Shoe Review: New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6
Reliable gear is important when you head off road, and the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 packs the moxie you need to focus on your run.
New Balance updated the Hierro with a refreshed look, including minor tweaks to the upper and lacing system. But the rest of the shoe remains very similar to the previous version: A protective Fresh Foam midsole still powers the ride, while a clingy Vibram MegaGrip outsole gives you confidence whether you’re climbing or descending.
Fleet Feet reviewers got some dirt on the latest Hierro to see how it feels and how it compares to last year’s model. Here’s what you need to know.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6
9.9 oz (W), 12 oz (M)
Everyday training, trail running
Roomy Fit Creates Stable, Comfortable Feel
Trails can be unpredictable, so New Balance engineered the Hierro v6 to protect your foot from all angles.
A reinforced toe covers the front of the shoe. The extra stiffness helps protect your toe on tough trails—if you’ve ever kicked a root while you were running, you know why a reinforced toe is important.
“In the Hierro I feel like I can zoom around confidently on the trail without worrying about grip or rock protection,” one reviewer says. “Luckily, I haven’t fallen in them yet, and I can be a bit clumsy, so the toe reinforcement gives me peace of mind.”
The rest of the shoe is built up, too. There’s a slightly dense padding in the tongue and extra cushioning around the collar. An oversized pull tab makes it easier to get the shoe on, and an internal heel counter ensures a locked-in feel.
An engineered mesh upper covers the shoe. Reviewers say it breathes well in hot weather thanks to extra vent holes cut into the vamp, and the tight weave feels more durable than some of the lightweight mesh on other road running shoes.
The Hierro fits true to length—all our reviewers tested the shoe in their regular sizes with no problems—and it’s wide enough to accommodate lots of foot shapes. One reviewer says the Hierro is generously sized but doesn’t feel sloppy, especially when he tightened up the laces.
“My midfoot and toes have plenty of room to land and spread out,” he says. “I felt like I was able to grip more with my foot on uneven surfaces, and nothing felt squished or uncomfortable.”
A semi-bootie fit helps keep dirt and debris out of the shoe, while it also keeps the tongue in place so you don’t have to stop and adjust.
Sticky Rubber Lugs Deliver Sure Footing
Much like the upper, the Hierro v6 feels cushioned and protective. That protection starts with the Fresh Foam midsole that’s becoming more and more popular in New Balance running shoes.
Like the New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail, the Hierro dons a bed of Fresh Foam cushioning. The Hierro v6 isn’t the first shoe to take Fresh Foam off road, but it delivers the same reliable performance as its on- and off-road predecessors.
It doesn’t feel quite as soft as the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11, but the extra firmness provides more than enough protection against the rocks and roots that litter some of the more rugged trails.
One Fleet Feet reviewer says she wore the new Hierro on gravel roads and semi-technical trails without any problems.
“The Hierro kept me from feeling much impact from all the rocks where I run,” she says. “The reinforced toe helps prevent stubbing when there is plenty to trip over.”
The shoe’s grip comes from flat, broad lugs molded into the rubber outsole. They give the shoe more contact area with the ground, but they’re also angled to improve traction on dirt. Plus, the Vibram Megagrip rubber is very grippy, almost giving it a tacky feeling, and designers extended the outsole behind the heel to provide more ground contact on descents.
“The grip is outstanding,” one reviewer says. “The Hierro feels sticky on pavement and confident off-road. I didn’t have any problems powering uphill or working my way down.”
New Balance Hierro v5 vs Hierro v6
There aren’t many differences between the Hierro v5 and the Hierro v6 when you compare them next to each other, which is good news for fans of the previous version.
Both versions employ a Vibram MegaGrip outsole with tread and lugs that looks nearly the same, and the extended heel made its way to the new version, too. New Balance didn’t mess with the Fresh Foam midsole, even maintaining a similar—if not identical—sidewall pattern.
Aesthetically, there aren’t many differences, either. The Hierro v6 has a new mesh upper with a refreshed pattern, and designers dropped the wrap around the heel for a lower-profile look.
One of the most noticeable changes is the lacing system. In the outgoing model, New Balance anchored the laces with four loops of fabric for eyelets. The v6 uses traditional eyelets with just one fabric loop in the middle.
The update adds one extra eyelet for the laces, including an open one at the top of the shoe to let you use heel-lock lacing if you need it. Reviewers say there wasn’t a noticeable performance or fit difference between the two models.
There’s a lot to love about the updated New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6.
New Balance packed the Hierro with proven technologies to give you the confidence to get off road. A balanced Fresh Foam midsole shields your foot from sharp rocks, while the Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsole ensures traction on slippery surfaces. Plus, it boasts mild on-road performance on your way to the trail head.
Fleet Feet reviewers found a generous fit that doesn’t take any fussing, and they loved the look both on and off the trail.
“I love the look of this shoe,” one reviewer says. “I wouldn’t hesitate to wear these shoes around casually after a run.”
Because New Balance didn’t make any major changes to the fit or ride, anyone who liked the previous version will find a very similar experience in the update.
Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.