New Balance Fresh Foam X 860 v14 Review

The New Balance 860 v14.

All shoes are reviewed by the Fleet Feet tester team, which represents a wide variety of goals, foot shapes, running locations and terrains. Reviewers pound the pavement, climb the hills, tackle the trails, then come together to compare notes. Debates ensue over the feel of the cushioning, the purpose of the shoe, and how it compares to last year’s model. While each reviewer has their own individual preferences, we hope that capturing our debates will help you make an informed decision.

It’s been over a decade since we were first introduced to the original New Balance 860. Just as you do in any long-term relationship, we’ve watched it grow, change and evolve. It’s found its footing, no pun intended, as a shoe capable of pleasing distance runners and sneakerheads alike (check out this resale listing for a pair of 860 v2s).

While New Balance has leaned into its “dad shoe” era, it’s also embraced the new era of smooth-running stability shoes. The latest version of the 860, launching June 1, has tossed traditional medial postings to the side in favor of more innovative stability technology.

Learn more about the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860 v14, New Balance’s Stability Plane technology, and how to pull off the dad-sneaker look below.

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Tech Specs

New Balance Fresh Foam X 860 v14

Weight 8.6 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)
Stack height 29 mm/21 mm
Heel-to-toe drop 8 mm
Category Stability
Surface Road
Price $140
Comparable to… ASICS GT-2000 12, Brooks Glycerin GTS 21

Ride

Cushioning

Energy

Stability Plane Technology allows Fresh Foam X to shine

The New Balance 860 v14.

The first thing we noticed when testing the 860 v14 was its surprisingly soft midsole. Softer, dare we say, than what we expected from a stability shoe.

I’ve run in the last two iterations of the 860, and the firm stability technology combined with the low-ish stack height made both shoes uncomfortably firm for me to run in. As a die-hard softness enthusiast, I was wary of trying the 860 on an evening run that would already prove challenging as it was my first run back in the muggy, swampy state of Florida after a glorious vacation.

The run was terrible, but the shoes felt great. While I wouldn’t describe them as squishy and plush (which they’re not designed to be), they offered a balanced soft-to-firm ratio that felt easy on my feet.

Spencer, who runs exclusively in stability shoes, agreed.

“The shoe’s step-in softness stood out to me,” he says. “I was expecting it to feel firmer, but I found myself experiencing a plush, cushioned quality. The forefoot has an impressive support bed to absorb pressure at the balls of my feet which, in combination with terrific heel cushioning, allowed me to feel level everywhere instead of getting rocked forward. Striking the ground was a soft and relaxed sensation each time. This quickly became natural to run in, speaking to the shoe’s immediate comfort–no break-in period required.”

New Balance uses their new Stability Plane Technology in the 860 v14, which first debuted in 2023 with the Vongo v6. This thin, rigid, plate-shaped EVA film keeps the shoe steady when a runner overpronates (the excessive inward rolling of a runner’s foot).

Reviewers agreed that this technology provides support without compromising the softness of the Fresh Foam X midsole.

“Gone are the days of stiff, harsh rides in the name of stability. Here are the days of soft, smooth rides with enough structure and guidance to keep your feet in place if needed,” says Nate, who’s recovering from a tough 50K race. “The Fresh Foam X foam is soft but not too soft–it's got enough stiffness to it that adds some structure. The platform feels wider than previous versions, adding a sense of stability. While I can feel some added structure in the heel, the midfoot and forefoot rolls along super smoothly. Plus, the outsole offers excellent grip and durability. I’m impressed!”

Plush upper holds you in

The New Balance 860 v14.

The New Balance 860 v14 is topped off with a soft, smooth upper that holds your feet securely in place.

“I really like the fit of the 860,” says Kate, a competitive runner who splits her time between trails and pavement. “It’s pretty streamlined—not overly roomy and not too snug, either. It seems to fit true to size. The shoe has a comfortable overall feel. It’s got a padded tongue and heel collar and a tightly knitted mesh that’s pretty breathable. The fit isn’t anything new or super specialized, but it’s comfortable and it works!”

The 860 has a versatile fit that works for a variety of foot shapes. It wraps perfectly around my low-volume feet, with nice contouring around my heel and midfoot and a touch of wiggle room in the toe box. Nate, our wide-footed reviewer, agreed.

