Monday, May 18, 2020

New Balance FuelCell 890 v8 Multi Tester Review

Article by Peter Stuart, Jamie Hershfang, Mac Jeffries, Renee Krusemark, Derek Li, and Sam Winebaum

New Balance 890v8 ($120)


Estimated Weight:: 8.25 oz / 238g US M9,   

  Samples: 8.0 oz / 227g US M8.5, 12.9 oz / 366g  US M14E, 8.47 oz / 240g US M9.5

Stack Height: 25mm heel, 19mm forefoot, 6mm drop

$120. Available now including Running Warehouse US here 


The 890 changes quite radically, yet again, getting a full Fuel Cell midsole replacing the prior RevLite. It gains about 1.4 oz / 39 g coming in at approximately 8.25 oz / 233g US men’s 9 with a 25mm heel /19 mm forefoot, 6mm drop. The upper changes from engineered knit to engineered mesh. The outsole is a combination of Ground Contact RevLite and rubber. It remains a more stable up tempo option as its predecessors were.


Peter/Sam/Mac: fits well and secure

Peter/Jamie/Sam: fast and firm

Jamie/Sam: wide platform gives stability without rigidity

Jamie/Mac: gusseted tongue provides a very comfy fit

Sam: Firm, stable, fast ride that is also strangely not as punishing as I expected.

Sam: Great aesthetics, 

Sam/Jamie/Mac/Renee: very secure upper with a rounded decently roomy toe box, disappears on the foot 

Mac: Extra lateral midsole material great for those who land on the outside of the foot

Derek: Good rocker profile, Subtle forefoot bounce at faster paces


Peter: Not my favorite NB, not my favorite use of Fuel Cell 

Peter/Jamie: Neither here nor there. Stranded between the 1400 and others.

Peter: a little too firm 

Jamie/Sam: a little too firm for a daily trainer

Sam/Jamie: ride is a little too “serious” lacking fun 

Mac: Not as bouncy as the Rebel

Mac: Disappointed to see the weight gain

Sam: Soft forefoot rubber, wearing fast, deadens (while softening shock) final toe off, lacks some snap

Sam: Not as versatile as I would like, best run fast.

Renee: Narrow in lateral midfoot area


Tester Profiles

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years.

Jamie is 27 years old and has a 1:19 half marathon PR. She has run 5 marathons, current PR is 2:49 and typically runs 90-100 miles per week. She recently completed a 100k in 7:36:40 and is training to qualify for the world 100k team. She is the store manager at Fleet Feet Lakeview in Chicago. She trains in a variety of shoes, and races in the Nike Next%.

Mac is a former 275 lbs American foot ball defensive lineman who took up running at age 30. Now, at 6’4” (193cm) 200 lbs (91kg) , he has PRs of 19:19, 1:33:xx, and 3:19:xx. He runs 50-70 miles per week.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

Renee is a former US Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She runs a half marathon around 1:40 and hopes to get a full marathon at 3:30(ish) some day. Not today. But some day!

Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.

First Impressions and Fit

Peter: Fits like a glove, nice solid lean machine. Fits true-to-size and very much a put it on and go shoe. Looks nice, upper is stylish and functional. Run is firm, maybe too firm. I think it might be a better tempo/workout shoe than easy long run shoe. Jury is out, but I think that there are other shoes in the NB catalog that serve the same purpose that I like better.

Jamie: Super easy to slide onto the foot. The gusseted tongue is a great feature. Fits has a wide toe box but snug enough to hug the foot really well. Light enough that I didn’t notice I was even wearing it, yet the run was pretty firm. Felt more solid during an uptempo session versus an easy recovery day. A little too firm for a daily trainer. Performs much better on paved surfaces than trails. 

Sam: A superb, simple engineered upper. True to size with more than adequate toe box room due to the rounded shape up front. Not a plush soft fit but a dialed performance fit with no “bite” or slop anywhere. 

The simple motif continues to the aesthetics with my pair a mottled black the white coming from slightly less dense mesh areas, in irregular patterns, with the white bootie liner which extends from midfoot to the toe box showing through and providing a nice contrast to solid black. Of course the distinctive black paint band is a nice touch extending the look (and function) of the full (and effective) mid foot overlays on both sides which feature the New Balance “N”.

Mac: I missed out on V7 on the 890, so I was super pumped to get to try these: 1. Addition of Fuelcell midsole, 2. Comes in Wide! 3. My lightweight trainers have just about gone kaput. 

