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New Balance 860 vs. 880 vs. 890 vs. 1080: Differences and Reviews 2024

New Balance 860 vs. 880 vs. 890 vs. 1080: Differences and Reviews 2024

    Many running shoe companies create lines of shoes to meet various running needs.For the past several years, New Balance has been upgrading its shoe models to improve support, your walking and running stride, and cushioning.The debate among New Balance fans has always been about which shoe is better.People are overwhelmed by New Balance’s numeric system and often confuse shoes that have quite similar numbers.New Balance 860,880,890 and 1080 are all neutral running shoes from New Balance.They have a lot of similar technologies used to build them.However, they are also very different.What is the difference between the New Balance 880 and 860?What is the difference between New Balance 880 and 1080?What is the difference between New Balance 880 and 890?New Balance 860v12 vs. 880v12 vs. 890v8 vs. 1080v12:which pair is best for you?Is New Balance 860 a good walking shoe?Is New Balance 880 good for high arches?In the sections below, you will find a very detailed comparison of New Balance 860 vs. 880 vs. 890 vs. 1080. I have compared all the major features and how it would feel to run in them.Keep reading and you will know which pair of trainers is right for you.


New Balance 860v12 Review

mens and womens new balance 860v12 shoes laying on bricks

The New Balance 860 has always been a staple stability training shoe from NB. One of the best stability running shoes, the New Balance 860 provides reliable support and cushioning runners and walkers love.Version 12 comes in with a new upper that significantly improves the lockdown and ride of the shoe.

The 860v12 is a firm riding shoe that still provides plenty of protection for your daily miles. The construction of the shoe is still pretty consistent with many "traditional" stability components utilizing posting and platform rigidity and should work for those that enjoy that category. While the midsole gives the shoe a smooth and cushioned feel, it remains firm enough to feel stable.A dual-density medial post helps reduce the effects of overpronation, providing stability during every stride. You can feel confident and secure in the New Balance 860v12.It competes in terms of price and cushioning with the ASICS GT-2000, Brooks Adrenaline, and Saucony Guide. In terms of cushioning the closest shoe would be the Saucony Omni. In terms of stability the Saucony Omni shares many of the same features.Built for reliability over the long haul and sustained comfort over all distances, the 860 is a true go-to shoe.

New Balance 860v12 Pros and Cons

  • Built for use on the road or in the gym.

  • Perfect daily runner.

  • Perfect for runners with medium or low arches.

  • Strategic embroidery on breathable mesh for consistent support in upper.

  • 3D-molded heel for increased security keeping your heel in place.

  • Tough rubber outsole for long-lasting wear.

  • Fresh Foam midsole for premium cushioning and shock absorption.

  • Runs half a size small.

  • Quite heavy.

  • Firmness felt on long runs.

  • Heel counter is not for everyone.

  • Too breathable in winter.

New Balance 880v12 Review


The 880 is a great classic trainer with a modernized ride that will work for tons of people for a ton of different reasons.It is the classic daily workhorse in the New Balance stable of shoes. It can tackle cross-training just as well as it crushes daily miles. This reliable daily trainer is durable and stays comfortable over long miles. The 880 has a lot of outsole to hold up to a lot of running and the plush upper uses a stretchy double jacquard mesh that has strategically placed zones for support and ventilation.

Softer than ever and upgraded for an even better fit, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12 continues to be a daily choice for runners of all levels.Version 12 retains the same 10 mm drop with a dual-density midsole with a new softer Fresh Foam, and added upfront FuelCell which is a slightly more dense upgrade giving a bit more energy through toe off.The double Jacquard upper returns but less reinforced creating a more relaxed fitting upper.Thanks to the more traditional features offered in the 880 v12, it makes it a great shoe for beginner runners as it offers a smooth and responsive ride without being over the top.

New Balance 880v12 Pros and Cons

  • Soft cushioning with just the right amount of bounce for a carbon-free plate effect.

  • Versatile on a variety of surfaces.

  • Midsoles have been reimagined with a dual-layer construction pairing top-bed foam cushioning and underfoot Fresh Foam X for a natural and responsive ride.

  • Plush, engineered mesh uppers are constructed with no-sew overlays and infused with strategic zones of breathability and support.

  • Classy yet fun look.

  • Durable outsole.

  • Reflective for low-light runs.

  • Opens up to wide feet.

  • Great grip on pavement.

  • Upper too bulky, making the adjustment complicated.

  • Lacks breathability on hot days.

  • Slips on snow and slick roads.

New Balance 890v8 Review


A simple, clean daily trainer, New Balance 890 v8 is a versatile option for various runs. New Balance introduced its FuelCell foam technology to this latest iteration of the 890. This means major changes in how the shoe feels and functions.The lightweight mid-distance shoe now features a full-length FuelCell midsole and expanded blown-rubber coverage on the outsold for improved traction.Comfortable enough for recovery days, it also reacts well to speedwork and has an ample amount of cushion for longer distances. It is also well below the average weight of daily trainers which makes it even more appealing for tempo runs.The shoe is firm, but not hard. It performs best on pavement during up-tempo thresholds or fartleks over moderate distance (5-8miles).As an added bonus, this sleek and stylish shoe can easily transition from a workout to trendy streetwear.

