The More v4 is designed for regular and larger runners. It is also specifically for those who are going to log long miles.
This shoe is meant for neutral runners, and stability runners will struggle in this shoe. Also, people with wide midfoot or toes will find this shoe challenging.
The stack height was formidable, and designed with a rocker midsole, the runner could land and roll into their next step.
Each year since being introduced, New Balance has completely redesigned the shoe, and this offering is no different.
This group of high-to-max cushioned shoes offer some of the more popular trainers on the market right now, and the Fresh Foam More are firmly in that discussion.
I was very excited to see what New Balance would do to update one of my favorite shoes of the past few years. When they arrived I was impressed by the visual and the construction. They felt solid and the upper looks comfortable.
When I first put them on, they were incredibly comfortable, and felt very solid underfoot. The aggressive rocker design made me want to move. However, on the first run – a five mile regular run – I developed blisters on both feet where the midfoot and the toe-box meet.
I hoped this was just a break in period, but it was the first shoe I’ve experienced blisters with in a few years.
The upper is an engineered mesh which is breathable and soft. It is well made and has some great details, while staying fairly simple. The upper uses a printed design of the New Balance logo on the outer midfoot to help lock you in.
This is also accomplished through the design and construction of the shoe. The heel is fairly tight, the midfoot is very tight, then the upper flares out to a regular width toe-box. The upper fits true-to-size in length, and is very comfortable for everyday wear.
The design of the upper, however, is also a major flaw that saw me dreading wearing these shoes on runs. The transition from the midfoot into the toebox was so severe that I developed blisters on every run I had in this shoe, no matter the distance. I tried to see if it was only longer runs, and still developed blisters and red spots on the ball of my big toe on both feet after 1.5 miles.
Beyond the midfoot blisters, I also developed blisters on the heel of my foot on longer runs as my heel was moving around throughout the run. I tried different lacing patterns to take care of the issue, but none of them worked. To be fair, I never felt my heel slipping, but did feel the hot spots and blisters forming on any run longer than 10km.
New Balance utilizes their top-line Fresh Foam X which provides incredible cushion and energy return. It feels firmer under foot that some other foam offerings out there, such as those offered by Brooks and Saucony, however the combination of cushion and energy return from Fresh Foam X is perhaps the best out there at the moment.
This midsole uses strategically placed flex grooves to help the transition from heel to toe. This coupled with an aggressive rocker design helps you push the pace while having the cushion underfoot for longer miles. This aspect creates a very smooth ride that is quite enjoyable. This rocker design starts with a heel bevel designed to aid in shock absorption for heel-strikers, and transitions into a wide toe area that gives a stable contact zone on which to push.
The outsole uses a Ground Contact Foam to help cut down on weight while giving a good amount of traction. However, this material can struggle on wet surfaces if you have to turn a lot of corners.
At 38mm under the heel, transitioning 4mm to 34mm under the toes, this shoe has the cushion to log all the miles you’ll want to run.
This shoe is one of the most disappointing I’ve run in years. I absolutely loved the More v3, and logged more than 300 miles in them. They were my go-to shoe for long runs all of last year. The combination of a soft, wide – yet supportive – upper and the Fresh Foam X midsole that offered great cushion and energy return made the v3 one heck of a ride.
Unfortunately, New Balance decided they needed to change a great thing in a way that ruined the shoe for me. I do not have particularly wide feet, they might be wider than some, but I usually wear regular width with no issues. Yet, this shoe caused width-related blisters at every distance.
I can see if you have narrow feet that this shoe could be amazing for you. The sole unit is still top notch, the construction is immaculate, and the technologies make a great shoe on paper. If your feet fit in the upper in the correct way, this shoe would be a joy.
However, for me that just wasn’t the case. Unlike previous models, this is not a shoe I can, or will, recommend to any of my friends or acquaintances.
I really hope that in the next iteration, New Balance goes back and fixes some of the changes for the v5s. I’ll be interested to see where they go from here.