New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v14 Review

The New Balance 880 v14 profile.

All shoes are reviewed by the Fleet Feet tester team, which represents a wide variety of goals, foot shapes, running locations and terrains. Reviewers pound the pavement, climb the hills, tackle the trails, then come together to compare notes. Debates ensue over the feel of the cushioning, the purpose of the shoe, and how it compares to last year’s model. While each reviewer has their own individual preferences, we hope that capturing our debates will help you make an informed decision.

When we reviewed the New Balance 880 v13 last year, we compared it to a trusty Honda Civic. Offering a comfortable and dependable ride, the New Balance 880 gets the job done without the need for fancy bells and whistles.

The 880 v14 has been updated with even more cushy Fresh Foam X midsole foam than ever before, plus some tweaks to the upper and outsole. And for runners who want to stand out from the crowd, the 880 v14 is available in Fleet Feet-exclusive colors.

Is the 880 v14 still the Honda Civic of shoes? Or has it been upgraded to BMW status? Read on to find out.

Tech Specs

New Balance 880 v14

Weight 7.4 oz (W), 9.5 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 29 mm/21 mm
Heel-to-toe drop 8 mm
Category Neutral
Surface Road
Price $140
Comparable to... Saucony Ride 17, ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26

Ride

Cushioning

Energy

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880 v14 boasts more cushioning with less weight

The inside of the New Balance 880 v14.

The New Balance 880 v14 has achieved what almost every single running shoe in the market is aiming for–adding more underfoot cushioning while simultaneously shaving off weight. With an additional two millimeters of stack height underfoot, the 880 feels softer and smoother than the previous version.

Just how did shoe designers achieve this feat? Instead of the dual-layer midsole that was used in the 880 v13, the latest version features a single-layer midsole comprised solely of Fresh Foam X, New Balance’s softest midsole compound.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed running in this,” says Travis, a 2:29 marathoner who trains on a mix of roads and trails. “Previous versions of the 880 felt heavy and clunky to me, but the updates really make a positive impact. Between the lighter weight, the two millimeter reduction in the heel-to-toe drop and the one-piece Fresh Foam X midsole, New Balance made this a shoe I was actually looking forward to running in. It just felt smoother and more energetic overall. The lighter weight makes it even more versatile as a daily trainer because I could actually pick up the pace in it.”

While I won’t be picking up the pace at the same speeds as Travis, I did notice that the 880 felt smoother and more flexible than the previous version. However, I felt as though I was plodding along during my test run and the thought of picking up the pace seemed unbearable. While I could have just been tired from a long week of training, I would have enjoyed a touch more softness. Looping back to the car metaphor, I think the 880 v14 would need more cushioning to achieve luxury car status.

Reviewers may have disagreed about the ride of the shoe, but we all agreed that the New Balance 880 v14 is as durable as ever. With a grippy rubber compound covering the areas that see the most wear and tear, this is a shoe you can confidently rack up the miles in–just like a Honda Civic.

Engineered mesh upper gets the job done

A pair of the New Balance 880 v14.

If it’s not broken, why fix it? New Balance kept things classic in the 880 v14 with an engineered mesh upper. The soft yet structured material wraps around your heel and midfoot, leaving some wiggle room in the forefoot. A padded heel collar and a plush tongue with suede accents adds a cozy feel.

“When I worked as a Fleet Feet Outfitter, we were always super nervous about the 880 updates because it was one of our bestselling shoes. A well-fitting 880 would make our shifts easy, but if New Balance made too many changes to the fit, we were in for a lot of complaining from 880 loyalists,” says Travis, who used to fit customers at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh. “Overall, I’m pretty happy with the fit of the v14. My heel and midfoot feel super secure and supported, and the toe box gives my toes room to splay properly. The stretchability of the gusseted tongue can feel good for runners with slightly narrower feet while also accommodating more voluminous feet.”

However, Mandy found the 880 to be a bit too roomy.

“The shoe felt wide on my feet, leading to an overall clunky feel,” she says. “The tongue in the 880 tends to sink down into the shoe and bunch up if I don’t spend enough time sitting down and lacing it up properly, which is inconvenient as a busy mom training for an ultramarathon. I’m usually in a rush to get out the door.”

If you aren’t sure about the width and volume of your feet, be sure to head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height. Travis may not be outfitting customers anymore, but we promise whoever is will take great care of you!

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v14 vs 880 v13

Tech Specs

New Balance 880 v14

New Balance 880 v13

Weight

7.4 oz (W), 9.5 oz (M)

8.4 oz (W), 10.6 oz (M)

Stack height

29 mm/21 mm

27 mm/17 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

8 mm

10 mm

Price

$140

$140

After shaving off a full ounce of weight, adding two millimeters of stack height and reducing the heel-to-toe drop, New Balance has created a smoother, softer 880.

Even with the new updates, I still classify the 880 v14 as a base-level trainer. It has enough cushioning to feel comfortable over long distances, but it’s not able to compete with maximally cushioned trainers like the New Balance 1080 or the More.

My main complaint with the 880 v13 was its lack of flexibility, especially after testing the extra-flexible 880 v12. I think the 880 v14 has reached a solid middle ground between rigid and flexible, leading to smoother transitions on the run.

A pair of the 880 v14.

How does the New Balance 880 v14 compare?

We took a look at the New Balance 880 v14 to see how it stacks up against comparable models. Here’s what we found.

Tech Specs

New Balance 880 v14

Saucony Ride 17

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26

Weight

7.4 oz (W), 9.5 oz (M)

8.4 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)

7.8 oz (W), 9 oz (M)

Stack height

29 mm/21 mm

35 mm/27 mm

37.5 mm/29.5 mm (W),

38.5 mm/30.5 mm(M)

Heel-to-toe drop

8 mm

8 mm

8 mm

Price

$140

$140

$140

As I mentioned above, the 880 v14 is a base-level trainer with enough cushioning to go the distance, but not necessarily anything extra in terms of technology or features. The Saucony Ride 17 and ASICS Cumulus 26 fit the same bill, and all three shoes are pretty similar in terms of tech specs.

The 880 has the lowest stack height, so it offers slightly more ground feel underfoot than the Ride or the Cumulus. This also allows it to have the lightest weight. If you like to feel at one with the road, the 880 is probably your best bet.

The outsole of the New Balance 880.

Who is the New Balance 880 v14 best for?

To answer the question posed in the beginning of the review, the 880 v14 hasn’t been upgraded to BMW-status because that’s simply not what it’s meant to be.

“Runners love the 880 for similar reasons as why people love a Honda Civic. It gets the job done, it’s comfortable and affordable and they know they can count on it,” says Kate, who happens to drive a Honda Civic.

The 880 isn’t designed for one type of run in particular, so it’s a great option for runners seeking one shoe to handle the bulk of their training. If you’re a new runner who’s just starting to build your shoe rotation, the 880 is a great starting point.

“The 880 is a great daily workhorse training shoe,” says Travis. “While it’s not my top choice for speedwork or long runs, it can work for all different types of workouts.”

Travis and Mandy also noted that the 880 is a good choice for those with more voluminous feet, that is, feet that take up a lot of space within the shoe. However, I have low-to-medium volume feet (as shown by my fit id® scan) and I found the fit to be perfect. At the end of the day, trying on the 880 in store at your local Fleet Feet is the best way to see if they’re right for you. The shoe is available in narrow to extra-wide sizes for men and medium to extra-wide sizes for women, so chances are good you’ll be able to find your perfect fit.

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