Tuesday, April 18, 2023

New Balance Fresh Foam X Trail More v3 Review: A Very Run Able Behemoth! 7 Comparisons

Article by Jeff Beck and Jeff Valliere

New Balance Fresh Foam X Trail More v3 ($160)


A few years ago New Balance introduced the Fresh Foam More Trail and out of the gate it seemed like a solid fairly technical trail shoe, reminding several of us a lot of Hoka’s fabled Speed Goat line. Now on the third iteration (I didn’t test v2), the FFMT still reminds me of a Hoka - but now it's their massively cushioned trail crusher Stinson instead of the Speedgoat. And as a bigger runner who almost always prefers more cushioning to less, it seems like a massive step forward, if not also in stack height.


-Top of the class in cushioning, measured 44mm heel stack- Jeff B/Jeff V

-Outsole has solid traction and good durability - Jeff B/Jeff V

-High volume feet will have no problems, plenty of room for long run swelling- Jeff B/Jeff V

-Midsole is soft, but has enough width to keep it stable

-It’s like a Hoka Stinson, but with more traction, cushioning, and much more toe box room- Jeff B/Jeff V

-Ideal road-to-trail or 25+ mile trail shoe - Jeff B


-Low volume feet might have trouble getting good lock down  - Jeff B/Jeff V

-Because physics exists, a very wide and tall midsole is also quite heavy- Jeff B/Jeff V


Approx. Weight: men's 10.75 oz  / 305g (US9)   

Samples: men’s  11.25oz / 319g (US10), 12.3oz/ 349g (US 10.5 2E)

Measured Stack Height: men’s mm 44 heel / 40 mm forefoot ( 4 drop spec) 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

“That has to be the biggest shoe I’ve ever seen in 10.5” was my first impression, and 40+ miles later, that hasn’t changed a bit. The overall girth of the shoe is legendary, though once I looked closer at the box and noticed that New Balance had sent my standard 10.5 length, though this time around they sent me the wide 2E fit. I tend to fit just a little wider than a standard D, but not all the way to a 2E, so this shoe has plenty of interior space - enough that I definitely went with the thickest socks I had clean anytime I put the shoe on, which helped eat up some of the extra space. But it’s not just big inside the shoe, New Balance claims it’s their most cushioned Fresh Foam shoe (technically the FuelCell Super Comp Trainer has a higher stack height), and it doesn’t feel like they barely got there. This shoe has so much more cushioning than just about everything else on the planet.

Lengthwise it is true-to-size, and I’d imagine even the standard D width has plenty of room to accommodate wider (if not truly wide) feet. I’ve had to really crank the laces down to get the fit dialed in, similar to what my wife does when she borrows my shoes (she’s an 11 in womens, so close in length but she has much narrower feet than I do), creating some very long laces. I could see the width being a problem for runners with slightly narrow feet - so if you do have slim feet make sure you either try them on or buy them from a place with an easy return policy.

The upper is an engineered mesh with some strategically placed overlays to give the shoe a little more support. The toe bumper is pretty flexible, and I like the stripe of reinforcement they put over the big toe - a common source of failure for many long distance shoes. 

The heel counter has some external build up, but it’s still pretty flexible, and it holds the heel in place (even with all the extra room in the shoe). 

While I appreciate the pull tab on the heel, it’s pretty narrow, making it hard to use, while the pull tab on the tongue has plenty of space to get a few fingers in there. The tongue is adequately cushioned, and is gusseted so it doesn’t move at all.

Jeff V:  Out of the box I am a bit surprised by the size of the More Trail v3, they are massive!  Perhaps only rivaled by the Hoka 10/9.  I can’t recall the last time I ran in a New Balance trail shoe, perhaps the first Summit Unknown that gave me bad blisters 4 or 5 years ago, so I was eager to get re-acquainted with the brand.  

All white, they have a bit (a lot) of a dad shoe vibe to them, but after reading about New Balance’s sustainable materials selections, I give the look a pass.  Stepping into them, I am impressed with how cushy and plush they feel, but they are distinctively soft underfoot and I question how the upper is going to keep everything in balance given the high stack height.

The upper is light, flexible and airy (despite the shoe being large and not so light) and is quite comfortable.  Fit feels true to size, though definitely it a bit on the side of high volume, with a secure heel, somewhat secure midfoot and ample toe box.

While they feel reasonably secure wearing casually, running in them for me presented a bit of a challenge as the roominess and subsequent lack of foothold on top of such a large stack made them feel tippy on any terrain that was moderately technical.  That said they were great for cruising moderate to easy paces on non technical trails, dirt roads or roads.

As Jeff alludes to, the heel pull tab is pretty much useless.


As it is with so many shoes, the midsole is where the magic comes from. It is listed as Fresh Foam X, it feels like a slightly different iteration of it, and Sam had mentioned that it is a dual-density Fresh Foam X with a firmer layer on the bottom, and that is it co-molded so there is no glue between the two densities. I won’t say I can feel the two layers, but unlike other large stacked Fresh Foam X shoes, there’s something more to this midsole that prevents it from being relegated to only easy runs. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of soft cushioning, but it prevents you from bottoming out. 