This shoe is great for short to mid-distance runs, but the higher arch and somewhat narrow toe-box are not ideal for longer durations. The shoes offer a snappy ride that gently puts you on your toes for faster running.

New Balance 890v8 Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight FuelCell Foam.

  • Quick heel-toe transition.

  • Sleek, edgy aesthetics.

  • Snug, sock-like fit.

  • Breathable.

  • Secure lockdown.

  • Stable platform.

  • High arch.

  • Narrow toe box.

  • Sloppy toe-box.

  • Lacks outsole durability.

  • Somewhat stiff.

New Balance 1080v12 Review


What makes the 1080 unique isn’t just that it’s the best running shoe we make, it’s also the most versatile. The 1080 delivers top-of-the-line performance to every kind of runner, whether you’re training for world-class competition, or catching a rush hour train. The Fresh Foam X 1080v12 represents a consistent progression of the model’s signature qualities. The smooth transitions of the pinnacle underfoot cushioning experience are fine-tuned with updated midsole mapping, which applies more foam to wider areas of the midsole and increases flexibility at the narrower points. The ultra-modern outlook is also reflected in the 1080’s upper construction. The v12 offers a supportive, second-skin style fit with an engineered Hypoknit upper, for a more streamlined overall design.

Given the emphasis on comfort, there is also a higher weight, which positions this shoe to be best used for easy and daily mileage without the desire to pick up the pace. Its geometry sets this premium trainer apart from other premium shoes like the Brooks Glycerin, Mizuno Wave Sky, or Saucony Triumph in terms of who may enjoy this shoe and benefit (or not benefit) most from it.

New Balance 1080v12 Pros and Cons

  • Comfortable cushioning that offers good protection.

  • Good for wide feet.

  • Stretchy upper improved from previous versions.

  • Smooth and pleasant ride.

  • Sturdy shoe.

  • Improved heel design.

  • Precise lockdown.

  • Lack of responsiveness.

  • Size runs big.

  • High weight.

  • It may be too loose for a narrow foot.

Where to Buy New Balance Shoes Cheapest?

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New Balance 860 vs. 880 vs. 890 vs. 1080: Comparison Side by Side

1.Construction and Materials

  • Outsole

New Balance 860v12 - The outsole of the New Balance 860 is covered in a thick layer of blown rubber. It adds durability to the trainer because of its thickness. The flex grooves in the forefoot along with the guidance line running from toe to heel add to the flexibility of the trainer. The flexibility isn’t felt immediately, but over time and miles it increases.

New Balance 880v12 - The outsole has a ton of rubber which should translate into a lot of miles. Deep flex grooves keep the outsole flexible and not just a cumbersome slab. Road grip is good but the large flat pads make flat contact with road making running in wet conditions or over varying terrain tricky.

New Balance 890v8 - The midsole features New Balance’s Fuel Cell foam, with an outsole of Ground Contact Revlite foam that was seen in the prior version 890v7. The signature feature is the super-wide midfoot section, with a lateral wing first seen on the Fuel Cell Rebel. It’s even more pronounced on the 890v8 and can be felt in a supinated midfoot landing. There is a surprisingly angled heel bevel and also a decent amount of toespring.

New Balance 1080v12 - The bottom of the 1080v12 is made from blown rubber.Similar to the previous iterations of this shoe, the outsole confirms the 1080v12 is still best-suited to the roads. The lugs aren’t deep or grippy enough to cope with technical trails, but on wet sidewalks and light tracks, there’s definitely enough traction to keep you safe. The 1080v12 has better ground feel and softer landings due to the exposed midsole foam on the outsole.

  • Midsole

New Balance 860v12 - The midsole is made of two materials the FuelCell and Fresh Foam X.The Fresh Foam X is a light and bouncy midsole compound. This softened the feeling of the 860 especially on impacts and toe offs. This topsole runs from heel to toe and gives the trainer a comfortable fit. It does its job without taking away from the stability of the shoe. The benefits of it would increase if you added the amount of Fresh Foam X in the topsole or mixed it in the midsole.There is a dual density medial post in this layer. The foam is denser in those areas you need it to prevent pronation. This provides stability in more of the traditional way. 

New Balance 880v12 - The dual-density midsole is the highlight and most major development of this New Balance FF 880 v12:Fresh Foam X in the heel and on the top layer of the forefoot for softness,FuelCell on the lower forefoot layer for density.These two technologies are complementary. The Fresh Foam X provides soft cushioning, while the density of the FuelCell delivers the necessary firmness for energy return.

