Verdict from 4 experts and 71 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • Many liked the new look and design of the New Balance 880 v5.
  • Some runners applauded the durable construction of the shoe.
  • The 5th version of the New Balance 880 has an improved seamless upper construction.
  • It has blown rubber outsole for added traction and durability on high wear areas.
  • Most runners also noticed the improved cushioning of the 880 v5.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners took note that the shoe has a poor fit, causing them to experience calf pain.
  • The original price of the shoe is slightly expensive to some runners.
  • Others felt that the New Balance 880 v5 is a bit heavy for them.

Bottom line

The New Balance 880 v5 is a neutral road running shoe that is designed for long distance runs and everyday training. Several positive comments were towards the shoe's performance and design. There was only a few negative feedback from runners regarding the price and fit. In summary, the 880 v5 was an above average running shoe worth recommending. 

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • Upper durability and more cushioning are the main updates in the 5th version of the very popular 880 series. The lack of durability in the upper is addressed by the new model that has more welded overlays. Besides improving durability, the strategic placement of the overlays helps improve the fit and structure of the upper as running downhill no longer causes irritation nor does the fit seem too wide.
  • Enhanced cushioning or a softer feel is delivered by making the ABZORB foam full-length in this version. Another contributing factor to the more cushioned feel is the addition of more rubber in the forefoot. There is also better shock absorption as the new version has a larger crash pad than before.
  • New Balance utilizes a neoprene stretch tongue in the 880 v5. It gives runners better options in finding their most comfortable zone with this tongue. The tongue is fairly padded and keeps the pressure from the laces off of the top of the foot.

The New Balance 880 v5 remains to be a shoe designed for runners with average foot dimensions. With the new FantomFit technology providing better support, the shoe has better security in the heel and midfoot. There is also decent room in the forefoot to accommodate mid-run swelling for ultra-long miles. New Balance offers medium and wide as the available widths of this shoe. Sizing is accurate in the men’s and women’s versions.

The outsole is very similar to the old version where the forefoot grooves and use of rubber are concerned. It is still largely dominated by blown rubber in most areas with Ndurance rubber for durability in the heel and the lateral side of the shoe. There is a clear addition of blown rubber in the forefoot, which contributes to the more cushioned ride in the shoe.

A new cushioning system is in place in the 880 v5. Sitting just above the outsole is the ACTEVA LITE, New Balance’s midsole foam that is 24% lighter than average EVA and has better resistance to compression set. On top of this foam is the new full-length ABZORB foam that really enhances the transition and the cushioning of this shoe. Between the rubber outsole and the ACTEVA LITE is the patented T-Beam technology or the TPU shank that is designed like a center beam to support the arch and provide torsional stability to the shoe. The same midsole materials were also used in other New Balance shoe like the 880 v8.

The synthetic mesh upper is very breathable and soft. FantomFit or the no-sew overlays are more numerous and strategically place to provide better fit and structure. Including the new neoprene tongue, the entire upper really fits like a glove and enhances the comfortable ride of the shoe. An industry-grade Ortholite sockliner adds cushioning and plush feel upon step-in.


How New Balance 880 v5 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 23% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Bottom 21% New Balance running shoes
All New Balance running shoes
Bottom 24% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of New Balance 880 v5.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.