With all of the innovation in the running shoe industry, it can be tempting to pay more and more for the “next big thing.”
Whether it is a shoe that claims to make you run faster or one that perfectly corrects a derailed gait, you are sure to find a company that offers the ideal solution.
That’s why comparing the New Balance 860 vs 880 is actually a bit refreshing.
Both are staple products from one of the most trusted names in the running shoe industry, with earlier versions of each shoe dating back decades. Over the years, New Balance has listened to user feedback and made ongoing tweaks to each product, helping them arrive at their premier positions today.
Keep reading for a comprehensive breakdown of the New Balance 860 vs 880!
New Balance Running Shoes At A Glance
New Balance is a company with a rich history in the running shoe industry. Founded in 1906, New Balance has always been dedicated to creating high-quality footwear that meets the needs of athletes. In recent years, New Balance has become known for its innovative designs and use of technology in its running shoes.
New Balance takes a unique approach to running shoe design. Rather than focusing on a single “ideal” shoe, New Balance creates a variety of shoes to meet the needs of different runners. This allows runners to find the shoe that best fits their individual needs and running style.
New Balance shoes are typically designed to provide a balance of cushioning and support. This makes them a good choice for runners who are looking for a shoe that will help them stay comfortable and injury-free during their runs.
One of the things that sets New Balance apart from other running shoe companies is its commitment to quality. New Balance shoes are made with high-quality materials and construction, which helps them to last longer and perform better.
Overall, New Balance is a company that is dedicated to providing runners with the best possible experience. This is definitely the case with the 860 and 880, two shoes that are not only front-runners in the New Balance catalog, but the running industry as a whole.
New Balance 860: What Are You Getting?
The New Balance 860 is an elite running shoe for athletes with overpronation issues. It is a stability shoe that offers a functional medial post and provides a high level of support and cushioning. The 860 is also a very durable shoe, making it a good choice for runners who log a lot of miles.
The upper of the 860 is made from a breathable mesh material that helps to keep your feet cool and dry. The midsole in the 860 recently upgraded to New Balance’s Fresh Foam X, its most innovative EVA foam that provides excellent support and cushioning. The outsole uses a healthy amount of durable blown rubber that provides good traction.
The 860 is a great choice for runners who need a stability shoe that provides a high level of support, cushioning, and durability, making it ideal for runners who run with regularity.
Here are some of the key features of the New Balance 860:
- Breathable yet firm mesh upper
- Fresh Foam X midsole
- Blown rubber outsole
If you are a runner who is looking for a stability shoe that does not sacrifice on the goods of first-class trainers, the New Balance 860 is a great option.
New Balance 880: What Are You Getting?
The 880 is arguably the most popular running shoe in the New Balance catalog, and for good reason. As the brand’s flagship everyday trainer, it offers a well-cushioned, supportive ride for runners of all levels who are looking to get out and log their daily miles.
One of the standout features of the New Balance 880 is its Fresh Foam X midsole. This midsole provides a soft, responsive, and engaging ride, which helps to keep your feet feeling comfortable even on long runs. Additionally, the 880 features a blown rubber outsole that provides excellent traction and durability. Some runners note that the overall flexibility of the 880 makes it their preferred daily trainer over other shoes in its class.
Another great feature of the New Balance 880 is its upper. The re-designed mesh upper provides a breathable and comfortable fit, with a padded tongue and plush detailing to make the shoe comfortable on top of the foot. Runners also appreciate the roomy toe box to help accommodate various foot shapes and sizes.
Overall, the New Balance 880 is a great choice for runners who are looking for a shoe that offers a combination of cushioning, support, and comfort. Whether you’re a beginner runner or an experienced marathoner, the New Balance 880 is a great option.
New Balance 860 vs 880 Design Comparison
Now that you know some of the general characteristics of the New Balance 860 and 880, let’s delve a little deeper into some of their specific engineering aspects.
Both the New Balance 860 and 880 employ an engineered mesh upper design with seamless construction to provide lightweight, breathable comfort.
Both models use reflective elements to enhance visibility in low-light conditions.
The 860 has additional ventilation in the toe box for breathability and a padded tongue to ensure a secure and stable fit. It also uses a soft, TPU-clipped heel collar to keep the heel from slipping and prevent blisters in the posterior of the foot. The upper in the 860 is also made from at least 50% recycled materials to appeal to environmentally conscious runners.
The 880 is rather similar to the 860 in terms of upper design. However, it is known to provide a more spacious toe box and a soft, padded tongue for plush comfort. Runners also note that the midfoot lockdown in the 880 feels pleasingly snug, keeping the foot secure during extended sessions.
The main difference between the midsoles of the 860 and 880 is the presence of the medial post in the 860. As a stability shoe, this keeps wearers of the 860 from having an inward rolling motion during their strides. Runners feel like the medial post in the 860 is smoother than in previous models, making them less conscious of its presence than with similar stability shoes.
The 860 and 880 are both well-cushioned daily trainers, featuring New Balance’s high-quality Fresh Foam X. This innovative EVA foam is known for its elite balance between cushioning and responsiveness, giving runners a plush, bouncy feeling during their strides.
The New Balance 860 and New Balance 880 both feature blown rubber outsoles. Blown rubber is lightweight, durable, and provides good traction underfoot. There is also a bit of exposed EVA foam on the outsole to enhance cushioning on unforgiving surfaces, but not enough to put durability at risk.
Both outsoles are designed with strategically placed flex grooves to allow some degree of flexibility in the forefoot. In general, the outsole on the 880 is slightly more flexible than the outsole on the 860, with runners lauding the flexibility of the 880 over similar daily trainers.
The 880 also has a slightly thicker outsole compared to the 860. This makes the 880 more suitable for higher mileage training runs. However, the 860 outsole is a better choice for race days because it’s lighter and more responsive.
New Balance 860 vs 880 Feature Comparison
Let’s take a look at a head-to-head comparison between the 860 and 880 along key consideration points.
When it comes to durability, both the New Balance 860 and 880 are known for their long-lasting performance. They are true to the New Balance credo of creating high-quality running shoes that deliver mile after mile.
Both shoes establish durability through the presence of blown rubber outsoles. This flexible, responsive material provides excellent traction while standing up to a wide variety of surfaces.
If you had to choose one shoe for its durability, go with the 880. As a shoe designed as an everyday trainer, it will hold up a tad bit better as you approach the 500-mile mark, although either shoe should be more than capable of surpassing your durability expectations.
The 860 has a more snug fit than the 880. It has a narrower toe box and a more secure midfoot wrap. This makes it a good choice for runners with narrow feet or who want a shoe that will provide a lot of support during their runs. It also has a TPU heel clip that keeps the back of the foot secure.
The 880, on the other hand, has a more relaxed fit. It has a wider toe box that gives the forefoot a bit more space. While it does have a secure midfoot wrap, it just does not feel quite as locked down as the 860 overall. This makes it a good choice for runners with wide feet or who want a shoe that will provide more comfort during their runs.
In terms of sizing, both the 860 and 880 are true to size. However, if you are between sizes, it is recommended that you go up a half size when choosing a running shoe.
Both the 860 and 880 models offer a comfortable and supportive ride with ample cushioning. This is because they use Fresh Foam X, which is New Balance’s latest EVA innovation. Runners note that Fresh Foam X perfectly blends the lines between cushioning and pushback while offering surprising flexibility.
The main difference in the midsoles of these two shoes is the presence of a medial post in the 860, as it is a stability shoe that helps overpronation. However, runners feel like this medial post is much smoother than that featured in other stability shoes and does not provide a distraction for runners who need only moderate stability features.
The 860 is a stability shoe, while the 880 is a neutral everyday trainer. As such, the features in the 860 will be preferable for those who have overpronation issues. It also has a more secure midfoot lockdown and TPU heel clip to prevent slippage, making it the better shoe for those seeking a secure and stable running experience.
The retail price for the latest version of both the 860 and 880 is remarkably similar, with both shoes checking in around the $139 mark on most outlets.
FAQ – New Balance 860 vs 880
A selection of the most common questions shoppers have about the New Balance 860 and 880.
What Is the Latest Version of Each of These Shoes?
Both the 860 and 880 are on version 13.
Therefore, if you want the latest iteration of either of the shoes, be sure to select New Balance 860v13 or 880v13.
While earlier versions of either shoe are still top-notch and are very similar to v13, just be aware that there may be some minor differences. Specifically, Fresh Foam X is something that has only been released in later iterations. Older versions also tend to have uppers that are a bit bulkier.
Are These Shoes Good for Casual Wear
Overall, the New Balance 860 and 880 are both good shoes for casual wear and athleisure. The 860 is more supportive, while the 880 is more lightweight and breathable. Both shoes are available in a variety of colors and styles, so you can find the perfect pair to match your personal style.
If you are looking for a supportive shoe that is also comfortable to wear for long periods of time, the 860 is a good option. If you are looking for a lightweight and breathable shoe that is better suited for people with neutral gaits, the 880 is a good option.
Is It Recommended to Buy Both of These Shoes?
As the 860 is a stability shoe and the 880 is a neutral daily trainer, the 860 likely would only appeal to runners with overpronation issues. If you are an overpronator, then the 860 would likely take the place of the 880 as your go-to shoe for everyday running sessions.
The one exception may be runners who have moderate to slight overpronation issues.
As noted, the medial post in the 860 feels very smooth–far from the cumbersome block for which many stability shoes are known.
Therefore, it may be worthwhile for runners with minor pronation issues to keep the 860 on hand for more intense sessions where their stride is more likely to break down and use the 880 for more laid back daily work.
The Bottom Line: New Balance 860 vs 880
There you have it–everything you could have wanted to know about the New Balance 860 and 880.
While both kind of fit the bill as meat-and-potatoes running staples, the 860 is a stability shoe, while the 880 is a neutral everyday trainer.
As such, they have pretty distinct places in the New Balance catalog.
However, they both have breathable mesh uppers, Fresh Foam X midsoles, and flexible blown rubber outsoles that will appeal to runners who prioritize substance over style.
Whatever your running needs, you can feel confident that these two leading models from one of the world’s premier running companies should be firmly at the top of your wish list!