Good to know
- New Balance delivers on its promise of a softer and more flexible ride in the 3rd edition of the 680 stability line. Adding flexibility is the new engineered mesh upper that is lighter and more adaptive than the past version without compromising breathability. With a more accommodating upper, runners are likely to find better fit and enjoy a more forgiving feel.
- Enhancing the element of flexibility in the upper is the substantial decrease in the number of stitches. While the new model virtually uses the same kind of overlays, most of them are already welded. The reduction of stitches results to lesser risks of irritation and hot spots.
- Flexibility continues with the outsole in the form of new flex grooves in the midfoot and forefoot. These horizontal flex grooves fully extend from the lateral to the medial side, giving the shoe a more forgiving ride despite the very stable arch support and firm sole.
- New Balance is aiming to improve the traction by changing the configuration of the lugs. In the main part of the outsole are bigger, diamond-shaped lugs that offer great leverage for runners on the road or light trail. The new decoupled heel isolates shock and helps a little with the cushioning.
- Speaking of the sole, the inclusion of the XLT footbed improves cushioning and flexibility in one go.
The fit is every bit as average as the last model of the 680 line. Medium-sized runners should enjoy the adequate fit of the heel and midfoot as well as the spacious toe box. Available sizes are medium, wide, and extra wide. The sizing is a bit off in this shoe. It runs half a size smaller. Going up in size greatly helps in getting the best and most comfortable fit. Sizes are from 6 to 15 for the men’s and 4 to 12 for the women’s.
The outsole of this affordable shoe uses blown rubber for the most part of enhanced traction and durability. New Balance is using a new pattern in the rubber treads. The midfoot is currently utilizing large lugs for exceptional bite on different surfaces. With a decoupled heel, the landing should be softer as there is an element that helps attenuate shock.
An injection molded midsole covers the entire length of the shoe for reasonable cushioning and responsiveness. Adding cushioning and shock-attenuation in the heel is the ABZORB foam. A midsole insert in the arch keeps overpronation to a minimum. The ABZORB foam is also inserted into the midsole of the NB 680 v4.
A very breathable engineered mesh dominates most of the upper. Welded and stitched overlays combine for structural support and midfoot lockdown. New Balance lines the entrance and interior of the shoe with soft and plush fabric for a really plush feel while a removable insole offers versatility where cushioning and personalized fit are concerned.