25 Mar 2019

Gear: New Balance 880 v8

Over the past year or so, I had made a few assumptions when picking out new pairs of runners. When the Running Room store in Richmond closed (which is where I live), where I had relied on advice for choosing new shoes, I ended up doing my own research. I loved the Running Room's approach to fitting shoes and their educated staff. Without them to rely on, I was stuck going to Sport Chek (which I will refrain from criticizing here). More recently, a New Balance store opened in Richmond, which had staff trained to properly fit runners. I have now bought a couple of pairs there as well, but I was somewhat concerned going all in with a single brand without being able to compare other brands.

So in November, I found myself in East Vancouver at Forerunners Main Street store. So I took the opportunity to have someone experienced in a variety of brands properly assess and fit me with the right pair of runners for the amount of distance I am currently running.

The result was the New Balance 880 v8. I was glad that it validated the New Balance brand for me so I can continue to go through the Richmond New Balance store, which is definitely the most convenient for me. 

I have just gone over 400 km on these runners, and they are still in great shape. In fact, one of the things I appreciate most about all of the New Balance runners I have had is their longevity. Even after 600 km or even 700 km, the runners are mostly in fantastic shape. Obviously there is some sole wear and degradation, but the shoes still look and feel great. Even a quick run through the wash at this point and they look as good as new. Comparatively, even single pair of Saucony's I have owned would start deteriorating around 400-500 km, either holes in the mesh or parts of the sole peeling off.

I also acknowledge that the 880 v9 were just released. My assumption is that those will be very similar with modest improvements. In fact, I plan to pick up a pair in the next month anyway and will include an assessment of them here when I do.

First off, I have really enjoyed running in the 880 v8s. They are incredibly comfortable and have a really solid fit to hold my foot in place. Further, the amount of cushioning is perfect for the amount of distance I am currently logging on a weekly basis (30-40 km per week on average).

Another thing that I really appreciate about all of the New Balance shoes I have had recently (880 v8, Zante v3, Vazee Pace v2) is how quiet they are on pavement. Similar to the Zante v3, these make almost no noise at all, even with a moderate amount of foot slap.

The lacing system on the 880 v8s is also solid. It provides a nice, consistent tightness that holds consistently throughout a long run. In fact, these are probably the best of any shoe I have ever run in.

My one criticism of these shoes is the tread pattern is atrocious for picking up small rocks. Compared to the Zante v3s (see my review on them HERE), which have a narrow and shallow treat pattern, these have deeper and wider grooves. When I switch from a gravel trail onto pavement, the clacking of the rocks wedged into the treads hitting the ground drives me crazy. The trade-off is probably traction. But alas...

Overall, these have been a great set of runners for me. I will definitely be trying out the 880 v9 and would recommend the v8s to anyone logging similar kilometres training for anything between a 10K to a half or full marathon.

Gear: New Balance Zante v3
Gear: New Balance Vazee Pace v2

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