Up Close With the New Balance FreshFoam 880v10

Several models of New Balance running shoes have long proven favorites among our customers at Dick Pond. For neutral runners, chief among these is the 880. Long a reliable go-to for runners at all levels, the 880 is well known for its simple consistency, lightweight construction and high level of responsive ground feel. When the engineers at New Balance decided to rebuild the shoe from the ground up, they did not do so lightly.

Data was behind every decision when redesigning the 880. For the v10, New Balance knew they would want to incorporate their hugely successful FreshFoam cushioning system as well as a knit upper. The goal was to keep all of the greatness that made the 880 so popular in past iterations while bringing the shoe up to speed with all the latest in New Balance innovations from other models.

First, the sole. New Balance analyzed foot strike pressure data to find that most runners strike on the mid-foot, with the majority of pressure happening on the lateral (outside) of the foot. When designing the FreshFoam, New Balance designers intentionally placed more responsive foam in these high pressure areas. The intended result was increased responsiveness and we noticed this difference in our test runs. A blown rubber outsole surrounds the FreshFoam (which is laser cut to remove all unnecessary weight/mass) with strategically varied hexagonal pattern – smaller hexagons in the high impact areas and larger in the areas that will get less wear.

Next, the upper. The new 880v10 features a knit upper, a first for the model. New Balance calls their knit Hypoknit, a stretchy material that moves well with the foot but still feels secure based on our test runs. A big factor in this is the slightly more dense targeted knit added to the midsole. Some of our testers found the shoe to fit a little too snug across the mid-foot as a result, so bunion sufferers or wide footed folks might want to ask for a wide.

Tech specs on the 880v10 as follows:

  • Weight – 10.5oz (men) 8.9oz (women)
  • Drop – 10mm

Available in-store only in 5 different colors (please note all stores will not carry all color variations but can order them) the New Balance 880v10 appears to be a successful attempt to improve upon the tried and true. Test runs and feedback have been positive, noting the softer, springier feel, and increased security of the upper. Stop by a store and try one on to see for yourself!