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 New Balance 860 v11 Initial Review

The Fresh Foam line contains some of the most reliable and staple shoes that New Balance has to offer. The 860 v11 is one of the first to contain Fresh Foam X, a softer and more responsive blend of the beloved Fresh Foam. The 860 is the stability shoe in this line that sports a nicely designed medial post and is built for durability and putting on lots of miles. Here are our initial impressions.

Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 11.0 oz (men's size 9), 9.3oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 31mm in heel, 21mm in forefoot
Drop: 10mm
Classification: Mild Stability Trainer


The upper of this shoe is broken into two components, the Ultra Heel design in the rear foot and an engineered mesh in the mid and forefoot. The Ultra Heel consists of a thin yet soft synthetic material, a 3D-constructed rigid heel counter, and a padded retrocurve in the back that serves to protect the achilles and also function as a pull tab. Overall this fits moderate to slightly wide, but does lock in very well. The top of the rigid portion of the heel cup follows the curve of the calcaneus and it is noticeably "hugging" the heel, which provides security to the heel cup but also places light pressure on the achilles, which was initially bothersome. However, over the first few runs, this has not been causing any rubbing or issues because of the secure heel.

Moving forward we have an engineered mesh that is on the stiffer end of uppers and does not have a lot of stretch. Overall the heel and midfoot have plenty of room and are of moderate width and the forefoot is a bit more secure, at least initially. Over the first few runs, the upper did loosen nicely in the toe box but is still secure. The "secure" forefoot is not designating that it is narrow, but rather that the volume above is a little low until the upper loosens a bit. 

In summary, initial impressions are that this shoe is true to size with a slightly wider heel and midfoot and a more secure forefoot that loosens a bit early on.


The components of the midsole/outsole include the Fresh Foam X, a more dense foam creating a subtle medial post, and a thick rubber outsole. These components compliment each other well, and combined with a nice mild rocker design you get a very comfortable and smooth ride from heel to toe. Despite Fresh Foam X being quite soft, the thick rubber outsole firms up the ride and makes it a bit more responsive. This shoe feels lighter than the 11oz weight for my men's size 9 thanks to the geometry of the midsole and slightly stiffer ride with the thicker rubber outsole (which is connected across most of the flex grooves). The medial post was not noticeable or intrusive, but I will get more into this in the next section. All in all, a comfortable and smooth ride.


Let's start with stability. The 860 v11 has a redesigned medial post, which smooths out the heel to midfoot transition and makes it even a bit more mild. The more dense foam may initiate under the heel bone, but has a gradual angle until it reaches its maximal thickness under the highest point of the arch. As mentioned above, this really smooths out this transition and makes the post very non-intrusive on the foot. What it really does is firm up the midsole throughout the midfoot to provide a very stable platform. In addition to this post, the shoe has a nice and wide full contact outsole throughout, and is noticeably wide through the midfoot. This, in addition to the post, creates a stable platform from heel to toe. 

This shoe, which again weighs in at 11.0oz for my size 9, is built for daily miles and recovery miles. It is smooth and comfortable at these paces and isn't meant for fast days (for that, hold on for our review of the FuelCell Prism).


The New Balance 860 v11 is a stable daily trainer with a mild and well crafted medial post. This shoe has a stiffer upper that has loosened nicely over the first few runs and has a very smooth ride thanks to the geometry and midsole/outsole cocktail. More to come once we get all the paces put on this shoe, but initial impressions point to a smooth and comfortable mild stability trainer that is built for durability. 

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 145 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at New Balance for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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