New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14: Reliable and Everyday Shoes

Fresh Foam X 880v14 midsole

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14 is a neutral daily trainer favored by many professional runners. It offers versatility from easy-day runs to tempo paces. However, I found its cushioning and energy return lacking, especially considering its $140 price tag, diminishing its overall value proposition.

Do you deserve Fresh Foam X 880v14?

This shoe caters to a wide range of runners seeking versatility for daily training. With stability, moderate weight, and durability, it's a solid choice for various types of runs.

If you prioritize energy return, plush cushioning, or speed-focused performance, you might prefer other options. Those needing a roomier toe box should consider selecting the wide version of this shoe.

Fresh Foam X 880v14 Brief Introduction

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14 is a neutral daily trainer featuring New Balance's Fresh Foam X cushioning technology.

It's interesting to note that the Fresh Foam X technology varies across different New Balance shoes, with some models featuring foam that differs in composition or density.

After trying out the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13, I found the midsole experience to be quite distinct. While the 1080v13 offered a softer feel, the 880v14 provides greater stability and responsiveness.

This shoe competes directly with models like the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 and the Saucony Ride 17. While it excels in durability, the energy return doesn't quite match up to that of the Gel-Nimbus and Ride.

The shoe weighs 9.5 oz for a men's size 9, making it suitably lightweight for its intended use. Priced at $140, it offers good value compared to many of its competitors.

Regarding updates from the previous year, several changes have been made. Notably, the toe-to-heel drop has been reduced from 10mm in the previous version to 8mm in the current iteration. Despite this adjustment, the overall stack height remains largely unchanged, with only a lower heel drop.

The shoe has undergone a slight weight reduction of 0.5 oz compared to its predecessor, attributed to the updated Fresh Foam X cushioning in the foam.

The shoe's upper has undergone slight modifications, enhancing its form-fitting feel compared to the previous year's model.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14 Running Experience

Upon initial unboxing, I observed that the shoe felt quite lightweight.

The upper appeared sleek, while the rubber on the outsole seemed durable enough to withstand long miles. My inaugural run in the shoes followed a week-long break and was an easy-paced session.

The shoe provided a stable and smooth ride, though I didn't experience significant energy return. Despite this, it responded adequately as I varied my pace. It neither felt particularly supportive nor obstructive during my run.

During subsequent runs, including strides, hill repeats, and tempo efforts, the shoe performed effortlessly. Its versatility became evident, and I can see why it appeals to many runners—it seamlessly accommodates various types of runs without feeling cumbersome.

As mentioned before, the shoe lacks significant energy return, resulting in a less responsive feel. During one session where I aimed to increase the pace, I found it challenging to do so with this shoe.

Experienced runners may find it lacking in both lightness and bounce to comfortably push to higher threshold paces. However, for novice runners, it remains a solid all-around choice.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14 Upper/Vamp

Fresh Foam X 880v14 upper

The upper construction of this shoe impresses with its fine mesh and ample padding, ensuring a comfortable fit.

This year's design features a seamless, one-piece upper, offering a sleek look and streamlined feel. The lacing system proved reliable, with shoelaces staying securely tied even with a single knot.

The redesigned tongue of this year's model appears to stay in place more effectively than its predecessor. True to size, the shoe's toe box felt slightly snug, though not to the extent that I considered opting for a wide width.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14 Sole Units

Fresh Foam X 880v14 sole

The midsole integrates the Fresh Foam X technology, maintaining a similar thickness to the v13 model but with a reduced heel drop from 10mm to 8mm. Thanks to the updated foam, this version also sheds some weight compared to its predecessor, although the difference is not substantial.

As previously noted, this foam doesn't offer the same softness or energy return as seen in other models like the 1080 v13, despite sharing similar technology.

The reduced heel drop contributes to a smoother, comfortable ride during easy miles. Additionally, it enhances responsiveness and stability, allowing the shoe to handle various paces within a single run effectively.

The outsole traction is reliable, providing grip even in rainy conditions and on grassy or gravel surfaces. Constructed with Ndurance rubber, New Balance's proprietary material, the outsole aims to improve durability. While the material remains consistent with the previous version, the layout has been adjusted to enhance traction in high-wear areas while reducing overall rubber usage, potentially contributing to the shoe's weight reduction in this iteration.

Compared to the Gel-Nimbus 26, this shoe feels notably firmer and lacks the same level of energy return. While the Nimbus was already firm, this shoe feels even firmer in comparison.

However, this shoe is lighter and boasts a lower stack height. Consequently, it feels more responsive and is better suited for faster paces compared to the Nimbus.

In my experience, the grip of the outsoles is quite comparable.

Summary and Conclusions

The Fresh Foam X 880v14 from New Balance is an excellent day-to-day running shoe that caters to nearly every type of runner.

For seasoned runners, it serves as a fantastic leisure day shoe, perfect for including some sprints or speed increases. For those new to running, it's an exceptional all-around shoe exhibiting great adaptability.

This shoe will remain in my collection for leisurely days or for those group runs wherein the speed slightly surpasses the easy pace.

My main concern is still the cost. For a slight increase in investment, you can acquire other kinds of footwear that offer superior energy efficiency, softer padding, or lesser weight.

This shoe doesn't contain enough unique features to distinguish itself from others, even with the potential savings. Yet, I believe it accomplishes its role as a reliable, everyday shoe.

User Reviews About Fresh Foam X 880v14

Fresh Foam X 880v14 mudguard

Neil the Seal: Firmer than the 1080v13. I prefer this over the 1080v13 for walking. I'm not sure which I prefer, but the 1080 has a "sock-like" feeling to it while the 880v14 has a more structured mesh. For upper comfort, I think the 1080 is slightly better but it's midsole is too squishy in my opinion to be a do it all shoe. The 1080 a fantastic slow-pace running shoe and very comfortable for standing and lounging about as well, but lacks in other areas. The 880v14 has a firmer Fresh Foam that feels more suitable for all activities.

Tony R: I've been wearing New Balance for 27 years now. The brand has always been good quality and very consistent. I like the change made of fixing the tongue of the shoe so it stays put making the shoe even more comfortable and functional.

Kensully: This version it so much better than the previous one.  You fixed the tongue and cushion is much better.  The toe is much better shaped, not as rounded as last year.  The design is also cleaner.  Great job NBgreat shoe.

Nosebleed_Er422: I’m coming off of 880 v12. Which I really like the bounce. I gave 5 stars  but based on appearances. Almost a 4.5 but I dislike the black part on the foam since it looks like if it gets stretched it’s probably that white color under it but I’m autistic when it comes to shoes. Feel true to size and they are neat shoes.

  • Product: New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14
  • Price: $140
  • Styles & Colors:
    • M880G14: Arctic grey with limelight and nb navy
    • M880B14: Black with sea salt and silver metallic
    • M880L14: Blue oasis with atlantic blue and true red
  • Usage:
    • easy-day runs
    • daily training
    • strides
    • hill repeats
    • tempo training
    • fast-paced runs
  • Constructions & Features:
    • Fresh Foam X midsole foam with approximately 3% bio-based content
    • Accurate size
    • Weight: 270 grams (9.5 oz)
Fresh Foam X 880v14 midsole