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New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 Review: Not Your Average Vongo Anymore
By Matthew Klein and Bach Pham

In a stability landscape that has drastically changed over the last several years, the Vongo series had remained a unique option that had all but disappeared. Featuring a soft, medial wedge design integrated into the midsole, it provided a moderate to higher level of stability while maintaining a soft, comfortable ride. An alternative to medial posts, wedges were designed to keep the medial side of the foot higher than the lateral side. This was a group option for those with positional faults or those who needed a higher level of support. As mentioned, the Vongo was a unique option on the market. Although the Vongo v6, which changes to more of a guidance-based mild stability shoe, is drastically different than the prior versions, it remains a very distinctive option with the new transition. Who it will work for is the question. 

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6
Price: $164.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.6 oz, 303 g (men's size 9), 8.5 oz, 241 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38 mm / 32 mm
Drop: 6mm 
Classification: Mild Stability Daily Training Shoe


Matt: The New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 is a mild stability, guidance-based shoe for those who want a softer ride with a snug, comfortable upper. A new EVA film in the midsole facilitates motion more lateral than medial with strategically placed hexagon shapes to promote forward motion for those who collapse inward. A thicker mesh upper sits up to that fits snug, making it a great option for those who have narrow feet or those who want a closer, comfortable feel. The ride remains soft thanks to the newer Fresh Foam X and a softer, higher stack height. While still a stability shoe (in some sense) it differs greatly from its predecessor moving away from traditional stability concepts and into newer guidance-based concepts.

Bach: The prior Vongo from New Balance was a full-on stability shoe with a really interesting gradient medial post design. We liked it so much, it was even one of our top stability shoes of the year. The new Vongo looks absolutely nothing like any Vongo before it, dropping a post design and replacing it with a new EVA film design that essentially puts a plate between the soft Fresh Foam X to help stabilize the foam. The Vongo v6 is a fairly soft, fun trainer on foot that leans more neutral in this new iteration.

PAST MODEL: New Balance Vongo v5


Matt: The New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 fits me true to size length-wise in my normal men's US size 10. The width is slightly snug throughout the length of the shoe, although the mesh upper does stretch. The forefoot is snug and a bit tapered. The mesh upper does stretch as mentioned but it also hugs the foot. Those with more narrow feet will do best, but those with normal feet that want a snug forefoot will do well. The tongue is moderately cushioned and gusseted. This keeps if fairly secure and I have not had any slippage. The midfoot also fits slightly snug and I did not have to tighten down the laces for a secure fit. The heel also fits slightly snug with a moderately stiff heel counter. The stiff counter did not bother me thanks to it being so rounded and for there being cushioning in the right spot between the heel and the stiffness. However, those sensitive to stiff counters will still want to approach with caution. The inner liner is extremely comfortable with the exception of the gusset. I have used these shoes sockless extensively and had no issues outside of some rubbing from the gusset, so I would still encourage most people to use socks with these. 

Bach: Disclaimer: I received a women's pair of the Vongo v6 for this test. I found the shoe to fit true to size and actually really loved the fit of the shoe throughout. I typically am best with a standard medium fit with a touch of extra volume, and this did the job for me just fine throughout. The engineered mesh upper is stretchy and wraps around the foot nicely in classic New Balance fashion. The shoe is very breathable and handles warm weather well. I usually like having a bit of volume in the forefoot and found I had decent room in the toe box all around; the shoe didn't feel too snug or loose anywhere. The heel counter is on the rigid side, but there is a bit of cushion to help with comfort. I never felt the need to lace lock the shoe to get a good lockdown. The shoe overall just fit very comfortably for my typically standard size feet. New Balance does have two extra sizing options for those with wider feet (both wide and extra wide sizing on New Balance's website).


Matt: The New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 is a moderately soft, well-cushioned daily training shoe. It features two layers of Fresh Foam X foam with a softer top layer and a firmer/stiffer bottom layer. The softer foam underfoot is apparent, providing a well-cushioned ride underfoot. The foam is compliant and compresses well but does not have much energy return. The weight is normal for a training/daily mileage shoe, not feeling too light or too heavy. This makes it best for easy, recovery miles and to a degree longer runs. There is now a 6mm drop and it is noticeable. Given how many max stack height shoes are low drop, the Vongo v6 feels similar to many of them in regard to its rockered geometry and softer ride. The large posterior bevel smooths in heel transitions, although its odd medial direction makes rearfoot landings (posterior lateral is normal) a bit clunky until the softer foams break in. The heel and midfoot midsole are a little stiff but transition into a mildly flexible, smooth and easy transitioning forefoot.

