Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The New Balance 890v5: A Shoe Review

I started wearing the New Balance 890v5 out of necessity—I developed a case of Achilles Tendonitis (literally let a small injury, almost a niggle, develop into something more) that is pressure sensitive. Thus anything that is tight at the heel or any ankle collar that is positioned at the wrong angle aggravates the heel and makes my runs unbearable. After a trip to a local running store where one of my friends pulled out every shoe labeled as neutral in the store, I landed in this model and worked it into the rotation as an effort to rest the Achilles and avoid tension based rubbing.

My initial impression is that the shoe is a bit puffy at times. I typically run in a shoe with a lot of feel, and while this shoe is fairly low profile with an 8mm heel drop, the shoe itself masks much of what you normally feel. When you hit a thick root that is great, but the puffy padding (Ortholite® Premium insoles) soaks up a lot moisture. After a recent ten mile venture in the Florida heat, I could hear the squish, squash and feel the water pooled in the toe box. This added weight can be burdensome and tiresome in general.

At this point I have put around 100 miles in on the shoe on mixed surfaces—some road, some trail, some beach, some bridges. The shoes has held up well, as the pictures show there is very little wear and tear minus the rubbing of a logo off of the insole. The padding, despite the moisture soaking properties, feels new and the neutral ride allows for a flat landing—your foot does not sit an angle and you can land how you want to. A flat landing is key to me—I do pronate, but my whole foot landing is more flat than anything.

While my review is not perfectly positive it is not negative on this shoe. It serves a purpose, when dry is quite light, and holds up well. That said, the lack of feel and flexibility may be the detraction here. Perhaps a solid 7/10 would mark the rankings.


  • Mostly neutral in design. You land fairly flat, with perhaps a slight tilt to the outside putting stress on the peroneals.  
  • Loose heel collar that does not rub on the Achilles Tendon. If you have pressure sensitivity here, do not worry.
  • The 8mm heel drop is fairly low profile, especially for a traditional company.

  • Puffy on the inside, the shoes feel very puffy at times. The tongue, the insole, the lining.
  • Despite being breathable, they tend to hold water, much more than they should.
  • The toe box is a tad narrow, but not overly scrunching. 
  •  There is a lack of flexibility in the shoe, something that always bothers me.

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