New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail V1 Review
TAYLOR: I’m running out of massive monsters to equate these maximal trail shoes to. Everybody is getting in the game.
If the HOKA Stinson ATR 6 is Godzilla and Altra Olympus 4 is King Kong, then this is the new kid on the block. The New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1 is just as much shoe as the other behemoths, with many similarities and a few differences. Let’s check into how the More stacks up against the other mega riders of the trail.
COURTNEY: New Balance was the first brand of trail shoes that I got into when I wandered over to the dark side (it’s fun here) from the road running scene. From the get-go, there were always quite a few different New Balance trail shoes in my rotation.
When I took my first (failed) shot at Leadville 100 in 2015, my go-to shoe was one of their heftier models at the time. I specifically remember that they stopped making the model that I loved and had to scramble to acquire a pair a few weeks out. Shout out to the good folks at Runners Roost in Denver, CO who drove to multiple locations to track down a pair in my size. It was the last pair of that model I owned. New Balance, if you’re reading this: Help a girl out?!
Anyway… while I have not worn New Balance trail shoes recently (outside of testing out the More Trail v1), I’m still admittedly a closet fan and always excited to see what they do next. While I am unable to recall which model I was wearing in 2015 as I dry heaved my way up the backside of Hope Pass, my first glance at the More Trail v1 brought a smile to my face as its aesthetic definitely reminds me of the model that I loved.
MATT: I’d like to say that unboxing these bad bois and seeing this fresh colorway and rad styling had me feeling reliving the glory days of 1989 (shout-out to T. Swift). The design alone made me poke around the shoebox to make sure there wasn’t a Nintendo Power Glove packaged with it (unfortunately there was no Power Glove, not even a Game Genie, wtf New Balance).
My next thoughts were, “yeah this is a totally badass shoe, but it probably weighs a ton.” I picked one up and was shocked at how much lighter they were than anticipated … now the shoe had my full attention.
TAYLOR: By golly! More is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There is a whole lotta Fresh Foam X ready to douse anything beneath it and provide pillowy protection. The ride is about as cushy as a beanie baby in a jello bowl (worst analogy ever, but here we are). And in true Fresh Foam X fashion, the light responsiveness is apparent, even with the mountain of foam.
Not only is the More Trail protective, it rides just as smooth as the other behemoths of the trail game. Dare I say … smoother?? A slightly tapered toe gives a little bit of a rocker action in the forefoot. It definitely has a HOKA-esque feel to it (a company known for their rockers). I’m not complaining in the least. A touch of medial support complements the ride just fine. If you’re even considering a shoe like this, it has the smooth ride you want and need to keep things rolling down the dusty trail for miles and miles and miles and mi… I’ll stop now.
The total stack (34mm to 30 mm) is exactly 5mm less than the Stinson and that seems to help a little with being able to cruise on the more moderately technical stuff. Thankfully, a broad footprint helps with natural stability.
Low weight to stack ratio helps with the cause too. These weighed in 11.5 ounces for a Men’s 10.5 whereas the Stinson and Olympus were 12.9 and 12.2 ounces respectively. I mean, I’m not going to do any scrambling in these things, but I did feel more secure than some other maximal shoes.
On the topside, a comfortable engineered mesh and a well-padded heel collar provide a nice fit … for me at least. I have a pretty average width of foot. An integrated tongue and stitched in overlays added some support to give a comparatively secure fit.
Let’s not forget about the outsole. I’ve been finding myself almost dismissive of shoes that don’t have Vibram or Graphene Grip outsoles, but those are in their own league. This no-name outsole with substantial lugs gave really good traction on anything from snow, to dirt, and the lug pattern even felt fine on segments of pavement.
COURTNEY: Let’s start with looks… this shoe is hot! Personally, I’m a mega fan of how the black upper transitions to a hyped-up navy and then fades into teal. I’ve yet to meet a trail runner who doesn’t swoon over anything with topography line designs and the topo pattern on the tongue and collar, which are both extremely sleek by the way, is a fun touch.
There is a pull loop on the heel that you can actually fit two fingers into when sliding on or adjusting your shoe (unlike the pull loop on the Nike Wildhorse 6, which is functionally useless). While it’s a small detail, this is something I really appreciate. The flat laces and standard eye lacing system work well together and are an adequate system to adjust your laces appropriately.
I grew up cramming my feet into pointy, ballerina-like shoes, so I notoriously like to lace ‘em tight. I appreciate when a shoe lets me seamlessly do so without actually cramming my toes – thanks New Balance!
The shape of the shoe itself is quite natural and does not require your foot to adhere to some contrived shape. While it’s not quite “embrace the space” natural, it’s an excellent alternative if you appreciate having a little room to let your feet splay. I personally am unable to fully “embrace the space” without getting injured so these more than fit my need to embrace just a bit of space and keep my feet happy.
