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Road Running Shoes • May 1, 2024

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v14 Review: Undercover Cruisin’

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What You Need To Know

Weight

9.5 oz. (270 g) for a US M9,

7.4 oz. (209 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

31 mm in heel, 23 mm in forefoot (8 mm drop)

Best For

Daily training with a little less stack

Key Features

Fresh Foam X midsole, NDurance blown rubber outsole, One-piece engineered mesh upper

On The Run
Comfy bed of Fresh Foam X Breathable but well-structured upper Might have some issues with volume
Price / Availability

Available now for $139

Introduction to the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v14

CHAD: I had a mix of feelings when I collected the mail one day and saw I had a delivery from New Balance. Within the last year, I’d reviewed two Fresh FoamX shoes (the Vongo v6 and the 1080v13) and one FuelCell shoe (the SC Elite v4). I really enjoyed the Vongo and the SC Elite v4, but the 1080v13 had me reaching for the Voltaren, Arnica Gel, and Saran wrap due to some instability issues of the new version of Fresh Foam X. As I opened the box and saw the 880v14 staring back up at me, I really didn’t know what to expect.

Even though the 1080v13 and the 880v14 both feature Fresh Foam X midsole foam, New Balance characterizes the 1080 as “extra soft” and the 880 as “soft.” That difference is definitely noticeable just by squeezing the midsole in your hand, with the 880v14 feeling significantly firmer than the 1080. What impact does that have on how the shoe performed for me? Read on to find out.

RENALDO: A few years ago, I got the opportunity to visit the New Balance HQ in Boston and see a bit of the future of what New Balance was bringing to the running world. I’ll keep my lips sealed on some of the shockers, but what I did see was the groundwork for the Fresh Foam X Revolution. With a new iteration of the tried and true 880, New Balance updates its traditional design with some new bells and whistles along with a new version of its Fresh Foam X midsole. Being a big fan of the 880v12, let’s see what the future holds with version 14!

KALEB: Well, Chad just went and blew the biggest trade secret since blood doping with that “Voltaren, arnica gel, and saran wrap” comment (but also, the formula is posted here on our site), so I’ll be honest, I’m kind of reeling, and not entirely sure how to start this review.

Something, something New Balance! Holy moly, have they been fighting to reclaim their top-of-the-food-chain status in the running shoe world. It seemed like they were at the forefront of the road shoe scene back in 2021 and early 2022, with bangers in the tempo shoe (Rebel v2), max-comfort (More v3), and supertrainer (SC Trainer) categories. Then, later in 2022 into 2023, they kind of faded back into the pack. The SC Elite v3 was okay, but it had some major issues and didn’t stand up to the rest of the field. The More v4 was good, but softer, bigger, bouncier shoes came along and overshadowed it. The SC Pacer was a bit of a disappointment and more or less amounted to a glorified racing flat, and the Rebel v3 was practically a taste of New Balance on sedatives.

But 2024 has a newer, more balanced New Balance than has ever balanced anew. Or something. What I’m saying is that the big NB is once again swinging for the fences. The Rebel v4 was a last-second save of its line, the 1080v13 seems to be everyone’s favorite daily trainer lately, the SC Elite v4 cracked our race day top five leaderboard, and the SC Trainer continues to reign in glory with version 2.

And then there’s the 880 line, which… exists, I guess?

The 880 is one of those shoes that you see on lots of runners’ feet, but you never think, “Wow, I’m so excited for the next iteration of THAT shoe.” It’s a simple, reliable daily trainer priced just below its more expensive 1080 counterpart, sort of like how the Asics Gel-Cumulus is the little brother to the chunkier, plusher Gel-Nimbus.

People have a tendency to look down on those simple, run-of-the-mill, daily-mileage-absorbing, blue-collar shoes. It’s easy to do in a world of super shoes, but there’s a reason companies are still churning them out. You need that basic shoe that feels like running should, that shoe that soaks up mile after mile with consistent, comfortable response. That’s what the 880 has always tried to be. Version 14 just might have hit that nail on the head.

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: When it comes to the New Balance 880 line, I’ve come to expect greatness. Not in a “whoa, that is wild” sort of way, but more of an incredibly reliable daily trainer with few faults. I must say, once the 880v14 showed up, I had a sense of relief. Nothing seemed radically different, and my hunch was that here is a shoe that so many wide-footers can put on for a run and be happy with.

What we like about the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v14

CHAD: First things first, this shoe just looks really nice, which is always a plus-1 for me. I received the mostly white colorway with red, blue, and gold accenting colors is super clean. New Balance has really stepped up its styling game with the newer models in the FuelCell line (Rebel v4, SC Elite v4, Pacer v2, SC Trainer v3), so it’s nice to see that the Fresh Foam X models aren’t being left behind.