The firmer bottom layer, along with the overall size of the midsole, creates a very stable platform. I measured it as 132mm at the widest point of the forefoot, 100mm at the narrowest point of the midfoot, and 112mm at the widest point of the heel (by comparison the ASICS Trabuco Max 2 measures 121mm/91mm/92mm and the Topo Ultraventure 3 measures 119mm/88mm/89mm) - so truly the only word that accurately applies is BEHEMOTH.

There isn’t any rock plate, but it doesn’t need it. Turns out having 40mm of stack height under the forefoot does a great job of dulling every rock I purposely landed on. I could still feel some of the rocks, but there was really no sting.

Jeff V:  Jeff describes the midsole well. The Fresh Foam X does a remarkable job providing plush cushioning and comfort, though with a firmer co molded bottom layer to provide stability and support.  The midsole here runs lighter than the size and weight would suggest and I find that I can hit moderate paces without too much coaxing. That said the overall size/bulk, weight and sub-optimal foothold relegates this shoe to casual cruiser territory.


The outsole is made from 30% recycled content Ecostep EVO Vibram, and as with most Vibram outsoles, there’s plenty of grip. 

This shoe has something new from Vibram, micro Traction lugs on the backside of the lugs in the front of the shoe and on the front of the lugs under the heel. I’m not sure how much added traction these little nubs give, but the overall result is a pretty grippy shoe. 

New Balance did a good job segmenting the rubber, but the midsole is thick enough there was never going to be much forefoot flex either way - though it probably helps keep the weight down as much as possible. There is a decent amount of exposed outsole, but between the road and trail miles I’ve put on, the wear isn’t bad, and it’s all in a place where even if you do have excessive wear it isn’t likely to prematurely retire the shoe. 

Jeff V:  Jeff sums up the outsole perfectly.  I like having this level of traction, at a minimum, to be ready for varied conditions. I will say given my trepidation to run these on even moderately technical trails and preferably very low angle, I did not really have a chance to test the limits of traction, but for the intended purpose of this shoe, traction and durability is ample.


As I mentioned above, there’s a pleasant softness to the landing that isn’t too soft, you never get the feeling of bottoming out, which helps make a shoe this well cushioned still be versatile. It would be at home on any runner in a 50K to 50 mile race, as well as just easy day hikes. It wouldn’t be on the short list, or really any list, for a fast run, but if you value comfort and protection over speed, you’re unlikely to find a shoe that does comfort and protection better.

Jeff V:  I find the ride to be plush and smooth with a very comfortable feel underfoot, although they are for sure maximal with essentially no trail feel.  With so much cushion, I could easily imagine feeling quite fresh after running in them all day, although with that would be at slower paces and onless technical terrain.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Hoka has long been the king of true max cushioning both on the road and trail, but the Trail More v3 is clearly a grab at the title - and I think it might take the top spot. 

It’s a massive shoe that gives tons of protection and cushioning, but doesn’t feel overly bulky or heavy.

It doesn’t have the traction or exceptional foot hold to make me comfortable taking them on technical trails, but they’re a top shoe for any type of easy trail. The dual-density midsole gives a soft ride that never goes too soft. The previous iteration of the road version, the Fresh Foam More v3, has a lower stack, but is so soft they’re hard to run in for anything but truly easy days - that’s not the case here. I’m sure the outsole helps contribute, and perhaps the ultra wide platform does as well, but the final result is one of the most cushioned shoes on the market that never feels sluggish - quite the feat for a shoe with this much mass. And if you’re one of the many of us who have been pining for a massive Hoka-esque shoe, but with a proper toe box, your day has come.

Score: 9.5/10

Ride: 9.5 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 10 (10%) Style: 9 (5%) Traction: 9 (15%) Rock Protection: 10 (10%)


Jeff V:  I think the More Trail v3 is a great choice for those looking for a maximum comfort daily trainer with supreme cushioning, comfort and a roomy feel and if one is not particularly concerned with weight or running on moderately technical and certainly not technical trails.  I appreciate the quality, comfort and projected durability/longevity of the shoe, but for my somewhat narrow, low volume foot and preference for technical trails, this shoe is not a match for me.

Jeff V’s Score: 8.8/10

Ride: 9.5 (30%) Fit: 8 (30%) Value: 9 (10%) Style: 6 (5%) Traction: 9 (15%) Rock Protection: 10 (10%)

4 Comparisons 

New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1 (RTR Review)

Jeff B: This might as well be a different shoe rather than an update. The v1 has a more dialed in fit and feels almost minimal by comparison, making it a great shoe for technical runs, the v3’s massive platform blows the v1 out of the water.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 (RTR Review)

Jeff B; An incredible update to the first Trabuco Max, the TM2 feels narrow and minimal in an A/B test against the FFMTv3. The ASICS wins the traction battle and is definitely better for faster paced runs, but it doesn’t have nearly the all day protection the New Balance does even though they have similar stacks. The wider platform of the New Balance is also appreciated, helping make the shoe feel more planted.