Out of the box, I was digging the somewhat retro aesthetics right away: from across the room, they remind me of the old suede NB, but with enough flair to let you know there is a souped up engine under the hood. 

The fit is spot on, and my 13.5E foot slid into the 14EE perfectly well. I had just enough room to be able to cinch the laces down for a secure fit with no discomfort in the toebox. 

Renee: The midsole is very, very firm on first feel, but that softens while running. The shoe is very comfortable and the fit is excellent, including the toe box length, width, and height. The entire upper has a secure yet comfortable feel. The fit and the light weight are the strongest positives of the shoe. The lateral midfoot felt narrow in my standard “B” width, but I was running uneven surfaces, which may have contributed to that problem. The length is perfect. I wore a women’s size 8, the same as my NB880v10. 

Derek: I really liked the 890v7 last year. A lot of people felt like it was too little shoe, and indeed compared to its predecessors, it was a rather drastic drop in stack (and weight) but I liked the aesthetics and how it performed for short intervals. Fast forward to the 890v8 this year, and it would seem that the 890v7 was something of an outlier; the 890v8 seems to have gone back to its roots as an uptempo lightweight trainer. My first impression was that NB has gone back to a no nonsense type of shoe, with a simple engineered mesh upper and a straightforward fit, while letting the midsole technology speak for itself. The aesthetics are nice, if somewhat conservative by modern standards. 

Fit is absolutely true to size and very easy to dial in. I appreciated the roomy toe box while the rear of the shoe was more snug. Overall foot wrap was good. The shoe felt stiff on the initial walk around the house but you do notice the softer forefoot pretty quickly, compared to the heel. 


Peter: The upper is the highlight of the 890 V8. It’s a good looking shoe that fits great. NB knocks it out of the park with a stylish looking, breathable engineered mesh. 

The N is big, bold and sassy. The lacing is simple and efficient. The heel collar is well padded and holds the foot well. I had no issues with fit. The NB 890 fits true-to-size and holds the foot well. The upper is a study in sleek simplicity.

Jamie: The upper is probably my favorite part of the shoe. It fits like a glove and super lightweight. The gusseted tongue makes it secure around the foot and I don’t have to worry about any irritations on the top of my foot. I’m always worried about the width considering I have a wider toe shape, but it fit perfectly.

Sam: I agree.  This is a really fine upper. The combination of gusseted tongue and more rounded toe box, without front overlays, and with a decently substantial but pliable enough toe bumper stiffener work very well together for a secure hold and at the same time comfortable fit up  front and all over.

The upper itself is an engineered mesh that is thin and very pliable. It has many small openings seen as the white shading , the white seem being ihe inner bootie and gusseted tongue which extends from midfoot all the way through the toe box.The darker areas are slightly denser mesh areas.

The tongue is moderately padded with a grippy (for the laces) mesh up top. 

The broad single piece overlays on either side, which are integral and part of the three middle lace eyelets, is also pliable wrapping the foot just right. These are not stiff overlays just broad ones.

The rear hold is secure with the collars moderately padded. Just works with no heel slip or overly harsh hold.

Mac: Agree with the others that the upper is solid here. I REALLY like how the tongue fits: it is a little wider on the lateral side than the medial side. It hugs the ankle perfectly with virtually no chance of it slipping. 

I actually wonder if this new shape of a tongue might not just catch on. 

Renee: I agree with everyone: the upper is as perfect as it can get. I hate a confining toe box, but that’s not a concern with the 890v8. The upper is secure but not overly tight, basically disappearing during the run, which is fantastic. The upper seems breathable so far (my hottest run was in 80 degrees Fahrenheit). I thought the high heel and angled tongue would be intrusive, but both were unnoticeable while running. I’m not sure the angled tongue shape is necessary though. The tongue has a minimal amount of padding, perfect for the shoe. Again, the upper is basically perfect. I found the lateral midfoot area to be slightly narrow. I think that narrowness might be, in part, because of the “N” logo overlay. 

Derek: I agree with the others here. The simple no-nonsense upper works really well. It holds your foot well, breathes decently, and doesn’t cause any hot spots. The gusseted asymmetric tongue with the extra coverage on the lateral side also works great and does not move around at all. I did feel like for a lightweight trainer, the tongue padding could have been trimmed down a bit, but it didn’t affect the overall feel of the shoe. I would have preferred laces that didn’t quite stretch so much, but that is a minor point for me.


