Shoe Review: New Balance 880v9

The men's and women's New Balance 880 v9

The New Balance 880 has been one of the most popular running shoes on the market for nearly a decade. Over that time, the 880’s premium build quality, comfortable fit and standout performance made it the shoe of choice for many runners—and the New Balance 880v9 doesn't break with tradition.

As the successor to the New Balance 880v8, the 880v9 got a refreshed look, but it sports the familiar ride and accommodating fit that devotees expect from the neutral running shoe. Overall, the shoe is very similar to the previous version, which means it’s still an outstanding running shoe for most runners.

One of our testers had this to say about the new shoe: "The 880v9 is a firm, reliable shoe that’s well-suited to high mileage. It’s ideal for long runs and long workouts, and it's durable enough to withstand the long days required for marathon training. In short, it’s the perfect marathon and long-distance training shoe."

Here are the quick details of the New Balance 880v9:

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10 mm
  • Weight: 8.9 oz, women’s; 10.7 oz, men’s
  • Category: Road, neutral
  • MSRP: $125

[Editor’s note: The New Balance 880v9 is only available in stores. Find a Fleet Feet location near you to check out the new shoe.]

The New Balance 880v9

New Balance 880v9 Fit

Consistency is the goal with the New Balance 880 line, and the 880v9 fits right in.

New Balance built the shoe around the same last as the previous version, so runners who loved the fit of last year’s shoe will find the same feeling in the new one. The toe box has plenty of room to let your foot splay, and it has enough volume to give your toes some wiggle room.

“The 880 felt like it was made for my feet,” one Fleet Feet tester says. “Some shoes I wear are too narrow through the midfoot and forefoot to wear for long runs, but the 880 v9 accommodated my wider-than-average feet. I cinched down the laces until the shoe was snug, and it still felt comfortable after a few miles.”

The heel cup fit securely without re-lacing the shoe, and a piece of TPU plastic in the arch provides some extra structure without feeling intrusive.

On top, the seamless mesh upper gives the shoe a smooth look and feel.

New Balance 880v9 Ride

New Balance constructed the 880v9 with a TRUFUSE midsole, which, like the last, is the same as the 880v8. The midsole combines two of New Balance’s best foam compounds: Abzorb and Acteva.

Abzorb is the thicker bottom layer of the two-foam combo. New Balance designed Abzorb with a higher rubber content than traditional EVA foam to increase its cushioning and compression resistance properties while ensuring it still soaks up forceful impacts.

On top of the Abzorb foam is a layer of Acteva, a versatile foam that New Balance says is 12 percent lighter than EVA. New Balance used Acteva to provide more support without adding unnecessary weight or compromising flexibility.

A Fleet Feet tester took the shoe out in the rain for one workout on paved trails. Through the entire workout, the shoe never felt sluggish or off balance. He says the generous cushion between his foot and the ground was noticeably soft on landings but was firm enough that it never left him feeling like he was walking on sand.

“The 880’s cushion was smooth and supportive,” he says. “I could feel the foam compress and then rebound quickly, so it never felt too mushy or too firm.”

The blown rubber outsole on the forefoot gripped the ground well, even around tight turns on wet sidewalks and greenways paved with asphalt. The durable rubber coupled with a full-ground-contact sole make the 880 a stellar everyday training shoe.

New Balance 880v8 vs. New Balance 880v9

There aren’t any structural differences between the previous model and the new one; the biggest changes are aesthetic.

The New Balance 880v9 still uses an engineered mesh upper like its predecessor—the breezy mesh stretches and flexes easily in the forefoot, but it provides ample support through the midfoot so it doesn’t feel sloppy. This year, designers gave the mesh a more open structure, which you can see in the number of holes woven into the mesh.

In addition to using the same midsole foam as the old iteration, New Balance kept the shape the same as well.

For familiar traction and protection, designers didn’t change the outsole, either. Two major grooves in the forefoot and one under the rearfoot let the 880v9 roll naturally from heel to toe, flexing right where your foot needs it.

The laces maintain the same layout as before, too, including an open lacing hole at the top of the shoe to let you customize the fit.

In a world where cell phones, computers and fashion turn over at light speed, it's nice to have something that is consistent. One Fleet Feet tester praised the staying power of the 880 line.

"The 880v9 just works, and it works every year," she says. "In fact, I’ve yet to put on a version of the shoe I didn’t like. It always fits well. It always lasts. It always feels perfect when I’m tired and need some easy recovery miles, or when I’m doing a long run on the pavement."

A photo of the New Balance 880v9

Conclusion

There aren’t any surprises with the refreshed New Balance 880v9, and that’s the way we like it.

"In a lot of ways, the 880v9 is just a standard, no-frills running shoe," one tester says. "That’s a refreshing thing to have in my rotation."

The newest 880 stays true to its heritage as a consistent, comfortable training shoe. Its accommodating fit and easy ride make it a shoe we want to run in over and over again.


Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

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