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New Balance

NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM 860v12 REVIEW

New Balance 860v12 Review

THE BUZZ

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 has been a mainstay in the New Balance line-up for years. The 12th iteration has received considerable upgrades for the past two years. Its smoother and more comfortable than ever while still being supremely stable and secure.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 remains a workhorse of an everyday trainer for runners who need some additional support for pronation control with some modern, livelier features.

New Balance 860v12 Review

WHAT’S NEW

The 860v12 features a two-layer FuelCell/Fresh Foam X midsole package for the first time. This is a significant update that’s made it softer and slightly bouncier. It also has an improved engineered mesh upper and new lacing system that has enhanced the fit, feel and breathability.

Stability is derived from the firm and fairly traditional medial post — a large, wedge of higher-density foam under the arch along the inside edge of the foot — as well as the slightly wider footprint from the midfoot through the toe box.

While it remains a very stable shoe, the key aspect of the 860v12 is that it’s a smoother type of stable and not rigid and clunky like some of the previous editions.

New Balance replaced the elf-like Ultra Heel feature of the previous edition of the 860 with a more tradition padded heel collar with a slight flare to reduce Achilles tension.

The new upper, an updated lacing system, a firm heel counter and a heavier embroidered “N” logo combine for a secure all-around fit.

New Balance 860v12 Review

FIT-FEEL-RIDE

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 fits true to size with a medium fit from heel through the midfoot and a noticeably wider toe box than it previous had. (It’s available in two widths for men and women.)

There’s a sense of cushy softness as you as you step into these shoes and lace ‘em up. This is  because of the soft Fresh Foam X midsole top layer and also from the premium sockliner, padded tongue, lightly padded heal collar and the locked-down hold of the upper.

While the FuelCell foam provides a solid foundation that makes it extremely stable on the run, the layer of squishy Fresh Foam X cushioning helps create a softer, smoother and springier ride. It’s a good mix that feels great while still providing the stability that runners expect.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who need or appreciate a super-stable training shoe for high-mileage training will like the 860v12 a lot. But it’s been improved so much, those who ran in the previous two editions probably won’t believe it’s the same model.

While it was a bit one-dimensional previously, the new model is more dynamic and versatile. It’s best for weekend long runs and mid-week maintenance runs, but it can definitely hold its own on moderately fast tempo runs, spontaneous fartlek runs and some longer intervals.

New Balance 860v12 Review

FRESH FOAM 860v12 PROS

The Fresh Foam X midsole compound is the softest and most compliant foam New Balance has in its lineup. The thin, full-length slice of that foam on the top of the midsole provides a hint of bouncy responsiveness in every stride. The ride is secured by the thick layer of FuelCell foam on the bottom.

The outsole is made entirely of blown rubber. This gives it sufficient grip on wet and dry pavement and plenty of durability. It’s very similar to the previous two editions of the shoe, with a slightly different pattern and marginally wider flex grooves.

Overall this shoe shines as a tried-and-true stability model with some modern flair. It’s not going to blow your hair back or inspire speed, but it’s reliable and slightly cushier and more comfortable than its predecessors.

New Balance 860v12 Review

FRESH FOAM 860v12 CONS

The biggest downside to this shoe is that it’s heavier some of its contemporaries in the moderate stability category. If you’re running mostly slower to moderate paces, that’s fine. But if you running longer or faster, you’ll definitely notice the weight.

860v12 TECH SPECS

SHOP NEW BALANCE 860v12

MEN’S NEW BALANCE 860v12

New Balance 860v12 Review

MEN’S 860v12 COMING SOON

WOMEN’S NEW BALANCE 860v12

Women's 860v12 Review

WOMEN’S 860v12 COMING SOON

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New Balance Reviews

NEW BALANCE FUELCELL REBEL V2 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 is a lightweight and responsive, neutral-oriented everyday training shoe. It’s a versatile shoe with an elite midsole foam and enough cushioning and bounciness to make it amenable to both running longer or faster.

But it’s important to note that this is not really an update of the original FuelCell Rebel VI. It is more of an entirely new shoe that just happens to have a similar name.

New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2

WHAT’S NEW

The FuelCell Rebel has been completely overhauled from the first edition. It’s built around the high-end, energetic foam that’s found in some of fastest New Balance racing shoes.

