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New Balance Hierro v8 Review
By David Salas and Matthew Klein

The New Balance Hierro line was one of earlier New Balance trail shoes to feature a Fresh Foam midsole. Originally debuted as a softer trail trainer, it evolved over the years with varying weight levels. Version 8 returns as one of the lightest in the series, dropping under 10 oz for men's size 9 with a new blend of Fresh Foam X midsole. The Hierro v8 now returns as a slightly lighter, yet taller stack height trail shoe with a softer ride and excellent Vibram Megagrip outsole and small lugs that provide plenty of grip for a variety of trail efforts and even some road crossings.

New Balance Hierro v8
Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.9 oz, 280g (men's size 9), 8.6 oz, 243 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38mm heel / 32mm forefoot
Drop: 6mm
Shoe Purpose: All Terrain Trail Running Shoe (Road to Trail shoe?)

Pros: Great cushioning, decent traction, good versatility as daily shoe
Cons: Upper does have some give to medial and lateral forces, not the greatest in technical terrain, tapered forefoot


The New Balance Hierro v8 is max cushioning trail shoe for those wanting a gently rockered experience and sticky traction. The shoe features an updated Fresh Foam X midsole. The Vibram Megagrip lugs are on the shallow side and do well on both road and trail. The shoe really excels at runnable trails, though can have a little bit of instability with more technical footing. The Hierro v8 works really well as an all-terrain shoe or high mileage trail shoe. 

: Altra Experience Wild, HOKA Stinson 7
PAST MODEL: New Balance Hierro v7

(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

Matt: The New Balance Hierro v8 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The shoe features a normal to slightly snug width in the heel and midfoot with a snug and tapered toe box. The heel and midfoot volume is fairly normal while the forefoot volume is slightly lower. The upper material is a mesh that does provide some stretch, allow the forefoot to open slightly with time. The taper up front opens slightly in the forefoot with a normal width fit. This transitions into normal width midfoot with a non-gusseted tongue. The tongue did not translate but I did have to tighten the laces to get a secure fit. This transitions into a normal width heel with moderate to thinner amount of heel collar padding. The heel counter is moderately stiff. I did notice it and those with heel sensitivities should approach with caution. The inner aspect of the shoe is a bit scratchy, so socks are a must with this shoe (especially with the toe guard up front). Overall this is a mostly normal to slightly snug width trail shoe that will work best for those who have normal to narrow feet or those who want a tapered toe box. 

Typical Size: Men's US Size 10
Shoes that have fit Matt well: Saucony Guide 17, ASICS Kayano 30, Hoka Gaviota 5, Saucony Endorphin Elite, Nike Ultrafly
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Saucony Kinvara 14
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2, Altra Timp 5

David: The New Balance Hierro v8 fits true to size in my men's 9.5. The shoe has normal-to-slightly wide width through the heel and midfoot, with a normal width forefoot. The volume of the shoe is normal to slightly spacious and does well with foot swelling. The upper material is an engineered mesh that has decent amount of comfort to it and is relatively plush for a trail shoe. The tongue is padded and does a good job of padding the laces. You can lock the shoe down pretty well throughout. There is light reinforcement of the upper material throughout, though there is still some stretch to the material. This is okay for most situations that are asked of it, though I noticed in more technical footing or cambered trails the foot does have some translation medially and laterally. There is a toe guard that seems to do its job ok... to be fair I didn't slam my toe on anything yet but it seems it would hold. I felt the upper was quite comfortable compared to most trail shoes, though I would like to see a tad more reinforcement through the midfoot both on the medial and lateral sides. 

