Monday, March 25, 2024

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v14 Multi Tester Review: Back in Shape! 7 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum, Alex Tilsley and Zack Dunn

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v14 ($140)


Sam: The 880 has always (or at least until versions 12 and 13) been New Balance’s simple and to the point higher drop relatively firm and responsive all around daily trainer.

In versions 12 and 13 New Balance went heavier, wider platform, and with dual foam. First with the very soft 12 then dialing back the softness with firmer rubber (and a firm thin feeling forefoot)  in the 13. Not my favorites these two and I wished for a return to a more classic lighter all around riding trainer. 

The 14 delivers just that as it goes with a single layer Fresh Foam X midsole, tuned down rubber coverage, and a very solid and extremely comfortable and secure upper. 

Moving to an 8mm drop from 10mm it gains 3.5mm of heel cushion and 5.5mm upfront while remaining flexible. Best of all, it loses a massive 1.5 oz / 41g to come in at a very svelte 8.75 oz  / 248g (US9) with  what is a substantial 35.5 mm heel / 27.5 mm forefoot stack height. At $140, it is priced the same as the super popular Rebel v4 so an obvious question to answer here is how do they differ 


Versatile ride

Well cushioned and light: major weight drop from v13  going from 10.0 oz  /  283g to 8.52 oz / 242g US8.5 sample with more cushion stack height

Very comfortable upper with adequate lockdown: Zack/Sam/Alex

Midsole is comfortable for daily training runs without overdoing softness or a lot of thick hard rubber: Zack/Sam/Alex

Outsole is prominent in high-wear areas and provides fine traction: Zack



Wish for a touch quicker more FuelCell like midsole return and/or a touch firmer forefoot rubber: Sam/Zack

Narrower platform might not fit all feet: Alex

Most comparable shoes 

Puma Velocity Nitro 3

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26

Saucony Ride 17


Approx. Weight: men's 8.75 oz  / 248g (US9)

  Samples: men’s  8.52 oz / 242g US8.5  (v13 10.0 oz  /  283g US8.5)

Stack Height: men’s 35.5 mm heel / 27.5 mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) 

V13 32mm heel / 22mm forefoot, 10mm drop

Platform Width: 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot

$140  Available now including at New Balance HERE.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Sam: A very snazzy way to do a “white shoe” with the red and silver NB logo adding a lot of classy flair to the design.

This is one heck of a fine upper for me, one of the best of 2024. Why?  The upper is just about flawless, all of a piece in fit from front to back with a comforting snugness, no loose areas, and no overbinding everywhere. I literally forget about it on the run and never think of having to adjust the lacing. 

Everything in the upper is done in “moderation” with enough substance from the nearly rigid extended forward heel counter with deep padding towards lace up, to a moderately padded but not over plush gusseted tongue (which stays put)  backed up by the N logo overlays, to an extended length toe more than minimal bumper. 

All of these supportive elements play very well with what is a stretch mesh upper with just the right volume and, while similar, which  is far more effective in overall hold than what I found to be a sloppy stretch upper in the most recent 1080 (RTR Review), New Balance’s other “go-to” mainstream daily trainer.  

So we have a sub 9 oz / 255g  trainer with a big stack and usually that means a more minimal upper, a good example of this being the Rebel v4’s a yet lighter shoe for sure but one with not nearly the rear hold. Not so here.

The fit is clearly true to size for my narrower to medium foot. Wides are also available. Lace up is super easy although I did find I needed to lace fairly tight right away as laces and upper stretch some once I got going.

In comparison while I find the Rebel v4 also true to size it is looser at the heel and a bit too spacious upfront.

Zack: In terms of first impressions, this shoe pops with a simple but nice colorway, and I am a big fan of simply designed shoes, so this one definitely was one I was fond of from first impressions. In terms of the upper, it feels pretty generic but is well built. That's not a bad thing by any means, as I honestly forgot about the upper while running due to how comfortable it is. As well as that, I thought the lockdown of the shoe was great, which one big thing that contributes to that is the gusseted tongue, which increased midfoot lockdown. Overall, I was super happy with the ride. 

Alex: This shoe is a beauty. Some models of the 880 – and certainly some of its everyday trainer competitors – have looked borderline orthopedic. Not so with the 14. The white is understated but the pops of color add an element of fun. 

I’ll echo the others that the upper is not something I thought about while I ran – and that’s a great thing. With the v13, I found the tongue constantly rolled at the edges when I tried to put the shoe on. The gusseted tongue of the v14 solves that, to my great joy. This is a shoe you can slip on and go.

The women’s B fit is a little narrow on my wider foot, but not impossibly so. I would opt for the wide, but average feet should be fine in the standard width.

Midsole & Platform

The midsole foam moves to a single layer of Fresh Foam X from the v12 and v13 awkward combination of the main midsole of Fresh Foam with a FuelCell insert upfront. 

