New Balance Hierro v7 - Shoe Review
Hailed as the 1080 for the trails, the New Balance Hierro v7 is undoubtedly the best off-road option from New Balance over the last few years. This to the point, super comfy, easy to get on with shoe, can be taken out of the box straight to the trails for effortless miles. Through some varied and very rugged testing, I have seen the best and worst of this shoe (Spoiler; there isn’t much). Read on to see how this shoe stacked up on a 15km hike straight out the box, a 10 mile fell race and a few muddy puddles, just for good measure.
First impressions out of the box:
I picked up this shoe at the New Balance Earth Day event, celebrating the launch of their Green Leaf Standard, more on this later. First things first, is the looks! This Golden Hour & Dark Camo effect is a nice-looking shoe! Perhaps not as bold as you can go with trail shoes, but if you’re after bold then the Mystic Purple colourway will be right up your street. Colour aside, this shoe feels durable, the build quality, as ever with New Balance is excellent. I’m getting a sense of this shoe will have no troubles dealing with the roughness of technical trails, whilst not weighing you down with too many heavy-duty materials. All in all, the materials feel great, build quality is great, it looks good, and I just want to lace up and get going!
Fit and the width?
Being part of the Fresh Foam family, you know there is going to be a high standard of cushioning that New Balance never compromise on. That’s exactly what you get, the Fresh Foam X midsole immediately feels stable and comfy. There is a good amount of the Fresh Foam X underfoot, so you get a good sense you’re not going to feel any impact from rocks, debris, or anything harsh underfoot. Of course, with it being the signature cushioning from New Balance, you’re also going to get a hell of a smooth ride. The transition is seamless, and it held up on a great variety of terrains without any problems. I take a Men’s UK 9.5 in all shoes, an found this running true to size, no extra room needed. I partnered them with Stance Cushioned Socks, which have a good level of padding and there was still ample room.
How has the product changed from earlier versions?
This was the first time for me in a Hierro model, having seen and tried on the previous model I can see some updates that have been made. Noticeably and most importantly for a trail shoe is the traction. New Balance have continued with the Vibram outsole, which after vigorous use I can attest to its gripping power. Parallel to this is lugs, this is where New Balance have been tinkering a bit. They have increased the space in between lugs, preventing excess buildup of mud and debris. Going a step further they have added a bit more depth taking the length of lugs from roughly 3.5mm to 4.5mm, it doesn’t sound like much but on loose dirt every little helps!
Other than the lugs, design, and little alterations to the upper around the heel counter the biggest change or rather advancement is that the Hierro v7 now meets the New Balance Green Leaf standard. This means that over 50% of the materials are environmentally sourced, and in the midsole between 3-5% is constructed using plant-based materials, pushing the brand forward in a more sustainable direction. They have also committed to using more surplus materials in the manufacturing of their products, sourcing 100% renewable electricity for all their owned operations by 2023 and achieving zero-waste to landfill from their factories by 2025. Plus, you can find more of their pledges and keep track of their progress here.
Is it good all-rounder, where does it work best?
One of the versatile things about this shoe is that New Balance have merged the line between a neat door-to-trail option as well as a proper out and out trail shoe. Previously, you might have looked at the Hierro or heard that it’s only really a hybrid trail shoe, good for light trails, canal tow paths, not giving you enough on the hardcore trails. That is 100% not the case this time round, New Balance have somehow created a best of both worlds shoe, probably helped by the fact they don’t have a vast range of trail shoes. But obviously, they have spent time perfecting the models they do have and getting them right!
As I mentioned at the top of this review, I took this shoe hiking, fell running on light trails (hung on to Olympian, Ross Millington for a morning run on the Tissington trail at the New Balance event), I've even worn it casually a few times in the office (perks of working at a running retailer). The word that screams out is adaptable, put this shoe in any scenario and for me it understands the assignment!
Is there anything you are unsure about with the shoes?
Simply put, NO there isn’t. The fit was great, not had any issues with blistering or sore spots and the cushioning is very nice. Personally, I’d love more Fresh Foam underfoot. It’s the signature cushioning and if it’s going to be hailed as a 1080 for trails, then I’d love another few mm adding to the stack height.
I haven’t racked up the hundreds of kilometers in the shoes to see how the durability holds up, but the initial signs are good. Build quality, finish and materials all feel top tier and being a New Balance shoe, I’ve never previously had any issue in this area.
To explore full New Balance collection including the brand new Hierro v7, click here.
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