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New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 Review
By Chief Editor Matt Klein

The Fresh Foam More series was previously been a conundrum. Despite a maximal amount of stack height, both version one and two were firm and stiff. We did not review either version as we did not have contact with New Balance and the shoes were uncomfortable enough that I could bring myself to get enough miles on them for a review. Fast forward a few years and suddenly a New Balance box shows up at my door with the Fresh Foam More v3. I was initially nervous trying these on but those concerns quickly vanished. The More v3 returns with a very accommodating fit, a highly stable but smooth ride and softer cushioning than previous models. 


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 10.8 oz (men's size 9) 8.8 oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38 mm / 34 mm
Drop: 4 mm drop
Classification: Max Cushion Daily Trainer



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 is a maximal shoe for those wanting soft cushioning, a tall stack height and a stable but smooth ride. The maximal cushioning and stack height are paired with a smooth rocker that make for a protective ride. The upper is stretchy and accommodating, handling swollen feet well. The ride is naturally stable, with a wide base, rocker and sidewalls that keep the foot centered. The Fresh Foam X midsole finally provides a soft ride, making the More v3 best for recovery runs, easy runs and long runs.



FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

The New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 fits me true to size, although slightly short at times (read on for more information) in my normal men's US size 10. The fit throughout the length of the shoe is on the wider side. The heel is stable side to side, but fits wide enough that I had some heel slippage. This was easily corrected by lace locking the shoe. Before I lace locked the shoe, my feet kept slipping forward, so I would encourage those with normal width feet to lock the heel in. The midfoot is wider but the laces make it adjustable. I had to tighten the laces down, which helped lock the midfoot in. The forefoot has plenty of room, although the toe box tapers a hair too quick. This is also secondary to the flexible but prominent toe guard. Those who are between sizes should consider going up for that reason.

While the More v3 feels true to size on the run, walking it feels almost a half size small. The toe guard extends fairly far back, so there is a decent amount of structure to the upper aspect of the forefoot. When it ends, there is a good amount fo flexibility to the upper at the midfoot. The heel has a unique mix of structure, with a flexible heel counter I almost did not notice. Those who are sensitive to these will not have any problem with the counter in this shoe. The foot sits into a cradle between the lateral and medial sidewalls, which also contributes to locking in the foot in regards to side to side motion. Overall the Fresh Foam More v3 has a wider fit with a bit of structure in the forefoot and heel. Those who want extra room will like this shoe, but you may have to go a half size up if you want extra room in the toe box (there is also a wider 2E version). 



PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

The New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 is a highly cushioned, maximalist shoe. The stack height is extremely high with a huge level of cushioning.  Unlike previous versions, the cushioning is soft, particularly in the heel. The forefoot is just slightly firmer, but still on the soft side. The Fresh Foam X does not feel mushy and has a slight bounce to it. The ride is rockered, particularly at the heel. There is a decent sized heel bevel that is also biased slightly to the lateral aspect. Combined with the softer Fresh Foam X, heel transitions are quite smooth. Thanks to the wider last, the midfoot is quite stable. This transitions into a surprising forefoot. Despite having a 34 mm stack height in the forefoot, there is a solid amount of flexibility to the forefoot. There are several flex grooves in the outsole, which seem to contribute to this. There is also plenty of toe spring, so the combination of the two create a very smooth toe off.

The Fresh Foam More v3 is best for easy runs, recovery runs and long runs. At 10.8 oz (men's size 9) this is not a light shoe, although it has an efficient roll to it. This shoe functions for protection rather than speed. The More v3 handles long runs extremely well as the Fresh Foam X seems to stay consistent even over long miles. The durability is extremely good. I have almost 60 miles on my pair with almost no wear on the rubber aspects of the outsole. There is some wear on the exposed Fresh Foam X, but that has not effected the ride. Overall this is a protective, daily trainer and recovery shoe that should last for many miles. 



STABILITY 

The Fresh Foam More v3 is not classified as a stability shoe as it does not featuring any traditional methods of stability. However, like many maximalist shoes, the New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 is extremely stable. Despite the softer cushioning, the wider last, side walls, well placed bevel and rockers create a guided transition forward. The wide last throughout the length of the shoe makes for a stable platform that resists side to side motion. The sole is flared out both medially and laterally from the foot, particularly in the heel. The sidewalls in the heel and a slightly in the midfoot are noticeable and cradle the feet well. The heel bevel, positioned slightly laterally, is noticeable. It feels similar to a decoupled heel and brings the heel to a more centered position nicely. Those who need mild to even moderate support may find enough in this shoe given all the above elements. Those with neutral mechanics should not fear as there is no posting or wedging involved. 



THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

The running shoe is continuing to ride a wave of maximally cushioned shoes. Stack heights continue to rise and durometers continue to decrease (durometer is a measure of hardness). Like always though, injury rates in running continue to NOT change. The injury types may change, but the rates continue to stay steady at fairly high percentages. Which leads us to the concept of the Cushioning Paradox.