What surprised me most is that as good as the 880v14 looked, it performed even better. I won’t sugarcoat it: the shoe does feel firmer than a lot of other daily trainers on the market these days. I compared the bounce and ride of the 1080v13 to the Asics Novablast 3. The 880v14 feels nothing like that but in a good way. The shoe, with a reasonably wide base and a nicely structured upper, provides a surprisingly stable ride. The 880v14 has a nice roll through the transition, making it wicked easy to just set a pace and keep moving. And while the cushioning underfoot is definitely firmer than the 1080v13, it’s in no way a brick. The cushioning, to me, is the perfect Goldilocks blend of not-too-soft and not-to-firm. It’s the exact level of cushioning I look for in a daily trainer that will feel good on any of your runs, whether they be 3 miles or 15 miles.

RENALDO: Off the bat, once you first put this shoe on, you’re gonna notice how “puffy” it feels, almost like putting your foot inside its own little padded room. Psychology aside, the 880v14 commits to the classic New Balance comfort without, thankfully, feeling too much. The real star of the show (shoe?) is the new Fresh Foam X midsole. Though a neutral trainer, the feel of the sole underfoot almost gives the shoe a feeling of “rails,” almost like a stability trainer. But translates more to a more secure, tall, and comfortable platform for running. If you’re a New Balance returning customer and have enjoyed what you’ve been getting out of the Fresh Foam feel, you will love running in this shoe.

The ride is super smooth, responsive, and an absolute delight to put miles down in. I recently had a nice effort at the 2024 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC and immediately put these on at my group run with Tribe a few days later, feeling very thankful that I did. While not a racer, I would definitely turn to this shoe for anything from a fun run to a nice long run going into the half marathon territory with no issues.

KALEB: The first time I wore the 880v14 was to pace a junior-high runner in his one-mile time trial. Real talk, folks, I was not a fan. It could’ve been because I was fighting injury, or because my legs were toasted in general, or simply because the shoe needed a little bit of break-in, but the 880 felt clunky and not at all soft. Nearly 40 miles later, I’m singing a different tune.

I don’t know what to say other than this shoe feels smooth. It’s not race-day pep, and it’s not begging to pick up the pace, but at nearly any speed you set, this shoe is going to give you the same battery output. I think the firmness of the foam compound really makes this shoe great. It’s plenty protective and has give to it, but it’s also not going to collapse on you when the pace picks up or when your form breaks down. Combine that nicely tuned foam with a wide, stable base and a perfectly cushioned upper with a gusseted tongue, and New Balance is in the running for a perfect daily workhorse.

The rubber is fairly widespread across the outsole, and I never had any grip issues in wet or dry conditions. Not only will the 880v14 return the same consistent response for hundreds of miles, but the rubber should hold up for that lifetime as well.

I honestly don’t have a ton to say about this shoe, but that’s a good thing. It’s got a nice, reasonably responsive ride, it’s consistent, it’s comfortable, and it’ll last through a good amount of pummeling. It’s no supertrainer, but it’s not supposed to be, and for what it’s marketed as, the 880v14 is a darn good shoe.

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: The fit of my 2E width is pretty much perfect for me. The forefoot has plenty of room, and I have no pressure where a bunion would be. The midfoot has space while still providing a nice lockdown. There have been some previous New Balance uppers where they seemed to be on the sloppier side and I need to cinch down the laces crazy tight. That is NOT the case here. I think New Balance has the upper down pretty perfectly. The engineered mesh is simple and works well. I also like the nicely padded gusseted tongue, which, if you find it is causing any tightness, should be easy to cut right out.

Even though the 880v14 is a neutral shoe, the outsole is wide enough that it feels stable while running. The Fresh Foam X midsole isn’t overly soft or squishy like the 1080. It’s firmer while still maintaining enough cushion. While running, the shoes kind of disappeared from my mind. I really had to focus on how I felt. During a run around the city with Thomas, he asked how I was liking them. I thought about it for half a second and told him they were really nice! The heel strike is smooth, and the Fresh Foam X provides enough response to not feel like a harsh brick. While they look heavy, my 10.5 2E weighs 10.1 oz and actually feels pretty light. Lastly, the all-white with red N overlay looks clean and crisp. Another win for a wide-foot colorway!

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What we don’t like about the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v14

CHAD: One thing New Balance can’t seem to nail down is consistency in-shoe volume. In the Vongo v6, I thought the shoe had a surprisingly low volume, which, even for my very regular-width feet, felt snug. I thought the SC Elite v4 had almost perfect volume for a regular-width foot. Now, I think the 880v14 has excess volume, as I really had to tighten and cinch the laces to get a secure fit. Even with doing that, I still felt like I had some extra room, especially around the heels.

RENALDO: Now, my biggest issue with this shoe has to be the look. I was a big fan of the colorways for the 880v12, owning two different pairs that I absolutely adore. But this time around, the shoe isn’t really speaking to me like it did before. I thought I dug the look on my first group run after getting some compliments, but I had to reassess after having the shoe displayed in my apartment for a few days. It looked like we all got the same white, yellow, and red colorway, but all it did was remind me of the shoes I’d see as a kid — the kind you absolutely knew someone would flame you for on the playground. Some may see that as “youthful,” but I felt like it made the shoe look a little too “busy” while also not really delivering on any specific designs. The ventilation in the upper is a bit much, and the dabs of yellow and red make it kinda look like a banana split.