The upper has been changed from a knit design with a bootie constriction to an airy, engineered mesh with a unique padded, 3D structured heel cup. There’s a little bit more foam (2mm) in the midsole than the Rebel v1, while the flared lateral edge of the original has been toned down considerably.

The super-critical nitrogen-infused FuelCell midsole foam is made from a blend of TPU and EVA that’s similar to what’s found in the carbon-plated RC Elite racing shoe. But because there is no plate in the FuelCell Rebel v2, the foam performs much different and feels much more airy and much less dense. Compared to competitor’s foams, it falls in the middle of the bounciness/responsiveness realm. 

The barely-there upper is sleek, supportive and comfortable, not to mention translucent and very breathable. The engineered mesh is soft and flexible without much in the way of support or structure. However, the silhouetted New Balance “N” logo, provides a bit of reinforcement in the toe cap, around the lacing eyelets and in the heel collar.

New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The FuelCell Rebel v2 fits true to size with a comfortable, low-to-medium volume interior. It has an athletic fit and feet that honor the shoe’s versatile, go-fast demeanor.

The asymmetrical lacing design provide good lock-down feeling. It compensates for the flat, thin, non-gusseted tongue that tends to migrate a bit. The interior is sparsely cushioned. It has modest padding around the heel collar and ankle — but overall it’s a comfortable even if minimally appointed shoe.

The ride is soft, flexible, smooth and mildly propulsive but not overly energetic. Although it is moderately bouncy, it doesn’t produce the extreme lively sensation that most performance trainers have.

Ultimately it’s a great everyday trainer capable of running faster. However, its comfort zone is between recovery pace and tempo pace.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who appreciate lightweight, nimble everyday training shoes will love the FuelCell Rebel v2. It’s best for runners who are light on their feel and run with an efficient gait (as opposed to a heavy heel-striking gait).

It’s great for moderate-paced runs up to 10K race pace, offering quick-cadence turnover with a smooth, flowy ride. 

New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2

PROS: NEW BALANCE FUELCELL REBEL V2

If you’re looking for a versatile shoe, the FuelCell Rebel v2 is a good one to consider. While it’s not an all-out speed burner, it has enough energy to run fast but is also soft enough to run slow.

The outsole has a blend of firmer carbon rubber for durability, softer blown runner for traction and a larger section of exposed foam that keeps the weight down without leading to excessively detrimental wear and tear. 

With its combination of a good fit, a comfortable feel and a dynamic, smooth, propulsive ride, our wear-testers believe the FuelCell Rebel v2 is one of the best shoes of the spring. It’s one of the best non-plated training shoes based on its fun, springy ride and flexible construction.

New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2

CONS: NEW BALANCE FUELCELL REBEL V2

The extremely pliable demeanor and soft midsole doesn’t produce an entirely stable ride. In fact, it can feel downright unstable while cornering or running at faster , interval workout speeds. 

TECH SPECS

New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2 tech specs

NEW BALANCE FUELCELL REBEL V2

Men's New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2
MEN’S NEW BALANCE FUELCELL REBEL V2 COMING SOON
Women's New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2
WOMEN’S NEW BALANCE FUELCELL REBEL V2 COMING SOON

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Reviews

HOTTEST RUNNING SHOES OF 2021…SO FAR

The temperatures across the country may be cold, but the latest running shoe launches of 2021 have been hot!

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, 2021 has provided us with a stunning collection of running shoes from top brands such as HOKA, New Balance, Brooks, Saucony and On!

Hottest Running Shoes of 2021

Check out the JackRabbit list below of the hottest running shoes of 2021…so far!


NEW BALANCE 1080V11

New Balance 1080 v11 - men's

“The New Balance 1080 v11 is a thickly cushioned, neutral trainer. It’s one of the marquee shoes in the New Balance line and one of the best-selling models in recent years.”

Read the full New Balance 1080v11 Review

SHOP NEW BALANCE 1080V11

SAUCONY KINVARA 12

womens saucony kinvara 12 review

“The Saucony Kinvara 12 has been overhauled in look and feel, but it retains the lightweight, low-to-the-ground design while morphing into more of a reliable, lightweight, high-mileage workhorse than its old persona as a go-fast trainer.”

