New Balance 890V3 General info:
The 890V3 is a lightweight neutral trainer which provides excellent cushioning and a touch of support and works great for faster running or high mileage training.
New Balance 890V3 First Impressions:
Having worn the first two incarnations of this shoe for over 500 miles, I was expecting a lot in the 890V3. While I loved the first version, I felt that the heel differential was too high for such a speedy feeling shoe. For the 890 V2 the heel was lowered, but fit issues, especially a shallow toe box, bothered me but was not enough to keep me from wearing them for a 50 mile trail race.
With the 890V3 I expected a near perfect shoe and I think New Balance may have gotten as close as one can to designing the perfect neutral/ lightweight running shoe.
New Balance 890V3 Upper:
Welded on overlays provide a very locked down feel while running without any hotspots or pressure points from stitching. The overlays work into the lacing pattern and simple thin flat laces reduce pressure on the top of the foot.
New Balance placed more overlays around the heel cup for this update which I didn’t really notice. The plush feel of soft anti-microbial material around the ankle collar and tongue help keep the 890V3 comfortable during long runs.
Problems with the last version being termed “low-volume” aren’t really an issue here. I’ve been able to wear different thicknesses of socks with the V3 and I feel like the fit is comfortably snug enough that some runners may use this shoe for racing.
New Balance 890V3 Midsole/ Outsole:
New Balance’s Revlite foam and N2 foam are two of the lightest and most responsive compounds on the market and the best part is that they retain their resiliency for many miles. I was able to get well past 500 miles with the first and second version of the 890 and I currently have over 200 miles on the 890V3 with little change in feel from the day I took them out of the box. New Balance placed a geometric pattern on the medial side of the midsole which does seem to lend some mild support for overpronators.
The outsole pattern is simple and traction is ample. New Balance reduced cutouts where rocks could get stuck, and so far I’ve taken this shoe on roads, gravel, and even moderately technical trail without any issues. Another surprising factor is that the outsole shoes very little wear after 200 miles.
New Balance 890V3 Overall Impression:
I should explain that I have only given one perfect five star rating ever in the history of my shoe reviewing career (Nike Zoome Elite 5). I should also explain that when I test shoes I can’t help but give a shoe a high rating if it works great for me. However, I must also think about how this shoe would work for my friends and family, customers at running shoe stores, and first time runners. From the years of experience of fitting shoes I have developed a fairly accurate ability to predict a shoe for someone and to also know which shoes work more universally for the average runner’s foot.
The New Balance 890V3 is just this type of shoe which I could recommend to a 250 lb recreational jogger as well as an elite runner training over 100 miles weekly given that they both have a neutral foot strike.
I rarely experience the joy of seeing a design team stick to and refine their original idea until perfection, and NB has done just that. The perfect blend of breathable and pliable upper materials, lightweight and responsive midsole foams, and a simple yet effective fit and construction make running in this shoe an afterthought. I instinctively reach for it each morning, paining myself at times to put other shoes through their paces. Whether I have a tempo run, fartlek, or a long run on tap, the 890V3 handles them all with ease and almost feels like an extension of my foot.
Obviously, I highly recommend this shoe and I think that any neutral runner this year would be doing themselves a disservice by not trying on the 890V3.
We thank the nice people at New Balance for sending us a pair of 890V3 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.