The 870 is New Balance’s lightweight stability trainer, in the mode of the popular 890.
Very light in the stability it offers, the 870 is designed for the runner who is not quite neutral and not quite an overpronator. I found the 870 to be a fantastic everyday trainer that could appeal to a very wide variety of runners.
New Balance 870v3 First Impressions
For a stability trainer, the 870v3 is very flexible. It flexes very easily in the forefoot, as well as side-to-side. This flexibility has a lot to do with the outsole pattern, which is reminiscent of New Balance’s Minimus line. So, even though the 870v3 utilizes a traditional medial post, you should expect it to provide only very light support. For that reason, the 870v3 will appeal to neutral runners who want a touch of stability on long runs as well as overpronators who want a bit less structure on go-fast days, comparable to a shoe like the Mizuno Wave Elixir.
The 870v3 has a superb fit. The shoe is built on New Balance’s PL-1 Natural last, which is meant to give the shoe a shape that mimics the foot’s natural shape. I think it works, as the shoe is very comfortable, and feels like it fits every contour of my foot. With such a superb fit, the 870v3 was ready to go straight out of the box.
New Balance 870v3 Sole Unit
For such a light shoe, the 870v3 packs a lot of protective cushioning underfoot. Though it might be found in the lightweight or performance category, I feel the 870 is an everyday trainer. Personally, I felt comfortable on runs up to 12 or 13 miles, but I can easily see a lighter or more efficient runner doing even longer runs in the 870.
And this is where I think the light stability will come in handy. The medial post is not clunky at all. There is a cutout in a strategic place in the medial post, which gives it more flexibility, and therefore a smoother transition. And yet there is just enough support to help when your form starts to break down at the end of a long run or a hard workout.
In some ways, I was more impressed with the outsole design than the Revlite midsole. The outsole, which is almost like a collection of rubber pods, gives the shoe a lot of flexibility. But it is also reinforced in just the right place in the forefoot to prevent the foot from overflexing. This flexibility with the right amount of reinforcement, combined with full ground contact, gives the shoe a very smooth transition from toe to heel. A very successful design.
New Balance 870v3 Upper
A quick glance and the 870v3 could be mistaken for its neutral cousin, the 890. The uppers are very similar in design. Like the 890, the 870v3’s upper is built from breathable mesh with minimal overlays, which create a secure yet comfortable fit.
Never on any of my runs did I experience any discomfort in any way. In fact, as the upper broke in, the shoe only became more comfortable.
New Balance 870v3 Opinion
With the 870v3, New Balance has delivered a shoe that can appeal to many kinds of runners, from neutral runners wanting a touch of stability to overpronators wanting a lighter, less structured shoe. It is also versatile enough to serve as an everyday trainer, a speedwork shoe, as well as a racer.
My only concern with the 870v3 is that lightweight trainers, in my experience, do not last for as many miles as traditional trainers. I have not yet logged enough miles on the 870v3 to render a verdict.
But if they do not last for as many miles, then runners will have to decide if they are willing to pay for a shoe that fits and rides superbly but has a shorter lifespan. However, if the 870v3 lasts as long as a traditional trainer, then New Balance may have made the perfect running shoe.
We thank the nice people at New Balance for sending us a pair of 870v3 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.