New Balance 890 Review
The New Balance 890 is incredibly light, but it’s not a stripped down racing flat reserved for speedsters. The 890 is a neutral running shoe for everybody, thanks to REVlite, a new midsole foam compound with the durability of foams that are 30% heavier, which means way more fast and way more excellent. Synthetic/mesh upper, with ABZORB EX provides durable cushioning. ABZORB cushioning in the forefoot offers exceptional shock absorption. N-Lock external support system ensures that the shoe is pulled snugly around the midfoot. Reflective detailing enhances visibility. N-Durance rubber outsole gives maximum durability.
When I first picked up this shoe and felt how light it was, I was very worried that the upper of the shoe was going to be very flimsy and offer no support. I am happy to say that my worries quickly disappeared as soon as I laced them up for the first time. The upper of this shoe is predominantly mesh, with a very thin synthetic material that wraps around all the parts of the shoe that require some kind of structural support, mainly around the forefoot. This felt-like material is very thin and pliable, allowing the upper of the shoe the bend freely, while still providing plenty of structural support to the upper. This is a very small innovation that New Balance have implemented throughout the shoe, which is the reason why this shoe can be so light. The heel area has some really nice padding and is somewhat low cut, making for a secure, yet free feel that is unique for a running shoe. The tongue is also very nicely padded, which allows you to pull the laces as tight as you would like, without having any problems with lace bite. The overall fit of the shoe is fairly wide, with minimal arch support, allowing it to fit nearly any foot type comfortably. I also noticed that the upper did seem to stretch a little bit after a couple hours of running, so if they feel a little snug at first, give them some time to stretch. This shoe really requires no break-in time, for most, and is ready to go the moment that you pull them out of the box. I wore my usual size 9.5US for review and they fit perfectly. If you’re looking to order this shoe, I would recommend ordering your regular size.
This is where this shoe really surprised me. When I first picked it up, I couldn’t believe how light it was, given the type of shoe that it is. It weighs in at 9.5oz, which is pretty incredible for a shoe that is not stripped down to nothing, like other lightweight running shoes. The sole is nice and thick, the upper provides good lateral support, the insole is not paper thin and the overall feel of the shoe is fairly cushioned. This truly is a lightweight running shoe that doesn’t place itself in a barefoot style running shoe, something that is not often seen. You won’t forget that they are your feet, but they certainly won’t be weighing you down.
Since this is a running shoe, its main function is running. They provide enough padding for longer distance running, but they do lack some of the support that you do get with other heavier running shoes. That being said, this is a “lightweight” running shoe and can be used for several activities. You could do some speed training in these, as they are very light, but I would not cross train in them simply because I don’t feel that the upper provides enough lateral support for high speed changes in direction. This is also a shoe that can be worn as a lightweight everyday shoe. Also note that the tread on this shoe is not very aggressive at all and is suited for running on smooth surfaces and not for trail running.
Just from walking around in the New Balance 890, I could tell that running in these shoes would be great. The sole of the shoe provides quite a bit of cushion in the forefoot area, much more than what I was expecting to get from such a lightweight shoe. The sole is also very flexible in the forefoot, making for a very smooth running experience. Like I said, the sole offers a very soft cushion, so for runners that are looking for a shoe that will reduce some of the impact of running, while still having a fairly lightweight shoe, this will do the trick. Personally I would have liked the sole to be a little stiffer, but that’s just me. Due to a very comfortable and secure fit, running feels very stable. The one thing that I did notice that could have been improved was the amount of arch support that this running shoe offers. There is some arch support, but what is there is very minimal, especially with how padded the sole of the shoe is. I would say that the feel is much more relaxed, which is not a bad thing, it just isn’t always the best thing for running longer distances. From straight out of the box I put these shoes on and ran just over 12 kilometers with little to no discomfort whatsoever. The only problem that I had was some slight discomfort due to the minimal arch support, after about an hour of running. That being said, the pain that I did have was manageable and not enough to stop you from running. So, is this a long distance running shoe? The answer is yes, if you want it to be. The reason I say this is because of how light this shoe is. If you want the lightweight feel with the added support of a more traditional running shoe, than this shoe will be your new favorite. If the concept of a lightweight running shoe isn’t your cup of tea, than you should probably look elsewhere for something that offers a little more support.
This a running shoe that has a lot going for it, for a fairly low price. It is lightweight, comfortable and nicely cushioned. It’s amazing how New Balance managed to build a lightweight running shoe that is not stripped down to nothing. This is one of the only running shoes, sub 10 ounces, that still offers a cushioned feel, and is still supportive. You can use this shoe as a dedicated running shoe or as an everyday shoe, and it will perform to a very high standard. If you’re in the market for a solid, fairly priced, and lightweight running shoe, the New Balance 890 is a fantastic choice.
Fit 8 out of 10
Weight 9 out of 10
Function/Versatility 7 out of 10
Running/ Comfort 8 out of 10
The Verdict 32 out of 40 or 80%