By Lars Ivar Henriksen
New Balance struck gold when it came to the New Balance 1080v11 and how awesome it is to run in. That’s why I was so excited to try out their new and improved stability counterpart, the New Balance Vongo V5.
The New Balance Vongo V1-V4 has for the longest time been a 4mm drop stability shoe with an asymmetrical midsole and no medial post. A lot of people loved the shoe, but it really didn’t replace the discontinued and much-loved New Balance 1260. Compared to its predecessors, New Balance Vongo V5 is COMPLETELY different!
This time around New Balance has taken some inspiration from both old and new and made a daily trainer that completely shakes up the formula and brings light and springy to the stability market.
No more 4mm heel drop, they have now taken inspiration from the New Balance 1080v11 with an 8mm drop. Frankly, there are a lot of inspiration taken from the extremely popular New Balance 1080v11, and that’s a very good thing!
The old and the new in perfect harmony
Just like the 1080v11, the Vongo 5 has gotten a nice new and flexible Hypoknit upper. It has added support around the midfoot and a heel counter that is a bit more structured similarly to the More v3.
It has some amount of padding around the heel collar, a semi-thick tongue that makes for a very comfortable fit around the midfoot, and a nice, roomy and stretchy toe box to give those toes some wiggle room.
New Balance Vongo V5 is one of the best shoes I have ever had on. It follows and hugs my foot and blends the new stretchy materials with what we know works from earlier models. There are no compromises here, it just works!
A new stability shoe without limitations
The main difference between the 1080v11 and the Vongo V5 is a medial post, an added structure under the arch that seamlessly blends in and doesn’t feel as intrusive and stiff as it can in other stability shoes. This is done by building out the medial side of the midsole and removing the need for a huge stability post. In essence, the platform is a bit wider. We have seen this been done in the New Balance More V3 as well, and again New Balance seems to be hitting the mark for a nice running sensation, that still has some support.
When running, the most noticeable difference between the 1080 V11 and the Vongo v5 is the softness underneath the heel. I’ve seen people put on the 1080 V11 and feeling it is too unstable to walk in. The Vongo V5 fixes the perceived wonkiness but will not feel as springy in the heel area.
I have a hard time finding a better stability midsole, that both offer stability, softness, and lightness in one package. I run in both neutral and stability shoes, and sometimes the transition back to stability can feel a bit clunky. It does not in this shoe, the transition from heel to toe when running just feels natural and like it should be.
Standard New Balance outsole
Just like with the New Balance 1080v11, there is plenty of outsole available to ensure a longer-lasting shoe for the consumer. There is a bit of exposed foam in certain areas to ensure a softer midsole feel, but strategic rubber placement to make sure the grip is optimal.
I generally never have anything bad to say about the rubber underneath New Balance shoes and I don't have it this time either, but the grip isn’t as good as with the More v3, but that one had something close to lugs underneath.
That Fresh Foam X magic!
When it comes to daily trainers, nothing beats that Fresh Foam X magic in my opinion. It’s lightweight, durable, comfortable, and gives a nice springy step throughout the entire run. What’s great about both the 1080 V11 and the Vongo V5 is the versatility these shoes have. They have just the right amount of foam to just be fun to run in and are both shoes that are hard to say no to.
The New Balance Vongo V5 can do it all, but if you want more speed then I would strongly suggest the New Balance Fuel Cell Prism Energystreak v2, which is lighter and gives a tiny bit of stability to the tempo shoe segment.
Vongo V5 is to me, an instant classic, and I love it!
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