I went into my local RoadRunner Sports store yesterday planning to buy another pair of New Balance 890 v3 running shoes only to find out they only had the recently revised 890 v4 in stock in my size. I like surprises, especially ones like this.
The 890 has been my primary running shoe since I first tried the original 890 back in April 2011. The v2 and v3 editions were both fine updates to the original, although with the bright new color choices being one of the main things I remember being different with the v2 and v3 I would classify those upgrades as minor. The 890 v4, on the other hand, runs like an entirely new shoe.
I tested my new 890’s out this morning with a brisk 6 mile run, downhill the first mile, fast and flat next 4, and uphill to finish. The shoe feels totally different than its predecessors. Despite being 1 oz lighter (8.5 vs 9.5 for the v3), it feels like a much more substantial shoe when you first lace it up. The toe box is also roomier. One of the biggest differences is how New Balance managed to give the forefoot significantly more flexibility for more natural motion. At 2.9 miles into my run my toes and forefoot were yelling up at me, “we love this shoe”.
If you have been holding off trying out one of the new lightweight running shoes, wait no more and try out the 890 v4 or another lightweight shoe. First word of advice, don’t buy a shoe based on anyone’s review. Head out to a local running store (RoadRunner Sports is one of my favorites here in California) and try on a couple of pairs and see what feels comfortable. Another word of advice, if you have been running with a heavier, stability type shoe, don’t go cold-turkey with the 890 or any other lightweight shoe. Give your body a few months to adjust by alternating between your current shoe and the 890. But if your like me, it won’t take long before you throw away all those old heavyweight shoes and never look back.