Dependability is where the New Balance 880v13 shines. It may not have all the fancy bells and whistles of a super shoe, but it consistently delivers a smooth, comfortable ride that runners have flocked to for years.
The New Balance 880v13 is built with a dual-density midsole comprised of Fresh Foam X, New Balance’s softest midsole compound, under the heel and a firmer, high-density foam beneath the forefoot. It’s the same foam used in the New Balance 1080v12. The result is a nicely balanced ride that feels soft upon landings but energetic during takeoffs.
“I like how the underfoot feel is soft enough to absorb impact but firm enough to give my body good feedback and energy response on the road,” Kate says. “I prefer a firmer shoe to a squishy shoe, and the 880 strikes the perfect balance for me.”
While the shoe provides a firmer sensation, it offers enough flexibility to move with you as you run and consistently ranks as one of the best neutral running shoes we see every year.
“Of all the comparable neutral trainers, I feel like the 880v13 is the most flexible, which I enjoy,” Caroline says. “Running in super rigid shoes often leaves my feet and calves sore, but the 880 is so smooth that my strides just rolled along.”
The 880v13 also offers New Balance’s NDurance rubber outsole, a rubber compound that helps the shoe stand up to the wear and tear that comes with pounding the pavement. The rubber is strategically placed in areas that see the most impact, like the edges of the heel and the forefoot.
There’s a small section of exposed midsole foam right under the heel, but it won’t touch the pavement because it curves slightly upwards. Many shoes leave portions of exposed midsole foam to reduce the excess weight added by the rubber outsole, but reviewers noticed the 880v13 feels much more durable than competitor models in the same category.
“Other brands make their own version of the 880, but no one can compete with its durability,” Max says. “The rubber on the outsole feels like it has multiple lives, like a cat. It gives me confidence that this shoe will last past its suggested mileage.”
Reviewers also noticed that the outsole, while primarily designed for road running, can hold its own on certain trail surfaces. While we recommend using trail shoes for trail runs, the 880 can work in a pinch if you have to cut through a small section of well-maintained terrain.
“I took the 880 out for seven and a half miles over a mix of pavement, dirt road and a bit of trail,” Nate says. I feel well balanced and stable in this shoe. The durable outsole provides plenty of grip, even on wet and slippery surfaces, and it gives me confidence that I can rack up some miles on this shoe without excessive wear and tear.”