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On Test: New Balance 890 Road Shoe

Brand New, a mere 274grams and a price tag that makes you wonder just how good is this trainer?  With a suggested retail price of £75, this appears to be one shoe that is bucking the global trend of price hikes.  New Balance are celebrating 30 years of shoe manufacturing in the UK this year and in doing so have launched a new range of REVlite running shoes. The 890 is one of the first in that series.

For me it was straight out of the box and onto my feet.  Yes we had sold a few pairs in the store, they looked good, but I had not had the opportunity to play myself.  So changed, ready for a run I was off.
First thing we need to get clear is that I don’t get on with structured shoes so it was nice to be running in a straightforward shoe that looked well made yet without an excess of over-engineering.  As a forefoot runner I have also found myself enjoying the recent trend towards lower heel to forefoot differentials.  The 890 has an 8mm heel to forefoot differential and having spent most of my recent road runs in the Saucomy Kinvara (4mm drop) this was going to be interesting.

Often at this price point the first thing you notice is a soft midsole. Thankfully this was not the case.  As soon as you begin to run you realise that the shoe is firm, cushioned yet responsive.  You felt like you wanted to run fast.  ‘Pingy’ is often a word I use to describe this. The REVlite midsole did everything New Balance claimed it would and with no cut aways under the arch the shoe offers complete sole contact with the ground, which in itself provides an inherent level of torsional stiffness, which felt natural, in fact just ‘normal’.
Grip was excellent even across the super smooth pavement slabs of the city centre on a wet evening in March.  In fact by the time I had run to 1,000ft above the city a frost was forming and still no slip ups.
So how about the all important fit, especially in a lightweight training shoe?  Weight saving has come from the midsole, the lack of plastic engineered bits and bobs, plus things like welded seems on the upper. The tongue is still padded, as is the heel counter and overall the upper felt like it was doing a good job of holding the foot onto the shoe, without being restrictive.  Agreed the shape of the shoe is not a spot on match to my foot shape, but it felt pretty good.  Definitely not a shoe for someone with a high volume foot, though and I would like to try a wider fit… so can we have a 2E version please, New Balance?

In summary, I like this shoe. It belies its price tag.  The 890 runs, well, ‘pingy’ and will be good for both the heel striker and those that land mid to forefoot. It does give the impression of being able to take a good 30 plus miles a week and stand up to the job.  As for those thinking of a more substantial racing shoe, with good levels of cushioning and grip, will probably not be disappointed.  As a comparison to the Kinvara, well, different is the best description yet with a similar ‘allowing my feet to do their thing kinda feel’ to them.  For me an easy to forget I have a shoe on type of shoe and that’s very definitely a good thing and I think that made sense!?!

So forget the price tag, if you like your shoe with less structure, lightweight and ‘pingy’ then these could well be worth a try…

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About Run Stu

Accelerate Performance and Healthy Run Coaching, Heart rate, Periodisation, Strength & Stability. Business owner @accelerateuk Coach to #TeamAccelerate The open road, fell, moorland and high places. Sunny days, days the wind blows and rain is horizontal - 'You're Alive!' Twitter and Instagram: @RunStuCoach

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