The outsole features strategically placed rubber that adds some degree of durability. I have 20 miles on my pair and am seeing a little bit of abrasion already on my normal posterior lateral section. Thus I would expect an average number of miles out of these for a higher stack road training shoe. 

Bach: The Vongo v6 is decently soft and quick to to turn over for a trainer of this weight. Fresh Foam X comes in two flavors here, with the top layer being very soft and cushy and the bottom layer being somewhere in the middle. There was a break-in period for me as far as both ride and stability. The shoe runs a little extra soft to begin, causing me to go extra laterally on my feet. As the foam broke in and became more balanced and less soft throughout, I enjoyed the shoe much more and felt more centered than lateral. The shoe reminds me greatly of the Mizuno Wave Rider series, with the EVA film creating a more supportive heel thanks to the plate while the forefoot has a little flexibility and softness. I did not look at the dimensions of the shoe until after finishing testing and was shocked to find out how much a standard size shoe weighs. Despite its listed weight, the shoe ran much lighter on foot than the stats showcased. It felt much closer to a 9.5 oz (269 g) shoe than what it is suggesting.

The shoe felt best for easy efforts and long runs. The Fresh Foam X here delivers a really comfortable ride that leans middle of the road cushioning, leaning slightly soft. It reminded me somewhat of the On Cloudsurfer in terms of cushioning, with a more ample forefoot. I honestly just loved turning over in the shoe mile after mile. The Vongo v6 can pick up slightly, but not over long duration as a do-it-all performance trainer. The shoe does a pretty good job of being able to push uphill. I felt the shoe's responsiveness handled going up better than most trainers I've tested recently. It felt only average at tackling steep downhill runs though.

The outsole on the Vongo v6 is a smooth blown rubber that further contributes to the softer ride of the shoe. It did fine on wet surfaces, but nothing standout. I also took it slightly offroad. It did okay, but for the durability of the rubber I would stick to roads. Additionally, the Vongo v6 has been a great walking shoe. The comfort all-around lends itself well to all day wear and standing.


Matt: The New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 is a mild stability / guidance-based shoe. There are no traditional methods of stability, ie posts or even or major wedges. The stability comes from a thin EVA film in the midsole with hexagon shapes, extensive sole flare, especially in the forefoot and mild sidewalls in the midfoot. There are also some geometric elements present in the lower layer of Fresh FoamX and the outsole, with extra stiffness designed into the rearfoot and midfoot. The most significant factors I notice on the run are the EVA film and the forefoot sole flare. The EVA film features graded hexagon-like holes throughout the length of the shoe that is also banked higher on the medial side in the heel (mild wedge). There are larger holes on the lateral side which become narrower toward the medial side. The full length of the medial side is completely filled in, meant to provide a stiffer portion. The theory behind this is to have the foot transition more laterally through the path of least resistance. This did take some time for me to notice. Once the softer layer of Fresh Foam X foam broke in after 5-6 miles, I started to notice this lateral guidance in the forefoot especially. The sole flare up front is also noticeable, making for a stable forefoot that almost felt like there was a mild medial post while running. While standing (static) this was not noticeable and only became apparent while in motion. The medial aspect of the EVA film is also higher and there is more of the firmer bottom layer of foam that comes up higher on the medial side of the heel. This maintains wedge position somewhat in the rearfoot and mildly in the midfoot. There is definitely a mild lateral push throughout the length of the shoe with most of it in the forefoot and more of it in the heel as the shoe/foam breaks in. At no point does this feel intrusive or extremely noticeable outside of the fact that I can take this shoe for longer miles without my normal neutral shoe fatigue.

The Vongo v6 is definitely not a traditional stability shoe and seems to become more guided the more you break it in. It did take until almost 10 miles for me to notice the guidance, first in the forefoot and then in the heel. So those expecting the same intense wedge feeling from prior versions will need to wait and understand this shoe will be a bit different. Although as the miles pack on, the wedge sensation has become more apparent in the rearfoot. So a little patience is required.  