“The wide version of the 860 fits like a dream, if not a touch roomier than needed around the midfoot–but hey, I’m always a fan of extra space for my wider, higher volume feet,” he says. “I really like the engineered mesh upper, it’s perforated for breathability while retaining some softness for comfort. The heel cup wraps perfectly around my achilles so that my heel barely lifts, even when the shoe is untied.”

The 860 is available in narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide sizing, so you’ll likely be able to find your perfect fit. If you’re unsure about the width of your feet, your best bet will be to head into your local Fleet Feet to try on the shoe in-person. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height, so you can learn a lot about your feet while you’re there.

The men's New Balance 860 v14.

New Balance 860 v14 vs 860 v13

Tech Specs

New Balance 860 v14

New Balance 860 v13

Weight

8.6 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)

8.6 oz (W), 10.9 oz (M)

Stack height (heel/forefoot)

29 mm/21 mm

27 mm/17 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

8 mm

10 mm

Price

$140

$140

When it comes to tech specs, the 860 v14 doesn’t look all the different from the v13. Sure, it’s gained 2 millimeters of stack height and lost 2 millimeters of heel-to-toe drop, but those changes seem pretty minimal in the grand scheme of things. But slide these shoes on and it’s a whole different story.

While I found the 860 v13 to feel a bit flat and extremely rigid around the heel and ankle, the 860 v14 felt smooth and comfortable all around. I could tell that the stack height felt higher, and the midsole felt much softer due to the Stability Plane Technology that works in tandem with the foam.

“With the higher stack height, I felt like there was enough protection on foot for a smooth and comfortable ride,” says Brandon, who has never tried previous versions of the 860. “I tested this shoe out on a sluggish 5-mile run and they felt good the whole way through.”

How does the New Balance 860 v14 compare?

We took a look at some comparable models to see how they stack up against the New Balance 860 v14. Here’s what we found.

Tech Specs

New Balance 860 v14

Brooks Glycerin GTS 21

ASICS GT-2000 12

Weight

8.6 oz (W), 10.8 oz (M)

9.2 oz (W), 10.5 oz (M)

8.2 oz (W), 9.5 oz (M)

Stack height

29 mm/21 mm

28 mm/18 mm

36 mm/28 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

8 mm

10 mm

8 mm

Price

$140

$160

$140

The New Balance 860 v14 feels similar to the Brooks Glycerin GTS 21 and the ASICS GT-2000 12. All three shoes have relatively similar weights and heel-to-toe drops. The 860 and the Glycerin have similar stack heights, despite the Glycerin GTS being Brooks’ high-cushioned stability option (the comparable high-cushion option from New Balance is the Vongo v6).

The GTS-2000 12 has a higher stack height, although it feels very similar to the 860 when it comes to the overall ride of the shoe. It’s not too soft nor too firm, not too cushioned nor too minimal. Both shoes are like the Goldilocks of stability shoes–just right.

The New Balance 860 v14.

Who is the New Balance 860 v14 best for?

New Balance’s Stability Plane Technology offers a completely reimagined stability system that allows all types of runners to enjoy the 860, even if you’re not used to wearing a stability shoe.

“While the new 860 doesn’t have the traditional posting we’ve seen in the past, it does have a stable feel for me,” says Kate. “I’ve worn it for three 8-mile runs at a relaxed pace and it felt comfortable. I like that the foam felt both dense and responsive. I don’t know if I felt the stability working per se, but I know that it felt comfortable for me as a person who can benefit from stability shoes but prefers firm, neutral shoes.”

Reviewers agreed that the 860 is best for easier paces, as it doesn’t have the energy needed to propel you forward during hard efforts. It has an ample amount of cushioning for those who enjoy plenty of underfoot padding. But, despite the taller stack height, its wide platform helps keep you stable. All in all, it’s a great choice for runners seeking a balanced blend of cushion and stability.

“The 860 v14 is outstanding for medium to long runs,” Spencer says. “I always feel like I can keep going because it minimizes my foot fatigue very well. This is the type of durable option any runner can consistently use for easy or recovery days. Plus, the shoe can be worn for long days on your feet thanks to a solid foundation that can make it through multiple hours of wear.”

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