a “lux” trainer. 


Hope: This is the star of the shoe for me. Where the OG FFM was a bit stiff (which worked for that configuration), the FFM2 is more supple, with a smoother feel. It feels light under foot and soft without being ponderous or marshmallowy. This isn’t necessarily the splashiest foam tech, but it’s worth your time.

Michael: New Balance added “Fresh Foam X” to its More, and while it isn’t entirely clear what separates it from previous Fresh Foam offerings, it is darn comfortable. New Balance seems to be targeting this shoe as a high-mileage workhorse, and that’s something I can certainly get behind - the midsole here isn’t as soft as ASICS’s recent FlyteFoam Blast or even New Balance’s FuelCell composition on the FuelCell Propel, but it is smooth and forgiving and, as Hope indicated, keeps you moving mile after mile. It doesn’t have quite the “squish” of Nike’s ZoomX in the Turbo 2, or the “pop” of Nike’s React cushioning, but I find it to actually be a happy medium of the two - fun enough for running while still providing ease for sore legs. It’s why I’ve continued to pull out the More for my recovery runs, week after week.

Sam: Not sure what New Balance did but the X flavor of Fresh Foam here, in the 880v10, and to a lesser extent in the 1080v10 as they are all slightly softer slightly more silky feeling and overall more pleasant to run than prior flavors. This midsole for sure contrasts with the not so fresh feeling earlier Fresh Foams. The midsole feel blends lots of moderately soft cushion, a good measure of firmer, non harsh response, which I assume comes from the Ground Contact midsole as outsole  and a tiny touch of bounce, As always midsole cushion feel, transitions, and response are all related to outsole materials and design and how the two come together and here the Ground Contact midsole as outsole is clearly important. 

The Fresh Foam More 2 is clearly more flexible than the original due to new flex grooves in the outsole a “trick”, duh and long overdue in Fresh Foam trainers, and which also improved the 1080 a great deal.  

The New Balance midsole schematic above illustrates the midsole construction which includes protruding reverse profiles which match and nest into the outsole's new flex grooves and are illustrated as the wavy lines seen through the flex grooves in the photo below.

I am curious as to their purpose as while the More is now more flexible I would think these protrusions would tend to stiffen the forefoot somewhat, yet it also seems that they may provide some snap at toe off something that is clearly improved over More v1.

Due to not much rocker, the 4mm drop, big front stack height and wide on the ground platform More still has a flatter feel. New Balance needs to decide in such a shoe if it is going to go for flexibility or a stiffer shoe with a more pronounced rocker. The breadth of the wide platform and the continuous expanse of outsole for sure make the shoe inherently stable.

In terms of comparative midsole foams I think it is slightly softer and more measured in response than Saucony PWRUN which has a distinct sort of short amplitude and more rebound to it. It is clearly less bouncy than PWRUN+. It is very similar to Nike Epic React foam but I would say a touch more dense in feel. It is softer than Salomon new Optivibe midsoles which have a clearly more felt vibration reduction and sharper quicker rebound but are denser and heavier per mm of stack height. 

Sally: This Fresh Foam midsole makes for a very comfortable recovery run shoe. It does not have the pop of some of my favored trainers, nor the forward rocker of some of the others, but it does have plenty of cushion without being overly soft, making it refreshingly forgiving on your legs. The midsole sidewall of foam at the rear of the shoe looks a whole lot higher than it actually is. 

Hope: I like to do a little test where I plant my foot and try to turn it -- imagine trying to squash a bug. I felt way too much slipping on wet pavement when I tried this, so I didn’t feel comfortable chancing a full run in wet conditions. Both a stickier rubber compound and a more aggressive traction pattern would be welcome here.

Michael: I have two problems with the outsole, and I’ll note upfront that they are both theoretical, because, as someone who does not design or manufacturer shoes, I don’t know what’s feasible. First, I wish the stone-path pattern on the outsole of the More had deeper grooves (as it does directly under the forefoot), but not back in the midfoot. Seems like an easy fix that may even save a few fractions of an ounce. Secondly, I wish there were just a few more deep, inset grooves in the outsole - you can see 4 wavy lines in the production model - to add a little flexibility. This isn’t a shoe I expect to be flexible. It’s a chunk. But adding just another 2 flexion points may open it up slightly. Wasn’t a huge concern for me - I never really ran fast in this thing, and didn’t feel held back by the “slab” of midsole - but more flexibility never hurts, in my book.

Now, I’ll add this caveat - I didn’t actually really slip much in the More. Granted, about 50 percent of my miles were indoors with them this winter, but I had few issues, indoor or out, with real traction. But I was hesitant that I would, in having experienced similar outsoles previously, run into problems, and then kept me from taking them outside on some of winter’s trickiest days. It seems that Hope tested and found there was some tackiness lacking. For spring and summer miles (we’re almost there, northern hemispherers!), I don’t foresee it being an issue, but don’t expect to take the More off-road.

