Thursday, March 22, 2012

Product Review: New Balance 890 Running Shoes

The long awaited product review is here. It’s partially intentional as I wanted to take my shoes with me on some of my longer runs to see if the claims from shoe critics are true – that these babies could be one of the best pairs of marathon shoes out there. Of course I had to wear them on shorter runs for a while to wear them in a bit before taking them out on epically long runs. I’m happy to report that after taking them on my recent 26km and 29km training runs, I definitely agree with the critics. I am over the moon with these shoes. Love them! My feet and legs were happy throughout those long runs and no soreness in my recovery after that could be attributed to a shoe (rather than fitness). 

 
What’s the big deal? For me they are the perfect happy medium between a lightweight “fast” shoe (7.7oz.) and a soft cushioning shoe that absorbs the shock of stride after stride, mile after mile of pounding on the pavement.  Being one who loves the New Balance 880 (once named the 759) for this reason, which I also regularly train in, I recently have found that they are heavier than I like for a relatively light shoe in the cushioning shoe department but I love how they feel when I run and how I feel after my runs when I wear my 880s. To me the 890s fit similarly but have a much lighter and free feel.

 Many lightweight shoes out there don’t have a lot of substance to them and their function is more for racing then regular training wear. And then cushioning shoes are often built with a lot of shoe to absorb shock and make things nice and easy on your joints, and so they’re great for regular training wear, but not necessarily for racing or up-tempo workouts because they weigh you down. The 890s are just what Goldilocks ordered – a perfect balance. I love them for training, and I can easily see myself wearing them for racing too. In fact, I plan to wear them at my first race of the year. They have a lightweight, breathable mesh and a welded no-sew design. There’s not much to them at all, making them feel so nice to wear. But yet I feel totally comfortable and protected on even my longest runs.
It’s no wonder why they were voted best neutral shoe for women by Women’s Running Magazine in May 2011. They are awesome. And they’re nice looking too! 


I can see myself wearing these shoes for a while. In fact, the thought of me wearing through them without a replacement pair for immediate use scares me enough that when one of our New Balance reps told me she had one more pair left in my size (but different colour!), I just had to order them.  Version 2 has just been released recently and they are even lighter, somehow. I tried on a pair in store, but haven’t purchased a pair for me yet. Perhaps they will be a treat for me for after I finish my marathon :-) My understanding is that they are even better, somehow with it being lighter and closer to the ground for a more natural feel. All I know though is that I love Version 1!
Who should wear this shoe?
  • Runners who need a neutral shoe – ie., mild under-pronators, even heel-strikers…if you’ve not had a gait analysis done by someone who’s knowledgeable (i.e., at the Running Room by a knowledgeable staff member like myself for example), it’s a good idea to be sure you’re wearing the right type of shoe based on your specific needs. This has to do with alignment and how your feet, ankles, lower legs etc. move together as a system in your walking / running gait. This shoe is not for those who require a stability shoe.
  • In terms of how your feet his the ground on a forward running motion, these shoes are designed to work well for forefoot strikers, midfoot strikers, or heel strikers alike
  • Runners looking for something lighter-weight that’s easily mistaken for a racing flat and totally ok to take on longer distances without paying for it later.
  • A recent issue of Runner’s World suggests this shoe is best for those with a BMI of 23 or less. Those who are a bit heavier may want a shoe with more substance to it for shock absorption.




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