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New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12 Review

New Balance is one of the most recognized names in the running shoe world. The New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12 is part of New Balance's well-liked 800 series, which emphasizes cushioning. This part of the New Balance line up caters to runners with flat feet and runners with plantar fasciitis or other foot pain.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12 Running Shoe for flat feet.

The 860v12 is Available for Men at

The 860v12 is Available for Women at

Among the 800 series, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12 is the most stability-oriented model. The 880 is really a neutral running shoe, and the 890 focuses on offering a lightweight running shoe.

As you know from our comprehensive guide to running shoes for flat feet, a stability shoe often provides a solid choice for runners with flat feet. It can help maximize comfort and minimize the risk of specific types of injuries more common to flat footed runners.

Fast Facts About This Offering

  • Mesh upper for breathability, flexibility, and a lightweight fit.
  • TruFuse midosole has two types of foam to maximize performance and stability.
  • Dual-density medial post helps correct any pronation.
  • True stability shoe, ideal for those with flat feet or who overpronate.
  • Surprisingly lightweight and responsive for a serious stability shoe.
  • Blown rubber outsole for traction and durability.

Performance and Use Cases

The New Balance 860v12 is the twelfth version of the 860 model. In addition to focusing on cushioning and stability, New Balance really focuses on the type of ride in this trainer. The 860 model is New Balance's primary stability model, as such, it has all the latest technology and development available.

The first thing that caught our attention when we put them on was how responsive and firm the cushioning on these shoes is. The toe box is also relatively wide and deep which is an important feature for many runners. These provide a really firm and responsive ride.

The Sole of the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12

Like all of the New Balance shoes in the 800 series, the outsole is an extremely durable blown rubber. In addition to its durability, our experience (and that of a lot of others online) was that this outsole handled inclement weather extremely well. From hot, dry pavement to snow and ice, it provided solid traction, and also had the right amount of flexibility for most runners.

The midsole of 860v12 is the same construction as in the v11. This is a thick, yet firm, cushioning which is the hallmark of New Balance's 800 series. The cushioning is provided by two types of foam which are attached by New Balance's "TruFuse" technology. The idea is to provide cushioning for your feet, while maintaining a responsive running shoe. We felt New Balance really succeeded with this in the v11, and so it continues in the v12.

Being a stability shoe, it's important to note that the 860v12 has a dual density medial post, running from underneath the balls of your feet to the heel of the shoe. This extra length helps distribute pressure along the side of the foot providing maximum stability. If you are a mild to severe overpronator (as many with flat feet or with plantar fasciitis are) then this is a great feature.

Comfort and Construction of the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12

Although the 860v12 is similar to the v11, one of the areas that New Balance did make some changes was to the upper of the shoe. Here the mesh upper was reengineered for extra breathability and comfort.

Since much of our testing is done in Florida, this makes a surprisingly big difference. The new mesh upper definitely helped keep us cooler and more comfortable when running on hot and sticky days on pavement. The downside here is that if you do most of your running in a colder climate, this could be a drawback. The 860v12 probably is not ideal for true winter running.

Another area of the upper on which New Balance made some changes between the 860v11 and the 860v12 was in the mid-foot area. Here some of the cosmetic overlays and stitching were simplified. This change achieved the desired results of making the shoe slightly better looking and, more importantly, eliminating some pressure points that some people complained about in the v11.

The New Balance 860v12 runs a little tighter in the mid-foot than most other running shoes we've tried. It wasn't an issue at all after one or two runs, but if you have large/wide feet you might want to try these on before committing to them. Even if you have tried a previous version of the 860, we think these were a little more snug in the midfoot than either the v10 or v11.

As you would expect from the New Balance 800 series, there is a lot of cushioning everywhere, including the heel collar and the tongue. This, along with cushioning on the sole, were critical factors for people suffering from foot pain (such as plantar fasciitis). This was part of the reason the 860v12 was one of the our top choices for runners with flat feet and plantar fasciitis together.  We also recommend the New Balance 1080 for runners with plantar fasciitis.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The New Balance 860v12 is a firm, responsive running shoe that falls into the "moderate stability" category. The trademark of the 800 series from New Balance is the cushioning, which makes this shoe ideal for runners with flat feet.

One thing we should mention is that a lot of the reviews we looked at online suggested there is a significant break-in period for this shoe. We did not notice that the break-in time was longer than most shoes in our testing, but it is something you should watch out for since we came across that comment several times.

For anyone looking for a solid stability running shoe, we don't think it gets much better than the New Balance 860v12. This is one of our favorite overall running shoes that we've tried out recently!

The 860v12 is Available for Men at

The 860v12 is Available for Women at

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