Shoe Review: New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12

A side view of the women's 860v12

New Balance’s classic stability shoe remains true to form in a lightweight, stylish package.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 offers the same reliable stability runners have come to love with a refreshed upper and a slightly softer midsole. Fresh colorways and refined materials give the shoe a sleek, modern look.

Fleet Feet reviewers put the shoe to the test on long runs, recovery runs and walks. Here’s everything you need to know about the newest version of the New Balance 860, available September 1.

Tech Specs

New Balance 860v12

Weight

8.9 oz (W), 11.4 oz (M)

Drop

10 mm

Category

Stability

Use

Everyday training

Surface

Road, track

Slightly Softer Midsole Adds More Comfort

A rear view of the heel and midsole of the women's 860v12.

The New Balance 860 is known for providing stable, reliable support and this latest version is no different.

A two-layer Fresh Foam midsole was added to the 860 for the first time last year and continues in this latest update. Shoe designers used a slightly softer foam compound on the bottom layer of this version, creating a more flexible ride.

While the midsole gives the shoe a smooth and cushioned feel, it remains firm enough to feel stable.

A dual-density medial post helps reduce the effects of overpronation, providing stability during every stride. You can feel confident and secure in the New Balance 860v12.

Reviewers noticed how supportive the shoe feels while still remaining responsive.

“I think that longtime fans of this shoe will be happy that the firm, stable, responsive ride you expect from the 860 is back in the latest version of the shoe,” one reviewer says. “The v12 offers all the firm, responsive cushioning that you need on a nice stable platform.”

A segmented blown rubber outsole provides excellent grip and traction on the roads while increasing the shoe’s durability. Reviewers noticed how flexible the 860v12 feels in the forefoot, thanks to flex grooves in the rubber.

Plush Upper Provides All-Around Cushioning

Full frontal view of the women's 860v12.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 boasts an all-new upper that provides breathability and support.

It’s topped with a soft double jacquard upper featuring strategic embroidery to enhance this shoe’s supportive feel. A plush heel collar and a soft, padded tongue round out the upper. Extra eyelets allow you to use different lacing techniques to customize the fit of your shoes.

Fleet Feet reviewers appreciated the spacious toe box and snug midfoot. They also enjoyed the soft and simplistic style of the upper.

“The tongue and heel collar are nice and padded. It’s nothing over-the-top, but it’s an upper that is comfortable and fits and performs well,” says one reviewer.

New Balance did away with the Ultra Heel design of the previous version and added a slightly softer, TPU-clipped heel collar, which is more similar to the heel on the 860v10. This new update decreases blistering and chafing while providing a more accommodating fit.

The newest version of the New Balance 860 features reflective strips on the lateral heel and toe box to increase visibility, so you can tackle your early morning runs with confidence.

New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 vs 860v11

Side by side comparison of the women's 860v12 and 860v11.

There are a few noticeable differences when you compare the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 and 860v11 side by side. Both shoes offer the same lightweight support, but the new model sports a fresh new upper and a slightly softer midsole.

Refined materials in the upper create a more secure fit than the previous model, adding another layer of stability. The 860v12 also sports an updated heel collar that’s softer than the Ultra Heel featured in the 860v11. Overall, the roomy toe box and padded heel collar make the latest model more accommodating for different foot shapes.

A slightly softer foam compound in the bottom midsole makes for a smoother step-in feel in the 860v12, but the shoe remains firm enough to provide stability.

The women’s version of the 860v12 is noticeably lighter than the previous model, while the men’s version remains almost identical in weight. Both the 860v12 and the 860v11 maintain the same reassuring stability runners expect from this longtime favorite.

Tech Specs

860v12

860 v11

Weight

8.9 oz (W), 11.4 oz (M)

9.6 oz (W), 11.2 oz (M)

Drop

10 mm

10 mm

Cushioning

Fresh Foam

Fresh Foam

Category

Stability

Stability

Final Thoughts

The New Balance 860v12 is a steady, reliable trainer you can count on to carry you through your long runs, recovery days and everyday miles.

This newest version offers the same cushioned stability runners expect from the New Balance 860 with a plush, updated upper and a slightly softer midsole. This is the perfect shoe for runners seeking a stable, supportive ride.

“While it feels supportive and durable, it also has a lightweight feel for a stability trainer with just enough flexibility in the forefoot,” one reviewer says. “It’s not the fastest shoe in my lineup, but it’s one I know I can count on.”

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