JARRETT: I’m just a normal guy living in a carbon world. That’s why coming home to a New Balance stability shoe got me all sorts of excited.
The New Balance 860v10 is an update to a long-time favorite with an update to the TruFuse midsole, an interesting (more on that later) 3D-molded Ultra Heel, and a more streamlined upper. The shoe features a 10 mm drop and while the men’s spec size weighs in at a hefty 11.8 oz./335g, my wide 2E shoe comes in at a whopping 12.8 oz./363g.
TAYLOR: New Balance has a ton of options for footwear, and a lot of solid choices too. Somewhere in all of those numbered shoes is the 860v10. Though not the only stability trainer offered by NB, it has been a standard stability runner for their line and is updated with a completely new upper and heel collar.
Overall, I agree with Jarrett in that the 860v10 is a good choice for a stability trainer. Let’s get into the details.
JARRETT: The fit is niiiiiice. I can usually tell how I’ll like a shoe based on step-in. The engineered mesh upper is super breathable with its billions and billions of holes. It’s a real sieve-of-a-b*****. The fit is true to size and the wide width is spot on.
While it’s not a gusseted tongue, the laces have a spot to go through which keeps the tongue from sliding around. I’m also appreciating the nicely padded tongue so I can pull the laces tight and not feel pressure on the top of my foot.
New Balance is able to provide the stability needed by using their TrueFuse midsole with an inserted medial post. It’s definitely a firmer feel compared to the Fresh Foam X, but there is still great responsiveness to it.
The outsole is covered in blown rubber with tons of cuts and grooves to keep it from being stiff. In my range of speeds, I was surprised at how smooth the transition felt. Usually, stability shoes have a slap-happy brick feel, but that wasn’t the case at all. The 860v10 whispered as I rolled off the toe.
With the rubber outsole, this shoe is going to last and last and last. Did I mention it would last? I felt comfortable making turns whether it was wet with rain or soaked in sunshine. Let’s just say there’s no hope for you if you’re able to slip in these bad boys.
Lastly, I think these are some pretty nice-looking shoes. It’s muted enough with the gray and black, but also has little pops of color. My colorway is called “rain cloud with ginger pink.” I guess that’s a thing.
TAYLOR: It comes as no surprise that this shoe is simply comfortable to wear. New Balance has the fit dialed for the average foot-size runners. I will always commend them for that. The midfoot is snug, but not tight, and the forefoot is accommodating. The 860v10 is true-to-size.
In a somewhat impressive fashion, the 860v10 is a decently smooth ride. Even though it is a bit chunky, it isn’t so clunky. The Truefuse midsole is firm feeling, but toe-off felt pretty nice due to its flexibility. The density of the foam made for a bit more energy return than I was expecting. I mostly enjoyed the ride on relaxed effort runs but I felt like I could pick it up for some up-tempo workouts without killing myself.
I say I mostly enjoyed the ride because I typically run in neutral shoes. After the first run, though, the medial post wasn’t too much of a shock. In the range of stability, this is a very stable ride.
A lot of components of these shoes don’t feel as if they are in the “modern era”; however, the engineered upper seems to be evidence that the 860 is at least hanging around.
One aspect that you see many of the OG companies, like New Balance, get right every time is the upper. The 860v10 has one of the most comfortable uppers that I have had the pleasure of wearing. The engineered mesh is breathable enough to feel air movement while just walking around. There is a lot of flex while remaining poised enough to lock the mid and forefoot down nicely. It hugs the foot in a wonderful way.Shop New Balance 860v10
JARRETT: Back to the weight. As said above, my wide weight is a chunky 12.8 oz. That’s heavy! Towards the end of a long run, your legs are going to feel it. Although, the smooth transition made it bearable; I didn’t feel like I was fighting the weight of the shoe.
The 3D molded ultra heel is a bit questionable. Even though it didn’t cause any issues, there was a slight heel slip which was noticeable at times. There’s a bit of padding around the heel on the inside about a quarter inch from the top of the heel collar. That means the top quarter inch is more flimsy and unless I loosened the laces up a lot, it was quite the pain in the ass to get on.
This next one is more of a personal thought. TrueFuse is old news, for real for real. I think the 860v10 is the only New Balance running shoe right now that is using it. Every other shoe is some sort of a combination of FuelCell, Fresh Foam X, or REVlite. I’m going to predict the 860v11 (assuming there is one) will be a big update that will cut down part of the weight. Hey Robbe– if I’m wrong about this come 2021, please delete this! [NARRATOR: He won’t.]
TAYLOR: One of the more noticeable changes to this shoe is the New Balance Ultra Heel. It is a different material that is more malleable and less padded than the typical. It’s made to cup the heel. It is a comfortable addition that looks pretty cool, but I didn’t notice much of a functional difference, really. It was a little awkward to slip on without a pull tab. I also usually wear quarter-length or higher socks. I think that’s a good thing because with shorter or thinner socks there was some friction at the top of the collar.
As I mentioned before, the ride of the 860v10 is “decently smooth.” It’s also on the very stable end of the spectrum. For me, personally, this really didn’t add a whole lot of positive notes to the overall package.
I felt that the 10 mm drop and somewhat obstructive medial post prevented this shoe from being a really good daily trainer. My foot strike is typically at the midfoot. Even so, the posting would jar my natural foot action upon contact with the ground before turning into a smoother ride. Once the forefoot made full contact, there wasn’t an issue through toe-off; however, it did take some getting used to and seemed to feel better as I picked up the pace a little.
Jarett mentioned this on The Drop Live, but the TrueFuse midsole feels outdated and a little chunky (even compared to something like an Asics or Mizuno stability trainers). With the lighter and more reactive midsoles that NB has to offer, why not slap it on the 860 as well? Perhaps that’s comin’.Shop New Balance 860v10
JARRETT: Just like me, the 860v10 is a chunky boi. Don’t judge us by our cover. We both run lighter than we look and are pretty sleek. We also have great outsoles, and even greater “in souls” (ok, I’m clearly out of comparisons and this is getting a little uncomfortable). I’d say the shoe is built tough, but I don’t want Ford suing us!
The 860v10 may not be the shiniest and exciting new toy, but it’s an incredibly solid option for a runner looking for some stability in their life, just like your six-times divorced Aunt Betty. The ride is smooth and pretty dang responsive.
TAYLOR: In the current age where shoe choices are flying at you from every angle, the NB 860v10 is average in a lot of ways, but that’s not bad by any means! Some of the highlights include a comfortable fit for those with average or even wide feet, a top-shelf engineered mesh upper, and decent energy return on toe-off. Also, it feels lighter than it actually is. You’ll be getting a stable and smoother ride when compared to other highly stable shoes out there.
You can pick up the New Balance 860v10 for $130 using the shop link below.Shop New Balance 860v10