New Balance Hierro v7 Review

This week we’ve been on the trails producing our New Balance Hierro v7 review. The New Balance Hierro is essentially the trail shoe version of the New Balance 1080. It offers a soft, smooth ride on the trails. It’s available in two widths for women and three widths for men, so offers good fit for a wide range of feet widths [Browse Hierro v7 Wide & Extra Wide]. Although a lot of road shoes now come in width fittings, the trail shoe market is only catching up slowly, so the availability of wide fit option, particularly a Men’s 4E, is a welcome option for trail runners with wider feet!

The Hierro v7 is a very versatile trail running shoe. The midsole is made of New Balance’s softest foam, Fresh Foam X. Fresh Foam has large bubbles in the heel to provide a soft landing and the bubbles get smaller as you move towards the toes to give a firmer, more positive toe off. Compared to the 1080 for the road, the foam is plush but not quite as soft or as thick. However, the New Balance Hierro does provide the same soft, cushioned feel of the 1080 on the trails. It is a tricky balance to provide a softly cushioned shoe that is stable enough to cope with uneven terrain that you are likely to encounter on a trail run. The Hierro midsole works a bit like a mountain bike tyre in that it is soft enough to absorb some of the smaller bumps in the trail. This means that you don’t get thrown around by the trail and you can make smooth forward motion. The upper has been reinforced at the heel to increase the stability and hold the foot onto the midsole and more broken ground. There is a toe protector to protect the toes from rocks and roots.

New_Balance_Hierro_v7_ReviewThe Hierro v7 has a Vibram MegaGrip outsole. This is a sticky rubber designed to give good grip on wet rock while still being durable enough for use on firmer surfaces. This type of outsole isn’t as durable as a road shoe outsole, but it is durable enough for you to run short distances on the paths to get to your trail without wearing out the grips too quickly. The length of the lugs on the Hierro v7 have also been lengthened from 3.5mm to 4.5mm. This has noticeably increased the grip on wet, muddy trails. The lugs are also well spread out to reduce the chance of clogging.

The heel to forefoot drop is 8mm. Weight wise, the Hierro v7 is a touch lighter versus the Hierro v6. The result is 301g men’s UK 8 and 235g women’s UK 5.

Most of the running in the New Balance Hierro v7 has been done by Craig our Newcastle shop manager.

“The fit of a shoe is obviously dependent on your very uniuque foot shape and size, but that said I find the Hierro v7 a much better fit and feel than the previous incarnations.

This is true for myself and lots of customers trying the Hierro v7 on in the halls of Northern Runner Newcastle. The mesh upper holds the foot snuggly, but still allows my foot to move and flex. There’s no uncomfortable creasing when my foot bends. The tongue feels well cushioned and the lacing holds the foot well with a ‘hardly there’ feel. I enjoyed them!”

The Hierro 7 feels lightweight but you still feel like there is plenty of shoe under your foot. My feet felt like they were being cradled by the sole as your foot sits inside the midsole, as it does in a lot of shoes these days. However, this doesn’t make your feet feel cramped. The big toe line is noticeably straighter, which makes the toe box feel roomier and allows you to toe off very well. This is the same shape as the New Balance Summit Unknown v3 and feels a much more comfortable fit for me. My toes have the room to function better in the shoes and there is less chance of any rubbing.

The cushioning is very soft and comfortable (I can understand why a lot of our customers use them for ultramarathons) and I couldn’t feel stones underneath my feet, yet I wasn’t being thrown around on the uneven ground. The sole gives a very stable sure footed feel.  The grip is quite impressive, better than the previous models and coped well in relatively sticky mud. I ran on road, light gravel trails, mixed stones and the shoes were comfortable on all.

The heel to forefoot drop of 8mm drop is a little higher than I’m used to, but not impossible to run with a mid foot strike. The soft feel to the cushioning remains even after long runs, so I think that the New Balance Hierro v7 provides more than enough to protect my feet from countless miles over several hours. To conclude, the New Balance Hierro v7 is versatile enough for road to trail use, offering a smooth, cushioned ride that is durable enough for use on even ultramarathon distance.

Other Considerations

Saucony Xodus: A slightly firmer ride but, still well cushioned. A roomy toe box but, the big toe line isn’t quite as straight. Here is a link to our review for more information: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/saucony-xodus-ultra-review/

Scarpa Goldengate: A higher stack height and a bit of a rocker. A firmer feel to the cushioning. Very durable shoe in our experience. A work horse. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scarpa-golden-gate-atr-review/

La Sportiva Akasha 2: A more flexible shoe. More responsive and lively. Easier to run quicker in. The lugging on the outsole of the Akasha bits a bit better into the mud without being a hindrance on the firmer ground. Here is our review:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/la-sportiva-akasha-ii-review/

Altra Timp 4: Zero drop with a broad rounded toe box. The Timp 4 will allow more foot function. Similarly softly cushioned. Here is our review:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/altra-timp-4-review/

Icebug Outrun: Icebug’s have exceptionally grippy soles when it comes to gripping on wet surfaces. The rubber is also durable and quite hard, so it bites well into soft ground. Icebug’s have a straight big toe and a rounded toe box shape. Like Topo and Altra in shape. The cushioning is soft and the shoe is more flexible than the Hierro v7. So, it gives a more natural ride that allows the foot to function more. Here is our review:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/icebug-outrun-rb9x-review/

Topo Ultraventure 2: The feel to the cushioning in Topo’s is firmer than the Hierro v7. This is to activate foot function more effectively. For that reason Topo’s have a broad rounded toe box to give your feet the room to spread on impact. The Ultraventure has a versatile outsole that is durable but, grips well on wet surfaces. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-ultraventure-2-review/

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