The New Balance 860 v10 Proves Stability Isn’t Dead
The RW Takeaway: With a sleek new look, the New Balance 860 v10 runs as smoothly as any neutral shoe but delivers the support runners need.
- A redesigned medial post doesn’t feel clunky
- The jacquard mesh upper has style, while delivering structure to hold your foot in place
- It’s only available at specialty retail stores and New Balance online, so visit your local shop
Weight: 309g (M), 252g (W)
Stability is a dirty word in the running shoe business these days. Some titans, like the Brooks Adrenaline, have scrapped the firm medial post that it used for decades in favour of more subtle features, like guide rails. But fans of the 860 can rest easy because this shoe still has some familiar components, though they’ve evolved in some significant ways. The post remains, but New Balance reshaped its angle under your foot to make the shoe feel a little smoother after heel landing.
The company also replaced the hard plastic T-beam, which had stiffened the midfoot to ease the transition, filling in the space with foam and rubber. The softer material allows the new version to make complete ground contact when you’re at midstance. Our wear testers gave the new 3D-moulded heel mixed reviews. Some loved the soft, encapsulating feel. But those who had liked the hard plastic heel counter on v9 felt that this new construction didn’t lock their rearfoot in place well enough.
Nice mix of cushion and responsiveness
Medial post to offset pronation
Could feel overbuilt for neutral runners
SOFT AND STEADY
Flash back just one year ago to see the remarkable difference between the 860 v9 and this shoe. Most notably, the 10 doesn’t look like some orthopedic device with a big slab of speckled-gray foam under the arch. That has long been the tell-tale sign that you’re using a stability shoe. But, there’s no reason it has to stand out so obviously. Instead, the 860 v10 now uses a post that matches the rest of the foam, though you can still see the lines where that firmer wedge is glued into the midsole.
In any case, at least it doesn’t scream “Stability!” And, when it’s on your foot, you won’t likely notice that medial post either (but it’s there if you need it). That’s because New Balance tweaked the shape of the post, so it’s a more gradual slope toward the inner side of the shoe. The more you pronate, the more you’re going to benefit from that firmer foam.
Testers were unanimous in their praise for the shoe’s cushy ride. Much of the credit goes to the TruFuse midsole, which uses two different foams stacked on top of each other. Closest to your foot, you have a thin but squishy foam that delivers incredible step-in comfort—that “aaaaah” sensation you get when you first put on a shoe and stand up. Below that, there’s a firmer slab of EVA that does the lion’s share of cushioning. Testers loved it’s balance of protection and responsiveness. One size-13 guy said he loved the midsole on the v9 and found the v10’s midsole to be just as good. “I would say they are on the harder side when compared to the Saucony Omni, Nike Pegasus, or Saucony Triumph, but they’re soft enough that I could wear them on long runs.”
A STYLISH UPPER
The 860 looks sleek. We love the new jacquard mesh that New Balance used for the front half of the shoe. It’s a two-layer construction, with a complementary color peeking through the vents in the outer mesh. That mesh is also a functional setup, since the two layers comfortably conform to your foot and add structure to hold you in place without any extra overlays.
Back at the heel, testers initially were skeptical that the molded cup could hold them steady. Some really missed the more rigid plastic heel counter that kept your foot from moving. But, others really loved the softer feeling from the new construction. Testers were unanimous in their complaint about the collar, however. There’s a rigid stitched line that runs around the top of the shoe that isn’t as luxurious as you’ll find on many other models – think satin lining and heavily padded collar. Our recommendation is to wear socks tall enough to clear that collar.
Natalie J. | Tester since 2019
Arch: medium | Gait: neutral | Footstrike: midfoot
“This is my first time testing shoes, but I loved it! I felt very balanced in the 860. I have a narrow-ish foot, but it felt secure and comfortable. I ran on both roads and the towpath, and I liked the ride on both terrains. I ran anywhere from 5:30-pace intervals to 8:30 easy runs, and the words that kept coming to mind were ‘smooth stride!’ It felt very stable, however flexible in the toe box for adequate propulsive movements. I looked up the shoe online and I was actually shocked it’s a stability shoe. I didn’t feel overly secure and it wasn’t heavy at all.”