With fancier fits of fashion, you may be able to pull an outfit out of this, but I’d wait and see on some more colorways.

KALEB: Because of the wider fit, I had one run where I experienced a little rubbing around my big toe. I never felt it again, but for people with very narrow feet, you may experience a little sliding around.

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT:  I’ve got nothing to fuss about.

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Final thoughts on the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v14

CHAD: I think I’m going to log tons of miles in this shoe over the next few months. There’s just something about the way the shoe compliments my stride and gait and how it has the perfect level of comfort underfoot. I definitely feel like the 880v14 could be a solid workhorse daily trainer for anyone out there, bigger runners included.

RENALDO: All in all, the Fresh Foam 880v14 is another home run from New Balance if you ask me. Not too soft, not too firm, but just right for any sort of run outside of racing. I’d like another go at my pair with some dyes and maybe some colorful laces, but if you like it, you’ll love it.

KALEB: As a featherweight runner, I can confirm Chad’s statement that the 880v14 holds appeal across the board. It’s got a no-nonsense ride that can handle a range of training paces, a comfy upper, and solid build quality that will get you your money’s worth of miles. If you’re in the market for a daily trainer, or you’re a runner who prefers not to buy into the “you need 70 shoes for different niche workouts” scam, the 880v14 is a solid choice.

WIDE-FOOT JARRETT: Yet again, New Balance has figured out the secret sauce to a workhorse daily trainer with the 880v14. There’s no need to do anything crazy to a shoe meant for gobbling up miles. The 880v14 is an all-around comfortable shoe from the upper to the midsole. Plus, the wide fit is money. Those who thought the 1080 was a bit too unstable or soft will want to check out the newest 880. You want reliable? You got it.

You can pick up the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v14 for $139 at New Balance using the buttons below.

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Authors

Chad Zimmermann
Clydesdale Reviewer
  • Instagram
  • Strava

An attorney by day, Chad lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife and three kids. Never much for running growing up, Chad began running as a way to improve his physical health. He went from his first 5k in 2015 to running the Paris Marathon in 2016.  Given his larger physical build, Chad is the resident Clydesdale runner, providing shoe and gear insights for those with a bigger build and taller stature.

More from Chad
Shoe Size

11.5

Fav. Distance

10K

PRs
  • 4:58

    Marathon
  • 56:33

    10K
  • 26:34

    5K
  • 2:11:05

    Half Marathon
renaldo
Renaldo Robinson
Baltimore Road Reviewer
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Born and raised Baltimore, Renaldo still resides in his home city and has shared miles with a good chunk of the Baltimore running community. A captain in A Tribe Called Run run group, Renaldo can easily be spotted running with Faster Bastards, Believe Run Club, or doing a solo long run through Baltimore’s midtown. If you spot him, be sure to give him a big “REEENOOO!” or challenge him to a game of pool 🎱

More from Renaldo
Shoe Size

11.5

Fav. Distance

26.2

PRs
  • 4:08

    Marathon
  • 1:48

    Half Marathon
  • 48:09

    10K
  • 23:19

    5K
kaleb
Kaleb Kabakjian
Track and XC Reviewer

Kaleb is one of the younger, “both of my knees still work” reviewers on the BITR team. As a high school cross country, track and field, and road racing athlete in Pennsylvania, Kaleb loves hearing about the latest endurance-athletics studies and seeing how everything out there can fit into a well-rounded training program. If you don’t see him drinking a weird health concoction or doing some strange warmup technique, he’s probably already started the race.

All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Ride 14, Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

More from Kaleb
Shoe Size

9

Fav. Distance

1 Mile

PRs
  • 1:18

    Half Marathon
  • 16:14

    5K (XC)
  • 4:30

    1600m
  • 2:03

    800m
jarrett 1
Jarrett Weisberg
Wide Foot Lead Reviewer
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Wide Foot Jarrett likes talking about wide shoes. Did you know he wears wide shoes? You should probably know he wears wide shoes. Besides running, Jarrett is a lover of coffee, donuts, pizza, and tacos. Basically, Jarrett is the ultimate race-cation travel companion because he will be on food duty while you’re busy panicking about whether you want to try and break your PR. Will also sleep on the floor. He’ll also answer any question in his DMs.

All-time favorite shoes: New Balance Vazee Prism v2, New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer, Asics Metaspeed Sky.

More from Jarrett
Shoe Size

10.5 2E

Fav. Distance

Beer Mile

PRs
  • 3:29

    Marathon
  • 1:41

    Half-Marathon
  • 42:30

    10k
  • 19:31

    5K
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