The FRESH FOAM X creates a plush ride that is the equivalent of baby bear’s *just right* porridge, and are extremely comfortable in their maximal cushioned glory. It’s common for my toes to go numb in shoes with heavy cushioning (e.g. the Brooks Caldera), but whatever New Balance is doing – they are doing it right.
Last, but certainly not least, the lugs and super sticky traction on this shoe are something to sing about from the top of the mountain.
MATT: These are one of the prettiest trail shoes I have seen in recent years. If you are fan of thicc bois, you’ll love the beefy Fresh Foam X midsole and the high side-wall from mid-foot through the heel.
Back to that weight. Tipping the scales at 10.1 oz for my size 10s, these came in almost ½ oz lighter than the Asics Trabuco, which are fairly comparable in heftiness. The More feels even lighter on foot.
This is a shoe to make the late great Scott Weiland proud, as it is plush. Maybe the most cushioned ride on the trails that I have experienced without crossing that line where you feel completely unconnected to the ground. My closest comparison (and probably the closest comparison for most trail runners) is the HOKA Speedgoat, which is certainly a compliment.
These seem to excel on less technical and well-groomed/prime conditions. They were plenty stable on some wet trail days I experienced, but I would imagine the mildly aggressive lugs might not be ideal in extra sloppy conditions. The stack height as well can lend to some rolled ankles if yours are floppy.Shop – More Trail Men Shop More Trail – Women
TAYLOR: Let’s back it up a little bit. I previously used the word “comparatively” when discussing foot security. Yes, “comparatively” I felt more secure on the trails with the More Trail than some of the other big dogs, but that doesn’t mean it has a sock-like fit. It would be unfair to compare these to some of the flyweight speedsters.
I still had some slippage in the midsole when rounding tighter twists and turns. Any lateral movements were a little iffy, which is to be expected when you’re basically running on pillowy platforms. But still, this is the department where I want “more” in a maximally cushioned shoe.
More heat also comes with the More Trail. As much as I did enjoy the fit and general feel of the double jacquard mesh upper and padded heel collar, my feet roasted! I do not sweat much in the dry climate of the Rockies. My feet sure did when wearing these, though! The heel collar was fairly saturated after a 15-mile long run in 30 degree weather (no, I didn’t have any creek crossings).
COURTNEY: Structurally, he only thing I would change about this shoe is that I wish there could be a *little* less padding in the forefoot.
The price point could possibly deter a few people. The only thing I didn’t love about my previous experience with New Balance is that I would spend $130.00 on a pair of trail shoes and like clockwork the uppers would start to blow out around 130 miles and I’d always laugh about getting a mile per dollar. While I haven’t put 164 miles on these shoes to see if that has changed, the uppers on the More Trail v1 do feel more durable and give me the impression, especially with that reinforced toe, that this model is in for the long haul.
MATT: Honestly, I don’t have much negative to say about this shoe. As mentioned above, with the lugs not being overly aggressive, these shoes likely are not the best if you know you’re going to be hitting some wet and muddy single track.
While the shoe seems to nail the balance between providing maximum cushion and not feeling out of sync with the trail, these are not going to provide that locked-in ground feel synergy that you’ll find in models like the Merrell Skyfire or Nike Pegasus Trail.
Also, this is not cheap. Coming in at $165 there is a price to be paid for all of that maximum cush.Shop – More Trail Men Shop More Trail – Women
TAYLOR: If you’re a super stack fanatic, these should be on your radar. The Fresh Foam More Trail v1 has all the comfort and performance benefits you’ll find in the Olympus or Stinson. It’s a highly cushioned trail runner built for comfort over the long haul. You’ll get a plush and smooth ride. You’ll also get some speed wobbles if you try taking these too fast on technical terrain. The only real difference between these and the “other guys” is in the fit of the upper. The toe box is moderately spacious and generally more accommodating. It hits that middle between the typical HOKA and the classic Altra feel.
COURTNEY: While I’m not going to test my Anton Krupicka skills and shave pieces off of a pair of New Balance shoes to appease my “a little less cushion in the forefoot” desire, these shoes more than pass the test for me and I would 10/10 recommend to a friend.
MATT: In the More Trail V1, New Balance has added a more-than-worthy competitor to the trail category. The plush ride provides a top option for saving the legs on those long efforts as well as when needing to take things easier.
In fact, I would actually recommend these as a great road to trail shoe. That may not have been an intention when it was designed, but the transition from pavement to trail was way more smooth than a shoe like the Saucony Canyon TR that was actually designed to be a hybrid.
The price is a bit steep, but I think you could justify in the fact that these should have a longer shelf life than some of the more aggressive and/or lighter models on the market.
You can pick up the New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail for $165 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop – More Trail Men Shop More Trail – Women
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Is the More soft like the Stinson ATR6, or is the softness more like the Olympus 4.0?