Read the full Saucony Kinvara 12 Review

SHOP SAUCONY KINVARA 12

ON CLOUDSWIFT 2021

On Cloudswift Review

“The second edition of the On Cloudswift has gone through some significant changes, but it remains a lightweight, low-profile neutral trainer with a cushy, energetic vibe.”

Read the full On Cloudswift Review

SHOP ON CLOUDSWIFT

BROOKS GLYCERIN 19

Brooks Glycerin 19 - Men's

“The Brooks Glycerin 19 is a neutral-oriented everyday trainer that provides soft, pillowy cushioning in every stride. With a buttery soft ride and an exquisitely plush interior, the Glycerin has always been a top-of-the-line workhorse model. It exudes softness and responsiveness in every stride.”

Read the full Brooks Glycerin 19 Review

SHOP BROOKS GLYCERIN 19

BROOKS GLYCERIN GTS 19

Brooks Glycerin 19 GTS - women's

“The Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 is the Brooks Transcend reinvented. An update to the shoe formerly known as the Transcend 7, the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 is a stability-enhancing everyday trainer. It provides provides soft, pillowy cushioning and adaptive support in every stride.”

Read the full Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 Review

SHOP BROOKS GLYCERIN GTS 19

SAUCONY GUIDE 14

Saucony Guide 14 Review

“The Saucony Guide 14 is a modern mid-weight stability trainer for runners who need a touch of medial-side support to help offset mild to moderate over-pronation. It serves up a soft and resilient ride with the athletic vibe of a neutral shoe, but disguised in that smooth, flowy sensation is plenty of subtle support.”

Read the full Saucony Guide 14 Review

SHOP SAUCONY GUIDE 14

HOKA CARBON X 2

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Women's

“The Carbon X returns after the successful first edition won races and set records. It proved itself among the best of the initial crop of long-distance racing shoes built with carbon-fiber plates embedded in thick, cushy midsoles.”

Read the full HOKA Carbon X 2 review

 

 

SHOP HOKA CARBON X 2

 


COMING SOON IN 2021

These shoes haven’t hit the shelves yet in 2021, but we’re excited about the changes and upgrades these shoes have made!

ADIDAS ULTRABOOST 21

Adidas Ultraboost 21 Review

“From its inception in 2015, the Adidas Ultraboost has been a maximally cushioned training shoe built on a thick, lively platform of extremely resilient Boost midsole cushioning. The Adidas Ultraboost 21 is the cushiest and most responsive version yet, serving up a springy ride that returns considerable energy in every stride.”

Read the full Adidas Ultraboost 21 Review

NEW BALANCE 880v11

Men's New Balance 880v11 Review

“With a vibe that’s equal parts cushioning and performance, the neutral-inclined New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 is a versatile training shoe proficient at running any pace and any distance.”

Read the New Balance 880v11 Review

HOKA MACH 4

Women's HOKA Mach 4 Shoe Review

“The HOKA Mach 4 is lightweight, smooth-riding, neutral-oriented everyday training shoe that gives off a soft, lively vibe. It has enough comfort, versatility and giddy-up to handle the rigors of all types of workouts. Based on the improvements, overall design and our wear-testing experiences, we believe this will to be one of the best models of early 2021.”

Read the full HOKA Mach 4 Review

ALTRA LONE PEAK 5

Altra Lone Peak 5

“If you only want one trail running shoe in your quiver of running shoes, the Altra Lone Peak 5 is an ideal do-it-all candidate. It’s a comfortably appointed and very reliable jack-of-all-trails without any major shortfalls.”

Read the full Altra Lone Peak 5 Review

ALTRA RIVERA

“The Altra Rivera is an all-new neutral everyday training shoe that’s light, lively, soft, versatile and fun. We think it’s one of the best new shoes of 2021 and one of the best models Altra has ever produced.”

Read the full Altra Rivera review


Check back weekly for the latest 2021 shoe reviews and to see when shoes have arrived at our stores and JackRabbit.com. You can find all the 2021 footwear arrivals here.

Do you have a favorite shoe so far in 2021? Let us know by tagging us on social via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Categories
Brands New Balance Reviews

NEW BALANCE 880V11 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

With a vibe that’s equal parts cushioning and performance, the neutral-inclined New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 is a versatile training shoe proficient at running any pace and any distance.

