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Road • May 3, 2021

New Balance 880v11 Performance Review


What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 9.7 oz. (275 g) for a US M9.0 / 8.3 oz. (235 g) for a US W7.5
  • Fresh Foam X midsole makes this the most fun 880 in a while
  • Stable, secure fit provides confident miles
  • A classic workhorse trainer with a little personality

JARRETT: If you read my New Balance 880v10 review, you’d know I was ready to verbally assault my fellow Red Robin patrons with my love for that shoe. Is the 880v11 worthy of a new public disturbance? Short answer, yes.

DAVE: As you read this, think for a minute. Think about your shoe rack. I bet there are a few lonely soldiers in there. You know the ones. They just don’t get called into duty as much because they don’t have the flash or juice that some of your other shoes do.

I’d call the 880 one of those lonely soldiers. It’s on the rack because of its reliability, but it tends to take a backseat to the Rebel V2, Beacon or some of New Balance’s carbon options.

Year after year, the 880 has given me a ton of quality base building miles. Last year’s version was smooth like Plymouth gin, and this years’ Fresh Foam 880 v11 proves to do just the same.


The Good

JARRETT: The only real difference with the 880v11 is the new engineered double jacquard mesh upper. It definitely feels softer and stretchier than the previous Hypoknit, and the 2E holds my foot very well with no pressure points. The improved upper also makes the shoe look sleeker than past iterations. 

The heel collar has sufficient padding and it flares out to act as a pull tab. I’ve got no complaints and no heel slip. The molded external heel counter is smaller when compared to the v10. New Balance was able to integrate the design better as the dark blue mesh above the TPU piece is very hard and stable. As for the tongue problems of the v10, the v11 has a much tamer tongue that sits low on the foot.

The 880v11 is much more traditional with a Fresh Foam X midsole and 10 mm drop. It has some cushioning, but enough firmness to keep the ride responsive and smooth. The outsole is the same as the v10 from the blown rubber down to all the flex grooves and honeycomb design. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense daily trainer, look no further. The ride is relatively smooth and feels good underfoot. Even though it’s a neutral shoe, I find it to be more on the stable side. 

My 10.5 2E weighs a hefty 11.3 oz., but is actually .2 oz. lighter than the previous version. It fits true to size.

DAVE: Like leaving a Cypress Hill show, my head is a bit foggy from all of these midsole compounds coming from New Balance.  In my experience, Fresh Foam X delivers the goods. The 880v11 has a smooth transition from heel to forefoot. It’s not going to wow you with a springy toe-off, but that’s to be expected from a heftier daily trainer. It definitely rides on the stiffer side, like a lot of 880s have in the past, so keep that in mind. If you like more of a fast but pillowy feel, step into the 1080v11, HOKA ONE ONE Rincon, or Saucony Endorphin Shift. The Fresh Foam 880 v11 definitely has that OG classic trainer feel, with a sturdy and stable feel.  

As far as the fit of the shoe, it’s near-perfect in all the right places. Surprisingly, my narrow foot doesn’t have any lacing for hot spot issues. A generous forefoot provides a comfortable toe splay.

Running shoes are getting lighter, and many, including myself, are spoiled by this movement. I love having a sub-8 oz trainer on my feet. But everyone needs “ol’ blue” every once in a while. But even at 9.7 oz, the Fresh Foam 880 v11 is cutting weight compared to some of its ancestors that tipped the scales at 13 oz. With such a solid midsole, the nearly 10 oz build is worth the trade-off.

Shop 880 v11- Men Shop 880 v11 – Women newbalance-880v11-heel

The Bad

JARRETT: For what this shoe is supposed to be, there’s really not much to complain about. It’s a little hefty, but still weighs .2 oz less than the last version.

DAVE: I don’t have any gripes with this shoe.

Shop 880 v11- Men Shop 880 v11 – Women newbalance-880v11

New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 Conclusion

JARRETT: Just like its predecessor, the New Balance 880v11 is a workhorse. It’s comfortable enough for all runs and will last quite a long time. If you want just one pair of traditional running shoes, you can’t go wrong with this.

DAVE: New Balance has another winner on their hands with the Fresh Foam 880 v11. It’s a classic, reliable daily trainer that only tires when you do. I recommend this workhorse for just about everyone, from beginners to marathon vets.

You can pick up the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop 880 v11- Men Shop 880 v11 – Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Maura says:

    I’ve had these shoes for almost a year but have rarely worn them because I find them way too clunky, especially the heel. I’ve actually tripped and fallen face first several times while trying to run in them. I used to have the 860v8 and loved them. Any recommendations? I’m not going for speed here, but something that can handle long runs. Thanks!

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