If you love the feel of the New Balance (NB) 880v3 neutral trainer but need a bit of support, you may want to consider the NB 870v3 model. This is a stability trainer with an 8mm heel offset. It weighs 9.8 ounces. The shoe has a friendly, slightly wider than average fit that does not require you to have the narrowest of feet.
The underfoot cushioning of the 870v3 is immediately apparent in part because the slip-lasted model has a flexible blown rubber forefoot. The shoe has a REVlite midsole that offers a fine amount of protection for one’s feet. Support for mild-to-moderate pronators is provided in the form of a relatively firm, but non-obtrusive, medial post (some efficient runners might not notice the post while running).
The 870v3 should serve as a well cushioned and durable shoe for runners who train on a variety of surfaces, both hard and soft. But some runners will look for a lighter and perhaps more personally exciting shoe, and this brings us to the NB 890v3.
Some will remember the NB 900 neutral training running shoes line. These were low-to-the-ground lightweight trainers that were great for running under all conditions and on almost all surfaces. I ran in most of these models and I sometimes still jog in a pair of the now-classic NB 903s from 2008. The NB 890v3 reminds me of the old 900s.
The third iteration of the 890 is a lightweight neutral trainer that weighs between 9.1 and 9.55 ounces (depending on the data source) and comes with an 8mm heel drop. It’s semi-curved and has a low toe-box, but enough room up front that it does not become an issue. The 890v3 has a unique fit and feel reminiscent of a late ’80s/early ’90s racing flat. The fit is snug and secure – with the added bonus of more than sufficient protective foam around the ankles – and this is achieved without tight lacing. The colorful flat laces can be tied quickly and do not come loose or undone.
The 890v3 has a nicely cushioned insole and REVlite midsole; together these provide a bounce you can feel in the shoe’s ride. The fully blown rubber sole is ultra-flexible, and that’s a bit of good news for both forefoot strikers and those with inflexible feet. The sole is a hybrid-patterned one, flat enough to be used on roads and stubby enough for trail runs.
On sidewalks the shoe transforms heel strikers into mid-foot strikers, which is a positive thing, while providing protective cushioning. The 890v3 offers great energy return on asphalt; on this surface the shoe feels fast. The NB 890v3 would be a good choice for a 5K to a half-marathon shoe for most runners, and it would clearly be a desirable marathon shoe for efficient runners.
I found this model to be near wondrous on a hard-packed dirt trail, as the very flexible sole allows the feet to “ramble tamble” at will (whatever John Fogerty meant by that). The shoe may be wondrous enough to foster “wanderous” training runs.
On a crushed gravel track, the 890v3 lets your foot dig in while providing an exemplary level of protection on what can be a wearing surface for tender feet and metatarsals. On an oval track, the shoe seems to adjust to any foot landing pattern – forefoot, mid-foot or heel striking.
While the NB 890v3 is technically a neutral shoe, I suspect that a wide variety of runners could train and race in it (exempting Clydesdales and moderate-to-severe pronators).
The grippy sole on the NB 890v3 means that it’s a shoe I would choose and feel free to run in on a rainy, slick, and slippery day. This model breathes confidence in its apparent ability to come through under any conditions, something which breeds confidence in the person wearing the shoe.
If you’re headed to your local running shoe store to try out models like the Mizuno Wave Sayonara and the Saucony Mirage 3, you may want to also do a trial run in the New Balance 890v3. There’s a chance that your heart and/or your feet may fall in love with the shoe.