New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 review

The New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 is a very comfortable running shoe suitable for high mileage runs. It offers a responsive and cushioned ride while delivering excellent grip on varied surfaces. 

With its impressive performance and nice-looking design, the New Balance 880 v11 is a sure win.

Who should buy it

The Fresh Foam 880 v11 is recommended for runners who:

  • need a shoe for long-distance runs
  • are heel strikers
  • prefer a cushioned ride

Who should NOT buy it

Look away if you are:

Pros

  • True to size
  • Secure foot lockdown
  • Responsive and cushioned
  • Very comfortable
  • No adaptation period
  • Impressive grip on dry and wet surfaces
  • Minimal wear after 100km

Cons

  • Not for warm weather

The Fresh Foam 880 v11 fits true to size

The New Balance Fresh Foam 880 fits like advertised. My 10.5 size felt correct with just the right amount of toe room. 

Responsive and cushioned

I can’t mention enough how the shoe feels like running on clouds. Despite being very cushy, the shoe felt like it is returning energy with each footfall rather than absorbing it. Besides that, the top of the heel curves away so that unlike other shoes it can never dig into your Achilles tendon.

It’s an aesthetically pleasing shoe that provides a  comfortable ride. I really enjoyed my first 100 km with the shoe because it is one of the most cushioned shoes I have had in a long time.  

Very comfortable

The heel is snug and the top of the heel curves away from your Achilles forming the most comfortable heel I have had in a shoe. The toe box was spacious enough and felt super comfortable. 

Secure lockdown

There are extra lacing holes so lots of options to adjust to secure the feet. My feet were locked in with no slipping yet never any pressure points. 

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Best for heel strikers 

If you are a heel striker you will really like these shoes. The rear part of the sole has just the right cushion to allow the foot to strike then roll through the stride. I am usually a mid-foot striker, but due to a calf injury, I tested the shoe mostly with heel striking. 

Requires no adaptation period

There isn’t anything I found that would require any adaptation to stride or strike with this shoe. It’s fairly conventional in that sense. It may depend on the individual but nothing about this shoe would force any adaptation. 

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Impressive grip on both dry and wet surfaces

In the 100 km I ran, the weather was fairly dry, however, one occasion presented a light rain which tends to make the pavement greasy. The grip on dry roads and the track was perfect. No-slip at all. On the one rainy day I found that, despite the slippery wet pavement, the shoe felt like I had suction cups on. No-slip at all! I found that to be a pleasant surprise.

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The Fresh Foam 880 v11 is great for long runs

During my 100 km test, with varied pace from 4:50 to 6 min/mile, I ran on:

  • 80% on roads
  • 10% on hard gravel trails
  • 10% on track

The shoe is great for the bulk of your training days and could probably work for tempo, but you may want to go to a less cushy shoe for speed work. It’s personal preference really.  

Not for warm days

The New Balance 880 v11 has a mesh upper that gives average breathability. On a very hot day, my feet were very sweaty and the shoe was quite damp after.

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Minimal wear after 100km

So far the wear has been minimal however it would require a longer test period and perhaps 500  to 600 km of further running to determine value based on wear.

Aesthetically nice

The New Balance 880 v11 has an attractive look. It’s not unconventional but it’s fresh in the white upper with red and black soles that I tested. 

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Competitive price

Cushioned neutral shoes have an average price of $127. Retailed at $129, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 is competitive with other cushioned neutral shoes

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Conclusion

I would definitely go for the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 again. Having worn New Balance since the 1970’s I can attest that their shoes have come a very long way and represent the state of the art in running shoe design well.  

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Rankings

How New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 5% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 4% New Balance running shoes
All New Balance running shoes
Top 5% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11.
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Author
Nick Brindisi
Nick Brindisi

I have run competitively since 1976 beginning with 1,500M and 3,000 M track events, progressing through 10K, Half and Full Marathons and then onwards to ultra distances from 50K to 160K trail events. As a running coach, I love inspiring and helping Kenyan elites and less fortunate kids alike. I’m most content running in the mountains with big climbs and descents.