With a vibe that’s equal parts cushioning and performance, the neutral-inclined New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 is a versatile training shoe proficient at running any pace and any distance. It’s a relatively light, multipurpose daily trainer that deserves high marks for a reliable fit, premium Fresh Foam X midsole cushioning, and a lively demeanor.
There have been a few minor tweaks to the 880v11 since last year that help boost its overall vibe. The biggest updates are a new, double jacquard engineered mesh upper, a moderately softer heel counter and a slightly softer and bouncier sensation from the updated midsole.
The new upper that helps lock down the foot to the chassis while maintaining pliability to accommodate a wide variety of foot shapes. The overlays are thinner and more subtle, but the breathability is decidedly better. When you lace it up, you sense its athletic vibe. The secure connection to the midsole/outsole chassis and the mildly soft, seamless interior.
The segmented outsole is unchanged from the previous edition of the 880. It has three sections of durable carbon rubber for durability. The 880v11 has high-impact areas and two pieces of blown rubber for enhanced traction and energy return. It doesn’t have a rocker geometry like some modern trainers. Instead has plenty of flex from a series of multidirectional grooves in the forefoot.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The Fresh Foam 880v11 fits true to size with a medium-volume, seamless interior and a secure, locked-down feeling. It has a modestly soft interior, but it’s not overly cushy or plush.
You can sense the traditional heel-toe offset (10mm) the moment you step into the shoe, with the soft cushy heel and a lower, more proprioceptive vibes in the forefoot.
Those sensations come to life on the run with protection and softness on heel-striking impacts, a smooth transition and springy and lively toe-offs. It’s produces a consistent, energetic ride and the faster you run, the less you notice the higher heel-toe offset.
Runners who appreciate the versatility of a shoe that can handle long runs and also tackle speedier workouts will love the 880v11. Newer runners will appreciate its comfort and fit, while more experienced runners will love that it does everything very well. It could be a race-day shoe for 5K to half marathon distances.
This is the second edition of the 880v11 with a Fresh Foam midsole and our wear-testers greater appreciated it. The top-tier Fresh Foam X midsole compound provides amazing shock absorption in the heel and a noticeable pop of energy in the forefoot.
It’s not a performance trainer or a super cushy cruiser, but it’s somewhere in between. It has thick, shock-absorbing cushioning in the heel with a responsive, low-to-the-ground feel in the forefoot. That allows it to be a great shoe for long runs, but it’s also capable of running short and fast repeats on the track or longer, fartlek-style intervals.
The 880v11 is a no-frills trainer like its predecessors. It’s not overly comfy inside, not exceptionally fast and probably not even the shoe you’ll call your absolute favorite. But it’s the best version of this shoe that’s ever been produced, and it’s infinitely versatile and reliable — especially if you prefer only one shoe in your quiver.
The only reason not to like the 880v11 is because it doesn’t shine brighter in one particular area. It could have a more plush, comfortable interior and it could have more energetic bounce in every stride.