New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review TL;DR: Max-cushioned daily trainer that looks and runs like a Hoka, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I like the Fresh Foam X and all the shoes the new foam is featured in, such as the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 and the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12. It's responsive, it's soft, it's resilient; what's not to like? and as the name suggests, the Fresh Foam X More v4 has more foam than before, although it's not ‘illegally tall’ like the New Balance SuperComp Trainer.
Clearly, the Fresh Foam X is the best running shoe New Balance has to offer, right? It isn't, and more interestingly, running in the shoes reminded me of another favourite running shoe brand of mine, Hoka, a fine purveyor of chunky, high-stack running footwear. In fact, the Fresh Foam X More v4 is essentially a Hoka trainer in disguise (see also: the shape of the heel v. Hoka's Swallowtail heel geometry). It’s a chunky trainer with plenty of foam and a tighter upper – the best Hoka running shoes from New Balance!
I like running in the shoes because I like New Balance and Hoka, and I love the weird non-official crossover between the two brands in the form of the Fresh Foam X More v4. Should you buy one for yourself, though? Let's find out.
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review – Price and availability
The New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 has been available for a while in the US (some reviews date back all the way to August 2022), but it only recently became available in the UK (to my best knowledge). It currently sells for $150/£140/AU$250, and you buy a pair directly from New Balance US, New Balance UK and New Balance AU.
Reasonably affordable (especially in the US, where it's currently $20 off), the Fresh Foam X More v4 is on-par with other max-cushioned daily trainers today from Hoka, Asics, Adidas etc. It’s not super cheap, but I’d call the $150/£140/AU$250 asking price average for a mid-range shoe, and I’m fine with that. For the best prices, check out the price widgets at the top and bottom of this New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review.
The New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 (retailer link) can be bought for around half price nowadays, even directly from the manufacturer. The fan-favourite Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is also cheaper these days, currently only £96 at New Balance (down from £160). The Fresh Foam x 880v12 also sells for less; it's £98 at SportsShoes.com (RRP £140, same as the Fresh Foam X More v4).
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review – Tech and specs
The most exciting improvement since the More v3 is the addition of the Fresh Foam X. The new foam is plusher than its predecessor, and better still, there are more of it in the Fresh Foam X more v4. The Fresh Foam X foam is made with approximately 3% bio-based content, and it's said to be made from renewable resources to help reduce our carbon footprint.
Despite the height, the Fresh Foam X More v4 only has a comparatively shallow 4 mm drop. I couldn't find any official info on stack height on the New Balance website, but some reviews state 34 mm heel/30 mm forefoot stack height, which is close enough to me. stack height depends on the size anyway, so even manufacturer claims are always only approximate.
A men's US 11 (UK 10.5) New Balance Fresh Foam X More V4 weighs 11.9 oz (338 grams). It's not a bad weight for max-cushioned shoes, although understandably, the Fresh Foam X More v4 is heavier than some less-chunky daily trainers such as the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and the Hoka Mach 5.
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review – Fit and ergonomics
I found the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 super comfortable. There is just so much cushioning; it is like running on clouds. Not On running Cloudtec kind-of cushioning, but actual soft cushioning that caresses the feet as you run. I loved using the shoes for running and caught myself choosing them over other trainers for walking in the last couple of weeks, too.
As for the upper, it's an engineered mesh with zonal support and breathability. It feels snugger than the 1080v12, but maybe not as tight as Hoka's uppers. I must admit, it might just be in my head, as the midsole is so chunky compared to the upper it gives me the impression it's tighter than it actually is. I put on the 1080v12 for comparison, and I couldn't notice a massive difference between the two.
The rocker is incredibly pronounced and helps the transition from landing on your heels to the toe-off. It's similar to Hoka's early-stage Meta-rocker and will benefit beginner runners the most. It's also excellent for recovery runs as it helps you put the miles in auto-pilot mode.
