The New Balance Hierro v6 - First Impressions
Posted on January 22 2021
We have carried the New Balance Hierro before and it was always a popular shoe so it was with much interest and curiosity that we got the opportunity to take the latest version out for a spin.
New Balance have come a long way in the last few years and the road offering is really a substantial departure from the past both in terms of styling and technical performance.
Some of this development has started to rub off on the trail side and the Hierro v6 is a great example.
I took it out on the familiar test run that I use for most of my testing and that allows an increased level of comparability. The GR Saturday Loop is a 10,5km loop in Aberdeen Country Park with a nice combination of somewhat technical trail, country park roads and catchwaters and steps. Nicely representative of a lot of Hong Kong Trails.
It is winter in HK so dry, so the wet weather performance of the shoe remains to be tested but this is really a first impression blog. Updates will come as different conditions are encountered.
Out of the box, the first impression is of a cool looking shoe. The black colourway accentuated with the flashes of orange make it understated, probably even something that could double as a street shoe. Even the New Balance logos are hard to see but subtle and discrete. The name of the shoe only being stated on a small faux leather label at the top of the tongue.
The knitted upper looks nicely formed around the toe-box, the heel, chunky and with what seems now to be a trail "must-have" (more later), a considerable heel flap that sticks out a good inch behind the runners heel.
So how did this first outing go....?
THE GOOD POINTS.
1. VIBRAM MEGAGRIP. Absolute no-brainer when it comes to grip on Hong Kong trails. Not the only good compound out there but certainly you can trust the grip in any shoe that has this. Although the conditions were not testing at all for the grip, I can say without a doubt, grip in this shoe will not be an issue.
2. FRESH FOAM. Much of the transformation of NB road shoes over the last few years has been the addition of the Fresh Foam midsole. NB always had the reputation for being a competent but quite firm shoe to run in. The market these days demands more cushioning and NB's response with Fresh Foam has provided a really good answer. To now see it applied to trail shoes is a good move. Throughout the run I felt well cushioned and stable and the rock protection was fine. Never a eye-watering stab in the bottom of the foot from a sharp stone.
3. THE FIT OF THE UPPER. From stepping in to stepping out I felt the upper was well formed around my foot and as a consequence I felt confident with my foot placement. No hot spots or tightness in the toe box, not huge space either but feet held capably.
CHALLENGES AND CONCLUSION
Only two really, the biggest being the weight of the shoe. Although lighter than the v5 apparently, at 340g its one of the heaviest shoes I have run in for a while and with the trend in the market to lightness this will put some people off. I think the weight comes from the considerable padding around the ankle and possible the thickness of the outsole. Maybe the downside of using so much Vibram.
We also have to contend with shoes getting wet with sweat and/or rain in HK and heavily padded shoes will increase in weight quite a bit in these conditions so a heavy shoe dry, can be a concern.
However, having said that, if comfort and protection is your main aim then the weight will be something you can live with,
The second, and its a complaint about many trail shoes designed outside of HK (which is pretty much all of them), the huge heel spur. On Hong Kong steps this can be dangerous. Easily remedied with a Stanley knife, but something to be aware of.
So in conclusion this is a great shoe if you are looking for something to get out on the trails in that will keep give your feet good protection and in which you want to be sure to be comfortable. Super reliable grip and great cushioning.
You may look for something lighter if you want to push the pace but for a reliable, comfortable trail shoe this will be a winner for you.
Technical SpecWeight : 358g
Stack Height : 28mm/20mm
Heeldrop : 8mm