New Balance 890 v8 - Lateral Side rs.php-16 New Balance 890 v8 - Sole New Balance 890 v8 - Sole New Balance 890 v8 - Pair1
Editor rating:
7/10 on
TAYLOR GUPTON
User's rating:

PROS

  • Sleek, edgy aesthetics
  • Snug, sock-like fit
  • Lightweight
  • Quick heel-toe transition

CONS

  • Somewhat stiff
  • High arch
  • Narrow toe box

OUR VERDICT

The New Balance 890 got a complete makeover for its 8th birthday. The lightweight mid-distance shoe now features a full-length FuelCell midsole and expanded blown-rubber coverage on the outsold for improved traction.
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.
SHOE INFO
890 v8
Model
8.4 oz. (238 gr.)
Weight
119.95 US$
MSRP
4 mm
Heel Drop
Previous model
WHO IS IT FOR
Runners with a neutral foot-strike that are looking for a lightweight performance trainer to round out their shoe rotation.

New Balance 890 v8 Intro

The FuelCell 890v8 is reliable tempo trainer for neutral runners with mid-to-high arches. The shoes offer a snappy ride that gently puts you on your toes for faster running.

Heel-toe drop is 6mm and they weigh in at 7.2 oz. for women (size 8) and 8.4 oz. for men (size 9). Not light enough for racing or track work, but perfect for thresholds, tempos, and fartleks up to 10 miles.

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 FuelCell 890v8 performs best on pavement.

New Balance 890 v8 First Impressions

New Balance 890 v8 - Pair

New Balance 890 v8 – Pair

I was immediately excited to test this shoe when I saw it. The FuelCell 890v8 is a sharp-looking shoe.

It’s trendy and sporty with an edgy flair that manifests in the gusseted tongue that lightly wraps the lateral front of the ankle and a peaked heel collar that seems inspired by the latest Nike designs.

That initial excitement died down a bit after the first couple test runs.

I immediately noticed the extra fabric of the tongue against my ankle was a bit annoying. Nothing unmanageable, and it didn’t cause blisters, but it’s definitely not necessary.

Likewise, the toe-box is fairly narrow which is fine for me on moderate distance runs below 8 miles, but for longer runs I need more space for toe-splay.

The wide expanse of blown rubber under the forefoot provides a great landing platform for secure ground contact, enabling confidence with every step, even at high speeds.

One thing I noticed instantly, and really appreciated, is the secure sock-like fit. The FuelCell 890v8 hugs your foot in all the right ways. No heel slippage and no unwanted foot movement within the shoe.

New Balance 890 v8 Sole Unit

New Balance 890 v8 - Sole

New Balance 890 v8 – Sole

The FuelCell 890v8 features its namesake, FuelCell midsole for high rebound and responsiveness. The FuelCell foam runs the full-length of the shoe for optimal heel-to-toe transition that is highly responsive.

I found that these shoes really put me on my toes in a gentle way that strongly encouraged a higher rate of turnover for faster running.

I attribute this sensation to the midsole and the slightly curved shape of the shoe that has a rocker-like effect compelling you to take another quick step over and over.

The FuelCell midsole is lightweight and relatively firm, but not hard. It strikes a fine balance of firmness for a shoe intended to maintain a quick pace of several miles.

After the first 4-6 runs the midsole and the shoe break in and become a bit less firm and certainly more comfortable than on the first run. One feature that has taken some getting used to is the prominent arch.

The arch is a fair bit higher than the Saucony models I typically train in and found that on runs over an hour and a half, the higher arch was bothersome. That said, these shoes are not intended for long runs.

The outsole features exposed ground-contact REVlite foam concentrated under the ball of the foot in a wide landing platform that encourages confident footing with each step.

In an improvement from the 890v7, the outsole features very dense blown-rubber around the perimeter of the shoe for increase the durability.

Nonetheless, I was underwhelmed by the outsole and rapid pace at which the exposed REVlite began to wear. After only 15 miles, the foam beneath the ball of the foot was visibly worn and had a shredded appearance.

New Balance 890 v8 Upper Unit

New Balance 890 v8 - Top

New Balance 890 v8 – Top

The FuelCell 890v8 boasts a knit upper that is flexible and relatively breathable. Save for one line of stitching at the base of the tongue, the construction is seamless which keeps the shoe lightweight and nimble.

The upper is comprised of two layers: a mesh-like knit covers a smooth interior liner that provide a snug, sock-like fit that moves effortlessly with your foot.

The toe box is adequate for short and medium distance runs, but for long runs over 8-10 miles, I prefer a shoe that lets my toes splay a bit more. I expect the 890v8 would feel restrictive for runners with wide feet.

These shoes combine the best of form and function, providing a lightweight tempo trainer that can easily transition to a sporty-casual look with jeans.

New Balance 890 v8 - Closeup

New Balance 890 v8 – Closeup

The FuelCell 890v8 features a gusseted tongue that gently wraps the lateral side of ankle. This component is unnecessary in my opinion, but fortunately it did not cause any blisters. The laces are thin and light, but still sturdy.

Lastly, the heel counter comes to a point in the center, much like the Nike trainers and mid-weight racing flats of the past couple years.

I never experienced any heel slippage or rubbing while testing the 890v8. My foot always felt secure and comfortable.

New Balance 890 v8 Conclusion

New Balance 890 v8 - Toe

New Balance 890 v8 – Toe

The New Balance FuelCell 890v8 is a reliable option for mid-distance up-tempo training runs. It performs best on pavement, although the exposed REVlite foam on the outsole appears to deteriorate quickly.

They are lightweight and responsive, encouraging quick turnover.

This shoe performs a specific function as a trainer for faster road workouts, but the narrow toe box and higher arch render it uncomfortable for runs much over an hour.

The FuelCell890v8 is optimally designed for faster paces that require a speedy heel-to-toe transition.

We purchased a pair of New Balance 890 v8 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.

New Balance 890 v8 Price Comparison

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