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.
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.
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"?)
The 880 v10 will work well for most runners. And by that, I mean for all shapes, sizes, and weights, and most distance training. It is definitely a go-to for recovery runs, slow runs, and especially for those longer weekend forays.
Overall, at a little over 10 ounces with a 28mm-18mm drop, the 880 v10 is a solid performer offering reasonable stability with uncompromising cushioning.
Good to know
The New Balance 880 v10 is an update to a series of running shoes that are meant for daily speed training sessions and locomotive tasks. The design of this model adopts a form-welcoming structure that aims to mimic a sock-like coverage, with an intentionally stretchy and cloth-like material serving as the upper unit. The minimalist upper scheme is employed by many series within the brand's stable, including the updates of the revered stability running shoe family, the New Balance 860.
When it comes to the midsole, this product features the Fresh Foam X, an updated incarnation of New Balance's Fresh Foam technology that now boosts responsiveness and lightweight support. Blown rubber completes the underfoot platform, giving traction and protection from abrasion.
The external pad of the New Balance 880 v10 is made of blown rubber. This compound is derived from highly durable carbon rubber but has been configured to have a spongy feel that adds a bit more volume to the underfoot experience. Its job is to shield the bottom part of the midsole from the abrasive nature of the surfaces. It is also meant to provide surface grip, a trait that is fundamental to the running session.
A geometric tread pattern that yields multiple flex points permits the natural ability of the foot to bend as it goes through the gait cycle. Smooth steps would mean a performance that feels encouraged and enabled. The forefoot lift is the part of the gait that benefits the most from this pattern because it involves toe-joint bending the most.
Fresh Foam X is the material that is used for the midsole unit of the New Balance 880 v10. This technology is an update to the widely used accouterment, Fresh Foam. The defining characteristics of X include its lightweight construction, the heightened softness, and the cranked-up responsiveness. One can think of it as an evolution of a tried-and-true feature.
The sides of the midsole foam feature indentations and angular protrusions that both bolster the looks and help the spring-back mechanics of the whole cushioning system. Also, there are tiny holes near the heel part to further enable springiness and responsible impact mitigation.
A fabric-topped sockliner rests on top of the primary cushioning system. This add-on offers a soft surface for the underside of the foot to enjoy. It is flexible and removable, so custom orthotic inserts can be used instead.
HypoKnit is the technology that is used for the upper unit of the New Balance 880 v10. This material takes the structure of woven cloth. It is not pieced together by using stitched-on layers and seams; in fact, it has a seamless construction to permit it to remain comfortable and free of irritants. Each yarn of the HypoKnit has a stretchy nature that accommodates the movement of the foot and the natural way it swells during the running session.
Printed overlays grace the sides and the eyestays of this product. These synthetic prints don't make the silhouette bulky. They also do their part in helping to secure the foot by bolstering the structural integrity of the rest of the upper and acting as buffers to the fit-adjustment system.
The heel part utilizes a thermoplastic external counter that holds the back of the foot in place. This thin piece doesn't add any significant bulk to the silhouette, though its firm nature is expected to lock the heel and keep it from exiting the interior compartment unexpectedly. A portion of the thermoplastic layer even extends to the foam of the midsole, acting as a foundation that prevents the rear part of the platform from buckling or quickly sagging as time passes. Having this extra twist to the design could help in steadying the heel and, in turn, maintaining a balanced performance.
How Fresh Foam 880 v10 compares
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