Editor Isaac Williams tests the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4….
See how it compares to the best running shoes
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4
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$149.99 / £140, newbalance.com
- Surprisingly light feel, despite the midfoot cushioning.
- For heavier runners, or complete beginners, this is a good shoe for building up distance while minimising impact on joints.
- Heavy cushioning will divide opinion.
- Narrow fit may cause rubbing for some.
Design and features
If the 2010s was the era of the ‘barefoot revolution’ – a shift towards minimalist running shoes catalysed by the book Born to Run – recent years have seen something of a counter-revolution. Brands like Hoka have spearheaded a return to the big and bulky running shoe, and with the Fresh Foam X More v4 New Balance has taken up that mantle.
It’s worth saying that heavy cushioning no longer means heavy weight. New foam technologies mean bulky midsoles are less dense than they used to be, absorbing impact without adding hundreds of grams to the overall weight of shoes. In fact, the More v4 weighs in at 10.4oz (295g), which is impressively light for a shoe this big.
The effect is that on the run you don’t feel weighed down by the cushioning at all, which was the case with this sort of shoe a few years ago. All of which makes for a decent entry-level trainers for anyone looking to increase their distances while protecting against impact-related injuries.
Potential issues with the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4
I tested the shoes mainly on the concrete paths of my local park, with a small amount of trail here and there, and experienced a fair amount of rubbing on the inside of each foot. I suspect that’s because of the shoe’s fairly narrow fit, combined with that midsole cushioning that’s especially built up on the inside of the shoe. This is clearly to prevent excessive pronation (inward rolling of the foot on impact), but numerous studies have found that pronation is not as bad as once thought. My experience of this instep cushioning was that rather than absorbing impact, it actually provided an obstacle to my natural gait: stopping my foot in its tracks as it hit the ground and causing the aforementioned rubbing.
Now, this isn’t a problem that will affect everyone, and other runners – perhaps those who don’t pronate – will no doubt enjoy the extra underfoot protection, but it did cause me some discomfort.
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Is the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 a good running shoe?
Short answer: it depends… While I experience some rubbing, that likely has as much to do with my own running style and shoe size (perhaps I could have gone half a size up) as it does the quality of the shoe. I’ve browsed other online reviews, and haven’t noticed any others complaining about hotspots on the instep of the shoe.
That issue aside, the lightweight but maximalist cushioning makes for a shoe capable of eating up slow and steady miles with ease. There’s simply too much shoe for pushing the pace in races, but if you’re looking for a training trainer it ticks a lot of the right boxes.