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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- FuelCell Foam – lightweight
- Stable platform
- Sloppy toe-box
- Questionable outsole durability
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.
Good to know
The 8th edition of the popular New Balance 890 model has undergone significant improvements to deliver a more comfortable and efficient ride. This lightweight running shoe features a clean, contemporary design that is perfect for regular training and everyday wear.
Instead of the usual knitted upper, which is used in the previous versions of the 890 v8, the manufacturers utilized a new engineered mesh top. The mesh material offers structure and provides more support to the foot. Moreover, this component delivers added durability without sacrificing breathability.
To provide a smooth and responsive ride, the new FuelCell cushioning technology is used. This innovative midsole material was developed to help improve speed and comfort. The Ground Contact REVlite foam with strategically placed rubber pods is also incorporated into the outsole. This structure is designed to enhance the sole’s durability and responsiveness.
The New Balance 890 v8 follows the standard measurement when it comes to sizing. Runners can expect a good fit in their usual sizing preferences. However, it is recommended to try the shoe in-store or check the general feedback of users about sizing to ensure a pleasant wearing experience.
The soft and smooth upper design is a contributor to a secure yet unrestricted fit. Another component that directly affects the fit of the shoe is the lace-up closure. The shoelaces allow for a secure and customize in-shoe feel. A gusseted tongue is also utilized for a snug and secure midfoot fit.
The outsole of the New Balance 890 v8 is made from a combination of Ground Contact REVlite foam and rubber pods. The Ground Contact REVlite foam is positioned on the forefoot for a fast, snappy feel. It helps the shoe stay lightweight while enhancing responsiveness and offering optimal grip on various surfaces.
The rubber pods are positioned strategically in high wear areas of the outsole. This element is made from a highly durable rubber material that promotes durability for long-term use.
A high-rebound foam called the FuelCell midsole is incorporated into the New Balance 890 v8. The FuelCell is a newly improved midsole foam from New Balance, which is designed through a data-driven midsole shaping technique. This material delivers excellent energy return and smoother transitions, helping the runner run faster and longer.
The New Balance FuelCell 890v8 features an engineered mesh top for a secure and snug fit. The mesh fabric is a soft and lightweight material that offers breathable coverage. It allows for continuous ventilation to keep the foot dry and cool throughout the day.
Providing personalized in-shoe feel is the traditional lacing system. It lets the runner adjust the tightness or looseness around the shoe for a supportive and comfortable fit.
A gusseted tongue is included in the shoe for a snugger midfoot fit. The tongue also protects the top of the foot from getting pinched by the shoelaces. It also prevents dust and small rocks from getting inside the shoe. The gusseted tongue and padded heel collar are working together to provide a secure lockdown fit. These components help keep the foot in place during the movement for a more stable ride.
The New Balance 890 v8 is a road running shoe that is intended for neutral runners or those who do not overpronate. While the New Balance 860 v9 is categorized as a stability road running shoe that is specifically designed to give support to users who overpronate.
Similar to the 890 v8, the 860 v9 running shoe utilizes a form-fitting mesh top for a breathable wrap. The traditional lacing system and padded tongue are also used to assist the mesh upper in customizing the fit.
The 860 v9 is constructed with a blown rubber outsole that offers a firm grip while protecting the platform against abrasion. The 890 v8, on the other hand, utilizes the Ground Contact REVlite foam. This outsole material is 30% lighter compared to other New Balance outsoles, offering the same level of responsiveness and durability.
The New Balance 860 v9 is crafted with excellent stability features and add-ons that help minimize the impact of overpronation. It also features a higher heel-to-toe drop than the New Balance 890 v8 model. All these factors justify why the New Balance 890 v8 is lighter and faster compared to the New Balance 860 v9.
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