May 14, 2016

New Balance 860 - A Review

The Boston Marathon.  Starting line. Sacrifice made. Promise kept. A runner’s dream. No excuses now. No quitting now. Adrenaline. Endorphin. Emotion. Then elation. It can’t be explained. Don’t try. You’re there. So run. Simply. Run.

If I were to qualify for and run in the Boston Marathon again, I would do so using the New Balance 860. Why? It’s one of my favorite road shoes. It passes the taco test. It gives me room and keeps me on my game. Best of all, it goes the distance.

I’ve run in a lot of shoes. Hundreds at least. Lots of brands. Most end up in a Goodwill donation heap after a couple of runs. The best looking ones are usually the worst. Such is life. But then there are the few.

Like the New Balance 860. Like all the shoes I’ve owned and kept around for second, third and even fourth purchases, it passes the taco test and keeps my planter fasciitis from flaring up.  It does this with a T-beam plastic shank in the midsole, which helps give the shoe excellent stability.

Another positive feature of the 860 for me which may indeed be a negative for others is the wide forefoot. I can’t stand shoes with a narrow toe-box because – you guessed it – I have a wide forefoot. Running in shoes with a narrow forefoot and tight toe box not only makes my feet feel like they are being suffocated, it creates breeding ground for developing a neuroma.

As one who has rolled his ankle umpteen times, including during a 100 mile race, the stability of a shoe is critical. It’s like the foundation of a house. If the foundation is weak, it doesn’t really matter what you build on top. Eventually your gonna get screwed.

The 860 has three separate types of foam with varying densities to maximize stability while maintaining a comfortable ride. The shoe also hosts a free moving strap that supplements the lacing system from the base of the shoe at the mid foot. It all adds up to a steady-eddie feel that keeps the ankle rolling visions and episodes at bay.

It’s always a little disappointing when you purchase a shoe as a distance runner and the shoe itself can’t go the distance. You know what I mean. Like when you wear a shoe for a couple of runs and the sole starts to dislodge from the base.  Or the tread pulls a disappearing act after the second or third long run. Not the case with the 860s. I’ve run with the shoe for many months and it has held up quite well. This is my experience with shoes from New Balance in general which I think is an all around solid company.

So, for my seriously finicky feet, the 860 is a keeper that isn’t headed to the donation heap anytime soon. The version I've run in is version 5. Version 6 is now available with some enhancements. Who knows, if New Balance comes out with a trail version of the 860, it could become my sole companion.

PS -
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Will C


Peter Floyd said...

Go the distance in a pair of running shoes that is up to the challenge, like this model from New Balance. The rubber compound outsole provides a strong grip along with surprising durability, while the water-resistant mesh upper promotes air circulation to keep feet dry.You can visit our site for lots of Best Shoes for Narrow Feet.

Tammy said...

This brand is on my top ten list of running shoes but my favorite is Skechers.

Amy said...

I found the blog from Turns out I already follow you on twitter. So that's pretty fun. Keep up the good work!

Brad said...

I have been purchasing the 860 for years and will as long as they make them. Study, comfortable, good support for overpronating. The best shoe on the market.