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New Balance 880v14 Performance Review

Annie Keris
New Balance 880v14

I’ve often been told the 880 is one of the best selling running models among women. It sells well for men, but its female sales numbers are close to the rarified air of the Brooks Ghost. Which is why I was glad Annie also got a pair of the New Balance 880v14

This being WearTesters’ first official experience with the New Balance 880v14, I wanted a well-rounded review that hit both the largest market for the 880 alongside our typical taller or larger former ball sport athlete turned runner niche (Editor’s Note: that’s such a boring description. Clydesdale or Big Guy sound much more fun).

The Ghost has had trouble handling larger humans in the past but upped the ante this year with improved cushioning. Similarly, the New Balance 1080v13 took Fresh Foam X to a new level this year. Can the New Balance 880v14 keep pace with the improvements happening on New Balance’s own shoes and the competitors. Let’s find out.

New Balance 880v14

Release Date: March 2024

Price: $140

Weight: Men’s 9.5 oz., Women’s 7.4 oz.

Drop: 8mm

Sizing: True to size

Buy Men's at New Balance Buy Women's at New Balance
  • Rundown: The New Balance 880v14 is a reliable runner with the best cushioning an 880 has ever featured. Perfect for beginners, occasional runners, and the ever growing 880 fanbase.
New Balance 880v14 black/white on foot


Drew: I’ve often worn previous 880s and felt underwhelmed with the cushion. When I slipped on the New Balance 880v14, I wasn’t underwhelmed right out of the gate. There was a nice squish. Walking around the house, a habit I’ve built to mimic what our readers do when they walk around a store deciding on a shoe, I thought this was the best 880 I’d ever worn. And running backed that up.

The New Balance 880v14, despite its middling 29mm heel and 21mm forefoot midsole height, feels well cushioned but stable. I enjoyed them for about 6 miles. After that, the stability remained but the cushion just kinda lost its oomph. This is likely because I’m 6’6” and 200lbs, which is a build more typical of a basketball player than runner.

But, even though I found the cushion less playful than the Brooks Ghost 16, I found the 6 mile and under run use case exactly the same. Like the Ghost, the 880v14 is the perfect shoe for beginners and occasional runners. Like the Ghost, it will garner a slot on our Best Running Shoes for Beginners list. If our web traffic is any indicator, that’s a rapidly growing group of runners.

The upper, though a touch less plush, is basically the same as what you’ll find on the 1080v13. Other than the midsole height, it’s hard to tell the two models apart from afar. It’s a simple and basic engineered mesh with a gusseted tongue. Tried and true. Reliable but uninspiring. Pretty much exactly what should be on a running shoe aimed at the masses.

The traction is solid in both wet and dry conditions. The outsole durability is also very good, giving the 880v14 one area where it rises above it’s more expensive older sister, the 1080v13.

Overall, it’s a solid shoe that performs slightly better than I expected. Did the New Balance 880v14 meet your expectations Annie?

New Balance 880v14 medial view

Annie: That’s a tricky one because I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect since I’d never run in an 880 before (brazenly contrary to my own market research demographic, it would seem).

So, as I ponder that greater question, I’ll start with the more cut-and-dry stuff.

I rarely tear up an outsole very easily and so didn’t have any issues with the durability of the 1080v13 like Drew did. But I agree that the rubber on the 880v14 seems to be made of much sterner stuff and performed well.

As for the upper, the materials of the two shoes do share a similar look. The difference for me, however, showed itself in the lockdown.

I could downright carelessly lace up the 1080v13 and still get a perfect hold, potentially due in part to the small bit of extra padding around the collar and heel of that shoe. But with the 880v14, it took some mindful cinching of the laces and a runner’s knot to avoid heel lift.

I’ll also note here, in honor of our fellow reviewer, Arune, that it took absolutely every bit of lace length I could muster from my women’s size 6.5 in order to achieve that runner’s knot.

But back to the program…. The heel lift didn’t lead to any rubbing or blisters, but it did interfere with my ability to stay connected to the footbed – which made the midsole seem harsh underfoot until resolved.

Speaking of the midsole (and to attempt to answer Drew’s original question)…

I guess I was more or less expecting the New Balance 880v14 to be a firmer, pared down version of the 1080v13. I imagined a shoe that would feel a little more traditional, without any bells and whistles – you know, a “you can keep your stinkin’ rocker geometry, and your massive, squishy cushioning” kind of shoe for the runner who just wants to be left to their own devices and roll along in a nice, dependable shoe. And I suppose that’s a kind of accurate description of the 880v14.

New Balance 880v14 lateral view

I’m not opposed to that approach and even like it myself at times. But in practice, the New Balance 880v14’s simplicity didn’t quite serve it as elegantly as I’d hoped it would.

The Fresh Foam X felt familiar to the compound found in the 1080v13, though its ride character differs considerably, simply by virtue of the fact there’s so much less of it. I liked the 1080v13 and never felt like I got lost in its forgiving squish. But if you think that version of Fresh Foam X is a too-soft energy sapper, rest-assured that the way it’s implemented in the 880v14 is far from mushy, and offers the soft, but more grounded and responsive feel you may seek.

The thing that actually took me most by surprise, however, was how starkly different the New Balance 880v14’s geometry felt when compared to that of the 1080v13 – to the point that I have a rather hard time imagining the same runner truly loving both. I have a feeling that if one suits you fantastically, you’re probably not going to be super into the other.

