Gear Inside the Latest from New Balance

Inside the Latest from New Balance


David Korell is the category manager of performance for New Balance Canada and truly one of the sport’s good guys. He knows everything about running and gear and is always generous with his knowledge when helping iRun with stories. Today’s story is about the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12, so it makes sense to ask Korell to tell us about the shoe. We reached Korell while he was in New York over the weekend for the marathon. 

iRun: The 860 looks amazing. What iteration is this for the popular shoe? 

Dave Korell: It’s the twelfth version of the 860, and we planned to launch in summer, but because of supply chain issues it was pushed back, so it’s actually timed well because now’s a good time for a stability shoe. 

iRun: What’s the elevator pitch for the shoe? 

DK: If we could offer only one shoe for everyone from a collegiate cross-country team to a run crew for a runner to feel safe in, something without too high stability or too many curves, but a safe, accessible shoe—a workhorse—it would be this one. 

iRun: And for folks who already love the 860? 

DK: If you’re a loyalist, you’re not going to be surprised or dislike the update. On a 0-10 disruption chart, with ten a radical change and 0 no change, this is a five. 

iRun: Unlike, say, the Fuel Cell? 

DK: Exactly. The fuel cell we radically innovated with the carbon plate.

iRun: So can you break down the details of the Fresh Foam X 860v12?

DK: It has an updated upper. The midsole is the same as the v11—50% Fresh Foam and 50% Abzorb, which is the traditional New Balance compound. 

iRun: So it’s stable, but does offer some liveliness. 

DK: I think so, and there’s a thin, molded foam heel. The goal was to improve fit and offer a more secure fit, so there’s rolled mesh. I think the heel really locks nicely now.

iRun: You’re recommending this shoe and saying it’s a workhouse. How many kilometres do you reckon it’s good for? 

DK: Easily between 500 and 800 kilometres. 

iRun: What else can you tell us about the new details? 

DK: The upper construction features embroidery through the medial and lateral side, and there’s pressure mapping on the upper that’s really precise. We worked out where to put the stitches in terms of the degree of support—there’s medial support and also overall less density, which is great for offering support on the inside of the arch. 

iRun: It’s great because with so many new people getting into the support, we need to offer them shoes that will feel comfortable, supportive but also responsive. We need to make people just starting to love fall in love with our sport.

DK: That’s exactly right, and I think this shoe is perfect for those kind of runners. The 860 holds the upper around the foot, and makes the shoe more mobile on the lateral side. 

iRun: I think it’s really helpful for readers to understand exactly what all the shoe technology is able to do. 

DK: I think there’s a lot more interest in the industry in the small details that enrich the experience of running. Little things, like here there’s silicone islets that hold the laces in place and iridescent reflectives around the heel. It’s an appealing colour and also catches the light. I think there’s a lot of extra bells and whistles that add value to the shoe. 

iRun: How much is it? 

DK: $179.99  

iRun: And what’s new in the world of stability sneakers? 

DK: Stability runners have often been given bricks for shoes—stiff, firm, hard. I think the Fresh Foam gives cushioning to the stability and they’re more comfortable to wear than traditional stability shoes, they’re softer.  

iRun: Thanks for your time, always. Last words on the Fresh Foam X 860v12? 

DK: We’re giving market energy behind an everyday trainer, so while a lot of the industry is consumed by $300 carbon-plate racers, and we do that, too, it’s just not something every runner might find accessible. I think if we can also focus on the accessible, median-priced shoe suitable for a lot of foot types and offer a range of mechanical needs, and if you can get three or four times the mileage on it than a carbon-race shoe, it will make a nice shoe for all the new people getting into the sport. It’s a great way to keep new runners running and more experienced runner also properly supplied in a great pair of shoes.