The feel is more consistent underfoot and with what appears to be a now narrower platform the v14 reminds more of the 880 v11 and before but with a big difference. Those shoes were quite firm and dense. Here we are softer and less dense in feel with a rubbery bounce in the mix. 

The 880 is not as soft and overly spongy as the latest 1080 or as airy bouncy as the Rebel v4 with its mostly EVA with some PEBA blend  but is a happy practical medium that leans right in the middle of training miles although lacking a bit of response for fast stuff.

The increased stack height of 3.5 mm more at the heel and 5.5mm at the forefoot to a substantial but not extreme 35.5 mm heel / 27.5 mm forefoot and now 8mm drop  is appreciated and most noticed up front compared to earlier 880. 

The v12 and v13 had very thick rubber in the 12 very firm and in the 13 softer. In both cases, the forefoot was not great with a not a particularly smooth toe off. Here we have a relatively snappy, not overly easy flex which combines nicely with the fairly soft foam and rubber. I do think the rubber could be a touch firmer up front to improve faster paces response.

Zack: I definitely think that Sam hit the spot on the midsole and describing its feel. I will say that compared to a lot of the new max height/cushioned shoes, this one is on the firmer side, especially compared to the NB 1080. However, this shoe still has a high stack height and provides a comfortable ride underfoot with a slightly firmer forefoot. 

I will say that though I did enjoy the ride of the shoe, and it was certainly comfortable enough to do a 16 mile long run in. It is on the firmer side, although I think the natural toe off and flexibility makes the ride not as harsh. I will say Sam made a great point that the shoe does lack responsiveness, which I felt at anything faster than a tempo pace. If the purpose of the run is to go easy, then this shouldn't really be an issue, although more responsiveness would certainly be welcomed. With that being said, I definitely enjoyed the midsole when running the shoe for the types of runs it is intended for such as recovery, daily running, etc..

Alex: Compared with some of the super squishy shoes that have hit the market lately, the 880v14 definition feels firm, but it’s not harsh. The midsole gives a little on the run, but there is no risk of bottoming out in this shoe. There is just enough forefoot flex to allow your foot to roll through its natural stride, with the rubber giving it a stable and supportive feel. I found the v13 a little harsh under the forefoot, but feel none of that here. 

Like the others, I wouldn’t describe this shoe as responsive. But, I found it capable enough for some fast strides at the end of an easy run. The firmness helps here, though you definitely are not going to feel the ground through that midsole.


Sam: The outsole is relatively full coverage and appears to be all of the same firmness. The rear black heel element feels firmer to pressing as it is thicker than the rest of the outsole and also serves to stabilize the  relatively soft foam on landings.

Zack: The outsole is quite simple but works great. Not much to say but it does have rubber in pretty much all the high wear areas. Works just as it should!

Alex: So far, so good! The rubber grips, adds some structure, and overall contributes to a stable ride.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Looking for a neutral all around daily trainer with a forgiving ride, higher drop, big but not extreme stack height and platform, weight below 9 oz / 255g  and a great upper? The 880 v14 is a top choice. 

If the v12 and v13, big departures from prior 880, didn’t work as well as earlier versions for you it is time to consider a return. I also see the 880 as an excellent shoe for the beginner runner who does not need pronation control as it can handle any run in comfort and with support from its great upper and with a forgiving yet lively ride. If it lags anywhere it is for speedier runs as it lacks a bit of snappy response and quick rebound. For that New Balance has the Rebel v4.

Sam’s Score: 9.35 / 10

Ride (50%): 9.1 Fit (30%): 9.7 Value (15%): 9.3 Style (5%): 9.5


Alex: The 880v14, like many of its predecessors, is a no nonsense daily trainer. The ride is consistent. It might not be the most poppy or pillowy, but it’s also not the harshest. The v14 reminds me of shoes I ran in 10 years ago, but not in a bad way (and at a much lower weight!). This is a traditional running shoe for runners who just want to lace up and go. It’s a workhorse, good for easy or long runs, and maybe even a few strides. For runners who have “bottomed out” in other daily trainers, or runners who want just one shoe, I think the 880v14 is a great option – and it is a step back in the right direction after some deviations with the v13. I find myself reaching for these for just about everything slower than a tempo run, and I’m always happy to slip them on. 

