Neutral Cushioning Shoe
- Recommended for neutral runners looking for support, cushioning and a responsive ride.
- An excellent shoe for fast-paced training or logging long distances
- Weight: 10.9 oz
About a year ago, New Balance offered a low-key shoe called the NB759. It wasn’t very technical and despite its simplicity, it attracted a lot of following a runners appreciated its responsive, well-cushioned ride. Its direct descendant, the New Balance 880 doesn’t appear to be too special either. But looks can be deceiving because peso for peso, the NB880 is an excellent shoe and perhaps one of New Balance’s best road shoe.
A little more expensive than the venerable NB759, the new NB880 is essentially the same shoe with two minor differences: First, the 880’s midsole incorporates a stability web shank that makes it a notch stiffer but gives more support to the shoe. Secondly, it has incorporated NB’s ACTEVA Lite midsole which makes the shoe essentially lighter and provides great cushioning and shock absorption.
I’m confident enough to impart what the 880 can do as it has already logged about 80 kms since I got them last January. I like it so much that I am now using them exclusively for races, from 10k to the half-marathon distances. So much for that in a while.
I like the soft materials used for the upper which has plenty of open mesh and runs constant from the forefoot to the heel area. The tongue has a larger open mesh with soft cushioning underneath that hugs the top of the foot comfortably.
The outsoles are fairly aggressive that would adjust well in many surfaces. The hard rubber provided great traction on pavements and even on wet dirt roads. The midsole is made up of NB’s Acteva Light and the Stability Web. The Stability Web stretches from the arch to the heel portion which locks down the arch and gives some heft of stability at the medial port.
It almost looks like a stability running shoe except for the segmented “N-ergy” on the arch’s upper midsole that gives the shoe a noticeable rebound and produces a soft ride.
FIT and FEEL
This is probably the 880’s strongest point, its secured fit and comfortable feel. The forefoot, the upper and the heel area seem to mold into my feet like a perfect globe. The feeling was like wearing a made-to-order shoe. With the right socks and just the right amount of pressure when lacing the shoe, it was “love at first fit” and I just couldn’t wait to give it a spin out on the road.
Just as I had expected, the 880 was light enough, it had a plush ride and I felt the softness from the midfoot to toe-off. Running felt very comfortable and the easy agility was evident, one I would compare with the great hugging Saucony Pro-Grid Ride that I had a few years ago.
The shoe felt responsive on forays of short and long runs. It is well cushioned and for a neutral shoe, it has a solid base for support. Until recently, it’s been almost impossible for me to find a good training shoe that I could dabble with into a racing shoe. The 880 is one example of why that’s no longer the case. In fact as I earlier mentioned, I am now using this exclusively for races and I intend to get another pair of this model before it gets phased-out.
Although the 880 is a durable cushioned shoe for the neutral runner, it’s light enough to be used as a fast paced trainer or racing shoe. And as a neutral shoe, it has a sturdy medial post making it surprisingly stable—enough for a wide range of runners. It is also an ideal long-distance training shoe for just about any level or type of runner, which I highly recommend!