New Balance 890v4 vs. 1080v4 review

New Balance 890v4 is a very lightweight daily trainer that provides lots of cushioning. New Balance 1080v4 is a neutral cushioning running shoe for heavier runners. Learn more...

The New Balance 890v4 and the New Balance 1080v4 are both neutral cushioning running shoes from New Balance for runners who do not need any kind of stability or motion controlling features.


The uppers of the New Balance 890v4 and the New Balance 1080v4 are similar yet different.

They are similar in that they both consist of no-sew overlays with breathable mesh, and they are different in that the New Balance 1080v4 has more stitched-on overlays than the New Balance 890v4.

The only stitched-on overlays on the New Balance 890v4 are at the back of the shoe, while the New Balance 1080v4 has stitched-on overlays at the front and at the back of the shoe.

The heel counter of the New Balance 1080v4 should also feel sturdier and it is asymmetrical, meaning that it is higher on the medial side than it is on the lateral side, so that as your foot rolls inward, it keeps your foot in place and does not let it twist around too much.

So all in all, while you should get a pretty comfortable and irritation-free fit from both running shoes with a good wrap around the midfoot, the upper of the New Balance 1080v4 should feel a little bit more secure than that of the New Balance 890v4, especially around the heel.

The biggest difference between the New Balance 890v4 and the New Balance 1080v4 lies probably in the midsole materials used.

The New Balance 890v4 has a RevLite midsole, which provides cushioning while keeping the midsole light and responsive. In addition, it has an Absorb crash pad under the heel on both the medial and lateral sides.

The New Balance 1080v4 has an ActevaLite midsole that has cushioning properties and is 24% lighter than New Balance's standard foam. In addition, it has N2 cushioning in the heel, an Absorb crash pad on the lateral side under the heel, and N2 Burst cushioning in the forefoot for a responsive toe-off.

N2 cushioning tends to be responsive but a bit firm, while Absorb cushioning tends to be very soft providing superior shock absorption.

Because the Absorb crash pad of the New Balance 890v4 is located on both sides of the heel instead of just on one side as in the New Balance 1080v4 and is much larger, the New Balance 890v4 should feel much more cushy under your heel than the New Balance 1080v4.

And the extra large blown rubber pods in the forefoot of the New Balance 890v4 together with the RevLite midsole cushioning makes the New Balance 890v4 also more cushy in the forefoot than the New Balance 1080v4.

Keep in mind however that the New Balance 1080v4 was designed to provide somewhat firmer cushioning to runners who are heavier and who need such cushioning, and also be as responsive as possible.

While both running shoes are neutral cushioning running shoes, so are not meant to provide any stability, they do come with some stability features.

For starters, both have a crash pad to slow down the initial stage of pronation and provide shock absorption at heel-strike. But the New Balance 1080v4 takes things a step further.

It also has an asymmetrical heel counter in its upper to provide more support on the medial side than on the lateral side of the shoe as your foot rolls inward, and a T-Beam midfoot shank to provide stability and arch support. So one could say that the New Balance 1080v4 is the more stable running shoe of the two.

The outsoles of both running shoes consist of durable rubber in high-wear areas with blown rubber in the forefoot for flexibility and extra cushioning. They also provide good ground contact and good segmentation between the rubber compartments to help you get a smooth ride.

What differs however is the shape of the rubber compartments. The rubber pods under the New Balance 890v4 are much larger with deep flex grooves for exceptional flexibility in the forefoot.

The New Balance 1080v4 does not lag behind too much because it has a hexagonal pattern in the forefoot that also makes it extremely flexible. However, running shoe lab tests have shown that for the women's versions of the shoes, the New Balance 890v4 is much more flexible than the New Balance 1080v4. In the men's versions of the shoes there is almost no difference in the amount of flexibility.

The large rubber pods under the New Balance 890v4 also provide a good grip on all kinds of surfaces – road, trail, or grass – despite being a road running shoe.

Due to the absence of a midfoot shank in the New Balance 890v4 and its full ground contact, it should also provide you with a smoother transition from heel-strike to toe-off than the New Balance 1080v4.

The women's version of the New Balance 890v4 weighs about 6.8 oz (193 grams) and the New Balance 1080v4 for women weighs approximately 8.3 oz (235 grams). The men's version of the New Balance 890v4 weighs approximately 8.1 oz (230 grams), while the New Balance 1080v4 for men weighs 10.0 oz (283 grams).

If you are looking for an extremely light running shoe that will give you a very soft and smooth ride so that you can handle lots of miles on a daily basis, then the New Balance 890v4 would be one to consider.

And if you are a neutral runner who is somewhat bigger and who needs a sturdy cushioning running shoe that is responsive and supportive but not to the degree of a motion control running shoe, then the New Balance 1080v4 might be worth a try.

Both New Balance running shoes can be worn for everyday training and handle a lot of miles.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to where you can read more about the running shoes.

This review falls under: New Balance

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