Peter: I love me some FuelCell. The very idea that the 890 (which I’ve really loved in some of its earlier iterations) would incorporate FuelCell (which I’ve loved in the TC, the Rebel and the Propel) into this slick tempo trainer was very exciting. 

Unfortunately the use of FuelCell here doesn’t really feel all that great. It’s odd because FuelCell feels so good in the Rebel and the TC that it seemed like a lower stack speedier shoe with FuelCell would be a no-brainer. Sadly, for me, the midsole is just a bit too firm to be fun. It’s better at speed than it is on easy days. The shoe isn’t particularly stiff, but it is firm. 

Jamie: I was very intrigued about the use of FuelCell in the updated version of the 890. The Rebel is an awesome tempo trainer and I was curious to see if the 890 could hold up to its hype of speed and durability. However, the FuelCell didn’t feel quite responsive enough, pretty firm although it maintained its flexibility. Not a shoe for easy miles on the pavement, and too light to wear on trails or crushed limestone. Felt alright during some speedwork but it wasn’t anything exciting, rather it's a firmer speed shoe. 

Sam: I agree the midsole is not particularly exciting. It is neither responsive firm nor bouncy in feel. I said midsole but what I really mean is outsole. My sense is that the midsole feel is “masked” and affected by the outsole materials and and the underfoot geometry here. While grip and durability are always vital in evaluating a shoe often the combination of materials and the design underfoot are what make or break the midsole feel so I will comment further on this in the Outsole section,

Mac: I am going to disagree with my colleagues here: I really like the firmer Fuelcell midsole on these. As much as I love the Rebels for easy runs and casual wear - I have 2 pairs of them, lol - the midsole on them is just a tad too soft for harder running given my 205lb frame. By contrast, the firmer Fuelcell in the 890v8 lets you just attack the road. Hard strides and 400s are a breeze in these; and although they are just a tad heavier than I would want to do a serious race in, they make an outstanding training option. I wonder if the weight difference between myself and the other testers accounts for the difference in our experiences? If you are a bigger dude who is reasonably fast, these should be on your List to Try. 

Renee: I agree with Mac in that I liked the firmness of the midsole and found that it worked for me on a variety of runs, including easy days, intervals, and pace workouts. I’m not a heavy runner (110lbs at the moment). I did run almost entirely on packed dirt and gravel roads (no pavement), so perhaps the surface worked well with the firm midsole. That said, I don’t think the midsole is as responsive as some other options (see the comparisons below). 

Derek: First up, I want to point out that the shoe feels a bit stiff at first and takes about 2 miles to smoothen out. It is actually quite remarkable how similar this shoe is to last year’s Fuelcell Rebel. There is a lateral flare in this shoe, just not quite as pronounced as in the Rebel. The foam is also slightly firmer here than in the Rebel, though nowhere near as harsh as e.g. the old NB Vazee Pace; there is definitely some compression to the foam when you run in it. 

The foam seems to be single density, but somehow doesn’t feel like it, and that is likely a result of the outsole elements as Sam pointed out. I do feel some lateral heel pressure in this shoe at times, and I suspect it is because the footprint curves in quickly towards a narrow heel platform, and also because there is a marginally raised midsole sidewall on the lateral side to act as a bit of a stability element. It shouldn’t bother most people, but if you wide feet especially towards the rear of the foot, it might be something you want to pay attention to. Interestingly, I only notice this at slower paces and it goes away at faster paces, so it could just be related to the way my foot strikes the ground. 


Peter: The Outsole is made of a combination of Ground Contact Revlite and rubber. Grip seems fine and I’ve yet to see any appreciable wear on the forefoot. 

Jamie: Traction seems fine in slick conditions, rubber didn’t seem to weigh it down and will probably prolong the durability of the shoe. Didn’t seem to wear down too quickly.

Sam: The teal green rear portion of the outsole is very firm with its medial wing clearly providing some support but not nearly the noticed “stability” type shoe support of the v6 which had yet more extensive rear and mid foot firm rubber coverage. A clear improvement for me as this rear outsole provides enough but not too much support/stability as I felt the v6 did.

The gray tinged blue area with diagonal stripes upfront is the Ground Contact Revlite and it too is firm but not as firm as the heel rubber and is for sure firmer than the blue forefoot rubber in its small deflecting shapes,

The blue area center of the forefoot appears to be rubber and a very soft rubber indeed as at barely 20 miles I am seeing scuffing and wear. I expect wear  to “settle in”. I puzzled over the feel of this rubber as it can clearly be felt as a soft zone in the mix, reducing shock up front but also toe off snap.The GC Revlite around the sides appears more durable so far.

