The New Balance 880v12 is about as traditional a daily running shoe as you get nowadays. A conservative upper, a fairly standard-looking midsole, and a big fat durable outsole. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing and for a lot of runners who are slower and want a nice durable shoe, this thing will work great, plus New Balance did include a midsole that has some real pop on it making that the standout element. It does have one area of weirdness for us though, that mesh upper.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- A simple neutral daily trainer targeted more to those who like a little more structure to their shoe.
- The upper is less secure than it might look, so definitely try them on first.
- Weight – 10.5oz or 298g for a US Men’s 9, 8.4oz or 238g for a US Women’s 7
- Cushion – 27mm of cushion and a 10mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $134.99 USD
- Colors – 5 options
Construction and Materials
- Upper – The upper on here is a very traditional double jacquard engineered mesh with no-sew overlays.
- Midsole – The midsole is a dual-layer midsole that features a top layer of traditional foam cushioning and then Fresh Foam X on the bottom.
- Outsole – The 880v12 uses just a ton of blown rubber outsole.
What we loved
The 880v12 really represents a classic New Balance design. One look at it will tell you it harkens back to what you feel utilitarian daily running shoes used to look like from the way the engineered mesh is structured to even a visual aesthetic and then there is that robust outsole. Hidden under that, however, are a few really key improvements including in this case the Fresh Foam X midsole. This is a dual-density midsole using a more traditional top layer fused with Fresh Foam X and that helps deliver a more traditional impact but then a little more propulsion during toe-off. The midsole here is definitely the bright point of the shoe giving this thing a little more oomph than you might expect.
The upper has some issues which will get into in a moment but it does have a very traditional engineer mesh upper, no-sew overlays, a thick pillowy heel cup with an internal counter that feels really good on your foot when you first put it on. In fact, as a walking or a slow running shoe, this is going to be really successful but again there is one drawback for more experienced or faster runners. If we targeted this at anyone, we would go half marathon and under and probably over the 10-minute per mile range, really folks looking to just put a few miles on who might be a little heavier in the legs and looking for a little additional from the shoe.
The outsole here functions well because there is a ton of it so you don’t have to worry about grip or durability. There is a lot of it on here. Too much probably…
What we didn’t
On the negative side, the upper has us a bit perplexed. It is weirdly loose from side to side and this leads to a feeling of instability at speed. You just can’t seem to ever get these things tight enough to run with any amount of accelerated effort. When you slow down of course it is fine, but when you bump it up a bit you tend to slide around a bit which is frustrating. If you have a wider foot, this is going to be really accommodating and probably feel great for you, but again might question the hold. Because it is so built up it can also run a little warm, but that is not a big deal as the volume of it.
The other area is the outsole and while there is a ton of rubber, there is also a ton of rubber. This means increased weights and it just feels so unnecessary here. It is going to increase the durability, and definitely improve traction, but you can do that with a lot less rubber as New Balance has done time and time again on other shoes. We definitely feel like they could lose some weight here by toning down the volume just a touch.
The New Balance 880v12 midsole is the winner in this shoe but overall it is hampered by an upper that is just a touch too sloppy. For very slow runners and even walkers, it won’t be as noticeable and will work well, but fasters runners will slide around a bit. Also, just too much rubber on that outsole which ends up increasing the weight leaving these to feel a bit too heavy underfoot. The v13 needs to reduce the rubber (match the 1080v12 maybe) and then tighten up that upper design a bit.
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Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.