Bach: The Vongo v6 is a mild guidance based shoe. The shoe uses a thin plate called EVA film which mostly prevents the soft foam from totally collapsing underfoot. The film is actually a bit higher medially and then swoops downward laterally. This lends itself to a much higher amount of soft top layer Fresh Foam X laterally and more firmer Fresh Foam X medially. Initially on the run, the top layer of Fresh Foam X felt particularly soft and made me feel the guidance laterally quite heavily. As the foam settled on my second run, I was able to feel a bit more centered, but still lateral. This is not a shoe for runners who supinate as the lateral persuasion is significant. There's a lot of sole flaring in the forefoot which feels good on both sides, but overall it might push a bit too much laterally. For runners with medial stability needs, this does push you to run more laterally on foot which helps with medial stability, but only gently. It can be a weird feeling compared to guidance-based shoes that focus on getting you centered. Some may grow into it while others may feel it is a bit of a weird sensation.

The EVA Film is not at all intrusive here underfoot. It also did not bother my flat feet at all which was a plus.

Overall I find it hard to call the Vongo a full-on stability shoe - especially compared to the last version. The shoe does a good job of balancing the foam so it is not unstable. However, while it's not a max cushion trainer, there's both enough stack height and soft enough foam that I didn't feel super stable in the shoe compared to even a few neutral trainers I've run in this year. The slightly narrowing midfoot loosens up some of the confidence I have in the shoe. Despite the Brooks Launch GTS for example being an overall less narrow platform, it does a better job of keeping you centered both in the shoe and on footstrike. The lack of any sidewall or system in place to keep you on the platform in the Vongo makes it feel less stable medially. This overall is a very mild guidance shoe that may work for a larger population of runners including some neutral runners who want a little bit of guidance, but not for past Vongo users who want a high level of stability medially.

Thoughts as a DPT: Why We Still Need Moderate Guidance/Stability Shoes
By Matthew Klein

A clear theme that we have seen in recent years is a decrease in the number and levels of stability shoes. In their place, new guidance-based shoes have emerged. Many of these newer shoes lack the aggressive posts that so clearly put pressure in the medial arch, which some people liked and others did not. Now, in line with concepts like the Preferred Movement Paradigm, we have seen the majority of aggressive medial posts disappear in favor of sidewalls, guide rails and internal geometry (Nigg et al., 2017). It was NOT that medial posts or motion control footwear did not have impacts on the amount or rates of pronation, it is just that it really only worked well for those with a risk or a history of specific pronation-related injuries (Malisoux et al., 2016). The foot, ankle and lower extremity are FAR more complex than the old paradigms of pronation being the root of all injuries. The truth is that was only a small piece of the puzzle. 

That isn't to say that medial posts and wedges did/do not have their places. While they could be a bit aggressive during running, they certainly worked well (anecdotally) for those who needed true arch support during longer work days of standing and walking. The pressure from these could be helpful for many people who responded well to it during a variety of activities. Particularly those with posterior tibialis tendinopathies, Achilles tendonopathies, plantar fasciitis, and other pathologies sensitive to pronation movements. 

his is all to say that I want to throw caution to brands who are taking the current stability shoes and driving them almost completely neutral. Stable neutral shoes have their place, but so do stability shoes. While the general population may do better in stable neutral or mild stability shoes, rather than the extremes we used to put almost everyone into, there are still those who will respond better to a moderate amount of stability/guidance. Many guidance shoes, while comfortable, are getting a bit too neutral. So while this forward progress is great, there are still lessons that should be kept from the past. 

Companies in general are moving in the right direction. The clunky, overly aggressive stability shoes of the past do not need to be as common as they once were. Even with the wonderful changes, we should still be careful not to eliminate the moderate stability/guidance category as many people may still need them, even if how they provide stability is different. 


Malisoux, L., Chambon, N., Delattre, N., Gueguen, N., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2016). Injury risk in runners using standard or motion control shoes: a randomised controlled trial with participant and assessor blinding. British Journal of Sports Medicine50(8), 481-487.

Nigg, B. M., Vienneau, J., Smith, A. C., Trudeau, M. B., Mohr, M., & Nigg, S. R. (2017). The preferred movement path paradigm: influence of running shoes on joint movement. Med Sci Sports Exerc49(8), 1641-1648.


