New Balance is one of the most recognized names in the running shoe world. The New Balance 860v9 is part of New Balance's well liked 800 series, which emphasizes cushioning for those with flat feet and plantar fasciitis. Also in the 800 series are the 880v8 and 890v6. Among these the 860v9 is the most stablility oriented model, while the 880 is really a neutral running shoe and the 890 focusing on minimizing weight.
As you know from our comprehensive guide to running shoes for flat feet, a stability shoe is often the best choice for those with flat feet as it can help maximize comfort and minimize the risk of injuries 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
The New Balance 860v9 is the ninth 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 860v9
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 860v9 is the same construction as in the v8. 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 v8, and so it continues in the v9.
Being a stability shoe, it's important to note that the 860v9 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
Although the 860v9 is quite similar to the v8, 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 860v9 probably is not ideal for true winter running.
Anothe area of the upper on which New Balance made some changes between the 860v8 and the 860v9 was in the midfoot 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 v8.
The New Balance 860v9 runs a little tighter in the midfoot 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 v7 or v8.
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 860v9 was one of the our top choices for runners with plantar fasciitis.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
The New Balance 860v9 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 and runners with plantar fasciitis. It was a top choice in our "best of" lists for both of those categories.
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 860v9. This is one of our favorite overall running shoes that we've tried out recently!
The New Balance 860v9 was features in our comprehensive guide to the best running shoes for flat feet.
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