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Shoe Review: New Balance 890v4

I recently wrote a review of the New Balance 890v4 for Gear Institute I wanted to share.

The Good:

- Responsiveness of a lightweight racing shoe with the cushioning of a daily trainer - Extremely lightweight (8.5oz) for the level of cushioning

- Durable – able to withstand higher mileage (400+ miles) before breaking down as compared with other shoes with a similar weight

- Seamless (no-sew) upper fits like a glove, hugging your feet

The Bad:

- The low cut around the ankle and over-padded tongue and rear heel support feels odd at first

- Medium toe-box fit may not be suitable for runners with wide feet

- Limit to smooth surfaces – Soft forefoot isn’t suitable for trail or gravel roads

The Verdict

This shoe has a place in every runner’s closet. It’s fast, cushioned and durable. Its perfect for recreational runners looking to shed a few ounces in hopes of faster race times yet require more cushioning and support then the typical lightweight-racing shoe (i.e. New Balance 1400). For the experienced runner, the 890v4 is a bit bulky and isn’t light enough for fast intervals or races, but is a perfect shoe for runs ranging from extended tempos to progressive long runs. All runners will appreciate the durability of the 890v4, giving it a longer lifespan then other shoes with similar weight.

Full Review

New Balance did a fantastic job with the 890v4. Despite at first the shoe feels and looks a bit awkward, mainly because of its over-padded tongue and heel support and low cut around the ankle, the shoe is quickly becoming a favorite.

Classified as a neutral shoe, the 890v4 is somewhat of a hybrid that fits a niche nicely between a daily trainer and a lightweight-racing shoe. New Balance uses their super light and durable REVlight foam to provide enough cushioning for mid-foot and heel strikers while maintaining a fast responsive shoe. At a 8mm heel drop, the 890 v4 will feel best with mid-foot strikers, but is moderate enough for all types of strikers.

The shoe rides very soft on the forefoot and cushioned on the heel. New Balance uses their ABZORB crash pad for heel cushioning and support, which may seem a bit bulky for some. While the soft forefoot is responsive its also highly sensitive so you’ll want to limit this shoe to road or smooth surfaces.

A few changes from the 890v3 helped upgrade the 890v4, including completely redesigning the upper with New Balance’s FathomFit, a completely seamless upper for a more comfortable feel, especially for sockless runners. Other welcomed changes included widening the toe box (I still wouldn’t recommend this shoe for runners with wide feet) and reducing the weight by 11% to 8.5oz.

Overall, I’m very happy. The New Balance 890v4’s can be worn to fulfill numerous purposes; a daily trainer, a lightweight workout shoe or even a more cushioned racing shoe for the recreational runner.

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