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New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 vs Fresh Foam 1080v11 Comparison Shoe Review

by Sportitude
6 Oct 2021

Josh reviews the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 running shoes - a max cushioned platform for mild overpronators to provide stability at no compromise to plushness and protection. He compares it to the neutral New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 to highlight which high mileage road shoe is the right fit for your running rotation.

The Vongo v5 offers a slightly wider midfoot region and a more rigid forefoot than the 1080v11 to stabilise the ride of overpronators that require additional support. A more hard-wearing, abrasion-resistant rubber underneath the rearfoot protects this high-impact zone.

New Balance have packed support features into the midsole with gradient stability technology providing unobtrusive guidance to keep you on track of your most efficient running gait.

They’ve rolled over Fresh Foam X into the Vongo v5 – a soft and springy cushioning technology that has earned a lot of hype in their other popular road shoes including the New Balance 1080v11.

The mesh upper of the Vongo v5 delivers a precise forefoot fit with optimal flexibility to accomodate the expansion of your foot during your longer road sessions without feeling restricted. With a tighter weave compared to the 1080v11 it provides the structure needed to support overpronators on their running journey, while the flared heel counter creates a secure yet pressure-reducing rearfoot fit.

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh here from Sportitude Running. It is shoe review time and we're going to be talking all things New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5.

Today's review is exciting because the Vongo has been around for a few years now but in Australia we haven't seen version 3 or version 4 hit our market. New Balance decided to not bring that into our space which was totally fine.

I personally had some history with the Vongo v1 and Vongo v2. I was lucky enough to be a wear tester going back almost 8 years ago now for Vongo v1 and I had interesting comments about that, but that's all in the past.

We're talking about the present and the future. The New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 has had quite the update and we love what New Balance are doing with this shoe, where they're going regarding their support systems and what they're offering for that high mileage runner looking for a little bit of support.

Like all my reviews we’re going to talk about the outsole, midsole and the upper. I'm going to do a comparison to the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 because this shoe is so similar to give you all the information at home that may make the Vongo v5 your next mileage shoe. Without further ado let's get stuck in.

Runner Profile

Before we get stuck into the engineering of the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 let's talk about the foot type and the runner that could be considering this shoe. First things first, it’s max cushioned and there's a lot going on underneath the foot.

It features a full-length Fresh Foam X cushioning system so it's soft and very plush underneath the foot. However, on the medial side we have new technology or this new execution of arch support.

It is dialled in for that mild overpronator. For you at home that may not be aware of what that might look like, it's going to be a foot type that is flatter in a static position. It may have a slight tendency to splay that arch out. For that runner as they come down on contact first and as they transition through midstance, we'll see a tendency to favour that instep or that medial side of your gait before your foot gets ready and engaged to then toe-off out of your gait cycle.

Let’s talk about the Vongo v5. As I touched on in the intro, Australia did not get the Vongo v3 or Vongo v4 so my comparison today is going to be based on the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11. There's a lot of similarities with both of these shoes.

Outsole

First things first, let's talk all things outsole. If you have a quick glance it is pretty hard to see the differences in both the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 and the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11, however there's a marginal change in the surface area.

New Balance have engineered the Vongo v5 running shoe with a slightly wider midfoot region. To be exact they've gone 5mm wider in a men's size 9.

The other biggest change is regarding the execution of their harder or more durable rubbers. At the back of the outsole that ‘J’ or fish hook shape identified by the darker green rubber is a carbon rubber. It's a more durable, harder density rubber and also it is a little bit thicker on this medial side.

As it transitions up to where previously we might have seen a Trusstic system, it comes up a little bit past your midfoot stage of your gait cycle. This provides that arch support with more structure and integrity regarding that carbon rubber.

In comparing it to the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11, you can see where that Trusstic system sits there is a flex groove with slightly bit of exposed Fresh Foam technology.

As you come through to the forefoot the flexibility on offer in the New Balance 1080v11 is a little bit more pronounced through that forefoot. Remember this shoe is usually dialled in for a neutral to mildly supinated foot type, offering a little bit more flexibility through the forefoot than the New Balance Vongo v5 which is protecting that mild overpronator that needs a little bit more rigidity through the forefoot. Therefore the New Balance Vongo v5 is not quite as flexible through the front half of the shoe as the New Balance 1080v11.

Midsole

Now to talk about the midsole because like the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11, the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 has a lot of juice underneath the foot.

The Fresh Foam X cushioning system has been incredibly well received. If we rewind the clock when we saw the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 hit the market, it created a lot of hype and there was a lot of uptake with that shoe.

It was incredibly comfortable and not a whole lot changed with the 1080v11. It had a couple of tweaks in the upper but when we saw Vongo v5 and I was lucky enough to run in a pair about 10 months ago. I was super amped about what this shoe was all about.

To touch on the subtle variances between the midsole from the Vongo v5 to the 1080v11, there is a little bit more stack. We have a 34mm heel and 26mm forefoot in the Vongo v5 and we have a 30mm heel and 22mm forefoot in the 1080v11. You still have that 8mm heel-to-toe drop, however having a slightly higher stack is more due to the fact it's going to provide a little bit more cushioning for that mild overpronator.

As we come through to the medial side this is where New Balance has put a lot of time and effort into executing their arch support.

I'll take you on a journey and we’ll rewind the clock way back to the New Balance Vongo v1. That shoe was still classified as a relatively high stack shoe. It was on a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, so it was on a lower profile.

On the medial side they used a really aggressive convex system, in conjunction with a very aggressive concave setup on that lateral side. A reason they were doing that was to provide a gradient support system that was going to compress in the lateral side for cushioning, but wouldn't be too intrusive as that foot transitions through to midstance.

