Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. As an RErun Ambassador we asked her to test out the New Balance 880 and give us her thoughts. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain.
Until a few weeks ago, I’ve never tried on a pair of New Balance shoes. I’ve had a hard time settling into a running shoe for the last year or so. It seems whenever I find my favorite shoe a new model comes out, and changes just enough that I’m back to square one searching for my new fave. I’m sure some of you can relate to this. I think I kind of have persnickety feet, so I may never find the perfect shoe—but gosh darn it I keep trying and thanks to my friends at the Runner’s Edge I’ve found some pretty sweet options along the way!
This is a great looking shoe! Over the last month I received a ton of compliments on their color and overall look. The understated color paired with touches of metallic silver and hot pink accents bring a fun change up from the bolder options out there. I wasn’t sure I was going to love the lighter color, but I am digging it…and call me weird, but my favorite part of the look of the 880s are the navy polka-dotty laces. The only downside to the color is they can start looking a bit dirty this time of year, though they wash up nicely with a quick wipe down. They also come in Black, “Blue Iris” (Lavender) and “Guava” (Coral). After having worn them for a few weeks, they are beginning to show signs of wear with creased mesh uppers as well as in the outer cushioning.
The 880s fit true to size with a 10mm drop and slightly wider + taller toe box. Their neutral sole is a bit more shoe than I’m used to in a road shoe. I felt a little taller in them, which means they must have a bit more cushioning than I’ve had with previous shoes. The cushioning is firm, but quite comfy—just not in a pillow-y soft way. My toes were happy for some extra room, but I found my forefoot slipping around quite a bit leaving them feeling a bit raw after longer runs. However, I found that when I locked my heal in place with a “runner’s tie” this was completely eliminated.
Worn on varied terrain—from the track to trail to road to sand to…bunch grass—I felt stable and well supported (as much as possible when it comes to running on bunch grass—that stuff takes a toll!). But seriously, the 880s are a nicely versatile shoe. I was able to bust out some fast miles on the track feeling a spring in my step as well as tackle some uphill, rocky climbs (and descents) without wishing for more traction. On sand and bunch grass my ankles were stable enough to keep a decent pace. On longer runs as I began to fatigue I was aware that they felt a bit clunky, but I suppose that is the trade off for having a bit more cushion.
The 880s are moderately priced at $125. Overall, I really love this shoe and think it’s definitely worth taking out for a test drive to see how it does for you the next time you find yourself at the Runner’s Edge. Their knowledgeable staff will help you know if this is a good option for you and your running goals!