TAYLOR: Choices, choices, choices. I remember my college coach, DT, discussing jeans. He’s simple, conscious of those around him, and wise. In his 70’s he would still run with our college XC team, maybe even log some miles after practice to get more time to think and pray, then ride his bike home.
DT is the type that if you ask him a question, you best be prepared for a thought-provoking response. When the topic of “life choices” came up, he quickly related it to jeans. If you go to the store there are aisles of different colors, washes, styles, fits, functionality, etc and it can be extremely overwhelming. Especially when all you want is a pair of jeans. On he went with a beautiful unscripted sermon.
The world of finding shoes is just the same… or worse. There are so many options to sort through. So, here we are trying to help you sort through it all.
New Balance has an array of footwear with many solid choices. Somewhere in all of the numbered shoes is the Fresh Foam 880v10 GTX. In short, it means the 10th version of a slightly stable, all-weather, workhorse of a shoe. Are they the right shoe for you this winter? Let’s check them out.
JARRETT: Just in time for winter, New Balance updated the much-loved 880v10 with some Gore-Tex. I was a big fan of the 880v10. It has been a daily workhorse and just feels good on the foot. I’ll be diving into the details mainly of what’s different with the 880v10 GTX. Spoiler alert: it’s the Gore-Tex.
TAYLOR: This is a buttery biscuit type of shoe. It’s simple and tasty. I don’t know many who would argue with that.
Fresh Foam X brings that butter. Soft and smooth riding all day. With a middle of the road stack height (28mm heel to 18mm toe), the 880v10 GTX feels nicely balanced. It’s well-cushioned but also gives some feedback rather than sinking into cloudy oblivion. This is what I’d be looking for in a true daily trainer. It also won’t be afraid to hit the long runs or mix in uptempo runs.
A Hypoknit upper provides a comfortably snug fit and allows some good flexibility in the areas that need it most. The upper didn’t break in quick, however, but when it did my feet settled in nicely. Hypoknit is soft and on the thicker side. A heavily padded heel collar and tongue certainly assisted with the nice fit. Even for a Gore-Tex model, they breathed well.
Gore-Tex is what you’re likely here to read about. It always surprises me! The waterproof fabric did its job of keeping water out and maintained enough breathability to keep my feet from being a Thanksgiving turkey. Even with the added protection, the weight is modest at 11.6 ounces for a men’s 10.5.
A blown rubber outsole provides some good traction on a variety of surfaces. It gripped well on any paved surface (even with snow and moisture). The outsole is substantial enough, fit secure enough, and upper protective enough to take on some light trails if desired.
JARRETT: What is Gore-Tex, you ask? It’s a synthetic waterproof fabric that protects from water while still being permeable to air and water vapor.
If you hate wet feet as much as me (seriously, I’ll avoid puddles like the plague… or COVID), you should be pleased. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this is my first endeavor with a Gore-Tex shoe, but it really does work. Instead of avoiding the water, I was beelining from puddle to puddle. The morning after a big storm, I went out while it was still dark out. Without realizing it, I splashed through what might as well have been the sixth Great Lake. My legs were soaked. The tops of my socks wet. But my feet? DRY!
The main complaint that we all had with the 880v10 was the tongue. It was UUUUGE! In the new GTX version, New Balance thankfully toned it down. It’s still nicely padded, but the tongue doesn’t ride up the ankle anymore.Shop 880v10 GTX – Men Shop 880v10 – Women
TAYLOR: I did find that the sizing is off. My pair of men’s 10.5 ran short by at least a half size, maybe a whole. My first couple of runs left me with sore toes. As the upper broke in, I felt more comfortable putting in longer miles but the fact remained that the shoe was short.
Also, maybe it’s just me, but does the “black with thunder” colorway remind you of a small-town movie theater’s carpet? I don’t think this pattern is making its way back from the late 70’s.
JARRETT: Unfortunately the GTX doesn’t have as much a stretch to it as the original 880v10. It felt noticeably tighter in the midfoot. As time went on, the Gore-Tex slowly loosened, but don’t expect it to be as loose-fitting.
The GTX has also packed on some winter weight. The addition of Gore-Tex has increased the weight of my 10.5 2E to 12.3 oz. I guess that’s the price to pay for dry feet.Shop 880v10 GTX – Men Shop 880v10 – Women
TAYLOR: If you’re aiming to log miles outdoors this winter and live above 38 degrees latitude, these could be a stellar option. The 880v10 GTX has range. It’ll fill the role of a daily trainer, can run long miles, and will even pick up the pace. This package wrapped in Gore-Tex fabric to keep your feet dry, warm, and ready to keep after those goals all winter long.
JARRETT: New Balance is building on the beloved 880v10 with the GTX edition. You want to get some miles in during wet weather? Here’s a great option. While the upper feels tighter, it’s not suffocating. I definitely see myself pulling the 880v10 GTX out for some early morning runs where I need to be weatherproof.Shop 880v10 GTX – Men Shop 880v10 – Women