A Very Run Able Behemoth!

Article by Jeff Beck

New Balance Fresh Foam X Trail More v3 ($160)


A few years ago New Balance introduced the Fresh Foam More Trail and out of the gate it seemed like a solid fairly technical trail shoe, reminding several of us a lot of Hoka’s fabled Speed Goat line. Now on the third iteration (I didn’t test v2), the FFMT still reminds me of a Hoka – but now it’s their massively cushioned trail crusher Stinson instead of the Speedgoat. And as a bigger runner who almost always prefers more cushioning to less, it seems like a massive step forward, if not also in stack height.


-Top of the class in cushioning, measured 44mm heel stack

-Outsole has solid traction and good durability

-High volume feet will have no problems, plenty of room for long run swelling

-Midsole is soft, but has enough width to keep it stable

-It’s like a Hoka Stinson, but with more traction, cushioning, and much more toebox room

-Ideal road-to-trail or 25+ mile trail shoe


-Low volume feet might have trouble getting good lock down

-Because physics exists, a very wide and tall midsole is also quite heavy


Approx. Weight: men’s 10.75 oz  / 305g (US9)   

Samples: men’s  11.25oz / 319g (US10), 12.3oz/ 349g (US 10.5 2E)

Measured Stack Height: men’s mm 44 heel / 40 mm forefoot ( 4 drop spec) 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

“That has to be the biggest shoe I’ve ever seen in 10.5” was my first impression, and 40+ miles later, that hasn’t changed a bit. The overall girth of the shoe is legendary, though once I looked closer at the box and noticed that New Balance had sent my standard 10.5 length, though this time around they sent me the wide 2E fit. I tend to fit just a little wider than a standard D, but not all the way to a 2E, so this shoe has plenty of interior space – enough that I definitely went with the thickest socks I had clean anytime I put the shoe on, which helped eat up some of the extra space. But it’s not just big inside the shoe, New Balance claims it’s their most cushioned Fresh Foam shoe (technically the FuelCell Super Comp Trainer has a higher stack height), and it doesn’t feel like they barely got there. This shoe has so much more cushioning than just about everything else on the planet.

Lengthwise it is true-to-size, and I’d imagine even the standard D width has plenty of room to accommodate wider (if not truly wide) feet. I’ve had to really crank the laces down to get the fit dialed in, similar to what my wife does when she borrows my shoes (she’s an 11 in womens, so close in length but she has much narrower feet than I do), creating some very long laces. I could see the width being a problem for runners with slightly narrow feet – so if you do have slim feet make sure you either try them on or buy them from a place with an easy return policy.

The upper is an engineered mesh with some strategically placed overlays to give the shoe a little more support. The toe bumper is pretty flexible, and I like the stripe of reinforcement they put over the big toe – a common source of failure for many long distance shoes. 

The heel counter has some external build up, but it’s still pretty flexible, and it holds the heel in place (even with all the extra room in the shoe). 

While I appreciate the pull tab on the heel, it’s pretty narrow, making it hard to use, while the pull tab on the tongue has plenty of space to get a few fingers in there. The tongue is adequately cushioned, and is gusseted so it doesn’t move at all.


As it is with so many shoes, the midsole is where the magic comes from. It is listed as Fresh Foam X, it feels like a slightly different iteration of it, and Sam had mentioned that it is a dual-density Fresh Foam X with a firmer layer on the bottom, and that is it co-molded so there is no glue between the two densities. I won’t say I can feel the two layers, but unlike other large stacked Fresh Foam X shoes, there’s something more to this midsole that prevents it from being relegated to only easy runs. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of soft cushioning, but it prevents you from bottoming out. 

The firmer bottom layer, along with the overall size of the midsole, creates a very stable platform. I measured it as 132mm at the widest point of the forefoot, 100mm at the narrowest point of the midfoot, and 112mm at the widest point of the heel (by comparison the ASICS Trabuco Max 2 measures 121mm/91mm/92mm and the Topo Ultraventure 3 measures 119mm/88mm/89mm) – so truly the only word that accurately applies is BEHEMOTH.