Alex’s score: 9.53/10

Ride: 9.2; Fit: 10; Value: 9.5; Style: 10


7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Fresh Foam X 880 v14

men’s  8.52 oz / 242g US8.5

Stack Height: men’s 35.5 mm heel / 27.5 mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v12 and v13 (RTR Review)

Sam: Covered in the review. Much lighter, more nimble, more and forgiving cushioned, more consistent in feel than the v12 and v13 the 880 returns to form as an all around daily trainer.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 (RTR Review)

Sam: An interesting comparison for sure! The Rebel is slightly lower stack and 2mm lower drop and  lighter at 198g / 7 oz. Its FuelCell midsole foam is a mix of EVA with 20% PEBA and is less dense and springier.  Its Fantom Fit upper is more minimal with a thin non stretch mesh, nice overlays, and a decent heel counter. The 880 is a more mainstream modern daily trainer while the Rebel v4 is a more uptempo to plateless racer but certainly can also be a daily trainer.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 (RTR Review)

Sam: With a Fresh Foam midsole that is both softer in hardness and less dense, the 1080 and with a yet bigger 38 mm heel (measured) / 32 mm forefoot ( 6mm drop spec)  stack height is a very soft shoe and for me way too soft to be practical as an all around daily trainer as the in no way over firm 880 is for all but easy runs. When its very very comfortable but not very supportive stretch knit upper is combined with all of that softness, it’s a run shoe for easy plodding for me, and that’s about it.  the 880 wins for me.

Puma Velocity Nitro 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Nitro 3 has a supercritical foam as part of its midsole which the 880 does not but below that foam we have a very firm EVA blend layer. This makes the Puma stiffer, more stable and firmer. The Nitro has a more substantial almost any terrain outsole. With a 36 mm heel / 26 mm forefoot (10mm drop) and weight of 9.15 oz / 260g (US8.5) the Puma is slightly heavier. While both are true to size for me and I have narrower to medium feet the Velocity Nitro’s upper is lower volume and more secure and in combination with its midsole and outsole somewhat more stable.  In the end the combination of a softer overall ride makes the 880 a better all around trainer while the snappier more responsive ride of the Puma makes it a better choice for faster paces and if you want a slightly more stable ride

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26 (RTR Review)

Sam:The latest Cumulus 26 shifts from a softer ride similar to the 880 v14 in its previous version to a firmer, stiffer, more responsive if very well cushioned ride in the 26. As with the Puma, it leans somewhat faster paced running than the 880 which is more pleasant at slower paces than the ASICS. While the Cumulus upper is fine and true to size, it doesn’t quite have the all over smooth fit of the New Balance had a less effective mid foot lock down for narrower feet (and me) than the 880 has.

Saucony Ride 17 (RTR Review

Sam: About an ounce heavier than the 880 at 9.63 oz  / 273g (US8.5), the latest Ride sits on a similar broad platform of 115mm forefoot/ 70mm midfoot / 90mm heel with its midfoot actually 10mm narrower than the 880 and stack heights the same along with drops both  at 8mm. Its midsole is now PWRRUN+ expanded TPU beads so softer and bouncier than before and even slightly softer in feel than the 880. It has a similar upper with a bit more room and somewhat less security overall than the 880’s. These are very similar shoes in their intent as all around daily trainers. The lighter weight of the 880 and its superior upper give it the nod although I slightly prefer the more energetic feel of the Ride’s midsole.

adidas Supernova Rise (RTR Review)

Sam: adidas brand new daily trainer has a similar midsole feel if a bit softer and given the main foam is supercritical a bit more rebound. Unlike the 880, the Rise has a lower layer of firmer EVA in the form of support rods and then an extensive outsole including full coverage at the midfoot, unlike the 880. As such it is somewhat more stable and more responsive but has less of sense of consistent feel underfoot. The uppers are similar in fit and sizing with the Rise slightly more locked down and lower volume. Given all the extra rubber and the EVA layer the adidas comes in heavier at  9.6oz / 274g US9 with a similar 35.5 mm heel / 25.5 mm forefoot stack height but 2mm more drop at 10mm. For a touch more stability in a neutral shoe and response  the Rise, for lighter weight and a slightly superior upper the 880.

The 880 v14 is available now

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Tester Profiles

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2023 was Sam’s 51th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Zack Dunn: is a college runner at Lewis University. I’ve been running for 8 years, and focused solely on running after giving up on years of baseball and wrestling. I race distances between 800 meters and 10K  whether it be on the track, the roads, or on cross country courses. I do most of my training on the roads, some training on the track, and occasionally run trails logging anywhere from 65-80 miles a week. My typical training consists of easy days, long days, workouts (fartleks, tempos, interval training, etc.). My typical training paces range from 7’30 a mile on easy days to sub-5 minutes a mile on fast interval days, and with many paces in between. My personal bests are 4:20 for 1600m, 8:42 for 3000m, 14:51 for 5K, and 25:24 for 8k. 

Alex Tilsley is a displaced trail runner, currently living in DC and finding dirt wherever she can. Alex discovered running in college and was a happy 3-miles-a-day hobby jogger until her mom tricked her into running a 10k and it was all downhill from there. She has since run several marathons (PR 3:38) and dabbled in triathlons, but her true love is the trails, whether running, mountain biking, orienteering, or long-distance backpacking. When she’s not running or riding, Alex works full-time in education policy and part-time putting on trail races with EX2 Adventures 

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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1 comment:

Emmalee said...

The stack height on other websites is 29/21. Please clarify.