Gear Review – Training shoes – New Balance 890 v2

This review of the New Balance 890 v2 is in two parts: part one to confirm what I really like about the original 890 that New Balance has continued with the v2 (read my review of the original New Balance 890 here) and what New Balance has changed in the v2 and unfortunately I prefer they didn’t change (hint, hint for New Balance if they’re listening). Whenever a shoe company updates a hugely successful shoe like the 890, there is a risk that not all of the changes will be for the better. The challenge for New Balance will be to tweak the shoe in its next update to resolve any issues.

Continue reading my review below the photos.

New Balance 890 v2 is a light, neutral trainer that can improve running form

Mesh uppers, integrated webbing and flat lacing provides lightweight comfort and fit

Narrower and taller heel of the 890 v2 compared to original 890

890 v2 forefoot with smaller volume than original 890

Heel shown from top

Sole designed to help with forefoot and midfoot striking and transition from initial ground contact

Close-up of outsole with red circle highlighting trapped debris inside diamond pattern

What I like:

This is a lightweight, neutral trainer that can be used every day and on any surface (roads, track, trails – see comment below about use on trails).

Despite the minimalist approach to the shoe’s design and construction that results in the light weight, it is extremely durable and in my experience provides sufficient support and protection for high mileage training. I ran about 750 miles and 1,000 miles in my first and second pair of New Balance 890’s, respectively (averaging 40-60 miles per week, including long runs and interval workouts), and the shoes showed no abnormal wear or compression (Note: General advice is not to run more than 500 miles in a pair of shoes).

New Balance appears to have shaven off a few more fractions of an ounce of weight off the 890 v2, and updated the exterior look and feel (design and colors).

What I wish New Balance had not changed:

  • Outsole: New Balance changed the diamond pattern of its outsole and the new sole has small and narrow spaces between diamonds and inside diamonds that are a trap for pebbles and dirt. Running on asphalt roads traps plenty of debris and I have to clean the shoes or wear them with the extra weight (which negates New Balance’s effort to shave weight off the v2 shoes). See photo with red circle around small road debris trapped in diamond sole pattern. Whereas I was comfortable running on trails in the original 890, additional care should be taken when using the 890 v2 on trails.
  • Toe box: The volume of the toe box appears to be smaller than the original 890, both width and height has been reduced resulting in a tighter, less comfortable fit. This change makes it more difficult to push off the forefoot, particularly when running faster-paced workouts (which would be inconsistent with New Balance’s good running form program).
  • Heel: The heel width feels narrower and the shoe is higher in the heel, and reminds me of some of the older New Balance running shoes that I used to wear (850 and 860 series). Although I would have preferred New Balance did not change the heel width and height, I can adjust to this change.

I recommend the New Balance 890 v2 as an excellent training shoe, and look forward to running a lot of miles with my third pair of 890’s. My older son is wearing his 4th pair, and his comments and feedback are incorporated in my review. If New Balance addresses even one of the above issues, I would upgrade the New Balance 890 from “excellent” to “awesome” (which is how I described the orginal 890 here).


One comment

  1. […] New Balance introduced another awesome running shoe in its expanding lineup of lightweight and minimalist running shoes that support good running form. The New Balance 890 REVlite is a light, neutral training shoe that lives up to New Balance’s claim: it dramatically improved my running form in less than a year (if this sounds like a weight-loss commercial, it’s not, so please continue reading and look at the photos). The New Balance 890 is an excellent everyday training shoe for youth and adults (for youth who wear smaller than men’s size 7.5 or women’s size 5, I recommend the New Balance 790 Youth). Update: Read my review of the updated New Balance 890 v2 here. […]

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