New Balance Fresh Foam MORE Review | Max Cushioning Road Running Shoe
New Balance Fresh Foam More Review
The Fresh Foam More by New Balance is a first attempt at a maximal cushioned running shoe. Max cushioning running shoes come with very thick midsoles and have become popular over the years with newcomers looking for comfort, long distance road/hard surface runners and/or those with joint or foot problems. The most noticeable thing about these shoes is that the day after a long run, when you expect to wake up a bit stiff and achy, with a bit less bounce in your legs, you tend not to!
Hoka One One were the first to produce a shoe of this type and are still the market leader in max. cushioning, with models like Clifton and Bondi. Plus Zero Drop brand Altra has some really great high cushioning Zero Drop shoes. Those shoes are characterised by the marshmallow-like feel to the cushioning. They really feel like you are running along with cushions strapped to your feet. This lack of feel for the floor is very different to most other shoes and hence makes these shoes a bit like Marmite in that you either love them or hate them.
Highly Cushioned But Not ‘Soggy’
The New Balance More is a bit different in that the midsole is made from Fresh Foam. The key benefit of this clever material is being able to alter how firm or soft it is in a specific place along the midsole. The heel of the More is soft, to cushion a potential heel landing, and the midfoot and toe gets a touch firmer, to give a positive toe-off. The feel of the cushioning is plush but not marshmallow-y soft! Yes, you do feel some compression when you hit the floor, but you don’t ‘sink’ into the cushioning.
The inside of the shoe is also slightly firmer than the outside, to help reduce excessive pronation should the runner need it, despite technically being a neutral road shoe. It wouldn’t be the best choice for a supinator. As well as the soft cushioning, maximal cushioned shoes also tend to be built so your foot sits inside the midsole. This gives your foot more stability. This is the same for the New Balance More. However, unlike Hoka’s, the More doesn’t have the pronounced roll or ‘rocker’ in the midsole. (A rocker is there so you don’t sink into the cushioning and move slower).
The New Balance More does have a bit of toe spring, but this propulsion comes from the increased firmness through the midfoot and toe. You therefore wouldn’t need an excessive curve in the shoe. It essentially has the same effect but means that the shoe doesn’t feel quite as unusual and rather a bit more stable. That means this could be a great shoe for those who don’t like the rocker in the Hoka Clifton, Bondi etc.
The firmer, more stable ride of the New Balance More also takes out the side to side wobbling that softer feeling maximal cushioned shoes sometimes cause.
Most Maximal cushioned shoes have a low heel to forefoot drop to encourage a more economical mid-foot strike. The More is no exception and is 4mm from heel to forefoot.
The toe box shape is also more rounded and less pointy than the more traditional running shoes. It’s not as broad and foothshaped as a Topo or an Altra shoe but, still has that instant feel of comfort that you get when the shoe has some wriggle room for your toes. The upper is made from a stretchy engineered mesh that comfortably adapts to various foot shapes.
How They Felt
When you first put on a pair of Fresh Foam More’s it feels like stepping into luxury! With an interior bootie that wraps around the foot to give a secure fit. The interior is soft and highlighted by a padded heel collar, a soft Ortholite sock liner and a very wide tongue.
Despite the maximal look and oversized foot shape of this shoe it feels very smooth, light and agile to run in. It’s easy to get a good rhythm going without feeling like the are wallowing in a lot of cushioning. Although it’s relatively stiff, the bit of toe spring is enough to prevent the shoe from feeling stiff when you are running in it.
Who Is It For?
The New Balance More is ideal for runners looking for a high degree of comfort and cushioning. It’s best used for long or easy/inexperienced runs and isn’t designed to be responsive enough for intervals or speed work. It is agile enough to use for long tempo type runs though.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
(Altra shoes are zero drop with a wide foot shaped toe box.)
Max. cushion for mild to moderate overpronation.