David's Typical Size: Men's US Size 9.5
Shoes that have fit David well: Nike Vomero 17, Saucony Ride 16, Puma Velocity Nitro 3

Shoes that have fit snug: HOKA Arahi 7
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon Aero Glide

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Yes
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing: Yes
Is the Forefoot Flexible: Somewhat
How Flexible is the Shoe: Mild-to-moderate
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Yes
Recommended for Haglunds: No
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Above Average


Matt: The New Balance Hierro v8 is a maximal stack height trail training shoe that runs on the lighter side. The Fresh Foam X midsole provides a moderately soft ride underfoot with solid traction from the Vibram Megagrip outsole/lugs. The smaller lugs provide plenty of traction on moderate terrain and do not get in the way during road crossings or road to trail efforts. The softer ride makes the shoe feel a little heavier than its listed weight but still allows the Hierro to feels like a solid trainer that can handle some longer efforts. The foam is more compliant and not as resilient, so daily miles and longer efforts feel best. The moderate bevel provides a decent heel transition which moves through a fairly normal midfoot and a fairly easy forefoot. The midsole does not feel stiff but there is only a little flexibility in the sole. The transitions are fairly smooth but not overly rockered, creating a shoe that is easy to forget about. There is still a tiny bit of toe spring, which combined with the tapered toe box did make downhill running a little rough on the toes.

The outsole traction and ride work best on moderate or smoother terrain. I found the lugs too small for extremely soft or technical terrain but just right for rocky, smooth trail or broken cement/roads. Despite the road use, the outsole has held up extremely well with no wear after 25 miles of use. This makes the Hierro v8 a solid daily training/mileage trail shoe with some road versatility that will last a long time. 

David:  The New Balance Hierro v8 performed quite well. The Fresh Foam X midsole provides a good chunk of cushioning and feels relatively soft underfoot. The Vibram Megagrip outsole also provided pretty sticky traction for most situations. The shoe felt a tad heavier than the 9.9 oz read for Men's size 9, though I think that may be in part to the foam. The foam feels very durable and can take beatings for miles. Though it performs really well there, it can come off a tad flat and not very bouncy or lively. Despite that the shoe felt really good at easy paces. The shoe has a gently rockered design throughout that feels pretty fluid at all stages of the gait cycle. The heel has a decent sized bevel that is coupled with some fairly large sidewalls. The shoe feels pretty centered throughout the gait cycle and that leads you into a wide forefoot platform that has mild flexibility. For how much foam there is, the toe off still feels like there is some bend there and that you can use your natural push off. I found that the combination of the midsole and shallow lugs also worked well for the roads.

For me, I found the Hierro v8 to work really well as a road-to-trail shoe. On the trails, I felt the Hierro v8 did really well with non-technical trail paths, providing good traction on both ascents and descents. I did notice on some technical descents though, that the upper would begin to stretch either medially and laterally, making me watch my steps a little more. Outside of angled trails and more technical descents though, this shoe did really well for daily efforts. I am not sure I would reach for this shoe for any speedy stuff on the trails, but it will work well as a daily training shoe or even ultra distance racing shoe. 

(Learn more about stability in our full guide)

Matt: The New Balance Hierro v8 is neutral but has some decent guidance. There is a noticeable medial sidewall at the heel with a slightly smaller lateral one. There are also small sidewalls at the medial and lateral forefoot which I did not fully notice outside of a small hotspot on my medial forefoot. The platform of the shoe is slightly wider with a midfoot that does not narrow too much. There is additional sole flare in the forefoot which adds to a little more guided ride up front. However, most of this is neuralized (no pun intended) by the softer Fresh Foam X midsole, making for a fairly neutral shoe overall. 

David:  The New Balance Hierro v8 is definitely a neutral shoe, but does some things well. The platform throughout is pretty wide and gives a good amount of cross sectional area to land on. There are some large sidewalls in the midsole as well that give you a sense of centering. The upper locks down pretty well throughout, though does have some translation when there are more angled trails or technical footing (descents especially). The outsole pattern has relatively shallow lugs, though they did fine for most trail situations. Really soft trails or technical footing may need a little more stability though. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Variance in Lug Sizes 
By David Salas

As trail running continues to get more popular, we are seeing so much variation in the making of the shoes. Shoes seem to vary in geometry, midsole stack height, lug depth, and plates. There is a lot that goes into trail shoes. I love to see the variation, as it does increase the amount of options and likelihood that one pair will work for the consumer. Today I want to talk about lug depth and why it is nice to have an option with more shallow lugs like the Hierro v8. 