The Cushioning Paradox refers to the fact that running in highly cushioned shoes does NOT decrease impact forces for the entire body. In fact, they tend to increase them in key places, particularly at the knee (Kulmala et al., 2018). The reason for this is that when running on a soft and unstable surface, muscles tend to tense up in order to compensate for the instability. This tensing decreases the amount of joint excursion (motion) that occurs, reducing the amount of force absorbed by the muscles. This would normally occur as the joints move during impact and the muscles lengthen under tension (also known as an eccentric muscle contraction). However, when the muscles are already tense, they may not move that much, meaning there may be more impact into passive structures like bones and ligaments.

This DOES NOT mean that maximalist or highly cushioned shoes increase injury risk. Repeated studies have shown that cushioning levels have little, if any, affect on injury risk (These et al., 2014). Additionally, like rockered shoes, there is some good evidence that more cushioned shoes tend to reduce forces at the foot (Ogston, 2019).

The above also does not mean that everyone should avoid cushioned shoes. While cushioning level may not have an influence on injury risk, comfort certainly does (Nigg et al., 2015). We also know that comfort means something different to everyone. If you are a person that finds highly cushioned shoes comfortable, then those are probably a good shoe to consider. If you are a person that does not find them comfortable, then you should probably look at other shoe types.

The main point to take away from this is that shoes with more cushioning do not provide more impact protection. For many people, they may actually do the opposite due to some unique responses by the musculoskeletal system. Figure out how your body responds to different shoes and move on from there to determine what shoe choices you should make. 

NOTE: The above ONLY references running. This does not apply to long standing or being on one's feet for long work shifts. There is some good evidence that suggests the exact opposite in regards to cushioning and stability when it comes to longer standing. 

References

Kulmala, J. P., Kosonen, J., Nurminen, J., & Avela, J. (2018). Running in highly cushioned shoes increases leg stiffness and amplifies impact loading. 
Scientific Reports8(1), 1-7.

Nigg, B. M., Baltich, J., Hoerzer, S., & Enders, H. (2015). Running shoes and running injuries: mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms:‘preferred movement path’and ‘comfort filter’. 
British Journal of Sports Medicine49(20), 1290-1294.

Ogston, J. K. (2019). Comparison of in-shoe plantar loading forces between minimalist and maximalist cushion running shoes. 
Footwear Science11(1), 55-61.

Theisen, D., Malisoux, L., Genin, J., Delattre, N., Seil, R., & Urhausen, A. (2014). Influence of midsole hardness of standard cushioned shoes on running-related injury risk. 
British Journal of Sports Medicine48(5), 371-376.



RECOMMENDATIONS

Given the purpose of the Fresh Foam More v3, I only have a few recommendations. My major ones concern the upper. While the sole is secure, the heel aspect of the upper needs to be locked down a bit better. I had noticeable slippage forward until I lace locked the heel. While this mostly solved the problem, it would be nice to not have to do that. The toe guard, while it provides structure, can be a bit irritating to the toes on longer runs. I would look for a way to create more structure with adjusting the knit of the upper, rather than what is being used. This may also open up the toe box a bit more to match the wider forefoot. In regards to the sole, I would not change it. The flexibility in the forefoot provides a unique difference between the Fresh Foam More v3 and Hoka shoes (the More is essentially a New Balance Hoka shoe). The Bondi is probably the most similar shoe, although it still has a few millimeters more (no pun intended) of stack height compared to the More v3. So overall the shoe has made some major improvements and I would only look to refine the upper.  This shoe has a significant place in New Balance's line up as a more traditional maximalist shoe that provides soft cushioning and a stable ride. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The Fresh Foam More v3 is a soft, maximalist, stable, wider fitting shoe for recovery runs, easy runs and mileage. An accommodating upper sits up top, fitting on the wider side throughout. The sole is softer and stable, providing plenty of cushioning. The rocker is well done, with a forgiving heel that transitions nicely and a surprisingly flexible forefoot. A New Balance HOKA with a wider fit and more forefoot flexibility. This version is a significant step up from previous versions and finally feels like a solid highly cushioned maximal shoe. 



GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: B (Wider fit overall. Foot slips unless locked down and toe box tapers. Overall breathable and adaptable outside of that)   Performance: (Smooth shoe but heavy. Best as an easy day/recovery/mileage shoe. Well beveled ride and more forefoot flexibility than expected. Best for trucking along) 
Stability: (Extremely stable. Wide last throughout shoe, good forefoot flexibility, solid bevel, sidewalls make for a high level of natural stability) 
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Great set up. A New Balance HOKA with better forefoot flexibility. Those who want more rigidity in the forefoot may do better in the Bondi, but those that want some toe motion will do far better here) 
Personal:  (The shoe rides smoothly and does its job well. I'm not a huge max cushion shoe fan though) 
Overall: B+ (A stable, but neutral, high stack height maximal shoe. The Fresh Foam More v3 is for those that want more width in the upper, a soft and highly cushioned ride with a surprisingly flexible forefoot)              

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

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TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 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.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

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.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
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

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at New Balance and Running Warehouse for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com!

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