Sally: As the others have pointed out, the outsole does not provide good traction on wet surfaces. I tried walking on wet beach rocks while wearing these shoes - big mistake. They do not hold! And I question the durability of the rubber, as I see quite a bit of wear on mine after only 35 miles as illustrated below. (especially given that I am a lightweight). 

I would also like to see more flexibility in the outsole so that the ride would be a little less stiff.

Sam: The outsole is actually a midsole type material which New Balance calls Ground Contact and is similar if not the same as the prior version's material. It is about the firmness of typical forefoot blown rubber but softer than the usual high wear area rubber. There is 5mm of thickness across the entire surface for decent mileages so it should accommodate different wear patterns although I worry about the highest wear areas for me, the lateral heel where I am already seeing wear.

Top: Fresh Foam More v2 Bottom: Fresh Foam More v1

The big difference between v1 and v2, and a welcome trend in all recent Fresh Foam trainers such as the 1080 are the new flex grooves in the outsole with the matching protrusions in the midsole that nest in them as illustrated in the schematic in midsole above. This translates to a much improved less flat ride and easier toe off.

I agree with Michael that "more" or deeper flex grooves, including maybe a longitudinal decoupling groove a la Salomon or ASICS would yet further improve the toe off here. While interesting to look at, matching part of the logo for Fresh Foam, and clearly improved in functionality this outsole could be yet more so. I am done with the Fresh Foam lozenge visual design thing.

The outsole grips well on dry surfaces. Due to its massive ground contact from not only from on the ground platform but the big flat un profiled lugs I found it terrible on any snow but spring is here!

Hope: Cross an OG Hoka Clifton with the NB FF 1080v10 and you get the FFM2. I’m frustrated that the upper didn’t work for my feet because this shoe is otherwise a delight to run in. It feels even lighter than its <9 oz catalog weight! Turnover is fast and transitions are smooth, even without a rocker. Where some maximally cushioned models with pared down uppers can feel bottom heavy, the FFM2 feels nicely balanced.

Michael: Mo’ foam, fewer problems. Seriously, this is a nice ride. As I mentioned in the “Midsole” section, I think the More slots in somewhere between ZoomX and React when considering the “squish” of it, but it still manages to be a lively enough ride without compromising on comfort. I didn’t do any running faster than about 6:15 pace, but I don’t think it’s a shoe that can’t go fast. Instead, you might just want something with a little less ground clearance for a workout - but for everyday miles, I don’t think there’s much to pick at here with the More. You’ll be riding high in these - literally and figuratively.

Sally: This is a very cushioned shoe, and a delight to walk in. But I struggled more than the others with the ride while running. I found it a bit firm and stiff for such a highly cushioned shoe, and not as easy to transition as I would like. For me it will be a shoe meant for the easy miles where clunkiness is of no concern.

Sam: It took me a few runs to break the More in, and get it moving, to get it more flexible. The ride is highly highly cushioned with no mushy feel or lag in cushion response and rebound and also has far less of a firm and harsh feel, relatively speaking, as v1 had. Super pleasant and super protective if not and exactly exciting ride here, so one suitable for moderate paces and long mileage. With a silkier under foot feel and easier transitions than before but still somewhat lacking either a more aggressive rocker or more flexibility with decoupling longitudonally to really shine at all paces which I think they could. They are easy to amble along with lux underfoot comfort that didn't overly bog me down. What I found notable, and for sure noticed is how light and stable they felt for easier, don't think about much about it runs. They have been an excellent recovery and easier pace shoe for me.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Hope: A solid shoe from NB here, but not going to earn a spot on my list of favorites given the issues with the upper, somewhat subpar traction pattern, and the steep price. I do love the midsole and expect a lot of runners will enjoy the shoe’s ride. You’d do well to try these on at a specialty running store when considering your next shoe purchase. If the upper works for you, you might find even more to love about this model. 
Hope’s Score: 8.25/10
-1.0 for ankle collar discomfort
-.5 for uninspiring outsole grippiness
-.25 for price

Michael: You thought 2019 was good? 2020 is a darn competitive year for running shoes . From carbon-doping racers to beefy trainers, nearly every brand seems to be bringing their A-game, which makes it all the more difficult to comparatively and objectively review trainers.

In the Fresh Foam X More, New Balance has made an impressively competent, durable, and genuinely useful trainer - one I will continue to go to for easy and recovery miles, especially as the weather turns warmer. It rocks on durability and comfort, and I’m confident this shoe can last most runners upwards of 500 miles - it’s just that sort of trainer. So what’s the catch? The More isn’t perfect. There are outsole concerns and a lacing-ankle-heel setup that feels dated at best and downright uncomfortable at worst. It’s a hard first impression to get past, even in a shoe that is quite nice to run in, once you get out on the road.

