The 880 Is the classic daily workhorse in the New Balance stable of shoes.
Version 12 retains the same 10 mm drop with a dual-density midsole with a new softer Fresh Foam, and added upfront FuelCell which is a slightly more dense upgrade giving a bit more energy through toe off.
The double Jacquard upper returns but less reinforced creating a more relaxed fitting upper.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v12 First Impressions
I have run in a lot of NB shoes over the years and several versions of the 890, 1080, and 1400, but somehow have never stepped foot in the 880 and haven’t really any good reason why.
That said I was excited to finally have my chance, especially this version that NB claims to be the softest 880 yet and was also very curious about the feel of the dual density midsole.
Unboxing it for the first time I was pleased with the simple design, colorway, and upper material.
My first steps in the shoe were superb, soft, and comfortable. The shoe felt true to size with a relaxed upper that gave no indication of any problems.
My first miles in the shoe were pleasant with nothing that gave me an “oh my “ moment just a dependable daily trainer, but let’s dive into that a little bit deeper.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v12 Sole Unit
The biggest change to the 880 falls squarely in the sole unit which is now a dual density. Looking at the shoe the layers are clearly defined with the white band of Fresh Foam running nearly the length of the shoe and the orange FuelCell layer spanning from mid foot to forefoot.
The two foams maintain the same hardness but FuelCell is slightly more dense making it less softer and more responsive. What this translates to is a soft forgiving ride that isn’t mushy with a forgiving forefoot landing that has a subtle pop that’s not explosive.
The ride of this version is soft and mellow with just the right amount of spring at toe-off for daily training. The roll through the gait cycle is clean and smooth making daily miles enjoyable.
The outsole has a ton of rubber which should translate into a lot of miles. With 60+ miles so far my pair show very little signs of wear. Deep flex grooves keep the outsole flexible and not just a cumbersome slab. Road grip is good but the large flat pads make flat contact with road making running in wet conditions or over varying terrain tricky.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v12 Upper Unit
The double jacquard mesh upper is simple, soft, pliable and dense making it durable but breathable. It is soft on my feet and very comfortable. I found it true to size but and very roomy especially through the midfoot.
While my forefoot appreciated the spaciousness I found it difficult to get a good secure lock down through the saddle of the shoe. I did try cinching it down but just couldn’t get the snug fit I was looking for. This wasn’t too much of an issue at an easier pace but led to some sloppiness when running faster or down hill.
The tongue is just the right thickness to protect the top of my foot without feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is ungusseted but so far I haven’t had an issue with it migrating away for the top of my foot.
The heel counter is rigid down low transitioning to a softer and pliable top. The collar is decently padded with an achilles hold tab that eliminates pressure while providing a comfortable secure hold.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v12 Conclusion
I really like the 880 and enjoy the ride that the dual-density midsole provides. I appreciate the simplicity of the shoe and while it’s not dynamic by any means it is a solid daily trainer that I have been lacing up for long cruising runs or recovery days.
I definitely think that the 880 is a shoe that should appeal to many types of runners, and honestly feel that If I could give only one shoe recommendation to an everyday runner this would be the one that a lot of people would be happy with.
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v12 at Running Warehouse with our own money.