New Balance 860v4 Review


I was recently given the opportunity to wear-test New Balance’s stability shoe, the 860 (now in its fourth version) thanks to the kind folks at NB providing me with a pair, on the house.  My last NBs were from sometime around 1999, a beautiful pair of RC1s that weighed somewhere around 2.6 oz and fit like a dream.

RC1

Until fairly recently, NB was most-associated with gray trainers worn by middle-aged men with pleated khakis but, friends, the times they are a-changing.  NB has gone on a style tear as of late to compliment the signing of top runners like Andy Baddeley and Jenny Barringer Simpson.  I mean, these are not your grand-daddy’s walkin’-around shoes:

NB 1260v3

NB 1260v3

So let’s get to the 860v4, which uses NB’s proprietary T-Beam technology coupled with high-density EVA foam and ABZORB® Crash Pad to provide stability for overpronators.  According to the NB website: “T-beam is a lightweight, flexible TPU shank engineered to deliver optimum torsional stability and arch support through a unique center beam design.”  The closes comparison in terms of both pronation control  and fit would be the Brooks Adrenaline.  For those interested in the more technical specs of the 860, it features a 12 mm heel-toe drop, is built on NB’s PL-12 last, and weighs 10.9 oz for a men’s size 9.  Looking at the picture below, you can see the higher-density EVA foam as the gray portion of the midsole on the left shoe pictured.  You can also see the NB crash pad that contributes to the shoe’s stability.

Outsole

Here’s what the rest of the world will see when you lace up your 860s.

Profile

And here’s what a plane will see:

Top

If there’s one word to use to describe the 860 v4, it’s “workhorse.”  If you’re looking for a wisp of a shoe that is little more than a slice of rubber between your foot and the road, keep on looking.  If, however, you are looking for a great blend of cushioning, stability, and responsiveness, then the 860 might just be the shoe you’ve been looking for, particularly if you need a bit more room in the toe box, as I do.

I’ve put roughly 40 miles on my 860s now and have been very happy with the results.  the ride of the shoe feels cushioned without being mushy – the kind of shoe that won’t protest if you want to throw in some uptempo miles during your long run.  The 860 will accommodate both mid-foot and heel strikers equally, though I think the mid-foot strikers will find a more responsive ride as the shoe can trend toward the clunky side when heel-striking.  No one is going to mistake any stability shoe for a racing flat, but the 860s do exactly what they are designed to do, and they do it exceptionally.  One observation, the 860 seems to have a rather high cuff, so I’d suggest wearing something like the Run.Com Performance Crew Socks, which it just so happens are 50% off at Greater Boston Running Company.

The takeaway?  If you over-pronate and are looking for a stability shoe on the lighter end of the spectrum without sacrificing cushioning, try on a pair of New Balance 860s!

Note: I received these shoes free of charge from New Balance thanks to my employment at Greater Boston Running Company.  All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way by NB or GBRC.

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7 Responses to “New Balance 860v4 Review”

  1. Janet Simons Folger Says:

    I was just at a New Balance store today looking at and trying on the womens 860v4 and was told not onlly that it has an 8mm heel toe drop but also the it is a neutral shoe and not at all for over pronators – so what gives? I was about to order a pair tonight (they didn’t have the color I wanted at the store) but am now reluctant. I have high arches, supinate and want an 8 mm drop. Hoping to hear back – Janet

    • Michael R. Says:

      The 860 is most definitely a stability shoe, not a neutral shoe by any stretch. I got the heel toe drop from NB’s site, but that’s not to say it’s necessarily correct.

  2. jan Says:

    I just bought these today in The Netherlands. I came from the Asics 2170 which I liked for it’s stability and lightness but they lacked a comfortable fit, cushioning and durability I also had the Brooks Glycerine 10 which I liked for it’s wider fit and cushioning and for it’s durability .Not enough support for me obviously which I tried to compensate with inlay soles and they were way too heavy for races.
    These NB 860 V4 seem to be my perfect shoe. I’ve tried the Asics 2000 2 and they weren’t near as comfortable and stabil as the NB. I really hope they are durable as well.

  3. jan Says:

    What i just found out and what I really like is that they are being made in the United Kingdom. Not China or Vietnam. The last time I wore shoes being made in the EU must have been in the Eighties ;).

  4. Julia Says:

    I went in to be fitted for running shoes today and I was told I have very flexible ankles, narrow heels, and a low arch. I was recommended this shoe, but I have never been told I overpronate. I run about 40 miles/week and do mainly road running and hills. I was recommended this and the Brooks Addiction. Would you agree with this?

    • Michael R. Says:

      Hi Julia, thanks for the question! Without seeing how you run, it’d be tough to say what the right shoe is, but I would not ever recommend a shoe just based on flexible ankles and a narrow arch. Moreover, there’s a fairly substantial difference between the 860 and the Addiction. The Brooks Adrenaline is a much closer comparison to the 860. Good luck!

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