The verdict is this - if you’re looking for a recovery shoe, a shoe for your pure easy miles, I do think the Fresh Foam X More is towards the top of the class, caveats included. It’s a pleasure to run in and leaves your legs feeling fresh, day after day. But if you’re not a runner who has 3 (or 5) (or 7) (or 15) trainers in your rotation at once, I think there are too many compromises to make this shoe a must-buy. It’s good - really good! - but it’s not great, and in 2020, that may not be enough.
Michael's Score: 8.4/10

Sally: There are many exciting shoes coming to market in 2020, so the competition for market share will be tough. This is a solid entry from New Balance in the heavily cushioned category, but it does have its flaws. It is not the uptempo responsive trainer that I gravitate towards, but others might enjoy it for slower recovery miles. The upper has some fit challenges and is far from perfect, and the outsole lacks traction on wet surfaces. All in all, I found the ride a bit clunky, firm, and stiff. At a price of $160, you might keep shopping.
Sally’s score:   8.1/10.0
Ride (50%) 8.0  Fit (30%) 8.3 Value (15%) 8.0  Style (5%) 9.0 

Sam: A solid improvement in fit and performance at an admirably lighter and light weight for such a big stack shoe. The light weight, stability, and now more fluid ride were notable for such a shoe . It has made my easier runs...easier and less ponderous than in the usual mushier or heavier options in my arsenal or v1. Not to say you can't pick up the pace in them but  there are just better options out there including New Balance's more dynamic plated FuelCell TC. It took a few runs for the ride to break in and get more flexible and fluid so please take note of that. Out of the box is not the same as a few runs here as there is not much rocker so it is flex that moves them along.  While the upper is secure and roomy, and clearly helped reduce weight, it is not exactly as lux as the marketing says about the ride which is somewhat more limited in pace versatility by the geometry up front these factors reducing my scores for Ride, Fit and Value somewhat. 
Sam's Score: 8.7 / 10
Ride: 8.7 (50%) Fit: 8.7 (30%) Value: 8 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)

Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

New Balance 1080v10 (RTR Review)
Hope (US M8, true to size): The 1080v10 improved the fit of the 1080v9, a shoe I *still* can’t stop talking about because it’s just that good. The FFXM has a roomier toebox and may be a touch lighter, but otherwise the 1080v10 is far and away the superior shoe to me. It’s more responsive, grippier, and more comfortable.
Sam: The 1080v10 is clearly snappier and more responsive and leans more speed than the More. I actually prefer the More upper as I find the stretch knit of the 1080 low over the toes,

New Balance 880v10 (RTR NB 2020 Comparative Review)
Hope (US M8, true to size): I alternated between the 880v10 and the FFXM in testing. The 880v10 certainly feels heavier on foot, but even as a neutral runner, I appreciated the light stability features. NB got the tongue, heel cup, and external heel counter exactly right on the 880v10 — it’s a comfortable, well-fitting shoe without having to lean on mega-plush features. While the FFXM is livelier, I give the edge to the 880v10 because of its irritation-free upper.
Sam: I agree with Hope that the somewhat heavier 880 has a wonderful more traditional upper. Yes, the additional weight of the 880 is noticed but for similar easier pace focused runs I prefer the easier transitions from the flexibility and 10mm drop (vs 4mm for More) of the 880. The 880 is also a better value at $130.

New Balance FuelCell TC (RTR Review)
Sam: The pricey ($200) carbon plated TC blows the More away for all but easy, easy paces. Dynamic, bouncy, and very well cushioned the TC is a more versatile shoe on the faster end of paces. The More could make a good recovery easy days pairing with TC.

RTR 2020 NB Comparison Review: Fresh Foam More, 880v10, 1080v10, FuelCell TC

Saucony Endorphin Shift (RTR Initial Review)
Sam: Clear competitors, the heavier Shift has a dynamic forward rocker and stiffer midsole and has yet more cushion of the slightly firmer more responsive variety. It runs easier and more smoothly at both fast and slower paces. Its upper with robust external heel counter is more secure, plush, and comfortable if may be a bit overbuilt. In a heavy duty heavy cushion trainer at the same price nod to the Shift with its 1 oz additional weight its only downside comparatively.

Hoka Clifton (RTR Review)
Hope (US M8 and US W9.5 true to size): A contest between two shoes that hurt my feet but that I otherwise enjoyed! I think the issues I had with the FFXM could be resolved via some subtle tweaks. The “bucket seat” in the Clifton is a design choice that is a Hoka signature and may never work with my medium-high arches. The OG Clifton is one of the shoes that helped me really fall in love with running, so it pains me to not be able to recommend the Clifton 6. Try them both on in a store if you’re in the market for a maximal shoe. I would rate the FFXM as the faster shoe, but the Clifton 6 might be a bit more responsive. If forced to choose, I pick the FFXM.
Sam: I concur with Hope. Similar concepts. The More's Fresh Foam X ride is superior in cushion with a touch of rebound.

