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Shoe Review: New Balance 890v7

A runner holds a pair of the New Balance 890v7

New Balance completely redesigned the 890v7, and it’s lighter and faster than ever.

The New Balance 890v7 cut weight from the previous model by switching the construction and materials used in the upper and shaving rubber from the outsole. And they did it all without losing the spirit of the quick-stepping trainer.

Fleet Feet runners laced up the 890v7 to test how it fits, how it rides and how it’s different than last year’s model. Here’s what we found:

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6 mm
  • Weight: 5.6 oz, women’s; 7.2 oz, men’s
  • Category: Neutral, road
  • MSRP: $120

Shop New Balance 890v7

New Balance 890v7 Fit

After the redesign, the 890v7 looks and fits more like the similarly speedy New Balance FuelCell Impulse.

New Balance used an entirely different upper for the new 890 model, swapping a single-layer knit fabric in for the engineered mesh in the 890v6. That minimal knit upper was surprisingly accommodating for all of our testers, especially one runner who has wider-than-average feet.

The knit alternates between a tight weave and more open pattern through the midfoot and forefoot, giving it enough structure so it doesn’t sag under its own weight. One tester says the openings over the toe box and around the midfoot were big enough that he could feel the breeze on his feet and could see the color of his socks underneath.

Designers sewed a pair of lightweight, stretchy bands inside the upper to anchor the tongue. The bands are independent from the upper, and they keep the tongue snug against the top of your foot for a bootie-like feel and prevent it from sliding to one side or the other while you run.

New Balance also designed a stretchy heel collar that hugs the ankle well. One of our test runners says she was worried about how snug the collar felt while she was walking around, but she didn’t have any problems with it when she started running. (If you typically have problems with shoes rubbing or causing blisters on your Achilles, pair the 890v7 with a taller running sock or one that has a higher heel tab.)

An up close photo of the New Balance 890v7 running shoe

New Balance 890v7 Ride

The New Balance 890v7 is definitely made for speed.

The first thing our testers noticed was the weight. New Balance trimmed about 2 ounces of weight from both the women’s and men's models; the women’s shoe dropped from 7.9 to 5.6 ounces, and the men’s slimmed from 9.0 to 7.2 ounces.

One of our male testers says the only reason he noticed the shoe’s weight was because he didn’t notice it at all.

“The shoe is so light that I didn’t even think about the extra weight on my feet,” he says.

Beneath the shoe is New Balance’s REVlite midsole foam. The foam is firm compared to other New Balance cushioning, like Fresh Foam, but it boosts the shoe’s responsiveness for uptempo workouts.

Engineers also left most of the outsole bare, save for a few strips of more durable rubber in high-wear areas on the toe and in a horseshoe around the heel, which protects the foam but keeps weight down. This shoe is meant for pavement, and none of our runners had problems with traction when on asphalt or concrete even without a full rubber outsole.

The 890v7 is perfectly tuned for speed days and hard workouts.

“I really enjoyed wearing these for a long speed workout,” she says. “There isn’t a lot of protection from the ground, but if you’re running fast on a paved area, you don’t need it.”

New Balance 890v6 vs. New Balance 890v7

A side-by-side comparison of the New Balance 890v6 and the New Balance 890v7

The differences between the outgoing New Balance 890v6 and the current New Balance 890v7 are clear when you look at them side by side.

The most obvious change is to the upper. Switching from the engineered mesh of the v6 to the knit upper on the v7 gave the shoe a minimalist look and a sleek new silhouette. The new upper also employs five laces holes on each side (plus a sixth to customize your setup) instead of the six holes (with a seventh) on the old version.

Both shoes use New Balance’s REVlite foam, but designers etched a new design into the sidewall to clean up the look.

The outsole looks completely different, too. On the 890v6, the outsole was plated in rubber to improve traction and abrasion resistance, but New Balance stripped the rubber from the v7 to lighten the load.

A side-by-side comparison of the outsole on the New Balance 890v6 and the New Balance 890v7

Conclusion

The redesigned New Balance 890v7 is a premium lightweight running shoe that’s perfect for speed work or race day.

We love how the minimal knit upper stretched to fit our feet without adding any extra weight and how the midsole felt firm and responsive to match our picked-up pace. The changes make the 890v7 a shoe we want to leave by the front door for when we need a few quick miles.

New Balance struck the right balance of weight and protection, drawing high marks from one tester.

“These felt like magical running slippers,” she says. “They are definitely shoes to wear when you want to feel fast.”


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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