New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v10 review
Introduced around March of 2020, the 880 v10 is a "sleeper" in the wide array of cushioned, reliable trainers. This durable, lightweight trainer could be a lot of things to a lot of runners.
Upper fit and function
I'm a sucker for the step-in feel—I admit—and this 880 immediately feels like your wayward feet have finally found their home. It has a soft, hypo-knit upper that is reinforced like a saddle at the mid-foot, along with a generous but not sloppy forefoot, and a nicely padded heel counter make for a convincingly great initial fit.
The padded tongue is not overdone and generally keeps its place when running. However, it's not gusseted (anchored) on the sides like many.
As mentioned, the forefoot should accommodate varied foot widths; I tend to have a duck-type foot and the width and height of the toe box provided ample wiggle room—essential on a long summer run.
The heel counter is interesting: Basically, that plastic external cup is it. While the interior heel is gently padded, this plastic thingy provides a bit of stability—and for those of us with temperamental heel issues, it didn't really aggravate mine.
Fresh Foam midsole magic
This is where the 880 v10 nails the sweet spot. New Balance uses their Fresh Foam+ for the heart of the shoe, along with a softer EVA compound as additional forefoot padding (note the black padding in the forefoot). Nicely done, NB!
Not to be overlooked, note the little pinholes on the rear lateral (outer) sides of the midsole. They aren't there for decoration.
According to NB, they are laser engraved and add to the cushion properties, especially for the heel strikers among us. After putting in the miles with the 880 v10, I can honestly say my feet and legs did not object to one of the most cushioned shoes I've ever run in.
Fresh Foam+ has pretty good resistance to compression-set, too. So, depending on your size and weight, the cushioning properties of this shoe should be long-lived.
Pretty straightforward here. Solid carbon rubber around the heel-wear areas, especially on the medial (inside) side if you tend to overpronate a bit, and on the toe-off area. The forefoot through the midfoot is a durable, softer blown rubber.
Expect to see some wear here first. Honestly, NB could have saved some weight and wear by just patching in areas of durable carbon rubber in the high-wear midfoot area.
Afterthoughts on the NB 880 v10
You know: you drop serious bucks on your running shoes—basically, your biggest investment. I take note of the quality and the finishing touches.
Pulling the insole, which is nicely padded, check out the finishing of the inside: note the even stitching, and that blue covering is actually padded as well.
(Check this on your current shoes, cause some manufacturers really have to up their game on some of their medium-priced trainers—can you say "adi-das"?)
Tip: see the best running shoes.