New Balance has been in the business of making feet happy since 1906. So why has it taken me so long to get my feet into some? An attitude of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I have been stuck in a shoe rut, my friends. Guilty of going back to the same brand time after time. Well…I am happy to say, I am breaking out of my rut and these shoes are to blame. With a focus on comfort, fit and performance let me introduce you to the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V2.
As usual, let’s start by taking a look at the outsole. New Balance has used Vibram Megagrip rubber which is an all-terrain material that is responsive in wet and dry conditions, being sticky and soft. The ~3mm lugs that cover the outsole, are reminiscent of the hexagons that have always appeared in the design of the Fresh Foam line. Along with the many lugs, there are 2 very prominent flex grooves in front and behind the metatarsal heads.
I have taken the Hierro V2’s on runs in all conditions. In fact, my first week wearing them I logged over 40 trail miles. I was able to get them on snow & ice as well as dry, rocky terrain. They were definitely responsive however, as with all shoes, nothing will prevent slipping on ice. For these sections of the trail I was wearing my Kahtoola Microspikes and they worked very well with the Hierro’s.
So far I have logged over 75+ miles in the Fresh Foam Hierro V2 and contrary to what you might expect from a softer feeling outsole material the durability is excellent, in my opinion. I am not seeing any noticeable wear and can still see the pressure map design that is etched into the outsole.
For the past several months the Saucony Peregrine 6 [REVIEW HERE] has been one of my favorite trail shoes (3 pairs!) and I was shocked to find a shoe that could equal it and in many aspects exceed it.
The Fresh Foam Hierro V2 has a midsole made from a single piece of EVA (Fresh Foam) which gives a nice soft and even feel underfoot. There is a 4mm drop from the 26mm heel to the 22mm forefoot. As with the rest of the shoe, the midsole maintains the hexagonal exterior design from previous Fresh Foam shoes, but a bit flattened out from earlier models.
The Fresh Foam Hierro V2 is not only my first pair of New Balance, but also my first experience with Fresh Foam. It’s immediate comfort is impressive and a pleasant surprise. I’ll get to this more in the RIDE section below, but I have to say that the smoothness of the single piece EVA underfoot is wonderfully noticeable. Having a “no break-in” period (and being so soft and flexible) I was able to take them out of the box and onto a 10 mile run with zero issues.
Once again the hexagons appear in the 3D printed support structure over a lightweight no-sew, dual action mesh on the Hierro V2. New Balance defines this Fantom Fit as a “skeletally engineered upper that provides ultralight support and fit created by fusing two thin of materials with a no-sew process.” It feels like single piece construction but it’s not since there are two layers in the Fantom Fit and also, the collar is a separate piece.
The toe protection is a heavier bit of the 3D printed structural material laid over the toes as well as taking care of the ball of the foot on the medial and lateral side. I have found this to be a huge help with most of my runs being on rocky trails. While being covered in this design, I have found the Hierro V2 to maintain good breathability.
The collar has a good amount of foam which I really like. Having a narrow heel, the foam helps to get a good snug fit that prevents my heel from slipping and reduces the risk of blisters. I have also found it can prevent rocks from getting down into my shoe. In my opinion, it’s just very comfortable and just as above, comfort is king here.
For my foot (narrow heel with wider forefoot) I have found the Hierro V2 to have a great fit. The heel cup is fairly rigid with a good amount of foam which, as I mentioned above, is a feature that works for me. I enjoy the snug fit and being able to get a good lock down in the heel area.
When I run I tend to be more of a mid to forefoot striker. The Hierro has a roomy midfoot-forefoot area that allowed my toes to splay nicely. It is also important to note that New Balance offers the Fresh Foam Hierro V2 in wide widths – From the standard “D” to 2E and also 4E extra wide! This is rare, unfortunately.
This type of fit combined with the Fresh Foam & flex grooves is a winner in my opinion and gives me just what I am looking for in a shoe. I have loved the feel of the Fresh Foam Hierro V2 on my many trail runs and have to say that I have also enjoyed running in them on roads as well.
As you can see, comfort is the name of the game here with the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V2. From the moment I slipped my foot into this shoe I’ve been impressed with it’s comfort, performance, durability and versatility. I feel that this shoe checks all of the boxes in my book. Having logged more that 75+ miles on all kinds of terrain, it has held up beautifully. The shoe is priced about where we’d expect it to be, though it is a part of the overall uptick in shoe pricing (it would seem) at about $125 – check our links below for some deals.
As I said above, this shoe is a winner in my opinion. If you are new to trail running, I feel that this would be a great shoe to get you started. If you are stuck in a “shoe rut” and enjoy a responsive luggy durable trail shoe that offers a wide toe box and comfortable cushion, I would say give the Hierro V2 a try…you just might love it as much as I do.
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