Lugs are essentially the grippy part of the outsole in a trail shoe. The depth of the lugs are normally in measured in millimeters, and sometimes published on the shoe companies websites. A common depth is 4mm, with more aggressive lugs going as high as 6-8mm. These do well with giving you claws to grab into the earth with when you need to. The truth is though, you don't always need that much. Especially with how good some of the rubber compounds are getting with creating friction and traction, you can get away with some more shallow lugs. Similar to shoes, trails also come in all different shapes and sizes. Areas that have really soft, muddy, wet trails might require a little more lug depth, though the more packed dirt trails in more dry areas could get away with lugs that are a little more shallow. There is not much data out there specifically on lug depth and terrain that it works best for, but is nice to see companies playing around with different options. 

The Hierro v8 is a good trail shoe in its own right for long efforts on non-technical trails. I think the less aggressive pattern can also make it a good starter trail shoe for someone. Some people do find larger lugs to be uncomfortable if they are not used to them. As more data rolls through we will keep an eye on the usage of materials and depths, but for now it is nice to see different offerings out there. 


Matt: The Hierro v8 is a solid trail shoe but I found the toe box to limit how long I could use the shoe for and decreased the comfort required for me to want to continue training in it. My biggest recommendation would be for New Balance to open that toe box. A tapered forefoot is not optimal for a longer-distance trail shoe and I had a solid amount of pressure on my toes during downhill efforts. Outside of that, this is a solid daily training trail trainer.

David: I enjoyed my time in the New Balance Hierro v8. My main recommendation for the Hierro v8 is to work on improving the stability through the midfoot region. The transitions were good in non technical situations, though I found on steep descents and technical areas that the upper had some give in that region. That caused some translation of my feet, and made me watch my steps a little bit more. 


Matt: The New Balance Hierro v8 is a daily trail running shoe for those who want a moderately soft ride, a smooth, maximal ride and a normal fit with a tapered forefoot/toe box. Those with narrow feet may do a little better here with the fit up front as the security has been fairly good. The midsole is consistent with the softer riding Fresh Foam X midsoles seen in other New Balance shoes, which lends to easier and comfortable efforts over longer miles. The outsole traction will be best for those who run over a variety of moderate to more tame trail surfaces where grip is required but deep lugs are not. This provides a ride that has the capacity to be a good road-to-trail option

David: The New Balance Hierro v8 is a daily trail running shoe for someone that wants a large amount of cushioning on a gently rockered shoe. The Hierro v8 has a large amount of cushioning thanks to the big slab of Fresh Foam X. The foam feels very durable and soft, though does not have a large bounce to it. The Vibram Megagrip outsole has relatively shallow lugs, but is sticky for most situations. This will be a very good road to trail option, hiking option, or ultra distance trail running option.


Fit: (Mostly normal width fit with highly tapered toe box/forefoot)
B+ (Softer ride with smooth transition. Best for easier and longer miles)
Stability: B [Neutral] (Decent sidewalls but softer foam makes ride more neutral)
Value: A- (Extremely durable outsole with max cushion and versatility makes this a fairly good value shoe)
Personal: B- (The toe box kills this otherwise solid daily trail shoe for me)
Overall Design: B

Fit: B+ (Good fit throughout, though midfoot security can improve, forefoot could feel a tad more spacious as toe guard sensation is present)
A- (I really well done max cushion trail shoe, though some instability noted with technical footing. A durable and consistent ride for easy efforts on and off trail.)
Stability: B (Wide base helps, traction helps, upper has some stretch to it through the midfoot and foam isn't the most stable out there)
Value: A (Especially if this is an all terrain shoe for you, you'll get your moneys worth)
Personal: B (The instability through the midfoot is a little tough for me because I do run in a lot of softer mulchy trails or rocky descents. Though it is nice in nearly all other situations.)
Overall Design: B+ 


New Balance Hierro v8
Price: $149.95 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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