Matt: I will be honest that initially, I was disappointed in this shoe. We joked that Bach was the only one who liked the Vongo v6. It took several miles for me to warm up to it and now I do appreciate it as a guidance-based shoe. However, those coming from the much higher levels of support from prior versions do need to know this is a different shoe. The upper fits more snug, the stability is less and it is more guidance-based. While I applaud New Balance for trying new things, I think they need to keep a small degree of consistency here. My major suggestions therefore are to stiffen up the EVA film to make the guidance more apparent quicker and widen the forefoot. I highly suggest taking what has been done with this version and stiffening up the EVA film, potentially using a plate or stiffer material. The film does become apparent, but not enough to keep this shoe in the same guidance/stability category it was in earlier. If the goal is to transition to a mild stability shoe, then know consistent prior users expecting the same level of guidance/stability will be disappointed. I do like this idea and think it works well. It just that it needs to be stiffer to do more of what it is supposed to do. My other suggestion is to widen the toe box. The upper is comfortable, it just fits more snug than I would expect. We have talked about the importance of having enough room for the toes and forefoot stability before, but this is also surprising coming from New Balance that is typically known to have a wider fit (although recent years it has been more narrow). I highly suggest adding a little more width here or at least rounding the toe box a bit more. 

Bach: I really enjoyed the Vongo despite the fact that I feel it misses on its intent to be a stability-oriented shoe. I think it has a place in being an excellent mild stability shoe that is well-suited to a large array of runners though, including beginners. Some changes could help get it there in version 7. The upper could be a bit more structured and dialed in. The upper here is very soft and relaxed. Some structure would help provide connectivity. Sidewalls or just an extension of the midsole width medially in the midfoot would also be ideal for keeping the shoe on the platform well and centered. I think the EVA Film could also be a little less laterally guided to help focus more on centering rather than pushing away medially. I would be interested in seeing the film mirror the medial side on the lateral side and work at pushing the runner forward rather than laterally forward.


Matt: The New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6 is for those looking for a softer, snug, mild guidance shoe for easy and daily miles. The comfortable, thicker mesh upper fits snug, making it a good fit for those with narrow feet or those with normal-width feet who want something that hugs their entire foot. The ride is soft with a compliant foam that responds best to relaxed and longer paces. The rockered ride remains with some mild guidance that for me is most noticeable in the forefoot and becomes more apparent mildly in the heel with additional mileage.

Overall, the Vongo v6 is completely different than v5. The Vongo v6 gains almost an ounce of weight and has changed from its moderate to higher level stability status to a mild to almost stable neutral level. While the wedge design was pretty aggressive, those looking for that will have to seek it elsewhere. Those looking for mild stability/guidance with a Fresh Foam X midsole will enjoy this new version and I do applaud New Balance for innovating/trying new things. I again want to caution not to eliminate the moderate stability/guidance category in the process of innovating. That said, it is nice to have another option in the mild stability category, which until recently almost ceased to exist. So with the 860 still being around, maybe the Vongo v6 transitioning to mild stability/guidance isn't such a bad thing. 

Bach: The Vongo v6 is a shoe for runners who wants some guidance laterally for medial support in a softer, moderate stack height trainer. In our podcast which drops today where David and Matt rank shoes by stability, they discuss how stability can be a little different depending on the runner and how large of a range there is for runners today. The Vongo may be a shoe that works for runners transitioning out of medial stability footwear, especially if they are used to a more guidance-based shoe. It would be a good pairing with the new Brooks Hyperion GTS as a nice one-two punch for training and workouts.


Fit: B+/A- (Snug fit, comfortable mesh upper)
B/B+ (Moderately soft ride with easy forefoot transition for daily miles)
Stability: B/B- [Mild Guidance] (Supposedly has EVA film and mild heel wedge but really only feel mild forefoot lateral guidance)
DPT/Footwear Science: B- (Points for innovation but loss for missed execution for a moderate stability shoe. Now a mild guidance shoe at most)
Personal: B- (Comfortable, but heavier ride with mild guidance not something that stands out to me. Less stability than I was hoping for if I was going to wear a stability shoe. A little more snug than I would like too in the forefoot)


Fit: A- (The comfortable upper does feel good on fit for easy mileage. I had decent fit all around)
Performance: B+
(A soft, comfortable ride that handles daily mileage well. Good transitions)
Stability: B- (A complicated rating. For medial stability needs, it will vary greatly for who this works for. =)
DPT/Footwear Science: B- (There's some good ideas here, but a lot of room for improvements and definitely not as stable as it could be)
Personal: A- (Despite the complicated stability piece, just as a trainer on its own I've really enjoyed the ride of the shoe and if we just ignore the stability piece, think it's a solid daily road runner)
Overall: B


New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6
Price: $164.95 at Running Warehouse

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***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. 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 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.

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