The Hierro is New Balances most cushioned trail shoe. Version 5 has made some serious changes to the upper of the shoe from the previous versions.
The redesigned upper is very eye catching which sets it apart from many others and hopes to improve on comfort, protection, and durability.
The Midsole and out sole have some subtle changes that aim to improve stability and traction.
Unboxing the Hierro V5 for the first time was an experience. The shoe is eye-popping with its yellow and blue splash colorway.
Initially I found them silly looking, but they grew on me over time, and the “those are so cool” approval from my 13-year-old also helped.
Picking up the shoe for the first time was not so surprising however. The weight was very apparent and is certainly the heaviest shoe that I have run in this year.
While weight is never a positive It doesn’t seem to be a nail in the coffin for the Hierro.
The redesigned upper is formed from a highly durable TPU coated textile that that lays atop a softer mesh that completely replaces Hypo-skin.
The sock like booty has been replaced with a traditional gusseted tongue that is protected by an asymmetric TPU shroud.
A traditional padded heel collar with external counter also finds its was into version 5. This upper, while not initially apparent, was highly breathable and comfortable.
With its many layers the upper is highly durable and very protective, but also with all that layering comes weight which the Hierro is not lacking in.
The thick Fresh Foam midsole that rides atop the Vibram Mega grip outsole remains mostly intact. First stepping into the shoe, they feel great with a true to size fit and a nice ample toe box.
The midsole absorbs impact well and is smooth riding but is stiffer and firmer than the “plush” description given by New Balance.
The dense sole while providing a lot of cushion gives almost no ground feel and lacks any pop or energy.
The Hierro Is a stable shoe but not the best for technical terrain as it is just too bulky. After several outings I found the shoe best suited for long, rolling, winding buffed trails.
Being a maximally cushioned shoe the Hierro 5 does not utilize a rock plate. The Fresh Foam midsole provides adequate protection from most trail hazards.
While I still felt the presence of sharp rocks underfoot the bite of them was not there.
The layering of the upper and its TPU shroud do a great job of keeping out debris and sheds water, snow and ice, but again is it all worth the unnecessary weight.
The Hierro 5 utilizes a well wrapped toe bumper or “Toe Protect” that absolutely saved my digits on more that one occasion.
Just at first glance I don’t think there is any question of the durability of the Hierro. The New TPU upper is not only weatherproof but almost bullet proof.
After more that 50+ miles through all sorts of weather and trail conditions the shoes, aside from some dust, show no signs of breaking down.
As I mentioned in the opening lines of the review the Hierro is comfortable and one that I can run a lot of miles in.
The shoe is just dense and lacks any sort of responsiveness or pop; Coupled with its bulkiness and weight make the Hierro 5 not suited for any sort of faster pace but more for cruising.
The non-existent underground feel did not allow me to run without carefully thinking about foot placement on more technical trails making not the nimblest shoe either.
The hexagonal lugs of the outsole are not overly aggressive but did provide great traction especially on many of the exposed sandstone surfaces that I encountered, due to their shallow nature they don’t seem to shed mud well.
The Hierro 5 fits true to size and is incredibly comfortable absorbing anything you throw at it and easy to wear all day.
There is a lot to the upper of this shoe but despite this it is highly breathable, it also plays a huge part in the fit of the shoe.
While the layering offers protection and comfort, I found the fit a bit loose compared to most trail shoes.
This allowed some sliding of my foot and slipping of my heel. This was most noticeable during descents and hard cornering which had my confidence waning with the shoe on more technical trails.
Despite my best efforts to try and tighten the shoe the results were the same.
The fit I would say limits the Hierro to more rolling and wide cruiser trails and not the best choice for a more technical outing.
The Hierro 5 is an Okay shoe. Its unique styling and design separate it from many other trail shoes but that is where the differences stop.
The shoe in incredibly comfortable with a smooth ride making it a pleasure to wear all day long. The Hierro doesn’t offer much in terms of performance from anything else but is in some situations worse.
The weight and insecure fit make it a liability on technical trails and the lack of ground feel takes confidence away from the shoe.
This shoe is most at home on wide open tails and for me the best scenario for choosing them would be a for a long cruising run over packed trails with little to no elevation.
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