New Balance has been making some top notch shoes for a while, and their Fresh Foam midsole material has quickly become one of my favorites. However, I have not been too fond of their trail offerings — in which I’ve run — in the past.
I wondered if this would change with the Hierros, and it did. These shoes are awesome. I was completely satisfied and will continue to use them on the trails in the area.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3 General Info
The Hierro v3 is the top-level New Balance varied trail offering. With the highest amount of cushion offered, these shoes are meant to take the pounding of long miles on any trail.
At this price point and cushioning the Hierros will compete against the likes of the Altra Timp, Hoka Challenger ATR, Newton Boco AT, Nike Terra Kiger, Salming Trail 5, Saucony Xodus ISO and North Face Ultra Vertical.
When these shoes showed up, I was excited. It was the dead of winter, and I needed something with some grip.
These fit the bill wonderfully. Opening up the box, I was very excited to find that they sent me the bright orange colorway. I love a shoe with a little flash, and these fit the bill.
Although they are trail shoes, they were still able to work as an all-day shoe as well. I wore them at school and they were great.
However, where they truly shine is out on the trails — especially wide trails. The first run was a joy, and I loved them on all the different trail surfaces on which I ran.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3 Sole Unit
The sole unit of the Hierro is truly great for a varied trail offering. These shoes use a number of materials to help you along the way and a design that helps feature some of these materials. Let’s start at the top and work our way down.
New Balance uses their Fresh Foam midsole for the padding. This material is designed to give plush cushioning with a soft feel for your feet.
This midsole is stacked fairly high (30mm under the heel) with an 8mm drop (22mm forefoot). This allows for a pillowy feeling as you log your miles.
For the outsole, New Balance used Vibram to create an aggressively lugged sole that uses Vibram’s compound that allows for lots of miles and lots of grip.
The compound used showed great grip on concrete, gravel, dirt, mud, grass and snow, while not being sticky.
When I talk about aggressively lugged, I do not mean that these are particularly deep lugs, but there are a lot of them and in multiple directions so that you can get grip no matter what part of your foot lands and at what angle.
Overall, the ride is soft, yet responsive. It is stable with a wide platform, yet not so wide as to make them boxy on the feet. I was impressed with how they tackled all the different surfaces I threw at them.
They were soft enough to handle concrete runs, and had enough grip to take single-track with 1000+ feet of elevation climb in the span of 5 miles.
The cushion was more than enough to log the long trail runs — furthest I took them was 13 miles, but they felt fresh at the end.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3 Upper Info
The upper has been completely redesigned from previous models. This year, New Balance introduced a new sock-like upper. This upper uses two materials to help with breathability while also giving a supportive feeling in areas.
They use a material called Hyposkin to give a “second skin” fit and “Fantom Fit” construction by combining two materials with a no-sew process to keep the upper as comfortable as possible.
As with most trail shoes, they have added a layer of protection to the toe — in this case a thin layer of rubber printed across the toe to help with tree roots, rocks and sticks — that also helps with the durability.
As mentioned before, the highlight of the upper is just the overall design of the upper. The sock-like upper includes an ankle collar that secures around your foot and keeps the dirt, and rocks out of your shoe.
This bootie design actually keeps the shoe firmly secured to your feet while not putting any pressure on the foot itself.
The problem with this, is that the support shifts with your foot, which means there is no firm support on your foot, and on some real technical trails your foot may slide a bit.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3 Conclusions
Overall, the New Balance Hierro v3 has shown me a different side of New Balance trail offerings. This shoe has logged more than 170 miles on every surface you could think of.
I’ve taken it on gravel, dirt, mud, concrete, snow, ice, through streams, grass and solid rock. Despite all the surfaces I tried it on, it took them all in stride.
The only bigger issue I came across was that on narrow single-track with a lip, the shoe can be wide enough that you will land at an angle unless you hit the dead center of the trail.
This can stress the ankle and calf as you get your run in. However, this was an issue that happened infrequently and only on one particular type of surface.
The shoe — with high cushion, high traction and a great upper — has been a great addition to the closet and one I plan on logging a few more miles (as many as they take) in.
If you’re in the market for a versatile shoe that can tackle every surface you throw at it, while not breaking the bank, this one might just be the one to get.
We purchased a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.