That was good for probably the first 50 kilometres. However, when the lateral side of that concave setup started compressing too much, it created too much of a gradient on that medial side to the lateral side. We saw a lot of Vongos in early days tipping out quite a lot with regards to their positioning after roughly about 50 kilometres.

New Balance like all brands take these learnings and they improve their shoes. What we see in the Vongo v5 with this gradient arch support is that it’s highlighted with almost like a marble colouration on the medial side.

New Balance have executed this gradient by keeping it temperature controlled when they've poured the EVA into their set. To get that variance in geometry on the medial to lateral side, they removed the separation and the two foams bonded together quite easily. That created a slightly more denser medial side than the lateral side. To be exact, I think it's 60 points to 45 points, so only 15 geometry points variance. It’s not like your dual density systems which are double.

It’s a slightly less intrusive way to execute an arch support but I really like how it feels. As I touched on a few times, it's less intrusive, very smooth and comfortable underneath the foot. It runs like a neutral shoe if I’m honest, but it does provide that little bit of control and stability for that mild overpronator.

Upper

Let's talk about the upper of the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5. We can see it is very similar to the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11. New Balance use the Hypoknit technology which I really like the feel of. I love the fit of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10, liked it in the 1080v11 and it’s no different here with the Vongo v5.

It's a relatively flexible construction through that forefoot, so it can be a little bit shallower which is a good thing. You can get a really dialled in fit through your front half of your foot, but know that it's going to have a little bit of space to expand when required. If your foot swells on those longer days out on the road, you know you're going to have a little bit of wriggle room through the forefoot purely and simply through that Hypoknit technology.

The biggest change is more to do with how much they have on offer. When we're talking about that overpronated foot type, obviously there's going to be a little bit of extra stress as you go through your gait cycle regarding how your foot is going to function.

They've tightened up their weave on the medial side and the lateral side. It’s a little bit different to the New Balance 1080v11 which is more open on where the upper meets the midsole both on the lateral and medial side. It’s still nice and strong however the Vongo v5 is certainly more secure.

As we come through to the midfoot I really like what they've done with their saddle. I had to go for a couple of runs to realise there is no gusseted tongue and for those of you that know me, I love a gusseted tongue but I did not notice it in the Vongo v5.

What New Balance have offered and how they've executed that lockdown through the mid part of your foot up top is really on point. They've nailed the structure, the integrity and the fit up top around your arch.

As you come through to the heel counter at the back you can see you've got that anatomical lean away setup going on with regards to the Achilles. Therefore, you can get a really dialled in fit around the base of your heel without overcomplicating things too much.

You also have a little bit of a tilt with that Achilles flare so it doesn't put too much pressure on that Achilles insertion at the back. While we're talking all things heel counters, I'm going to point out one fun fact. While we see this structure at the back in the Vongo v5, take a snapshot because this system will be put on the 1080v12 when that shoe drops later in 2021.

New Balance have loved what they've done in the lab in their wear testing and obviously in early days with the Vongo v5. They’re going to take that and they're going to put it in the New Balance 1080v12 which is good news because I like what they've done with that heel counter.

While we're talking about the uppers, let's dial in on the widths. In the men's model we have a D standard and a 2E width, so two widths on offer. In the women’s model the same thing goes with a B standard and a D width.

I love it when brands make their good mileage shoes available in widths, it means they care.

The Wrap Up

Wrapping up the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5, this running shoe is going to be a very successful shoe for New Balance. In the few runs that I've done in this shoe I've loved how it felt underneath the foot.

It's cushioned and relatively light all things considered. The take on arch support with this new engineering concept shows that brands like New Balance are taking leaps and bounds in this space.

For example the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19, Asics Gel Kayano 28, Asics Gel Kayano Lite and Hoka One One Arahi just to name a few. Brands are really spending a lot of time and effort executing those stable running shoes for that mild overpronator, but doing it in a way which is not intrusive. If that's the brief, New Balance have absolutely nailed it with this shoe.

The other thing I love about the Vongo v5 is the fact that it is very similar to the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 franchise. The only reason I say that is because New Balance had a huge amount of success with that shoe globally. You take your winnings and then your learnings and you roll it into a shoe like this. I can't help but see good things for this running shoe going forward.

In regards to the stable category from New Balance, it's important to know that the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 sits just underneath the Vongo v5. It's a mildly posted supportive shoe, but the Vongo just comes in at the top-of-the-line as a max cushioned, mildly stable shoe with that new gradient technology on the medial side.

Please subscribe to the Sportitude YouTube channel if you haven’t already done so to stay notified and we'll keep working on shoe reviews for you the running community. If you have any questions, if you've used New Balance Vongo in the past or you've had the chance to run in Vongo v3 or Vongo v4 please contact our Sportitude shoe experts. I never had the chance to run in either of those shoes so I'd love to hear feedback.

If you have any questions or queries about the shoe industry, just let us know. I'd love to hear from all around the world all your comments and your questions regarding footwear. We are all ears and we want to help you become better runners.

Stay safe, be kind to one another and happy running. We'll see you next time.

FEATURES

New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5

  • Support: Stability
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Midsole: New Balance Fresh Foam X
  • Heel Height: 34mm
  • Forefoot Height: 26mm
  • Offset / Drop: 8mm

Men

  • Weight: 274g / 9.7oz
  • Width: D (standard), 2E (wide)

Women

  • Weight: 222g / 7.8oz
  • Width: B (standard), D (wide)

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

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