New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v7 - Women's Review
Compare to Similar Products
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v7 - Women's
|Price||Check Price at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$129.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$112.46 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$64.98 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
|Pros||Comfortable, stylish, excellent grip, stable, great sensitivity||Comfortable, great traction, affordable, durable, packs out to fit your foot shape||Supremely comfortable, spacious toe box, far more durable than previous models, great stability||Light, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stable||Affordable, responsive, beginner-friendly, familiar fit|
|Cons||Less protection, unimpressive weight considering protection level||Might be too cushioned for some runners, slightly less sensitive||Zero-drop isn't for everyone, might be too soft for some||Narrow fit, runs small, rigid construction, takes time to break-in||Less aggressive traction, runs slightly narrow|
|Bottom Line||A great do-it-all trail runner that perfectly combines responsiveness, comfort, and protection||A great all-around trail shoe that hosts some of our favorite protective features, all for a relatively affordable price||This zero-drop trail runner takes trail running comfort to a whole new and ultra-protective level||Stable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alike||An affordable shoe that is perfect for novice runners who want to take their trail legs for a spin|
|Rating Categories||New Balance Fresh F...||Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo...||Altra Lone Peak 7 -...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 3 - W...|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (15%)|
|Specs||New Balance Fresh F...||Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo...||Altra Lone Peak 7 -...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 3 - W...|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||8.18 oz (size 7)||7.48 oz (size 7)||8.22 oz (size 7)||9.45 oz (size 7)||8.04 oz (size 7)|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||29 mm, 21 mm||21 mm, 16mm||25 mm, 25 mm||Not disclosed||20 mm, 12 mm|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||8 mm||5 mm||0 mm||8 mm||8 mm|
|Upper||Mesh||Mesh||Mesh||Mesh, continuous nylon||Mesh|
|Midsole||Fresh Foam X||EVA||Altra EGO Foam||Feline SL midsole||EVA|
|Outsole||Vibram Megagrip||Rubber||MaxTrac rubber||Sticky Pomoco Outer||TrailTrack rubber|
|Rock Plate?||No||No||Yes||Not disclosed||No|
|Wide Version Available?||Yes & Extra Wide||No||No||No||No|
|Sizes Available||7 - 17 US||5 - 11 US||5.5 - 12||5 - 11 US||5 - 12 US|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Fresh Foam Hierro v7 stands beside some of our long-standing heroes because of its below-average weight, balanced comfort, and agility. It is a fantastic choice if you want a shoe that seamlessly transitions from trails to roads to socializing.
For a shoe intended for light trails, the Hierro v7 offers more foot protection than we expected to see. Its flexible toe cap is not the most rugged, but it provides your toes plenty of protection from the occasional stub. The rubberized mesh of the toe cap extends bilaterally towards the midfoot, giving an extra barrier of protection where the lateral edges of your feet ride. The upper is constructed of finely-bound mesh, which isn't impenetrable but offers good protection from sand and other trail debris.
The heel cup is coated in a single piece of rubberized material that sits beneath a rugged structure. So, while the mesh isn't as protective as we have seen in other shoes, the amount of space where sand can infiltrate is significantly smaller than on other shoes. The Hierro doesn't have a rock plate, which is noticeable, but not a deal-breaker given the type of terrain that this shoe was built for. One of the things that we love most about the Hierro is that it fits like a favorite road running shoe with a bit of arch support and responsiveness, all while encased in a protective barrier. That said, it isn't the most protective shoe and won't serve you well if you constantly scramble over rocky faces and scree at top speeds.
The base of the updated Hierro is coated in Vibram MegaGrip rubber, providing great traction in most situations. Compared to many other shoes in our lineup, the lugs are smaller and less inclined to bite into the trail. However, if you are into ripping up single-track and find yourself gravitating towards a more flowy style of trail running, the traction will be more than sufficient.
The Vibram outsole extends back behind the heel cup, providing extra grip as you run. The lugs are solid, well-placed, and well-shaped, and each lug has tiny teeth to help you grip looser terrain. Though not the grippiest trail shoe overall, the lugs hold up on pavement and provide plenty of traction for moderate trails.
We really noticed the lack of rock plate on the Hierro v7 when assessing its sensitivity. For a shoe that provides a semi-plush interior, we were surprised at just how sensitive this shoe can be. We attribute much of this sensitivity to the overall flexibility of the design. Since the Hierro is designed for light trails, it lacks a lot of burly architecture of shoes made for aggressive mountain running. This lack of added structure allows the shoe to flex as your feet do, giving great feedback on what is below.
With an 8mm drop and a well-constructed heel cup, the Hierro provides great stability. Because this shoe fits like a well-structured road running shoe, it provides a similar amount of lateral stability. We tend to consider trail running shoes with lower heel-to-toe differentials more stable than those with a bigger differential. When it comes to the Hierro, though, its average differential feels entirely stable. Part of this is due to the more slender profile of the shoe, the strong structure, and the comfortable and beefy heel cup. While running in the Hierro v7, we never felt any lateral slippage or fear of ankle rolls. We love that this trail runner fits like a stable, long-distance road running shoe but with accouterments that make it trail-savvy.
Comfort and Fit
This metric is one where the Fresh Foam Hierro v7 really shines. We found this shoe to be comfortable right out of the box. The body of the shoe feels similar to many of the New Balance shoes we have tested in the past, both for trails and roads. Our feet fit comfortably within the shoe, though without a ton of extra space in the toe box. If you are a runner or walker who prefers ample toe box space, you might find the Hierro a bit too narrow in the front. To combat this, New Balance does offer a wide version.
We tested the standard width and loved the midfoot contouring, feeling secure and comfortable during our testing runs. The Hierro feels like a near-perfect combination of strength and softness — built precisely for lightweight trail running. The interior is welcoming without being overly plush, and the exterior has some trail-specific features without going overboard. If a comfortable shoe with a neutral fit is what you're after for your trail jaunts, the Hierro might be a great choice.
Each size 7 US shoe weighs 8.18 ounces, and the distribution of weight feels light and springy underfoot. However, it is important to note that this shoe is made for less rugged trails, meaning that some of its features lack the intensity of some trail-specific competitors. For example, the rubberized outer is enough to keep rogue water droplets from entering the shoe but not enough to offer much protection beyond that. Because of its minimalistic take on protection, the materials weigh less. The Hierro is a lighter-than-average shoe that feels perfectly balanced while running fire roads and single-track trails.
Should You Buy the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v7?
Depending on your running ambitions and terrain of choice, yes. If you are a runner looking for a crossover shoe that leans more toward trails than the road, you'll feel right at home in the Hierro. On the other hand, if a plush runner is what you're after, the Hierro won't be your best bet. Conversely, if a more minimalistic, ultra-sensitive shoe is more your style, you'll find that the Hierro offers a bit too much. Still, while not our go-to for ultra-distances, the Hierro is a great shoe for middle-distance trail jaunts or meandering trail excursions.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
The Saucony Peregrine 13 is the shoe most similar to the Hierro v7. Both shoes ride like road shoes but are well-equipped to tear up the trails. The Hierro offers more in the way of comfort and has a roomier fit than the Peregrine. If a plush shoe is what you're after, we recommend the Hoka Challenger 7 or the Altra Lone Peak 7. Both options offer similar stack heights but with more of an emphasis on cushion. On the other side of the spectrum, we have to tout the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 for its minimalist profile, great protection, excellent trail feel, and out-of-this-world traction.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More