Jeff V: Agreed with Jeff mostly, but I could easily see running all day in the Trabuco Max 2 and find them to be much more stable, though I think much of that has to do with fit for me.

Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3 (RTR Review)

Jeff B:  Topo’s biggest stacked trail shoe to date, the Ultraventure brings lots of cushioning, with 35mm underneath the heel, but it feels svelte and dialed in by comparison. I appreciate the classic Topo toebox, and the mesh upper is very comfortable, but if you’re looking for the longest distance shoe, the New Balance takes it by a mile.

Jeff V:  Agreed with Jeff again, mostly, and would only add that I think the Topo offers plenty enough cushion for any distance I consider the MTV3 for.  Traction is notably better on the MTV3, though I cannot really utilize that traction given fit/stability concerns.

Inov8 Trail Fly Ultra G300 Max (RTR Review)

Jeff B: Inov-8’s biggest shoe has a similar over-the-top build to the FFMTv3. Inov8 wins for traction, foot hold, rock protection, and toe box width, NB wins for comfort and cushioning, making them great shoes to pair off of each other. If you want almost all day comfort with the ability to get into technical running, go Inov8, if you want all-day-and-then-some comfort on tame or buffed out trails or maybe some road, then go NB. Both great shoes.

Brooks Caldera 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Both shoes have a similar big presence, but the Caldera 6 fits my foot better with more security/stability and also feels much more nimble/agile, which surprises me given its size and bulk.  Both shoes are at similar weights and prices, but the MTV3 has more stack and a roomier fit, which might be preferable for those with larger volune feet.

Salomon Glide Max TR (RTR Review soon)

Jeff V:  The Glide Max TR is a few ounces lighter, much more responsive, more stable, secure and agile than the MTV3, yet still has a very soft, plush max cushion feel for full days on the trail.

Speedland GS:TAM (RTR Review soon)

Jeff V:  The TAM is maximal and nearly as large, has a roomy fit, but has a far superior foothold given the dual BOA fit system.  The TAM is not quite as soft under foot, but is more firm and supportive, especially with the optional carbon plates installed which really firm up the ride.

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Tester Profile

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

The Trail More v3 is available from our partners below

New Balance SHOP HERE

Fleet Feet SHOP HERE

The samples were provided at no charge for review purposes.RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
  • 10% Savings Every Day*  5% Back in Rewards Cash
  • Test Run Shoes 90 Days Worry Free
  • Crazy Fast, FREE Shipping

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Anonymous said...

I got the black one, this and the green/camo version come without heel loop and an extra pair of laces, yellow ones for the black version MTMORNBK. Besides that, it's the same shoe and also listed as NBFFMXTV3... they should consider shortening the name, it's as massive as the shoe.
Compared to the V2 and the Brooks Caldera 6 they massively improved ventilation, it has the best temperature inside, the previous mentioned maximal shoes run rather warm. The new dual foam midsole also gives a bounce and allows for better running than say with the V2 or the Gel Nimbus 25, maybe they will give the 26 a bit more bounce, dampening and cushioning are already at maximum, after all.
I much prefer this one to my Speedgoat 5: Much better heel hold. Also a roomier toebox.

70's Teen said...

Speaking of the Caldera 6, how would you compare the ride, Jeff?

Jeff Valliere said...

The added cushion of the More Trail v3 is noticed, but I'll be honest that it was hard for me to appreciate the ride as much as I should given the instability I was feeling with the upper combined with stack. I overall much prefer the Caldera 6, finding the ride to be very smooth, exceptionally well cushioned and surpisingly performance oriented for such a max shoe.

Anonymous said...

Please, can you measure the forefoot width for these sneakers? Trying to choose the right size as there no way for me to try or return them.

Tanya Botes said...

Thank you for this higly informative review! I have been a new balance fan for about 6 years now, and especially of their trail shoes(mainly because of the vibram sole, as my soles normally run out before the shoes themselves)

I normally wear a wide shoe (D womens) but the latest version is only available in white(same as yours) in the wider sizes. I would prefer not to go for the completely white shoe, and was wondering, do you feel the widht campares the same as their previous trail shoes? or might I be able to try the Standard in half a size bigger?

Jeff Valliere said...

Hi Tanya, thanks for reading. I am reluctant to advise, given my narrow foot and very limited use of NB over the past years. I struggled in them, but if you have a wider foot, then sticking with standard might be just fine. As always, best to try on before you buy if possible, or at the very least, buy from a vendor with a good exchange policy. Good luck!

Tanya Botes said...

Thanks Jeff, I'm buying online as most stores do not have the wide in stock. But you made me realize I can at least go and fit the standard if I can find it.

Jennifer Day said...

What was the performance across any technical terrain, roots, sharp rocks, etc? Is the outsole/lugs and foam enough foot protection?

Jeff Valliere said...

Jennifer, protection is great, but they are very tippy due to the tall stack, soft foam and relaxed upper.