While the shoe has a fairly distinct flex point, if not a snappy one, the geometry shows not much decoupling and there are no flex grooves beyond the spaces between the blue rubber lugs. The result is a stable forefoot from the firm GC Revlite with a somewhat unique soft center feel up front. It almost feel the decision to go with the soft blue rubber was late in the design and testing game to soften the firm feel of the FuelCell in combination with the firmer GC Revlite. The result is pleasant but not particularly dynamic front of the shoe.

Mac: The outsole for me was like a good referee: I didn’t notice it :-) That is to say, although unremarkable, it does its job well and keeps its grip even on damp pavement. I don’t see any real wear after 40 miles. 

Renee: I ran 40 out of 50 miles in the 890v8 on the country roads (dirt, gravel, rolling hills), so I might have more wear showing than typical. Obviously, this is a road shoe and the outsole is not perfect for the uneven surface and gravel of my running terrain. That said, the outsole worked for me. The light weight and low drop work well with the wide set outsole for me going up and down hills. As Sam wrote, the thick rubber wrapping the heel helps with stability. The forefoot rubber shows wear after 50 miles, but I blame that on gravel road running.

Derek: The outsole grips well on wet tarmac, which is as far as I’ve gotten in terms of stretching its ability in testing. Durability is a concern for me, as others have alluded to. 

Yes the centre forefoot rubber is soft, but what also concerns me is the harder rubber at the circumference and heel. I noticed balding of the lateral heel rubber after just 13 miles and though it has stabilized somewhat since, I am not optimistic that this is going to be a heavy duty trainer. Maybe 300-400 miles for me. 


Peter: The Ride of the 890 V8 is a little hard to characterize. It lacks the fun, snappy excitement of the NB 1400 and doesn’t have the soft, forgiving ride of the other FuelCell shoes. It gets sort of stuck in the middle. The ride is firm, but not as snappy as you’d like it to be. It feels better at speed than it does for easy runs, but it doesn’t transform into a race machine in the same way the 1400 does. It’s close to being an enjoyable ride, but falls just short of totally working. I think it sits in the same category as the Skechers Razor 3, but lacks the forgiving ride and snap of that shoe (as well as coming in considerably heavier). 

Jamie: I definitely agree with Peter on this. I used to race everything in the 1400 and felt like I could do track work, tempos, and long runs in that shoe. I assumed that the 890 would be a step up from that, but it wasn’t quite as much fun as I had hoped. Not very responsive, and the firmness that I felt on the first few runs never really broke in like some firmer shoes would. A nice break from too much softness, but definitely too firm for a daily trainer. 

Sam: I wasn’t much of a fan of the 1400 except for short races. Fast but firm and somewhat harsh. I did not test the Rebel.Here we have a more mellow firmer type ride with a touch more rebound from the FuelCell midsole than the 1400 which was more responsive in feel. The outsole with its stable firm rear and front but that soft rubber insert makes for a strange ride feel. Firm on the outer edges softer in the middle of the forefoot.

The 890 was not much fun at slower paces although if you want a firm, stable and yes well cushioned ride that is not quite as harsh as old school similar shoes slow paces may work for you. They didn’t for me at slower paces. The ride feel is better at faster paces for sure. While it doesn’t pop or have much character beyond “serious” I was very surprised after an uptempo run with considerable hills my legs were none the worse for wear. Weird as on the run things felt like I would end up trashed. 

Mac: Again, I disagree with my buddies above. I really like the firm feel of the 890v8s. Sure, I would like some more bounce, but the feel is still more Energy Return than Shock Absorption. The shape of the midsole further highlights the design: there is a feel of some extra midsole material on the lateral midsole. Anyone who, like myself, lands on the outside of the midfoot and then rolls in will really appreciate this; it is almost like the opposite of a stability shoe: The lateral flange - instead of a medial post - allows you to land confidently in a very lightweight shoe and push off hard. 

Renee: The shoe is not as exciting as it could be, but I really enjoy it. The light weight, low drop, fantastic upper, and wide set outsole made this shoe a great ride for me. I ran a long, slow run on rolling hills (15 miles at 10min/mile pace), intervals (.50 mile and 1 mile at 6:40min/mile pace and 7:00 min/mile pace, respectfully), and a 10-mile pace run (7:25 min/mile pace). Probably best suited for uptempos runs, I found the 890v8s good for all of my runs. My feet were hurting during my 15 mile run, but that could easily be the gravel roads’ fault. I’m normally good with a shoe as long as the upper is comfortable and the weight is light. My one complaint is the midfoot is narrow on the lateral side. In part, this could be because of the “N” logo overlay on the upper, but the insole also has a very rigid angle. I took my NB880v10 insoles out and put them in the NB890v8, which helped. The black insole to the right in the photo below is from the 890v8. The rigid sharp line is notable as compared to the smooth curve from the 880v10 insole. 

