Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: New Balance 890v3

After having worn a lot of different running shoes, I have learned that if a shoe doesn't feel completely right to me when I first put it on, it is never going to be a great shoe me.  Wearing it for a while in the hopes that I will "break it in" or that my feet will "get used to it" is a losing battle.

With that in mind, I am returning the New Balance 890v3s that I just ordered, without even having run in them.

The problem for me is the toebox.  I can feel the sides of the shoe squeezing my toes together, and I can feel the top of the toebox pushing down on my toes.  For me, that is a recipe for blisters and black toenails, especially on my longer runs.

But, if your feet are narrower than mine, this is potentially an excellent shoe.  The natural shoe to compare it to is the Brooks Launch.  The 890v3 has an identical weight to the launch (9.1 oz for a mens size 9) and the cushioning feels almost exactly the same -- simple, but sufficient for long runs.

As for differences the 890v3 has slightly less of a heel-toe offset (7 mm, as opposed to 10 mm for the launch), but I consider lower offsets to be mostly a gimmick anyway.  Folks who have run in the previous incarnation of the 890v3 seem to get an insane number of miles out of them, so that's a difference as well.  The 890v3 is also (let's be honest) a better looking shoe.  Finally, I'm very impressed that these shoes are made in the USA.

I could return them for a wider width -- unlike most companies, New Balance offers most of its shoes in a 2E width.  But, I doubt it would solve for the shallowness of the toebox, and besides, I have two other (slight) concerns: first my heel feels a bit less locked in with the 890v3 -- it lifts away from the bottom of my shoe as I walk around.  Second, the overlays around the bottom edge of the upper suggest this shoe may not drain as well as the Launch, though I haven't confirmed.

So, for now the Brooks Launch continues to be my go-to shoe.  Sure, I may not be able to use a discount code when I purchase it from Running Warehouse, but with a base price of $90, it is still as affordable as any other option around.  

If you have any questions about the Brooks Launch or the New Balance 890v3, let me know!

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