Sunday, January 21, 2024

New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v13 Review

Article by Matt Kolat

New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v13  (€160  / $140 / £139)


New Balance is a brand that once was on the back burner of hype. However in recent years it has become the number one hype brand of the sneaker world and by proxy also a hype beast of the running world. Embarrassingly enough, I have never ran in a pair of NBs so despite the 860s being on the lower end of hype I was still pretty excited to give them a try. Therefore without further ado please join me for yet another Road Trail Run shoe review presented by your resident average runner - yours truly. 


  • Fresh looks

  • Feel lighter on foot then they do in hand or on the scale

  • Springy midsole

  • Much more stable than expected


  • Constrictive upper (might be sizing)

  • They run like a shoe with a lower drop than 10mm (can be a pro!)

  • Tongue too short


Sample Weight: men’s 11 UK / 12 US:  12oz / 343g US9  10.9oz / 309g

Stack Height: men’s  35mm heel / 25mm forefoot ( 10mm drop spec) 

€160  / $140 / £139 Available at our partner HERE

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Let’s address the fit first. The shoe is tight on my foot. My normal size 11 UK feels like it should have been sized up by half or maybe a full size, noting they are also available in wide for both men and women. Please keep that in mind if you are purchasing this model online. The fit has broken in after a few runs but I would have definitely preferred more room in the upper. 

The toebox I would describe as average in terms of its width, the midfoot as very accommodating and the heel as on the narrow end. The upper materials are relatively plush but not luxurious. These attributes are a positive in a daily trainer for me as it saves weight and allows for a broader spectrum of paces to be enjoyed. 

The jacquard engineered mesh which constitutes most of the upper is soft and together with multiple discrete printed overlays holds the foot in place providing apt support. The overlays however are quite soft and gentle unlike the firmer ones found for instance in Asics models. Nevertheless they do their job without any issue. 

The heel counter is on the more minimal side (for a stability shoe!) but that did not cause any instability for me. 

To be honest it was VERY stable for a shoe that is not advertised as a max stability shoe, but more on that in the next sections of the review. 

The laces are flat and the right length, as in they don’t dangle but that’s just about all you can say about them, nothing to complain about, nothing to write home about. 

The tongue I would describe as medium thick and fully gusseted, staying in place nicely throughout the run. The only gripe I have with the tongue is that it is very short, this becomes apparent when putting the shoes on, the tongue sometimes hides back into the shoe like a turtle into its shell. Digging it back out is not how you want to start your run, minor gripe but a wee bit annoying. 

There are 3 major reflective elements (those are always welcome in my book!) with the biggest being the N logo on the lateral side of the shoe. 


Like I’ve mentioned before this was my first experience with New Balance and therefore my first foray into the world of Fresh Foam X. I have to say that I am quite impressed as the foam feels soft without the feeling of over compression, which is an experience that I enjoy quite a bit. 

There are two other aspects that I would like to mention in this part of the review. Firstly the heel area of the midsole is softer than the front, if you as an overpronator are sensitive to that I would give this some thought. Part of the reason for this is that we have a relatively low 25mm stack of foam and outsole up front and a stout 35mm out back. For me this was quite a pleasant sensation and did not cause excessive pronation. 

The second aspect is the firmer foam medial post. Despite being relatively large it absolutely disappears during the run, it does push against your foot. 

The reason for this, but this is just my guess, is the two separate layers of softer foam on top of the post, one white immediately on top of the post and one green right under the foot. If you are a person that enjoys a post as a method of delivering additional stability but do not like that sensation of something pushing against your arch - this may be just the shoe for you.


The outsole has a very thick rubber coverage. After about 50 miles there is zero wear and tear. As far as this part of the shoe goes it is an absolute tank and I believe it will last on most runners for above average mileage, especially given that I am a runner on the heavy end of the spectrum - 87 kg/ 191 pounds / 13.7 stone.  

With regards traction I had no issues whatsoever, especially given that a good chunk of my testing was done right after the most recent spout of snow we had in the NE of Scotland and the pavements were very wet and slippery. I did not have a single instance where I felt slippage, even running downhill. 

The only note I would have on the outsole is that it perhaps is too thick, removing some of it would have a very small, incremental effect on the longevity of the shoe but could result in a significant weight reduction as rubber is the heaviest material in run shoes.. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

I have to be honest when the shoe first arrived it struck me as something that would probably be ideal for walking rather than running. I could have not been more wrong! The shoe is excellent and I mean it. 

My first two runs in it were on the treadmill due to extremely strong winds outdoors. On the treadmill the shoe felt springy but in a controlled way. The ride in general is very lively for a stability shoe and not for a second made my gait feel clunky. 

On the treadmill and on the road I was able to pick up the pace from my normal training pace - about 5:20 min/km down to 4:30 min/km without issue. To be honest it felt great. 

As mentioned in the previous sections of the review the shoe is very stable despite factors that normally put off runners concerned with excessive pronation. Namely the heel counter is not excessive and the foam is relatively soft. The medial posts keeps you in place without making itself feel present. A feeling of security and stability never escapes the runner without sacrificing the fun factor and plushness. 

When it comes to the gait cycle itself there is no rockered feeling but the shoe is far from a bottom heavy slapper. The roll forward is smooth and very centered, I did not feel like towards the end of the gait cycle, when I am toeing off, the shoe would force me onto my big toe. 

860 v13 could easily be the shoe for you if you are, like me, one of those runners who prefers a stable neutral shoe in the early stages of my run but as fatigue creeps in could use some additional support and stability. Is there a phrase for that? Perhaps ‘later stage overpronation’ where the ‘latter’ does not mean the end of the gait cycle but the latter part of the run. Let’s call it that then - 860v13 is a great LSO (latter stage overpronation) shoe! 

Only two notes I would have would be to make the tongue slightly longer for increased comfort and the outsole a bit slimmer to reduce weight. Otherwise well done New Balance.

Score: 8.7/10

Ride 9/10 Fit 9/10 Value 9/10 Looks 8/10


ASICS GT-2000 12 (RTR Review)

The GT is my favorite stability shoe of recent months (if not years!) but the NB does not fall far short from it. I would say that the NB is a smidge plusher and a ‘safer’ option if you are looking for a traditional, full stability shoe because of the 860’smedial post. The GT however has an incredible fun factor to it and it’s easier to pick up the pace in. Not to mention the GT has received my ‘toe off of the year’ award*.

*not a real award.

Hoka Gaviota (RTR Review)

The two shoes are very similar in terms of how they feel on the run - the runner feels very centered and stable, despite the stability being achieved in two different ways (H Frame in the Hoka, medial post in the NB). The NB however feels more cushioned and easier on the feet and will definitely wear and tear much slower than the Hoka. 

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v13 is available at our partner


Use our code RTR235 for 5% off all products

Tester Profile

Maciej 'Matt' Kolat- 38 years old, hailing from Poland but pounding Scottish pavement and trails since 2007. Mainly runs shorter distances on pavement 5-10 km and reserves longer runs for the beautiful Scottish Glens. Matt’s perspectives sometimes may differ from other RTR testers as he is the slowest of the bunch (5k at 25:38). Matt also uses running as a way to stay healthy having shedded 100 lbs so far (and counting).

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

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'.

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1 comment:

Dirk@UltraTired said...

Great to see a review for a proper stability shoe. So many reviews for plated shoes these days when the reality is there are still alot of us that need and rely on proper stability for all our running.

Big fan of this shoe. Agreed on picking the wide option in this shoe in your normal size for a perfect fit.