Derek: The ride seems to have 2 personalities for me. At easy paces ~8:00/mile, everything feels kind of uninspiring. It’s on the firm side, and doesn’t seem to be particularly remarkable except that the forefoot is marginally softer than the heel. At faster paces, say under 7:00/mile, suddenly the forefoot becomes more lively and you get a more pronounced bounce to it and everything starts to fall into place with the curved rocker complementing the softer forefoot platform. I think one big upside to using a firmer Fuelcell midsole compared to e.g. Rebel, is that you get better preservation of the forefoot toe spring as you roll through the shoe; whereas the Fuelcell in the Rebel was softer and tended to flatten out through toe-off, the 890v8 does not, and preserves its curvature through the gait cycle better. Again, this is similar to what we had with the Vazee Pace, but with a more forgiving midsole. 

All this is to say that this shoe is designed for uptempo work and probably won’t work well as a daily trainer unless you are used to firmer shoes. For someone like me, who uses a Brook Hyperion Tempo for 2hour+ runs as “slow” as 7:30/mile, this shoe works just fine. It may not be the very best out there, but it does a decent job for the middle miles and some faster tempo runs. People who want something with a bit more flex through the toes will probably want to look elsewhere, as I did not notice a whole lot of forefoot flexibility here. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: Ultimately I’d pass on the 890. I think there are other NB shoes that I’d get before I get the 890. It feels like it occupies a space in their roster that other shoes do better. The 1400 is better for speed and fun, the 1080 is better for long days. It’s a good looking shoe that rides a bit firm but ultimately doesn’t totally coalesce into a great shoe. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, it’s not a shoe I dislike at all. I just don’t love it--and there are other shoes from NB that I do love. In traditional shoes I love the 1400 and in the Fuel Cell I love the I love the TC. 

Peter's Score: 7/10

There’s nothing WRONG with it , I just don’t love the ride. I’m hoping it will be a good shoe to reach for now and then for tempo days or workouts. 

Jamie: I’m always in search of a trainer that is durable enough for long runs but light enough for speedwork. While I believe this might fall into that category, the lack of responsiveness in the 890 brings me back for that search. A little more shoe than the New Balance Tempo, but not quite as responsive as the 1400. It seems to fall right in the middle. Outsole is much more durable than the 1080 but the ride of the 1080 is much preferred. I really love the fit and upper of the shoe, major kudos to New Balance on the upper. Other than that, I would probably use some other shoes in my daily rotation over the 890.

Jamie’s Score :6/10

Sam: A strange shoe that sits between trainer and racer. It is firm and fast feeling but not particularly dynamic and lacks in pop. Yet, it didn’t trash my legs as similar shoes often do. Maybe I am getting in shape! 

More likely, the combination of stable relatively firm outsole front and back in a sense masks an effectively well cushioned if firm midsole. I leave out the blue rubber from that equation as its purpose seems mostly about reducing the overall firm feel of its surrounding ring of continuous GC Revlite which like the blue rubber lacks in flex grooves and with the result removing some of the snap and pop on toe off for me.

If you need a racer or uptempo trainer that is stable and secure top to bottom it is a good choice. It can go distance if you prefer a more old school near race flat feel, yet with plenty of firmer cushion and need a secure stable platform top to bottom without posts and such.

I think it would also be a fine choice as a single shoe in the quiver for high school and college track athletes for their uptempo and intervals and for moderate mileages.

Sam’s Score: 8.4 /10

Ride: 8 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 7.5 (15%) Style:10 (5%)

A puzzling ride, superb fit, ride limitations affect value, love the styling.

Mac: I dig it. Anyone who almost loved the Rebel but found it too soft, anyone who is bigger than the average runner but still runs hard, and anyone who needs a wide size in a lightweight trainer should give these a serious look. 

RIDE: I like the firmer iteration of FuelCell, even if it could use just a little more bounce and the lighter weight of the v7. FIT: The sizing in the 14EE is spot on. VALUE: I worry a little about outsole durability, but this is a solid buy. 

