For runners with high arches in need of a neutral shoe, few models have received higher praise in recent months than the New Balance 890. Released in February 2011, this shoe is much lighter and pared-down than older neutral models. As a brand, New Balance is turning its attention to more minimalist-inspired shoes and the 890 is no exception: It weighs just 9.7 ounces for men and a mere 7.65 ounces for women. The shoe sits much closer to the ground than other models, is well-designed to suit a forefoot strike and is a stellar choice for high-arched runners interested in the minimalist trend. The 890 features a RevLite midsole, a material developed by New Balance to provide a well-cushioned shoe that's also responsive and lightweight. Reviewers are receptive to this new design, giving the 890 kudos across the board. Experts and users alike also praise the shoe for balancing its lightweight, minimalistic feel while maintaining the cushiony ride that those with high arches need. Some reviewers note that the shoe is fairly narrow, particularly in the heelbox. Plus, the New Balance 890 is better suited for pavement or track running, although reviewers say the thinner sole provides enough protection and support for other terrain.
Since its introduction, the New Balance 890 has earned high accolades. Self magazine selects it as one of their eight favorite new running shoes of the year. Men's Fitness designates it as the top 2011 pick for runners looking for added cushioning. The shoe is also chosen as a top 2011 model by Outside and Women's Health magazines. Unfortunately, all of these guides provide little information regarding the positives and drawbacks of the shoe; comments are brief at best. The reviewer of ActiveGearReviews.com and the consumers at Amazon.com provide more detail in their reviews, although they have less cachet than the previously mentioned publications.
1. Self Magazine
Self magazine editors select eight new models for their February roundup of the best new running sneakers. The New Balance 890 is chosen, and editors say the light foam midsole makes it ideal for distance running. Yet reviews are incredibly brief, providing virtually no information about the shoe. Plus, there's no clue as to how each shoe is tested or how many total models are reviewed.
Review: Best New Running Sneakers, Editors of Self magazine, February 2011
2. Men's Fitness
For their 2011 shoe guide, editors of Men's Fitness review nine running shoes selected to address a variety of needs ranging from speed to cushioning to agility. However, there's little information provided about each shoe. The New Balance 890 is named the best pick for added cushioning. Editors say the shoe is comfortable, light and well-cushioned, but it's unclear how each shoe is tested or how many shoes are tested overall.
Review: Shoe Guide 2011, Editors of Men's Fitness, As of July 2011
3. Women's Health magazine
A dozen different running shoes are selected by the editors of Women's Health for their Shoe Finder Shopping Guide. Each selection includes a brief description of why the shoe is so unique. The New Balance 890 earns praise for its "cushiony" feel and light weight, but editors don't provide any information about how the shoes are tested or by which criteria they're selected.
Review: The WH Shoe Finder, Editors of Women's Health, As of July 2011
In Outside magazine's 2011 Summer Buyer's Guide, editors select eight models as top picks for road-running shoes. The New Balance 890 earns the highest accolades. Unlike most reviews that place the 890 strictly in the neutral category, Outside says the shoe is comfortable and cushy, but has enough support that most runners -- even those with slight overpronation -- find it to be a superior running shoe. Unfortunately, the site gives no details as to why these shoes are awarded such high marks or how each shoe is tested.
Review: Summer Buyer's Guide, Editors of Outside, May 2011
ActiveGearReview.com provides more than 100 reviews of popular road-running shoes. Since there's no rating system, this site is most helpful for finding information about a specific model of interest. Here, the New Balance 890 receives a detailed, balanced review; it's praised as a good pick for neutral runners looking for a more minimalist-inspired shoe. ZRod says the 890 is designed nicely to compliment a forefoot strike but warns that the lack of stability and cushioned feel makes the shoe better suited to long-distance runs on pavement rather than other surfaces. Plus, the heel pocket is narrow, which may result in blisters for some runners.
Review: New Balance 890 Review, Zach Rod aka ZRod, Feb. 1, 2011
Ten users provide feedback on the New Balance 890 at this top online retailer, giving the shoe an average 4.5 out of 5 stars and posting generally positive remarks. Most reviewers say this is an ideal choice for neutral runners who are looking for a lightweight, low-to-the-ground shoe. Some warn, however, that the light weight comes at the cost of some cushioning. One reviewer says the firmer, thinner cushioning resulted in sore legs.
Review: New Balance Men's 890 Running Shoe, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2011