Article by Markus Zinkl
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v7 (150 €)
In its 7th iteration, New Balance brings a major redesign of the Hierro. The most significant change is the weight. The shoe looses 38 grams or 1.3 oz over its predecessor. The Fresh Foam midsole is replaced by their newer Fresh Foam X foam. The v7 still features the tried and true Vibram® MegaGrip outsole, although with a changed lug pattern.
Markus: accommodating fit in the forefoot makes it very comfortable even for longer distances
Markus: MegaGrip outsole provides top of the line grip in pretty much all conditions
Markus: Stable ride due to its wider platform
Markus: Less cushion in the forefoot. Definitely less than the v6
Markus: difficult to dial in the fit, especially in the heel area
Markus I’m mainly a recreational runner, currently running about 5 times per week here in Germany. I run about 50:50 trails and roads
My only preference in terms of shoes is that they are not too heavy. Other than that I run in everything, from zero drop Altras to high stack Vaporfly.
Racing times for the 10k are 39:48 min and 1:51:32 for a half-marathon.
Weight: men’s 10,6oz / 301g (US9)
Price: 150 €
Available in Europe now. US soon.
First Impressions, Fit and Upper
At first glance the Heirro looks and feesl great. As I’m used to from New Balance the quality is top-notch here. The design is a clear plus, and the weight diet New Balance put it on really fits the shoe’s visual design . It looks way less clunky and heavy than its predecessor. The first step-in feels great. The upper is very comfortable and the roomy toe box prevents any cramping of your toes. At least for my average wide feet.
For the upper New Balance uses a synthetic mesh. It does not provide a lot of stretch, which shouldn’t be a problem for most due to the wider base. It is a bit thick for my liking, which makes it a warmer shoe, especially for the summer months.
In the toe area, there are some reinforced overlays to protect your toes. No problems there for me.
The shoe has a gusseted tongue. This does a good job holding the tongue in place.
I was a bit disappointed in the midsole of the shoe. In comparison to the v6 it lacks a bit of cushioning, especially in the forefoot. It is not bad by any means, but does not really invite you to cruise along. Maybe a result of the diet New Balance put it on. It could also be a strategic choice to separate it a bit more from the New Balance More Trail v2, which is currently the maximum cushioned option from New Balance for the trail. Personally, I would prefer a bit more cushion in the forefoot. Instead of 8 make it a 6 mm drop, and add some more forefoot stack. This would be a welcome change.
The outsole is where the shoe shines. The Vibram® MegaGrip is probably one of the best outsoles in terms of grip and durability you can get right now. The lug pattern has been completely redesigned featuring smaller and a bit deeper lugs than before.
The lugs themselves also have small micro-lugs facing in the forefoot to the back and in the back foot to the front. Those look similar to the lugs on the Hoka Speedgoat 5. I had no traction problems at all on all surfaces from dry to wet, the shoe performed and always provided confidence in the grip.
Forefoot striking runners, especially, will have to get used to the rather firm cushioning in the forefoot area. As already mentioned, I would have expected more cushioning there. Apart from that, the shoe rolls very well. The wide forefoot area also provides very good stability, even in technical terrain. At the beginning, I had problems with a slipping heel. I had to use the additional eye lit and a heel lock to fix that.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Overall, it is a good shoe. Compared to its predecessor, the lighter weight and better upper material suits it well. There is lots of grip thanks to the MegaGrip outsole. The only real criticism is the cushioning and ride. The heel slip problem was solved with the lacing, at least for my feet.
Markus’s Score: 7.63/10
Rock Protection: 6
Salomon Ultraglide (RTR Review)
While not as stable and not as good in the traction department, the Ultraglide outperforms the Hierro especially in the midsole category. Also, the fit suits me better, due to a better lockdown. I needed a Heel-lock and quite tight lacing with the Hierros. The Ultraglide’s upper and Quicklace system never raised any lockdown issues for me. This made it more versatile and allowed also a more loose or tight fit, e.g. in technical terrain.
Altra Timp 4 (RTR Review)
Compared to the Timp’s, the Hierro’s outsole is better, more robust and providing more grip. This makes the Hierro a bit better for technical terrain. Even being heavier, the ride of the Timp is more fun than that of the Hierro for me.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)
In contrast to the Timp the only similarities are the outsoles. The squishy and soft midsole makes the Speedgoat the better choice for long efforts. Also the fit is better in the Speedgoat. Due to its stretchy upper, I was afraid of running out of room to lace it up, but in the end it was no problem, although it was close.
Tested samples were a personal purchase..RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes
RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping, 30 days return policy, Low Price Guarantee
Join RRS VIP
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping on orders over 99€,, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40
WATCH OUR YOUTUBE REVIEWS ON THE ROADTRAILRUN CHANNEL
Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun