New Balance 890v6
Specs: 6mm heel-toe offset; 27mm (heel), 21mm (forefoot)
Weight: 9.6 oz (men’s size 9), 7.9 oz (women’s size 7)
The Scoop: Three years ago, New Balance opted to discontinue the 890v5 to focus on two new light and fast models, the Fresh Foam Zante and Vazee Pace. But neither of those shoes gained approval and now the 890 returns this spring as the much revised 890v6. The biggest changes come in the way of a better fit (based on a new last and a bootie construction), snappier sensation (based on a new midsole foam package configuration) and a no-sew mesh upper for added comfort and breathability.
Who’s It Best For: Whereas this shoe was originally built to be a light-and-fast shoe, the new version is a bit more versatile with more cushioning and protection. It’s still an ideal up-tempo training shoe, but now it’s sweet spot includes long intervals, fartlek runs, tempo runs, long progression runs and racing longer races up to a marathon (although it would serve well in the 5K, 10K and half marathon too). It’s really become a lightweight do-everything shoe with just enough cushioning and protection for most runners to wear as their everyday trainer.
Plus: Additional foam material under the heel and forefoot protect feet from repetitive impact forces that occurs running on hard, smooth surfaces. Also, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) strips sandwiched between the midsole and outsole offer an energetic toe-off sensation at the start of a new stride.
Minus: The new version of the 890 is actually heavier than the previous version. The men’s 890v5 was listed at 8.6 oz. (men’s size 9), while 890v6 is listed at 9.6 oz. While the shoe has improved in certain ways, the additional ounce definitely changes the scope of the shoe.