I would recommend this to a runner who wants a no frills daily trainer built for miles
Rebuilt, that is the theme of the New Balance 860v13. Many of the materials are the same, but the construction is different. The 860 is the flagship of the New Balance stability lineup. The other member of the lineup is the Fresh Foam Vongo, a max stability trainer. The 860 is a no-frills daily trainer meant for any distance at any pace.
The New Balance 860v13 retails for 140 dollars. Some of the trainers it competes with are the Brooks Adrenaline, Saucony Guide, Hoka Arahi, and ASICS GT-2000. The ride of the 860 is most similar to the GT-2000. Both provide a responsive ride with a hint of bounce.
Like last year, I thought I was getting a different colorway so when I opened the box I was surprised to see Gray. I instantly thought of “dad shoes” which, being a dad meant I could rock them.
The embroidered logo stood out immediately along with the accents of red in both the midsole and upper. New Balance is known for their simple visual design and the 860 is no exception.
This works for them because they add just enough visual interest.
There is a level of comfort I have come to expect from New Balance and the 860 delivers. The midsole is a blend of plush and responsiveness. I would say it felt like a medium-firm mattress with a pillow top.
The heel portion is a secure fit while the rest of the shoe widens out, but not to the point of being too wide. The fit is similar to Altra’s FootShape, just not to the same extent.
The maiden voyage of the New Balance 860v13 was a 10k run. The initial comfort I felt continued into my first step. They were a solid ride from start to finish.
Last year the upper was made from air mesh while this year they have updated it to an engineered mesh. This is a material that balances both structure and flexibility all while also being breathable. In years past I have found the material they used was almost too breathable. This was not the case with this new engineered mesh, it kept my feet warm in the cold month of February.
There are embroidered lines on the medial midfoot part of the trainer. This gives the upper more structure and stability. They are located in the midfoot to help prevent pronation along with collapsing or flat arches. They work in tandem with the medial post to successfully provide stability. It is a seamless upper and has no points of irritation.
Of all the elements of the upper the heel portion is the most similar to last year. It is a molded heel counter with a flared heel collar. The heel counter gives you a secure fit that aids in the stability of the shoe. The flared heel collar makes the shoes easier to slip on along with supporting your Achilles. The heel portion is a strength of the upper.
The Internal gusseted tongue is too short. The length of it causes it to push against your skin instead of moving with you. Because of this it could rub and cause irritation. This is a drawback of the upper.
Like other New Balance trainers, you will find enough room to run in the 860s. The midfoot provides a secure fit while giving your foot ample room. The toe box is ideal in the amount of room given for your toes to splay out naturally along with being comfortable.
Let’s start from the ground up. The outsole of the New Balance 860 is an aggressive layer of blown rubber. It is thick and durable, establishing a long lifetime for the trainer, and it is thicker in high impact areas as well. A change they made with this edition is the outsole map. Last year it was the same thickness throughout the outsole and this year they have varied the thickness throughout the outsole. Flex grooves are still found in the outsole, but they are not as prominent as in years past.
With the reconstruction of the 860 they have eliminated the fuel cell cushioning.The midsole now consists of Fresh Foam X. This is the same cushioning in the Fresh Foam Vongo, 860’s max stability counterpart. This has become New Balance’s standard cushioning. It has increased the bounce and comfort of the 860 compared to the 12th edition.
The midsole also contains 3% bio-based content made from renewable resources. This lessens New Balance’s carbon footprint.
Like previous editions, the 860v13 had a dual-density medial post built in to provide stability. In areas of the midsole, the foam is denser to prevent pronation. The post is placed starting in the midfoot and extending to the heel.
The medial is more of a traditional way to provide stability. It effectively provides stability in the 860v13. Overall, it is less noticeable as you run in this edition compared to the previous one.
Rebuilt, that is the theme of the New Balance 860v13. Could they rebuild a better trainer with the same materials? Based on miles in these I would say yes.
The 860 is built to be a daily workhorse trainer. It is a durable trainer built with materials ready to make it hundreds of miles. This starts in the midsole. Some strengths of the midsole were the outsole material and the Fresh Foam X cushioning.
It is a responsive yet bouncy ride, but I would have preferred slightly more bounce or energy return on runs. This causes the trainer to be more fitting for slower paces and longer distances.
The dual density foam medial post is an asset of the midsole because it gives the shoe stability without being overbearing. It blends in with the rest of the midsole which makes it an asset.
The upper of the 860 is the biggest strength of the 860. The engineered mesh is an upgrade from the air mesh in the last edition. It provides structure that results in added stability to the trainer. The flared heel counter holds the feet in place while also allowing movement in the achilles. The upper is big enough to allow for natural movement and splaying out while you run.
The tongue’s length is the biggest drawback of the upper; it pushes up against your skin instead of moving with it.
How do you take a dependable trainer and keep it fresh while also maintaining its dependability? The answer to that question is with the New Balance 860v13. They have rebuilt the workhorse with many of the same materials and produced slightly better results. It may not be as flashy as other stability trainers out there but that doesn’t mean it is less.
Like I have said before, New Balance makes a solid stability trainer. The 860v13 is proof of that.