ASICS Glideride (RTR Review)
Michael: The New Balance is a less kinetic, more “natural” running experience, with less of the rocking-sensation in comparison to the ASICS. It’s also markedly softer underfoot. I think the GlideRide is ultimately a more impressive trainer - with the (relatively large) caveat that the GlideRide really wants you to get moving, whereas the More is much better suited to easy and recovery miles. Pick based on your needs!
Hope (US W9.5 true to size): I agree with Michael here. I took the GlideRide for a 17 mile run out of box and found myself with far fresher legs than expected late in the run, but the shoe felt best early on when I still had the juice to go fast. If the upper worked for my feet better, I’d use the FFXM to soak up long slow miles and for recovery runs and keep the GlideRide for faster efforts. 
Sally: I am totally in agreement with Mchael and Hope here!
Sam: Me too! A superior upper and more dynamic ride for the Glideride and $10 less. It is heavier and feels heavier as it weighs about 1 oz more but that goes away when you wind them up but is more noticed when run slow and easy.

ASICS NovaBlast (RTR Review)
Michael: I love the NovaBlast - it’s fun and bouncy and something legitimately cool from ASICS! And it matches up pretty closely with the Fresh Foam X More. The ASICS feels lighter and bouncier underfoot; the New Balance feels a little smoother at slower paces and a little less springy - which some may find familiar. If forced to take only one, I’m taking the ASICS.
Hope (US W9.5 true to size): The NovaBlast is a thing of beauty (check out that midsole sculpt!) and feels like running on bouncy balls in the best possible way. My favorite shoe from ASICS in a while. I’d choose the far more dynamic NovaBlast over the FFXM. I agree with Michael that the FFXM is smoother.
Sally: I also have loved the new NovaBlast, and being a runner who prefers uptempo training, I personally would pick it over the FFXM most of the time.  The exception might be a planned slow recovery run.
Sam: The Nova is for faster uptempo, the More for those days you want cushion and a steady stable ride and fit-from its broader on the ground platform and more secure uppe with More leaning to slower paces.

Adidas Ultraboost PB (RTR Review)
Michael: The Ultraboost PB is a fun, responsive, and up-tempo trainer from Adidas, using BOOST technology, which is denser and springier underfoot than the Fresh Foam X utilized here. Ultimately, I think these shoes compete in 2 different classes: the PB is a lightweight trainer (and a relatively middle-of-the-road one, though with some standout features), while the More is directed at easier, everyday miles, so it’s hard to compare directly. If you want a shoe that can pick-up, I do think Adidas - and in particular, BOOST - really does that well. But I think the New Balance is nicer for just relaxing and recovery. The choice will come down to what you need.

Nike Infinity React (RTR Review)
Sally: The Infinity React has earned a place in my regular marathon training rotation, even though it also has a huge fit challenge for me (and many others): heel lift (solved by thick socks and creative lacing). The Infinity React is a solid trainer, again not necessarily an uptempo choice, but much more springy and responsive than the uber-cushioned FFXM. The IR can be a one-shoe quiver all purpose trainer; the FFXM definitely can not, unless slow recovery miles are your every day. The IR for the win. 
Sam: These two are both in the heavily cushioned trainer category. I like everything about the Infinity React except... the side rails which put a hitch in my transitions especially the lateral one as it is a more overt stability/support shoe, not something I usually like. Heavier by 0.5 oz but with real outsole rubber and a great (for Nike Flyknit upper) I scored the Infinity higher than the More when I reviewed but comparing these two now I think the More out leans it, it if barely, due to the Infinity's side rails and More's lighter weight. Without the rails or making them shorter it would be no contest, Infinity. Both are priced $160.

Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 (RTR Review)
Michael: The Turbo 2 was my favorite trainer of 2019 for its dynamic ride - Zoom X is one of the squishiest midsoles around that doesn’t compromise on springy responsiveness when you want to push the pace. The More has some of that - a smooth and comfortable ride, to be sure - but without the upside of springiness. Plus, the upper on the Turbo 2 is markedly better than New Balance’s offering. We’re hearing the Turbo 2 may not be long for this world, with the new AlphaFly varients coming, so if you’re a fan, stock up now. For the rest of us - I’m taking Nike over NB, unless you value that extra inch or two of height when you meet up with your running group.
Read reviewers' full run bios here
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1 comment:

rcharbon said...

Does the v2 still have the ridiculous (for a so-called “neutral” shoe) tilt to the heel? Might help pronators, but it’s the opposite of useful to me.
I’d go to the store to look for myself, but coronavirus.