New Balance 890v8 - These performance shoes feature FuelCell midsole foam, which delivers a propulsive feel to help drive you forward during runs of any length and intensity.The ENCAP midsole technology in these cushioned running shoes combines lightweight foam with a polyurethane rim to help deliver all-day support and impressive durability.

New Balance 1080v12 - The New Balance 1080v12 also uses Fresh Foam X in its midsole which has a good amount of cushioning to feel plush underfoot, yet still enough responsiveness to allow you to pick up the pace should you need it. The tongue is also nicely cushioned. The 1080v12 with its slightly softer midsole is better suited to longer runs.The 1080v12 has a thicker midsole stack height than the 880v12.

  • Upper

New Balance 860v12 - The upper on the 860v12 is Air Mesh. This is a synthetic air mesh material meant to add flexibility while being supportive. It is a breathable material almost to a fault. It allows cold air in to the point where my toes were cold during runs. This would be a benefit in the summer months, but was a drawback reviewing them in the winter.There is a raised pattern starting in the midfoot of the upper and continues to the end of the heel. This adds structure to the upper which in turn improves the fit of the shoe. The N logo is also raised and adds structure to the upper. It is a seamless upper and has no points of irritation.

New Balance 880v12 - The upper is made of double jacquard mesh,identical to the previous version.  Overlays are limited to a rubberized and reflective “N” on each side at midfoot. The mesh is soft and supple, durable, but but it is thicker than the Hypoknit upper so it runs warm. The heat can cause excessive sweating that is unpleasant, causing untimely slips inside the shoe.The further you go to the back of the shoe, the thicker the material is, especially in the heel area. It has an extended heel counter with a light amount of padding which secures your heels in place amazingly well. Overall, it’s not overly cushioned and feels just right. 

New Balance 890v8 - The upper on the 890v8 is a breathable mesh layered on top of an internal gusseted tongue and bootie that is soft against your foot. The tongue itself has been redesigned and tapers down the lateral side for a better fit. The tongue is moderately padded and that same padding extends around the collar to minor elf heel. This makes on and off even easier. 

New Balance 1080v12 - The upper on the New Balance 1080v12 is made from the brand’s “Hypoknit” material and it’s stretchy and comfortable across the top of the foot. The breathable Hypoknit upper is soft and offers a focused structure with a flexible forefoot and a reinforced midfoot for precise lockdown. The upper is a good mix of breathable and supportive.The tongue of the 1080v12 is generously padded and has no tongue slide thanks to the tongue being attached on both sides to the midsole of the shoe.However, the shoe does feel loose, which may not be optimal if you have very narrow feet.

2.Fit and Sizing

New Balance 860v12 - With half sizes and a standard, wide and extra wide New Balance 860v12 available in both men's and women's you can get a great fit.

New Balance 880v12 - The 880v12 runs true to size and comes in regular, wide and extra wide versions.The toe box is accommodating, even for a slightly wider foot, with the upper constructed using engineered mesh. 

New Balance 890v8 - True to size.

New Balance 1080v12 - Fit-wise, the 1080v12 comes up big.I wouldn't say that this shoe is a half size large, but for those who sit between two sizes may do better going with your smaller of the two choices. Overall, this shoe delivers a secure, comfortable, and premium-feeling upper.

Comparison Table

New Balance 860v12

New Balance 880v12New Balance 890v8New Balance 1080v12
Weight8.9oz(W), 11.4oz(M)8.3oz(W), 10.5oz(M)7.2oz(W), 8.4oz(M)
Width OptionsNarrow/Standard/Wide/X-WideNarrow/Standard/Wide/X-WideStandard/WideStandard/Wide/X-Wide
Midsole TypeFresh Foam XFresh Foam XFuelCell Fresh Foam X
Arch SupportMediumMediumMedium, HighMedium
UseEveryday trainingDaily trainingDaily trainingDaily training
SurfaceRoad, trackRoad, trackRoad, trackRoad, track
Price$99.95 - $109.95$134.99$75.71 - $95.53$159.99

Conclusion: Which is Best for You?

All the four shoes are neutral shoes that are ideal for daily training but weigh a little too much to be effective for racing.The 880 is a good choice for beginner runners and pretty much anybody who wants a traditional ride with super updated materials.If you’re a runner looking for a more versatile shoe that can also handle shorter runs, get the 880v12. The 880v12 has a great upper, a balanced Fresh Foam X midsole and a more durable outsole.The 860 is also very comfortable, but it isn’t as soft under the foot as the 880. The 860 is built more for support. If you prefer max cushioning, the 880 will be better. 

If you’re a runner looking for a long distance, max cushioned shoe, get the 1080v12.The 1080v12 has a comfortable upper with great foot lockdown, a Fresh Foam X midsole with deep cushioning that doesn’t feel mushy and an outsole with excellent ground feel.

The New Balance 890v8 is in a word, firm… like really firm, and if you like really stiff shoes then it will actually be a solid shoe for you. If not, then you probably want to leave these for walking or look elsewhere altogether.

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2022-10-10 22:2011128