New Balance 880v10 Review | Cushioned Road Running Shoes

The New Balance 880 has been in New Balance range for ten years now. It was designed as the everyday running shoe, the ‘all-rounder’. A running shoe that will cope with the short easy runs, the longer easy runs and the quicker sessions too. It is cushioned, but responsive and not ‘soggy’. There has been little change in recent years and the New Balance 880 has become a popular shoe for many runners. However, the 880v10 has changed a lot.
The upper is now Hypoknit, which has been designed with no overlays. This makes the upper a better fit around your foot, as it bends and flexes better. The upper is weaved thicker at the points where you need more support and thinner with a more open knit where you don’t.

The New Balance 880v10 is available in wide and extra wide for men, so you can experiment to get the perfect fit. The toe box can typically feel a little pointy for me, but it has more volume in the toe box as the New Balance 1080v10. In comparison to the 880v9 I would say that the upper is less noticeable. It moulds to the foot, giving a solid fit and in a comfortable & unrestrictive manor.

Many running shoes now have ‘no heel cup’. This means that there is no plastic in the construction of the heel cup of the shoe. This construction has the advantage of allowing the heel cup of the shoe to mould around the shape of your heel. The downside of this is that you lose some stability if you tend to roll outwards or inwards a bit. It happens a lot when you get tired, even in the typically neutral runner and there is nothing to support you. This is particularly a problem for heel strikers, as they put the heel of the shoe under more stress as their heel hits the floor. The New Balance 880v10 has tried to offer the best of both constructions. The bottom part of the heel cup has an external plastic. The top part of the heel cup has none. It works well. The fit at the heel is solid and supportive, but the heel does pull around you nicely.

When you put the shoes on the first noticeable thing is that the heel to forefoot drop has gone down 2mm and is now in line with the more cushioned 1080 at 10mm. This still makes the 880 a shoe designed more for the heel striker than the midfoot runner but the 2mm reduction in the height of the heel does make for less of a hard heel strike and a smoother transition to the forefoot. The 880v9 felt soft in the heel and then firm in the forefoot. The move from one to the other wasn’t quite as smooth as in this new 880v10.

The midsole is now made from Fresh Foam X like the more cushioned 1080v10. This has given the shoe a much softer ride and taken away from the responsiveness of the shoe. It’s not quite as soft as the 1080 but it offers a more cushioned ride than the v9. The shoe isn’t ‘urging’ you to go faster like shoes that are designed for quicker running but when you pick up the pace the fresh foam does respond and you don’t feel like you are sinking. It has still maintained its versatility. Where it has improved in my opinion is as an easy run shoe. To get the benefit of your quicker days you need to run easy on your easy days! So having a shoe that is soft and comfortable and doesn’t urge you to go faster makes this easier. The drawback of the more responsive shoes is that as you settle into your run, the pace is naturally quick and yet not enough to give you anymore fitness benefits. Instead I end up tired faster! For the majority of road runners the New Balance 880v10 ticks the box as a very versatile running shoe to cover everything.

If you loved the 880v9 or 880v8 and found it the perfect cushioning level, these will certainly feel softer. You may well invest in them for easy days. If you’re put off by ‘responsive’ road running shoes, perhaps newer to running, these are a great offering.

Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle

Other Versatile Road Running Shoes

Brooks Ghost
These have a similar softly cushioned ride. 12mm from heel to forefoot makes the heel a bit more noticeable than on the 880 v10 and they are a bit stiffer. The Ghost is also available in width fittings:
https://www.northernrunner.com/search/ghost

Hoka Clifton
A softly cushioned shoe with a lower drop and a rocker. The Clifton gives a well cushioned ride. Available in two widths.
https://www.northernrunner.com/search/clifton
Hoka Clifton 6 Rreview
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-clifton-6-review/

Hoka Clifton Edge
If you don’t like softly cushioned shoes like the 880v10 has become and prefer a more snappy feel to your shoes. But one that is still good for the slower easier runs then you could consider the Hoka Clifton Edge
https://www.northernrunner.com/search/clifton-edge
Clifton Edge Review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-one-one-clifton-edge-review-cushioned-road-running-shoes/

Topo Phantom
The Phantom is another shoe that has a firmer more responsive ride. 5mm heel to forefoot and has a broad rounded toe box:
https://www.northernrunner.com/search/phantom

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