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review – Running performance
Initially, it was ultrarunners who used max-cushioned shoes for training, but people soon realised the benefits of having extra foam underfoot for any high-mileage activity. These shoes provide a lot of cushioning, which helps mitigate the adverse effects of running on hard surfaces, like tarmac, for long periods.
The New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 is an excellent max-cushioned running shoe. The Fresh Foam X provides a plush running experience, and since you have loads of that underfoot, you can expect reduced joint pain when running in the shoes. Not saying the More v4 is a medical device, but for recovery runs and mileage-building sessions, these shoes are perfect.
Experienced runners might not like the rocker's ability to guide the foot in a set direction. It's somewhat rigid and forces you to follow the trajectory dictated by the shoes. Again, excellent for beginners and runs when you don't want to focus on good running form; not great for more technical sessions. The rocker has its benefits (e.g. the auto-pilot mode mentioned earlier), but this sensation might not be everyone's cup of tea.
The outsole has been applied sparingly to reduce weight without sacrificing grip, and new Balance claims the pattern is based on a data-driven approach. I tried the shoes mainly on dry tarmac, and they performed well, but admittedly, I haven't done any crazy stunts to test the efficacy of the outsole. The long-term durability of any outsole applied in this fashion is also questionable. However, given the aforementioned rocker forcing you to run in a specific way, I can assume the unique outsole might last for as long as the midsole.
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review – Aesthetics
New Balance knows how to make shoes look sexy, and the Fresh Foam X More v4 does indeed look good. It's understated but instantly recognisable as a New Balance shoe. I like the small details, such as the grooved pattern of the midsole, reminiscent of the 1080v12. It's a small thing but makes all the difference.
In terms of colours, there are three available at the moment (for men): the tested White with electric teal, Black with phantom and Cobalt with black, the latter of which reminds me strongly of the blueish colourway of the Fresh Foam 1080v11. The woman's colourways are more or less the same, although the names are slightly different.
Admittedly, chunky shoes such as the Fresh Foam X More V4 aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I feel they are in fashion these – not least because of the popularity of max-cushion running shoes – so even if you're thinking about buying the shoes are more of walking shoes/sneakers, they are a good option.
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review – Verdict
I like the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 because it's a Hoka shoe. I love Hoka's shoes, the chunkiness, the performance, everything. And I love New Balance's design and the comfort their shoes provide. The More v4 has more foam than the 1080v12 and looks equally as cool as that. The rocker is more pronounced, and the upper is tighter, but the Fresh Foam X More v4 is probably your best option for long and slow training.
Should you buy the Fresh Foam X More v4 over – let's say – the 1080v12? The answer, of course, is that it depends. Both shoes use the same foam, have similar characteristics, and offer a similar riding experience. However, the Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is much cheaper nowadays, and the upper is more comfortable, so it's hard to recommend the More v4 over those shoes.
That said, the Fresh Foam X More v4 is more cushioned, so if you need a super-comfy daily trainer, you might be better off with these shoes. I like them and have recently used them for walking and running; I'm sure I'll also use them in the future, not least because they strike the perfect balance between comfort, performance and design.
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 review – Also consider
Speaking of max-cushioned trainers with a tight upper: the Cloudmonster might have the best rebound of all the On running shoes thanks to the added CloudTec midsole and the springy Speedboard, but it has the signature On tight upper. Don't let the tank-like look confuse you, though; the Cloudmonster is the best On running shoe to date. Read my full On Cloudmonster review.
For something more traditional-looking, try the Gel-Nimbus 24. This max-cushioned and extremely comfortable daily trainer from ASICS features the wonderful FF BLAST+ foam and is a brilliant running shoe for everyday runs. Read my full ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24 review.
If you prefer something less chunky, you must check out the Peg 39. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 is a brilliant and reasonably-priced daily trainer that enjoys moderate tempo sessions the most, thanks to the addition of an extra Air Zoom unit and more React foam. It sells for peanuts these days! Read my full Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review.