Staff Shoe Review – New Balance 860v10

By Abby Slauter, Shoe Expert at Track Shack 

The New Balance 860v9 has been so popular the company and running stores alike have struggled to keep up with the demand. With the redesign of several other stability shoes last year, the New Balance 860v9 filled a void in the market  for those seeking a truly supportive shoe without stepping up to a beefier motion control shoe. We in run specialty have been anxiously awaiting the release of the tenth version, hoping it wouldn’t compromise on the performance, fit, and aesthetic that have landed it among our best-selling shoes.

At first glance, one can see that the 860 took a few cues from several of New Balance’s other successful shoes. This year, the 860 v10 has adopted design features including a variety of ramps and banks to increase stability while minimizing weight and keeping the soft, stable, responsive platform that wearers of previous versions have fallen in love with. It seems like I meet a customer almost daily who swears by the 860; this population can rest easy that the fit, feel, and function are familiar despite a few design changes.

Anyone familiar with the 1080v9 will instantly recognize that the new 860 has borrowed its slimmed down heel counter design. At first, this may be a noticeable change for some feet, but rest assured that New Balance has kept the extra eyelet so that you can easily tie a lace lock if desired. While the most apparent design change is the sleeker heel counter, which New Balance dubs Ultra Heel, perhaps the most fundamental change in construction is the removal of the T-beam on the underside of the shoe. While one might fear that losing the T-beam would compromise the shoe’s stability, it actually achieves greater stability due to increased ground contact. The v10 still sports the dual-density foam posting that makes the 860 such an impressively stable shoe, but New Balance has tweaked that posting this year to provide a smoother transition from medial (inside) to lateral (outside). The extra ramps on the medial and lateral sides of the shoe encourage the foot to adopt a more neutral position as the wearer walks or runs.

The shoe felt lighter when I first picked it up and held it. With the removal of the T-beam, I questioned whether it was still going to be as solid of a stability shoe as last year, and then gave it my “plantar fasciitis test,” in which I see how much and where the shoe bends. The tenth version impressed me by being as stiff as its predecessor, meaning it is well-suited to overpronators who want some extra protection under their arch.  It retains the same 10mm drop (the “drop” is the offset between the heel and the toe platforms). Like the previous iteration, the v10 comes equipped with New Balance’s TruFuse cushioning system, which provides a cushioned but responsive ride for such a stable shoe.  I typically run in a neutral shoe, but I gave the newest 860 a test and found it to be a comfortable, capable shoe with an excellent fit to my foot.

While the quality of a shoe should be measured in terms of its fit, support, and comfort, who isn’t inspired to get more use out of a shoe you love the look of? The 860v10 is, simply put, a good-looking shoe. The colors in the first release are pleasing, and the shoe itself has a modern, clean look to it. Much of the design of the shoe carries over from the previous version, such as keeping the double-jacquard engineered mesh upper with minimal stitching, which allows for a comfortable yet supportive fit. The 860 retains the same wider toe box that makes it a perfect candidate for anyone with a wider forefoot.  The mesh upper ensures a good fit even if you don’t need the extra width up front. In fact, as several manufacturers have chosen to stop offering narrow widths in recent years, the 860 remains one of few stability shoes that is available in both narrow and wide widths.

Want to come try the New Balance 86 v10 for yourself? You’ll have to stop by Track Shack and come see one of our fit experts because the 860 is not sold in big box stores or online retailers. So, come on in and tell us about your goals and your needs, and we’ll help you figure out if the 860 might be your next new shoe!

Track Shack is a specialty running/walking store that has been serving the footwear needs of Central Florida’s fitness enthusiasts since 1977.  Our experienced and knowledgeable staff takes each person through a custom fitting process.  Shoes and feet are our business but people are our specialty!  Now that you’re here, walk through our user-friendly website and welcome to the Track Shack family!

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