There isn’t any rock plate, but it doesn’t need it. Turns out having 40mm of stack height under the forefoot does a great job of dulling every rock I purposely landed on. I could still feel some of the rocks, but there was really no sting.


The outsole is made from 30% recycled content Ecostep EVO Vibram, and as with most Vibram outsoles, there’s plenty of grip. 

This shoe has something new from Vibram, micro Traction lugs on the backside of the lugs in the front of the shoe and on the front of the lugs under the heel. I’m not sure how much added traction these little nubs give, but the overall result is a pretty grippy shoe. 

New Balance did a good job segmenting the rubber, but the midsole is thick enough there was never going to be much forefoot flex either way – though it probably helps keep the weight down as much as possible. There is a decent amount of exposed outsole, but between the road and trail miles I’ve put on, the wear isn’t bad, and it’s all in a place where even if you do have excessive wear it isn’t likely to prematurely retire the shoe. 


As I mentioned above, there’s a pleasant softness to the landing that isn’t too soft, you never get the feeling of bottoming out, which helps make a shoe this well cushioned still be versatile. It would be at home on any runner in a 50K to 50 mile race, as well as just easy day hikes. It wouldn’t be on the short list, or really any list, for a fast run, but if you value comfort and protection over speed, you’re unlikely to find a shoe that does comfort and protection better.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Hoka has long been the king of true max cushioning both on the road and trail, but the Trail More v3 is clearly a grab at the title – and I think it might take the top spot. 

It’s a massive shoe that gives tons of protection and cushioning, but doesn’t feel overly bulky or heavy.

It doesn’t have the traction or exceptional foot hold to make me comfortable taking them on technical trails, but they’re a top shoe for any type of easy trail. The dual-density midsole gives a soft ride that never goes too soft. The previous iteration of the road version, the Fresh Foam More v3, has a lower stack, but is so soft they’re hard to run in for anything but truly easy days – that’s not the case here. I’m sure the outsole helps contribute, and perhaps the ultra wide platform does as well, but the final result is one of the most cushioned shoes on the market that never feels sluggish – quite the feat for a shoe with this much mass. And if you’re one of the many of us who have been pining for a massive Hoka-esque shoe, but with a proper toe box, your day has come.

Score: 9.5/10

Ride: 9.5 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 10 (10%) Style: 9 (5%) Traction: 9 (15%) Rock Protection: 10 (10%)


4 Comparisons 

New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1 (RTR Review)

This might as well be a different shoe rather than an update. The v1 has a more dialed in fit and feels almost minimal by comparison, making it a great shoe for technical runs, the v3’s massive platform blows the v1 out of the water.

ASICS Trabuco Max 2 (RTR Review)

An incredible update to the first Trabuco Max, the TM2 feels narrow and minimal in an A/B test against the FFMTv3. The ASICS wins the traction battle and is definitely better for faster paced runs, but it doesn’t have nearly the all day protection the New Balance does even though they have similar stacks. The wider platform of the New Balance is also appreciated, helping make the shoe feel more planted.

Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3 (RTR Review)

Topo’s biggest stacked trail shoe to date, the Ultraventure brings lots of cushioning, with 35mm underneath the heel, but it feels svelte and dialed in by comparison. I appreciate the classic Topo toebox, and the mesh upper is very comfortable, but if you’re looking for the longest distance shoe, the New Balance takes it by a mile.

Inov8 Trail Fly Ultra G300 Max (RTR Review)

Inov8’s biggest shoe has a similar over-the-top build to the FFMTv3. Inov8 wins for traction, foot hold, rock protection, and toe box width, NB wins for comfort and cushioning, making them great shoes to pair off of each other. If you want almost all day comfort with the ability to get into technical running, go Inov8, if you want all-day-and-then-some comfort on tame or buffed out trails or maybe some road, then go NB. Both great shoes.

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Tester Profile

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR’s are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

The Trail More v3 is available from our partners below

New Balance SHOP HERE

Fleet Feet SHOP HERE

The samples were provided at no charge for review purposes.RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!

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