Verdict from 4 experts and 65 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The seamless upper construction and the silky interior lining deliver a very comfortable ride out of the box.
  • The price is average.
  • Durability is a strong asset of the 880 v4, according to several reviews.
  • It is lighter than the previous model.
  • The roomy toe box makes it a worthy choice for middle distance to marathons, noted a handful of runners.
  • A few mentioned that there is decent cushioning and responsiveness in this shoe.
  • Shock attenuation is excellent as it features the ABZORB foam in the heel and a bigger crash pad in the outsole.
  • Traction is optimal on the road and light trail, observed quite a number of runners.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some felt that the upper does not really hold the foot down.
  • A few mentioned that the shoe is a little stiff in the forefoot.
  • The tongue bunches at times, according to a small number of reviews.

Bottom line

New Balance has successfully placed the 880 v4 as one of the most dependable lightweight trainers that offer good arch support, superior comfort, and a fast ride. From middle to long runs, the shoe can happily pile on the miles without any complaint and has the necessary durability to cleat. It is no-fuss kind of trainer.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • The 4th instalment of the 880 has several changes introduced for runners to get the most out of the shoe. For starters, New Balanced removed some of the welded overlays in the upper. In place are mostly printed ones with the New Balance logo as the main welded overlay.
  • The mesh is modified as well. From the large and prominent holes of the prior model, this has been replaced with a very light and fine mesh. While the breathability is about the same, the new mesh greatly helped in the weight reduction.
  • The tongue is made of softer material to avoid the irritation issues of the earlier version. It is now more padded than ever for more comfort. New Balance also uses flatter laces. The laces have better friction to truly stay tied every step of the way.

New Balance brings back, generally, the fit of the previous version in the 880 v4. The fit is a bit more relaxed after the removal of most of the welded overlays. There is still decent locked down feel in the heel and midfoot with a roomy toe box that is not too generous by any means. Most runners with medium to slightly wider feet can slot in effortlessly in this shoe. Sizing is accurate in the 880 v4.

A trademark of the 880 series is the large rubber configuration of the outsole. It has superb articulation and has very deep and large flex grooves for flexibility. In this version, the crash pad is a bit bigger and with larger cut outs for enhanced shock absorption. The outsole is mostly covered in blown rubber for superb traction.

New Balance’s patented T-Beam technology offers excellent stability for a neutral shoe. It is made of thermoplastic material that forks right beneath the midfoot to also add shoe integrity. The T-Beam technoogy is also used in the well-known New Balance 880 v8.

On top of the T-Beam is the full-length ACTEVA Lite. This has average responsiveness and cushioning while being 30% lighter than average EVA. Just beneath the ACTEVA in the heel is a segment of ABZORB foam for shock absorption.

A light and breathable mesh makes up a large part of the upper. It has a glossy look that enhances the aesthetic value of the shoe. Providing decent support are the new printed overlays and the large New Balance welded logo. Going towards the heel, the area has more substance courtesy of the stitched on overlays. These do a good job of preventing heel slippage. Inside is a premium Ortholite sockliner for added cushioning and better fit.

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.