New Balance 890 v8 review
If you are a neutral runner who does not over-pronate too much, and you are looking for a daily trainer that can take you to the longer miles, this shoe may be for you.
If you prefer lower heel-to-toe drop shoes and a lightweight but bouncy ride, you will be pleased with the New Balance 890 v8.
Background info about me and the 890
I am a 42-year-old runner, about 170 pounds, 6’ 1” tall, and my feet are sized 12 (Brannock). I race all distances, from 5ks to Marathons, and spend at least half of my year training for an upcoming marathon.
If you loved the previous versions of the New Balance 890 running shoe – a lightweight neutral trainer – you will either love or hate the latest version 8.
New Balance introduced its FuelCell foam technology to this latest iteration of the 890. This means major changes in how the shoe feels and functions.
FuelCell foam is super lightweight and bouncy. Some folks hate it, but I am a huge fan, having run many miles in the Rebels, and recently purchased the FuelCell TC.
My feet are size 12 (Brannock). Size 12 in the 890 v8 gave me just the right amount of extra space in the toes. Perfect shoe length.
I use a heel-locking tie, just like every other shoe I wear, since it keeps my heels cinched down. The laces are a perfect length for this type of lacing. Otherwise, nothing special about the laces.
Generous New Balance toebox
The toe-box is more than wide enough – almost too wide. The width, along with the height, allowed a lot of movement in my toes. More on this later.
Heel & arch support
The heel is a perfect fit. Once the laces are cinched down, there is zero movement of my heel.
The arch support is not as significant as I would have hoped. There is very little support on the inside of the foot, generally. The heel-to-toe drop is 6mm.
Upper of the 890 v8
The upper is quite breathable with two layers of material, making for a very soft and plush inside. The tongue is gusseted so it does not move locations at all, becoming practically unnoticeable.
Midsole & outsole
The shoe is relatively stiff considering there is no carbon-plating. The midsole is primarily a huge chunk of FuelCell foam, which is extremely lightweight and bouncy.
The outsole is a combination of rubber around the edges, but EVA foam for the major portion of ground contact. I’m not a big fan of this as I'm not sure how long the shoe would last, but I am pleased with its performance.
One last thing on the outsole: The 890v8 has incorporated a feature from the Rebel in which the outside portion of the shoe looks like a bulge, or a fin, to prevent supination during the run.
This seems to force the foot to mid-foot strike, which I like, but if someone overpronates, this shoe would not be a good fit.
NB 890 v8 is a light one!
With the addition of FuelCell foam to this iteration of the 890, the shoe is extremely lightweight, about 9 ounces for size 10.
I incorporated the 890 v8 into one week of my marathon training, covering the full range of running:
- 6-mile recovery runs
- Track speed work
- Tempo speed work
- 19-mile long run
The shoes handled the full range of runs very well, which makes this shoe a good choice for a daily trainer.
The FuelCell midsole provided comfort for recovery runs, a lightweight bounce for speed work, and a stable platform for long runs. Though the shoe was preferred for some workouts over others.
Performance of the 890
Obviously, for recovery runs the shoe was a decent choice. When it came to more speedy workouts, specifically track and tempo, I had a little bit of an issue with the shoes.
The toe-box is a little too big and a little sloppy which allowed too much movement of my forefoot while in faster paces. This “sloppiness” was especially noticeable in hilly portions of tempo pace (6:15-6:25min/mile pace).
This did not create a dangerous condition, it just made for an uncomfortable feeling of foot-movement.
My preferred run during this test was the long run. The shoes were lightweight, comfortable, but exceptionally stable over the course of the long run.
The structure of the shoes reminded me of a lightweight Nike Pegasus, or Pegasus Turbo, except I, much prefer the 890’s 6mm drop over the Nike’s 10mm drop.
For me, this shoe performs the best on long runs between tempo and relaxed paces.
I am still skeptical about New Balance’s choice of EVA foam for the major ground contact areas of the outsole. However, after 60 miles, it seems these shoes will hold up to around 300-350 miles with no problems.