The 890 v2 is a refined lightweight trainer – low and light with excellent road feel. The full redesign is an evolution, not revolution.
The original 890 has received truckloads of positive customer comments since its release in February 2011. Now, just one year later, New Balance has updated the formula. But New Coke this ain't. The 890 v2 is a subtle update that should keep the faithful happy and win over some new fans.
The shoe has been completely redesigned on a new last with a lower heel-to-toe drop. Even though the original 890 fit well, the v2 fits even better, and most testers liked being a little lower to the ground in the heel. The close fit makes this shoe feel fast, but watch out if you have a high-volume foot: this shoe will make you feel claustrophobic, particularly in the toebox. (Like the original, the 890 v2 comes in wide widths, which will give you a little more room if you need it.)
It's hard to imagine that the transition of this shoe could be much better. “Linear” is the best way to describe the transition – the shoe keeps your foot moving fluidly whether you strike in the heel or midfoot. Testers were also impressed with the cushioning technology. The dual-layer RevLite and ABZORB midsole foam provides a mix of road feel, cushion and protection unlike any other shoe on the market. Frankly, we'd like to see more shoes treat our feet this well.
This is a low-volume upper, but I found it very comfortable. The toe box is on the low side, so if you prefer having some room in the forefoot of your shoe, this might not be the best match for you. Personally, I like the streamlined feel.
I had a tough time characterizing the feel of the cushioning of this shoe. The ride is firm, soft, light and responsive all at the same time. Maybe like a pencil eraser? A dry sponge? Anyway, I like it.
The excellent transition of this shoe is due in part to its full ground contact. Once you get the 890 going, it doesn't even feel like you're wearing a shoe.