The New Balance 880 is the original release of the line of the same name—the 2020 release is the 880v10. It’s a neutral running shoe range, whereas the 860 range is its partner line of stability running shoes.
Unfortunately, the range doesn’t seem to be as popular as some others. There’s plenty of history surrounding the other New Balance lines—such as the New Balance 997.
There’s even lots of information on the original 990 range, discussed in this New Balance 990v5 review.
But, for what little we could gather on the 880 line, and a review of the latest release, read on.
The New Balance 880: Where Is It Now?
The 880 started as a mid-cushioned neutral running shoe. The corresponding stability shoe, all but identical to the 880, was the 860.
New Balance 880 women’s and men’s shoes were well-loved for their dependability in daily training. They kicked off the 880 range and the revamp of the original 880s.
But, both ranges have come on leaps and bounds since the first release.
There have been 10 versions of the 880 shoes so far, with the latest being the 880v10.
The latest release came out in 2020, with the 880v9 arriving only a year prior in 2019. So, let’s examine both updates within this long line of excellence.
880v9 vs. 880v10
Some of New Balance’s upgrades are minimal, as the difference between the 990v5 and 990v4 is.
But, between the 880v9 and 880v10, there’s a notable change in the midsole.
The 880v10’s midsole is Fresh Foam, a newer technology in New Balance’s repertoire.
We’ve gone deeper into the New Balance Fresh Foam, but New Balance’s 880v9 featured ABZORB and ACTEVA, forming a TRUFUSE midsole.
It isn’t the first in the line to have TRUFUSE but is likely to be the last since Fresh Foam is more comfortable and supportive than other cushioning from New Balance’s past. So, it’s seen as an enormous upgrade.
New Balance made some improvements on the 880v10’s upper, too.
The Hypoknit upper is incredibly breathable, meaning your feet will sweat less. When they do, they’ll cool down quickly, and the shoes will trap less odor.
On top of the breathability, there were some tweaks with the laces. Now, customers find they never have to alter their laces while running due to the lockdown fit.
The shoes are so tight to your foot that everything stays as it should, without making them too snug and restrictive.
Whether you’re looking at womens New Balance 880 shoes or men’s, the 880v10s are a hit with the market.
The shoe’s designers took extra care with the latest release, striving for the best shoe so far.
The 880v10 seems to meet this target, so let’s take a look at how.
The Pressure-Mapped Midsole
These shoe’s midsole is no ordinary beast—it’s Fresh Foam! But, to craft it perfectly, the designers went scientific with pressure mapping.
According to the designers, after looking at data in runners, the results showed that the forefoot takes a lot of pressure. Everyone knows the heel needs tons of support, but this revelation revealed the forefoot goes neglected.
Runners push off with power on the forefoot, so pressure mapping led the shoe’s designers to place rebound foam in this area.
Meanwhile, in the heel, you have the expected cushioning with cleverly named ABZORB technology. This is to absorb shock as your heel comes down to strike the ground.
The Upper: Hypoknit
The shoe is knitted, and stylishly at that, but in terms of function, the Hypoknit is sound with practical, excellent breathability—better than the previous versions.
Many meshy or knitted shoes feature stretchy material that stretches with your foot. The 880v10 changes the game by being more supportive. Yes, it still stretches, but it doesn’t stretch as much as most shoes.
This is a good thing—you have enough stretch for the shoes to be flexible. But, with that, you have a structured midfoot to create support around the sides.
There’s a filament woven into the knit to add this structure. New Balance left the knit open enough for the monofilament to be visible, putting the tech out there for all to see.
Given all the tech, you’d expect the shoe to perform as brilliantly as it looks.
And it does.
The shoe line has always been dependable, and the 880v10 has received rave reviews from customers.
First, the midsole is responsive and supportive. Although it’s full of foam, it’s firm foam and not as packed in as it is with the 1080 line.
The shoe is also designed for roads and tracks, and it works well on them. The blown-out rubber outsole has full contact with the ground and an adequately functioning tread pattern, offering excellent traction.
The outsole adds some shock absorption, too, and has a large surface area. This, paired with the ABZORB tech, ensures impact spreads evenly through the shoe.
Essentially, the entire shoe functions as it should—with pristine, responsive excellence.
These shoes fit very well. There’s room in the toe box for wiggling, and your heel is locked in.
Even if you happened to pick up a pair in the wrong size, the result wouldn’t be overly terrible. Of course, you’d feel pain, and your shoes need to fit properly—look at our fitting and sizing guide for tips on this.
But, the knit’s engineering ensures no chance of the upper scrunching up if the shoes fit improperly.
And, the heel collar is flared, so it won’t rub the back of your ankle and cause blisters.
The shoes are plentifully padded and will keep you safe from the hard ground. Customers find them comfortable and have few complaints.
Although the padding may be comfortable, it’s thinner than most. The shoes aren’t the best for runners who like thicker cushioning, or heavier people who need more.
For those who want a perfect middle ground, they’re excellent. You’re close enough to the ground to feel contact, but you’re still safe and cozy.
- Fantastic supportive midsole.
- Highly breathable upper.
- Transparency in support areas.
- Made to provide support and response exactly where needed.
- Incredibly stylish.
- Not overly-cushy, which some runners prefer.
- With a middle-ground of padding, it’s probably not fantastic for heavier-set runners.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between New Balance 860 and 880?
The New Balance 860 and 880 are both running shoes, with a key difference. The 880s are neutral running shoes that don’t correct pronation. The 860s are stability running shoes that do correct pronation.
What Is the Difference Between New Balance 880 and 1080?
The main difference between the New Balance 880 and 1080 is the cushioning. The 880 is a moderately cushioned running shoe range. However, the 1080 contains a high amount of cushioning.
What Is the Best New Balance Shoe?
The best New Balances shoes are:
- Stability: Fresh Foam 860v11.
- Comfort: Fresh Foam More.
- Versatility: Fresh Foam Beacon v2.
- Neutral, mid-cushioning: New Balance 880v10.
New Balance 880: The Consensus
Despite the 880 New Balance range having a more secretive history than other lines, there’s no denying its successful release history.
The latest 880v10 release is just one step on the range’s long journey. But, whether it’s New Balance 880 womens or men’s shoes, you know you’re getting quality.
So, for decent, mid-comfort running shoes, the 880 range is excellent as a casual or pro-runner.
If you have friends who’d enjoy these shoes, please send this article their way. Maybe they’ll avail of some men’s or women’s New Balance 880 shoes and fall in love.
And, don’t forget to share your thoughts on the shoes below!