Renee: I like it. The 890v8 is light, versatile (for me), and comfortable. I’m not sure it would be my top choice of shoe for any of my runs (see comparisons), but I enjoy it. My biggest complaint is the narrowness in the midfoot on the lateral side. If that wasn’t an issue (and the outsole was more durable), this shoe would be perfect.

Renee’s score: 9/10 

(-.5 for narrow midfoot, -.25 for durability of the outsole, -.25 for a firm midsole that could offer better performance/responsiveness). 

Derek: The shoe works fine for me as an uptempo trainer but ultimately I think most people will find its utility somewhat limited to fast paced running. For what it brings to the table, I feel that $120 is just about what people would be prepared to pay for a shoe without a carbon plate. The Skechers Razor 3 sits at $130, the Nike Pegasus 37 sits at $120, and the ASICS EvoRide sits at $120. I see these as the main competitors right now. There is more lively rides on the market for sure, but they also come with a significant price premium. 

Derek: 8.68 / 10

Ride 8.2 (40%) Fit 9.5 (40%) Value 8 (10%) Style 8 (10%)


Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

New Balance 890v7 (RTR Review) and 890v6 (RTR Review)

Peter: The V8 has gained some weight (1.25 oz / 36g over the v7)  but weighs an ounce less than the v6 and stays pretty firm. I don’t know that taking the added weight is worth it for the relatively minor gains of the FuelCell. Again, I think the 890 has lost its way a bit and there are other NB shoes that I LOVE that I would consider first.

Sam: The v8 is still focused on a stable firmer ride, as its two predecessors were in different ways and while it gains weight, it is a more versatile shoe than the v7 with more cushion but.. less fun and is a less overly stability oriented and lighter shoe than the v6 was. v6 was a yet more stability oriented heavier shoe. v7 was a lighter speedster, v8 tries to sit between the two and doesn’t quite get there.

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The 890v7 has a slightly more generous fit courtesy of its knitted higher volume upper. Both shoes could not be more different. The v7 is a flexible shoe with a more minimalist theme, while the v8 is more traditional in construct and a more rigid toespring. I definitely find the v8 more cushioned and more amenable to longer tempo runs, but the v7 works really well for short intervals. Both interestingly are not particularly durable in the outsole department.

New Balance 1400v6 (RTR Review)

Peter: As I mentioned, there are other NB shoes that I LOVE. The 1400 just might be my favorite uptempo shoe ever made. I’ve run marathons, 20 milers and 5k’s in the 1400 and they just slay at every distance. The V6 added a much appreciated 2mm to the forefoot and it’s pretty much a perfect shoe. I feel like the 890, which used to be more of a trainer, has edged into territory that the 1400 just does better. I’d just keep buying 1400’s.

New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel (RTR Review)

Peter: The NB FuelCell Rebel is, in my opinion, a more elegant use of the FuelCell foam. It’s a pretty soft shoe, but likes to go fast and is almost an ounce lighter with close to the same stack height. I had some issues with traction on wet roads but aside from that it’s a really excellent uptempo shoe. It’s lighter, it’s more fun and even though it has a plate, it’s not particularly stiff feeling. Again, the 890 just isn’t as fun as the Rebel. 

Mac: I consider the Rebel to be a better all-around shoe, even if I prefer the firmer version of the midsole in the 890: the Rebel’s upper in one of the best in the game, and it is just COMFORTABLE. My hypothesis is that lighter runners will prefer the Rebel, while heavier runners will prefer the 890v8. 

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Rebel has a higher volume fit all around and the upper material is a bit stretchier as well. The Rebel feels like a flatter shoe due to its softer and more flexible midsole. In terms of ground feel, the Rebel feels more protective. The main downside of the Rebel, is that for longer efforts, I feel like I need to put in more effort to keep the turnover going, compared to the 890v8 which has a more pronounced toespring to keep the turnover going a bit more easily. Overall the Rebel also has a roomier and stretchier fit upper. I prefer the 890v8 for longer tempos, and Rebel for short intervals. 

New Balance FuelCell Propel (RTR Review)

Peter: The 890 is about 0.75 oz /21 g lighter than the Propel, and the upper is way better, but the Propel is a much more stable and forgiving daily trainer. If you’re looking for a daily trainer with FuelCell, the Propel is the way to go. 

Sam: Agree with Peter here the Propel is considerably more cushioned and softer but will say if up tempo workouts is the focus for a purchase the stable, lighter 890 would be my pick.

