New Balance 880v12 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v12 Shoe Review

The New Balance 880v12 has always been an interesting shoe to me. It’s a favorite and popular among a wide range of people. When I worked in run specialty, it was easily one of our most sold shoes due to comfort. It was a favorite of walkers, runners, older people, and younger people. It comes in various widths, including narrow to double-wide, so it accommodates many people. It “looks” more modern these days, both a blessing and a curse. Runners want a shoe that “looks young,” but I can’t say the same about a lot of the older walking crowd. They would take the New Balance 880v12 with leather if it were offered.

Anyway, the New Balance 880v12 does have some updates, including a redesigned midsole and a lightweight flexible upper. It’s bright and bold. So yes, it’s different than previous versions.

New Balance 880v12 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v12 Quick Facts:

Weight: 8.3 oz

Drop: 10 mm

Cost: $135

New Balance 880v12 Introduction:

The New Balance 880v12 has a fresh foam midsole similar to the previous version. The NB 880v12, however, is much softer, and it’s a fairly noticeable difference. The New Balance 880 has always been a little too firm for me; it’s “fine,” but I like the 1080 better, so the softer update was welcomed.

New Balance 880v12 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v12 Fit:

New Balance usually has solid fits in their shoes, and the New Balance 880v12 is no different. The 880v12 has a double jacquard mesh upper which is different than many of their hypoknit models like the Tempo v2 or 1080v12. The mesh also features strategically placed perforations to increase breathability around the toe box.

I am a fan of the plushness in the New Balance 880v12, including in the tongue, ankle, and heel collar. It feels like a premium shoe without being $150.

I find the best running shoe uppers disappear off your feet, and the New Balance 880v12 does just that. The plush tongue and heel make for a luxurious price without the cost.

In running shoes, I typically wear between a 10-11 wide. In New Balance, I’ve usually worn a 10.5, and the New Balance 880v12 is no different. It does fit on the wider side but not overly wide, so you need to be worried about it. The nice thing about the 880v12 is it comes in so many different widths, from narrow to double-wide.

New Balance 880v12 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v12 Ride:

The New Balance 880v12 has a dual-layer midsole with fresh foam X. The fresh foam in the midsole is similar to the 880v11 but just softer. This makes the 880v12, the softest the 880 has ever been.  The Fresh Foam X is also lighter so the 880v12 becomes lighter, softer and with more cushion.

This makes it softer and reduces the weight. There is actually even more cushion than before.

Durability and Traction: New Balance is known for its durability and traction, and the New Balance 880v12 is no exception. Most New Balance outsoles use blown rubber which helps increase both. I’ve always been able to get the full 400-mile life out of the 880v12, and even with the new midsole, I expect that.

New Balance 880v12 Shoe Review

The traction is at the top, and I’ve done several runs in inclement weather and on sandy trails with no issues. You shouldn’t have a problem with the New Balance 880v12.

For me, the New Balance 880 has always been an interesting fit into my rotation. It’s a great easy run and daily run shoe; I’ve just found I like the softness of the 1080 more. Now, with the addition of the extra softness, it’s hard to differentiate the 1080 and 880. Why pay $160 for the 1080 when the New Balance 880v12 is $135 and just as soft.

I find the New Balance 880v12 fits best as a daily run shoe when I’m not sure what type of run I’ll do. The 880v12 has been a great update, and it’s much more responsive and flexible than previous versions. I do think we will see many people who say it’s “too different” for their liking.

New Balance 880v12 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v12 Conclusion:

Is the New Balance 880v12 a good update? Yes. Is the New Balance 880v12 different from the 880v11? Also yes. I think we will see many people think it’s too soft or too different. I am personally a big fan of the extra softness and extra cushion. For me, this is the best New Balance 880 yet. It’s also now harder for me to convince people why the $160 New Balance 180v12 is a better shoe than the 880v12? Not that it matters, I don’t get paid to convince anyone which shoe is better…but maybe it’s harder for New Balance.

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: New Balance 880v12, Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo, New Balance 1080 v11, Saucony Triumph 19, Brooks Launch 9

Speed Work: Altra Vanish Carbon, 361 Flame, Nike Tempo Next%, Reebok Float Ride Run fast Pro, Nike ZoomX Streakfly, Reebok Floatride Energy X

Long Runs: Saucony Freedom 4, Hoka Clifton Edge,  Under Armour Sonic HOVR 3

Trail Running/Hiking: Saucony Peregrine 12Hoka Torrent 2, Hoka Zinal Shoe, Speedland SL:PDX, North Face Flight VECTIV

Races: Nike ZoomX Streakfly, Asics Metaspeed Sky, Hoka One One Rocket X, adidas Adizero Pro, New Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin Pro 2Reebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried the New Balance 880v12?

What is your favorite daily run shoe? 

1 Comment

  1. we’ve found that the latest version of the 880s fit a bit narrower than in the past?…it was always our go to shoe, yes for walkers, looking for a wider shoe….a lot of them end up on the 840s, but some the 880s

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