Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Balance 890v2 The British Miler review

New Balance 890v2 is the 2012 update to the popular 890 model. The British Miler is a special edition in the British flag colors. Maybe Andrew Baddeley would have done better in the London Olympics 1500m (3:36:03 in semi-finals) if he had actually raced in this shoe :)

What I liked:
  • compatible for both fast running (shorter distances) and jogging (ultrarunning)  
  • lower heel drop: 28mm heel - 20mm forefoot = 8 mm (890 12mm)
  • lighter weight (my US10.5/UK10 = 266g)
  • compatible with forefoot, midfoot and heel strikes
  • more anatomical heel works well
  • lower instep height with an improved arch fits midfoot well
  • synthetic/mesh upper provides lightweight support
  • comfortable welded seams
  • full-length Abzorb Strobel Board and removable full-length Abzorb insert provide excellent cushioning that feels just right 
  • durable REVlite midsole provides a smooth ride
  • Ndurance rubber outsole is flexible and durable and has a good grip on all surfaces
  • fair price (got it for £64).

What I didn't like:
  • reduced toe box depth combined with reduced lateral forefoot girth means the shoe hugs the forefoot a bit too tightly and there is a pressure point on top of the forefoot - this could be an issue in longer distances, especially if steep downhills are involved
  • traditional flat laces (I changed them to elastic Lock Laces right away)
  • the diamond motif outsole design picks up gravel when running on dirt
  • not quite stable enough for trail running (obviously it's not designed for it, but I had to try anyway)
  • made in China (so it's not as British as it looks).

Weight is a very important factor when choosing a running shoe. NB 890v2 compares very well with my old favorite shoes. At mere 266 grams, it beats my Brooks ST Racers (271g). It's a bit heavier than my lightest shoes Adidas adizero (218g) and Brooks Green Silence (220g). All my trail running shoes are considerably heavier, even Hoka One One Stinson Evo (345g).

  • racing/training from mile to marathon on tarmac: 9.5
  • training on relatively smooth dirt roads: 9.0
  • ultra running on tarmac: 8.5
  • trail running (Douche Grade): 7.5
  • trail running (UTMB): 6.5
Verdict: New Balance 890v2 is my new favorite marathon racer and lightweight trainer. This shoe makes me run (or at least feel) like Pekka Vasala in 1972!


james ard said...

R these made in the uk...... jk.

Trail Plodder said...

No, these are made in China.