In my case, the New Balance 880v14’s seemingly flatter midsole geometry made the drop feel higher to me than its quoted 8mm. And, as someone with a (mostly) midfoot strike, the transitions were less smooth than I experienced in its higher-priced New Balance sibling (which happens to have a 6mm drop and more noticeable toe spring).

Those elements may not impact every midfoot striker the same way; but depending on what you typically find with your own running style and shoe preferences, it may be worth noting that I didn’t feel like the 880v14 was the best match for my particular gait, and it didn’t have anything to do with the lower stack.

I had a similar (though perhaps even more pronounced) experience with the Brooks Ghost 16, which is interesting, given how the two shoes do seem to occupy a similar lane when it comes to market share. In either case, if I shifted my strike forward to help improve the transition, then the relatively modest forefoot stack became more apparent (and not in a good way). So it leads me to speculate once again that the 880v14 may be best suited to runners who typically utilize more of a shoe’s heel cushioning.

Ultimately, like Drew, the New Balance 880v14 was best as a shorter distance shoe for me. I had the audacity to test it out to 90 minutes multiple times and on another nearly two-hour run once; and, frankly, my feet were ready to be done well before the given run was.

Despite the fact that the New Balance Rebel v4 has only a few more millimeters of forefoot cushion than the 880v14, I found its overall setup to be much more versatile, both in its ability to handle distance and in its facility with pace changes.

New Balance 880v14 outsole


  • Fresh Foam X midsole softness
  • Outsole traction and durability
  • Looks fast and stylish
  • Feels light on foot
  • Neutral stable
New Balance 880v14 upper


  • Not long run ready
  • Basic upper
New Balance 880v14 heel view

Is the New Balance 880v14 wide foot friendly?

Drew: Yes, but that’s not because the standard version of the New Balance 880v14 is particularly wide (it’s not). It’s because wide footers get options for wide and extra wide. It’s rare that wide footers get both those options. Heck, there’s even a narrow option. I’ve seen that way less often than the rare extra wide. New Balance is really making this available to everyone.

Lengthwise, the 880v14 fits true to size so go with your typical running size and choose the width that suits you best.

Annie: I agree that the length fits true to size. As Drew implied, wide footers will likely want to go with one of the wide options here. I only measure as average-to-slightly-wide in the forefoot, and the New Balance 880v14 is thus far the only standard width New Balance shoe I’ve ever run in that has had me concerned about my pinky toe. It tapers inward just a smidge differently on that lateral forefoot than I’ve experienced in other New Balance models.

But New Balance will always have my heart for having such an eye toward sizing availability. It’s a sucky thing for runners to be unable to enjoy a great shoe just because of limited width options.

New Balance 880v14 lateral on foot

Is the New Balance 880v14 worth $140?

Drew: Yes, the New Balance 880v14 earns the $140 price point. It delivers the expected value and is properly priced. It fits right in with the bevy of daily running shoes sitting at $140 though it does fall short of my personal favorites, the New Balance Rebel v4, the Hoka Mach 6, and the Asics Novablast 4. I’ll admit that I’m not the 880v14’s target audience but I can’t recommend it above those other shoes.

Annie: While I haven’t run in the Mach 6 or Novablast 4, Drew noted above (and so can’t compare on those fronts), I have run in New Balance’s own Rebel v4 quite a bit and would likewise recommend it over the same-priced 880v14.

I’d also throw in the Topo Magnifly 5 for consideration if you don’t have any reason to avoid a zero drop daily trainer. While its geometry is obviously vastly different, it offers balanced, no-frills cushioning and solid ground feel that may similarly appeal to runners interested in those particular qualities of the 880v14. The Topo shoe also happens to be $5 cheaper at $135 retail.

In the case of both the Rebel v4 and the Magnifly 5, I personally found both offered a more enjoyable ride and better versatility.

So, it’s not so much that the New Balance 880v14 doesn’t offer what a $140 (maaaybe $130) shoe should. It does for the most part. It’s reliable, it’s durable, and I think runners who have enjoyed it in the past still will. It’s more so that there are other models out there (like those we mentioned above), that just seem to offer a bit more for the money.

New Balance 880v14 final verdict

New Balance 880v14 Summary

Drew: Like this year’s 1080v13, the New Balance 880v14 is the best ever model in the series. 880 fans get something that’s not a big departure from what works or what they expect. The aesthetics and midsole improve while New Balance delivers similar durability and comfort everywhere else. This is on the short list of best running shoes for beginners and will make the thousands of runners currently in the 880s pretty happy.

Annie: It’s not the strongest contender in its daily trainer category, but I think established devotees of the 880 series will find good reason to stick with its more traditional stack and geometry. The New Balance 880v14 further offers casual crossover appeal that’s sometimes lacking in performance running shoes, making it an alluring entry point for newer runners as well.

How do the Authors Run?

Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Runs daily with a once a week rest day. Runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and a growing affinity for long-distance races. Regularly competes in marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races.

Annie Keris (age 39, 5’0” 117lbs): Typically follows a “two days on, one day off” running routine. “On” days include daily miles, speed work, and long runs. An “off” day usually involves yoga and mobility/recovery work. Enjoys occasional racing but perhaps enjoys the training process even more. Gravitates most toward the half marathon distance, but ventures into the 10k and 5k as well. The marathon is thus far uncharted territory…


While New Balance did send pairs of the New Balance 880v14 to facilitate this review, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.

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