New Balance 860 V7 Review
Cons: Select color options, heavier
Manufacturer: New Balance
Our Analysis and Test Results
This contender was one of the stiffer pair of shoes in our fleet; it's a supportive model, thus, supportive models tend to be more rigid than their neutral counterparts, and can be heavier due to the extra postings used in structuring the foundation of the shoe. We did feel that the update that New Balance added of having a lower offset in the 860 V7 with a 10mm (compared to the 6 edition with a 12mm) allowed for a balanced ride that felt even and countered the stiff feel. We also found that the natural responsive feel given during the heel strike was completely mitigated by the heel to toe drop, as there was only 7mm from the heel to toe. The 7mm drop allowed for impact to transfer evenly during a gait cycle. Other shoes tested with similar drop and similar overall feel was the Best Buy ASICS Gel-Cumulus 18 and Editors' Choice Brooks Ghost 10 - Women, with the Salming Race 3 coming out on top, earning the only 9 out of 10.
The 860 V7 provided a great balance of cushion and support without being too heavy. The foam technologies that New Balance used added shape and toe spring to the underfoot ride and fit. We found that the 860 v7 compared to the feel of the supreme cushioning of the Hoka One One Bondi 5. If you are a runner in search of a running shoe with the most comfortable landing, the Brooks Glycerin 14 - Women's scored the highest in this metric, with the New Balance trailing close behind.
The mesh on the 860 V7 really excelled during our testing as the soft material was not abrasive. The synthetic and welded upper holds the foot securely in place and the mesh flexes and adapts to the foot, offsetting some of the shoe's stiff, yet supportive design aspects, making this shoe a good fit for anyone with wide feet. Other options for wide feet are the Altra Intuition 4.5 and ASICS Gel-Cumulus 18 with comparable width. This shoe came out on top for its upper comfort, earning a 10 out of 10 and two thumbs up.
As one of our most stable runners tested, the 860 V7 was a soft smooth ride and offered exceptional midfoot support, earning one of the highest scores in our test. The dual-density medial post helped with over-pronation, while the supportive midfoot (seen on the bottom of the shoe) created max stability. The added cushion in the heel locked our foot down without being too tight or restrictive; the ASICS Gel-Quantum 360 provided a similar feeling. We never felt that these shoes become floppy, even after breaking them in. The 860 v7 performed extraordinarily in the stability metric, as they provided continual support, mile after mile.
With fewer sewn-on overlays used for the uppers, the sleek look and functionality design provides durability without losing its fashionable appeal. The 860 V7 has fewer seams, like the Salomon S Lab Sonic, allowing for a snug fit, as well as a durable aspect in which the shoe did not become frayed when testing during rainy weather. From the seamless design to the midsole foam that is lightweight, we loved knowing that this shoe was made to last.
The new engineered mesh (implement in this new design) added a fresh look that was soft and breathable. The mesh fit well through the forefoot and didn't suffocate our feet after long miles of pounding the pavement. The Saucony Guide 10 and Brooks Glycerin 14 offered similar breathability, with the Salomon S Lab Sonic earning the only 10 out of 10 in this metric. The mesh molded to our foot shape, providing a custom feel, and exceptional flex. We love the look and feel of the mesh and determined that this shoe represents function and fashion at its best.
Similar in weight to Best Buy Award winner the ASICS Gel-Cumulus 18, the 860 V7 has wonderful stability features that added to the weight index, but is worth the tradeoff for a more supportive and quality material. Another shoe that provided stability and low weight was the Saucony Guide 10; a lightweight material in its upper allowed for it to keep the weight down on the scale. The lightest shoes in our test were the Salming Race 3 and Altra Intuition 4.5, both scoring a 9 out of 10 in the weight metric.
Additional Design Considerations
860 V6 can be found cheaper, but won't have the updates added that are found in the 7, such as new TRUFUSE cushioning, lower offset, and softer upper.
This is a great shoe for heavier runners and hard to fit foot types that are looking for amazing cushioning and support. It's also a great shoe for runners that over-pronate, supplying the needed support to help the runner feel secure, mile after mile.
The 860 V7 is priced at $124.99, which seems right on the mark once you consider this shoe is packed with premium materials and an elegant design. It's a bargain for runners needing support!
New Balance's additions made for improved updates to this classic, complete with cushioning, offset, and upper. With its incredible versatility and comfort, we would recommend this shoe to any friend. We can't imagine New Balance implementing any improvements - this supportive shoe is the whole enchilada, with responsiveness and comfort all wrapped up in one little shoe box.
— Brittney Ahrens