New Balance FuelCell TC (RTR Review)

Peter: Okay, I am a broken record here, but there’s no comparison at all for me between the TC and the 890. The 890 is a sleek, uptempo trainer and is pretty firm. There’s no way I’d take it out over 10 miles at this point. The TC is a dream. It is a terrific long day shoe and it really likes to go fast too. It’s soft but never feels sloppy. The TC is new school trainer/racer and the 890 feels like an older model that NB shoehorned a newer foam tech into.

Sam: One of the very best of 2020, and while somewhat heavier, the carbon plated TC can do everything the 890 can and more, and also can go the “distance” which 890 won’t for most, and do it most importantly with a far more dynamic fun ride.

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes, though I could size down to US9 for the Fuelcell TC for a “racier” fit. Size for size, the TC has a more generous fit in terms of width and volume. The TC is overall a more dynamic, cushioned and fun ride for me, across all paces, with the only drawback being its weight which can make shorter intervals feel a bit difficult. For anything but short intervals, I would favor the Fuelcell TC without a doubt. 

New Balance Beacon v1&2 (RTR Review)

Mac: I list both versions of the Beacon here because they are nearly the same shoe to me, with the exception of the V2’s improved upper. Regardless, the 890v8 demonstrates the superiority of Fuelcell to Fresh Foam, and I am saying that about a shoe that I LOVED. Beacon now feels dated by comparison. 

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. I prefer the 890v8 here to the Beacon v1. Both shoes have a similar fit for me, with the Beacon maybe fitting marginally wider especially towards the rear of the shoe. The Beacon, for all its popularity, always feels a bit uninspiring for me, across all paces; and the geometry somehow makes it feel a little flat (low drop feeling) and I struggle to get a good rhythm going in it. At least with the 890v8, I enjoy the ride at tempo paces. 

New Balance 880v10 (RTR Review)

Renee: These are very different shoes that could be paired. The 880v10 is a cushion shoe (although not too plush) with a stable heel best used for easy, slow days. In contrast, the 890v8 is a firm uptempo shoe. I like a lightweight shoe, so if I had to choose between the two, I would buy the 890v8. Both shoes are similar in length. A women’s size 8 in both shoes is perfect for me. 

Salomon Sonic 3 Accelerate (RTR Review)

Sam: No contest here. Weighing the same, the Accelerate does everything the 890 does, or is intended to do better, more smoothly, with more vibration and shock absorption and with greater versatility as it clearly can daily train while the 890 will do so for fewer runners. The two key factors to the Accelerate’s superiority are: it matches a firm midsole with an effective vibration reducing insert and it has a well decoupled and matched (to the midsole) outsole.  I would give the nod to the 890 upper which is lighter and yet more secure and if you need stability in such a shoe because of the 890’s somewhat more stable platform and more secure at midfoot upper.  

Saucony Kinvara 10 or 11 (RTR Review)

Sam: If you are looking for a light trainer racer with a touch of stability the venerable Kinvara is maybe a better choice. It may not last as long underfoot as the 890 and its upper isn’t quite as polished and its drop is lower but its has more forgiving cushion (and much less firm rubber so likely not as durable) and weighs about 0.4 oz less.

ASICS EVO Ride (RTR Review)

Sam: The EVO has a distinct rocker on a stiff profile which the 890 doesn't.  It transitions better than the 890 via its rocker. Both are firm rides with I think the 890 somewhat more shock absorbing overall if duller and less responsive. 

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The 890 is snugger in the heel and roomier in the toebox, while the EvoRide has a consistent fairly middle-of-the-road fit in terms of width and volume. I actually scored the EvoRide at 8.64 vs 8.68 for the 890v8, so a really close battle between these 2 shoes. More telling, I score 890v8 higher in the ride department, so I am going to go with the 890v8 as the preferred shoe. I agree with Sam that it is the more cushioned shoe, and that makes it a bit more versatile in my book. 

Nike Zoom Elite (RTR Review)

Jamie: I had about 5 pairs of the zoom elite. This was my jam and I recommended this shoe to all my friends. Super lightweight, and great for everything. Too bad it was discontinued, it was so hard to find something in this category I could use on a daily basis. I’d say the upper of the 890 and zoom elite are very comparable. 890 is much firmer though. 

Sam: As a slower older runner than Jamie, every run in the Zoom Elite was a struggle for me. With Zoom Elite 9 weighing the same as the 890 it had a very firm heel matched to the Zoom Air forefoot with plenty of rebound and cushion upfront which made for a very unbalanced feel at anything other than race pace...that is until I got tired and found that harsh heel. The 890 is much better balanced and easier to handle but not as fast if you can handle it!  I would not race the 890 as there are so many better choices but as an uptempo days trainer I prefer it to the less versatile (for training) Zoom Elite.

Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Turbo 2 is my choice over the 890v8. I wear the Turbo 2 for interval runs (.50 and 1 mile interval repeats) and occasionally for my 10 mile pace run. However, I wear the Turbo 2 only on pavement or the treadmill, and I run a lot of gravel country roads. As an uptempo/interval shoe, the Turbo 2 offers better responsiveness and performance, but I can switch to the 890v8 for my uptempo gravel road runs (when I don’t feel like wearing heavier trail shoes). The 890v8 has a more comfortable upper and a better lockdown than the Turbo 2. For performance, the Turbo 2 wins. I run faster with less effort with the Turbo 2.  I would not race in either shoe unless it was a short 5k or 10k. I’d prefer more security and stability than what the Turbo 2 offers, and more cushion and responsiveness than what the 890v8 offers.  

Adidas SL 20 (RTR Review)

Sam: Another firm up tempo option with a fairly similar cushion feel and stats with the SL20 slightly higher stack, a 10mm drop vs. 6mm here and a touch lighter at barely over 8 oz.. I would say the 890v8 and its FuelCell foam is easier on the legs with the SL20 and its Lightstrike foam clearly more dynamic and a faster shoe with a distinct toe off snap the 890 mushes through. I would race a 10K in the SL20 over the 890 but wouldn’t take either much further.

Adidas adizero Adios 5 (2020) (RTR Review)

Peter: Interesting to look at these two together. They are similarly firm, but the Adios is about 0.6 oz lighter. It’s more of a race shoe. It’s snappier and more fun. I don’t love Boost, though I know some people swear by it. 

Jamie:  Adios 5 is much softer, yet still has the firmness you want for a responsive trainer. 890 just feels firm and lacks that extra fun. Adios 5 feels narrower throughout, while the tongue of the 890 is much more to my liking. I would say they’re about the same in durability.

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Both shoes are equally snug for me, but not in a bad way. In term of proportions, the Adios fits me slightly better; wider and narrower in the right spots. I agree with Jamie that the Adios has a bouncier ride to it, and that it has more ground feel because of its lower stack height. I think the Adios 5 is the more durable option of the 2. However, overall I think the 890v8 is a more versatile shoe for me. I think the 890v8 is more tolerable as an everyday trainer, and though it may not be as good a racer as the Adios, it makes up for that in terms of cushioning for longer workouts. 

Adidas adios (OG). 

Peter: About 2 oz lighter than the 890 and infinitely more of a fun, snappy race shoe. The OG Adios (and pretty much all pre-BOOST) adios were more fun and managed to be firm but a lot of fun. 

Jamie: The original Adios pre Boost days, was my go to for everything for a while. Adios is much more responsive. The upper of the 890 is much better though, the tongue of the Adios was just a bit too snug.

Brooks Hyperion Tempo (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Brooks has a more consistent snug fit from heel to toe, while the 890v8 has a narrow heel that flares out to a roomy toebox. Both are relatively firm shoes, but between the 2, I would say the 890v8 is a slightly softer shoe. Between the 2 shoes, somehow the Hyperion Tempo seems to have better vibration dampening, despite having a firmer underfoot feel to it. That said, the 890v8 has a more noticeable toespring to its ride. Overall, I prefer the Tempo for its better vibration dampening properties, and it seems to have better durability as well. What it lacks in toespring, it makes up for by being almost a full ounce lighter than the 890v8. I choose the Hyperion Tempo. 

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a personal purchase The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Nic said...

Hi guys, I'm curious to know for which weight ranges you would classify a runner as "light" or "heavy" for both males and females? I suspect the runner's height should also be factored in?

Example: surely a 2m tall runner weighing 80kg must be classified "light" in comparison to a 1.6m tall runner of the same weight?

Lastly, thank you for also publishing technical specs in metric units, it saves a lot of mental arithmetic! Would it be possible to do the same for pace (min/mile) as well in the future?

Anonymous said...

I sent mine back. The Saucony K11 is a better shoe IMO. Upper is better with a more padded tongue. Forefoot has more cushion, but heel is better in the NB.

I didn't like the side "protrusion" that is not needed. It caused me to slap down harder and pronate more through the cycle because it is so wide there. It's an unneeded gimmick IMO.

Anonymous said...

The Fuel Cell Rebel does not have a plate.....

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