It’s a relatively light, multipurpose daily trainer that deserves high marks for a reliable fit, premium Fresh Foam X midsole cushioning and a lively demeanor. 

New Balance 880 v11 Review

WHAT’S NEW

There have been a few minor tweaks to the 880v11 since last year that help boost its overall vibe. The biggest updates are a new, double jacquard engineered mesh upper, a moderately softer heel counter and a slightly softer and bouncier sensation from the updated midsole.

The new upper that helps lock down the foot to the chassis while maintaining pliability to accommodate a wide variety of foot shapes. The overlays are thinner and more subtle, but the breathability is decidedly better. When you lace it up, you sense its athletic vibe. The secure connection to the midsole/outsole chassis and the mildly soft, seamless interior.

The segmented outsole is unchanged from the previous edition of the 880. It has three sections of durable carbon rubber for durability. The 880v11 has high-impact areas and two pieces of blown rubber for enhanced traction and energy return. It doesn’t have a rocker geometry like some modern trainers. Instead has plenty of flex from a series of multidirectional grooves in the forefoot.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The Fresh Foam 880v11 fits true to size with a medium-volume, seamless interior and a secure, locked-down feeling. It has a modestly soft interior, but it’s not overly cushy or plush.

You can sense the traditional heel-toe offset (10mm) the moment you step into the shoe, with the soft cushy heel and a lower, more proprioceptive vibes in the forefoot.

Those sensations come to life on the run with protection and softness on heel-striking impacts, a smooth transition and springy and lively toe-offs. It’s produces a consistent, energetic ride and the faster you run, the less you notice the higher heel-toe offset. 

New Balance 880 v11 Review

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who appreciate the versatility of a shoe that can handle long runs and also tackle speedier workouts will love the 880v11.

Newer runners will appreciate its comfort and fit, while more experienced runners will love that it does everything very well. It could be a race-day shoe for 5K to half marathon distances.

New Balance 880 v11 Review

PROS: NEW BALANCE 880v11

This is the second edition of the 880v11 with a Fresh Foam midsole and our wear-testers greater appreciated it. The top-tier Fresh Foam X midsole compound provides amazing shock absorption in the heel and a noticeable pop of energy in the forefoot.

It’s not a performance trainer or a super cushy cruiser, but it’s somewhere in between. It has thick, shock-absorbing cushioning in the heel with a responsive, low-to-the-ground feel in the forefoot. That allows it to be a great shoe for long runs, but it’s also capable of running short and fast repeats on the track or longer, fartlek-style intervals. 

The 880v11 is a no-frills trainer like its predecessors. It’s not overly comfy inside, not exceptionally fast and probably not even the shoe you’ll call your absolute favorite. But it’s the best version of this shoe that’s ever been produced, and it’s infinitely versatile and reliable — especially if you prefer only one shoe in your quiver.

New Balance 880 v11 Review

CONS: NEW BALANCE 880v11

The only reason not to like the 880v11 is because it doesn’t shine brighter in one particular area. It could have a more plush, comfortable interior and it could have more energetic bounce in every stride.

TECH SPECS

New Balance 880 v11 Tech Specs

SHOP NEW BALANCE 880v11

Men's New Balance 880 v11 Review
MEN’S 880V11 COMING SOON
Women's New Balance 880 v11 Review
Women’s
WOMEN’S 880V11 COMING SOON
Categories
New Balance

FROM THE BRAND: NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM X

Why not get the scoop straight from the source?! Let’s talk about New Balance’s proprietary Fresh Foam X technology and the running shoe range that features this midsole.

Journalist Brian Metzler sat down with New Balance Product Manager Paul Zielinski to get the insider talk on the what, why, and excitement around the continuing refinement of the Fresh Foam X experience.

AN EXCITING ADVENTURE IN SHOES

New Balance Product Manager Paul Zielinski and Brian Metzler share the Zoom limelight talking about the Fresh Foam X. Spoiler alert, it’s a game changer with many more exciting things to come in 2021!

FRESH FOAM X COLLECTION

Have an urge to know more about the development of the Fresh Foam midsole and New Balance? Check out our tech review at the JackRabbit blog to learn more.