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New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 - Women's Review

A great do-it-all trail runner that perfectly combines responsiveness, comfort, and protection
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New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 - Women's Review (While not the highest-scoring trail running shoes, we fell in love with many of the fantastic elements that make up...)
While not the highest-scoring trail running shoes, we fell in love with many of the fantastic elements that make up the Hierro.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $140 List
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Manufacturer:   New Balance
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2024
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 20
  • Foot Protection - 25% 7.0
  • Traction - 20% 7.0
  • Sensitivity - 15% 7.0
  • Stability - 15% 6.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 10% 6.9

Our Verdict

The New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 is unique. While touted as a light trail shoe, its performance outpaced some of its more rugged competition. Each women's size 6.5 US weighs just over 8 ounces, which is lighter than many we have tested. The 10mm drop and average stack height provide stability and overall comfort. While not a plush trail runner, this grippy shoe holds up on more than just gravelly fire roads. The Vibram MegaGrip outsole extends slightly beyond the heel cup, providing added traction. The Hierro might not be our top pick for multi-digit efforts, but it might suit your fancy if you want to comfortably tear up a trail and look stylish out with friends right after.
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Stylish
Excellent grip
Stable
Great sensitivity
REASONS TO AVOID
Less protection
Unimpressive weight considering protection level
Editors Note: This review was updated with new product suggestions on April 30, 2024.

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Bottom Line A comfortable and all-around great trail running shoe for a variety of terrain typesThis is our go-to recommendation for runners seeking a comfortable, well-tractioned shoe for short and long distances alikeFeaturing an upgraded upper and a stable zero-drop design, this shoe is a dependable and comfortable trail running option, ensuring comfort even during extended runsThis is the shoe you want if you need something rugged to tackle slippery, muddy, and otherwise messy trailsAn affordable and functional trail shoe that is perfect for new runners, budget-conscious runners, any anyone looking to tackle moderate terrain
Rating Categories New Balance Fresh F... Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo... Altra Lone Peak 8 -... Salomon Speedcross... Brooks Divide 4 - W...
Foot Protection (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
6.5
Traction (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Stability (15%)
6.0
9.0
8.5
6.0
7.5
Comfort and Fit (15%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
6.9
8.0
5.3
5.8
7.4
Specs New Balance Fresh F... Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo... Altra Lone Peak 8 -... Salomon Speedcross... Brooks Divide 4 - W...
Sizes Available 5- 12 US
regular and wide
5 - 11 US
regular
5.5 - 12 US
regular and wide
5 - 11 US
regular and wide
5 - 12 US
regular
Measured Heel Stack Height 35 mm 26 mm 23 mm 34 mm 29 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 10 mm 5 mm 0 mm 13 mm 8 mm
Rock Plate No No TPU Not disclosed No
Measured Lug Depth 4.5 mm 4 mm 3.2 mm 6 mm 3 mm
Measured Weight 8.03 oz 7.52 oz 8.14 oz 8.54 oz 7.82 oz
Upper Mesh Mesh Ripstop Mesh Textile/synthetic Mesh
Midsole Fresh Foam X EVA Altra EGO Energy Cell+ DNA Loft
Outsole Vibram Megagrip Rubber MaxTrac Rubber TrailTack rubber
Heel Tab Type Finger loop None Finger loop None None

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.

Performance Comparision


new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - without being over-the-top rugged, the hierro v7 shows up on...
Without being over-the-top rugged, the Hierro v7 shows up on long-lasting trail jaunts.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Foot Protection


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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - the protection of the hierro v7 is awesome, especially when it comes...
The protection of the Hierro v7 is awesome, especially when it comes to keeping sand and debris out.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Traction


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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - the vibram megagrip outsole of the hierro really helps you stick to...
The Vibram MegaGrip outsole of the Hierro really helps you stick to the trails.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - the teeth on the lugs of the hierro inspire even more confidence on...
The teeth on the lugs of the Hierro inspire even more confidence on light to moderate trails.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Sensitivity


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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - though not sensitive enough to feel absolutely everything, the...
Though not sensitive enough to feel absolutely everything, the Hierro offers a really balanced ride.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


With a measured drop of 10mm 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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - the added heel stack and extended outsole on the hierro provide...
The added heel stack and extended outsole on the Hierro provide great stability.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - the comfort and fit of the hierro make it a shoe that we reach for...
The comfort and fit of the Hierro make it a shoe that we reach for when considering all types of excursions.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - the hierro is comfortable without being plush. this is a balance...
The Hierro is comfortable without being plush. This is a balance that we love for middle distance days.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


Each size 6.5 US shoe weighs 8.03 ounces, and the weight distribution 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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - though not exactly a lightweight trail running shoe, the hierro...
Though not exactly a lightweight trail running shoe, the Hierro feels comfortable and springy while in motion.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

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.

new balance fresh foam x hierro v7 for women - though the hierro didn't take home any awards this time around, it's...
Though the Hierro didn't take home any awards this time around, it's a shoe we really enjoyed running in.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


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 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 8. Both options offer similar stack heights but with more of an emphasis on cushion. The Lone Peak is a zero-drop shoe, so its heel sits lower than the previously recommended shoes. It doesn't offer quite as much agility as a traditional fit, but it is just as comfortable as the Hierro, though in slightly different ways.

Ally Arcuri