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New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 review

7 expert score
0 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 30th July by Jim Coulson Fast Road and Trail Runner. Career Firefighter.
96 other reviews

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Verdict

With a significant weight reduction the Hierro has upgraded itself to an great daily running shoe for less technical trails and terrain

The pros

  • Lighter than previous versions
  • EcoFriendly upper
  • Stable
  • Comfortable

The cons

  • Upper is not the most breathable and warm
  • Less cushioning in the forefoot


Rating breakdown

Comfort
8.0
Build quality
8.0
Upper
7.0
Sole unit
7.0
Landing
7.0
Transition
7.0
Toe-off
7.0
Traction
6.0
Durability
8.0
Value / Price
7.0

Facts / Specs

Model
Fresh Foam X Hierro v7
Previous model
Type
Weight
10 oz (283 g)
MSRP
$140.00

Heel
36 mm.
Toe
28 mm.
Heel drop
8 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Normal

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Balanced
Amount of cushioning
Medium cushioning
Stability
Very stable
Flexibility
Medium

Trail specs

Rockplate
Not present
Traction
Average Traction
Water resitance
Adequate

Best for these distances

Regular training  
Long, slow training runs
Speedwork on flat surfaces
Short trail races (up to half marathons)
Marathon and 50k trail races
Ultra distances, 50 miles and greater

Best for these terrains

Moderate trails  
Technical trails
Rocky areas
Muddy areas
Through creeks and streams  
Through snowy or icy sections
Dirt trails  
Paved trails  
Through grassy sections

Who should buy the New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 ?

Neutral runners looking for a softe but not plush daily trial shoe suited for moderate distances and trails.

Who should not buy the New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 ?

Runners looking for Minimalistic ultra sensitive, or ultra distance capable shoe.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Introduction

Picture of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

The 7th generation of the Hierro has arrived and with it comes a whole New look.

New Balance has done a major redesign of the Hierro lightening the shoes load. The trail twin to the 1080 is now 1.3 oz. Lighter than its predecessor, a huge shift for this historically heavy shoe.

The upgrades don’t stop there as the shoe also has a reconfigured outsole with slightly deeper lugs and a Fresh Foam X midsole. The only consistent with this version is the tried and true Vibram Mega outsole.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Impressions

MY first run in the shoe was a great surprise.

  • First off it was comfortable right out of box and stayed the same up to the last time I ran in them.
  • Secondly, the drop in weight was impressive from previous versions which I was ever found of simply because they were heavy and cumbersome.

One of the first longer outings I used the shoe was a very technical and rocky trail with a lot of ascending and descending.

Quickly into my first rocky and cobbled descent I found this was not the best place for the shoe as I struggled for footing and slid constantly from one boulder to another.

Climbing was consistent and the shoe did well so long as it was dirt and only dirt.

After that initial run I got a serous education and kept to rolling and mostly flat single track. This is where these shoes are most at home and feel the best.

They grip dirt and sandy trails well and the transition and cushion is just right that floating down the trail carelessly is easy.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Protection

Picture of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

I was pleasantly surprised that the Hierro 7 offered more foot protection than I expected. Please don’t misunderstand that as a statement that the shoe offers the most robust level of protection but it’s definitely more of a shoe that is intended for light trails.

The flexible toe cap provides decent protection from the occasional stub but certainly not the most rugged I have come across.

What I did like about it was how it extends laterally to the midfoot which protected that area of my foot and also acts as an overly in that high wear area.

There is no rock plate to speak of and this was noticeable especially over rockier technical terrain, but not a deal breaker so long as you keep them on more mellow rolling single track or bridle paths that they are best suited for.

The finely bound mesh of the upper and semi-gusseted tongue, by no means are bulletproof, but did a notable job of keeping out trail debris.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Durability

Picture of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

The synthetic mesh of the upper is tightly woven which makes the shoe a little warmer than I would prefer, but also increases the durability of the material as it limits snags, scapes or whatever the trail may throw at it to pull it apart.

The use of overlays is also generous which really protects the higher wear areas of this upper.

Hard to say how long the midsole will go before it begins to break dow but after 70 miles of use is holding up fantastic and I would expect that they could go at least 4-500 miles.

Full Vibram outsole need I say more as the material has proven its durability time and time again, and this outsole is no different showing hardly any wear.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Responsiveness & speed

Picture of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

The Hierro 7 rolls very well which makes it a great show for cruising mild to moderate trails and are ideal for flowy trail sessions.

Despite is trimmed down appearance the 7 is not a speed demon by and means and certainly not the shoe you want if a new PR or fast trail race are in your sights as the responsiveness is just not there.

While the redesigned chunkier 4.5 mm lugs have improved the traction of the shoe they just don’t quite bite into the trail sufficiently.

This was very apparent over rockier or technical terrain especially when wet. For me the confidence in the shoe to hold over this type of terrain just wasn’t there and thus made me slow and carefully choose my lines to avoid potential disaster.

I will add that the lugs transition from pavement to trail quite well and would be a great door to trail option.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Comfort and fit

Picture of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

This is the arena where I feel like the shoe has really improved. The Hierro has always been a comfortable shoe but maybe overly plush, and in my opinion made it difficult to run in with all the added bulk and weight.

The trimmed down 7 makes it a more runnable but still comfortable right from the box. The midsole is firmer up front which could be a good or bad thing depending on who you ask but I had no issue with it as there was a little more oomph at toe off .

I liked the amount of cushioning provided as it falls nicely in between plush and firm, and this design really improved the sensitivity and flexibility of the Hierro. The shoe fit true to size and comfortable without a lot of extra interior space.

The toe box isn’t quite as rounded as before but still provided ample room without feeling compressed.

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 Conclusions

Picture of New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

Gone are the days of the super plush Hierro but I think that’s a good thing.

Separating itself from the More Trail makes the Hierro a more versatile and appealing shoe. In the past I Iiked the Hierro as a trail Hiker in lieu of a hiking boot but the 7 is far from cry from that.

The lighter Hierro 7 is now my ideal shoe for daily jaunts over meandering trails at a comfortable worry free pace.

How does the Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 compare?

Hoka One One Challenger 7
New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7
Nike React Terra Kiger 9
Expert score
10
7
6
User score
Best price
Retail price
US$145
US$140
US$149.95
Shoe type
Weight
8.9 oz
10 oz
9.8 oz
Heel Drop
5 mm
8 mm
3 mm
Recommended for
Moderate trails, technical trails, through creeks and streams, dirt trails, paved trails, through grassy sections
Moderate trails, through creeks and streams, dirt trails, paved trails
Moderate trails, muddy areas, through creeks and streams, dirt trails, paved trails, through grassy sections
Cushioning type
balanced/plush
balanced
responsive
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Medium cushioning
Medium cushioning
Flexibility
medium
medium
medium
Stability
some stability
very stable
not particularly stable
Sizing
true to size
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of New Balance at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.

Reviewed by Jim

This review was written by Jim Coulson on 30th July.
Jim Coulson is a career firefighter, husband, and father of two children hailing from the foothills of Colorado. Jim has been an avid road and trail runner since the age of 12, and loves to race locally and around the state a much as possible. A native Coloradoan Jim enjoys its trails, mountains, and outdoors taking advantage of all they have to offer as much as possible.

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