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New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13 Review (2024): Still Good?

New Balance Fresh Foam x 880 v13 review
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13 is an impressive daily trainer offering durability and comfort.

Our Verdict

9.2Overall Score

Very good versatile shoes combining comfort and stability for your daily sessions.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13 is a shoe aiming to deliver comfort and protection to runners for moderate-pace runs.

The midsole features Fresh Foam X under the heel and midfoot and the more responsive FuelCell foam under the forefoot. The result is optimum shock absorption and a smooth, comfortable ride.

The upper, criticized in the previous version, has been modified with an engineered mesh that ensures a better lockdown. The outsole (already great) has been given even more rubber to offer some of the best durability on the market.

In short, it’s an ideal shoe for those focusing on comfort and reliability over performance.

Please read our full review of the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13 for more information.

Comfort
9.5
Responsiveness
8.5
Foot lockdown and protection
9
Stability
9
Durability
9.5
Value
9
Design
9.5

PROS

  • Soft, stable cushioning
  • Good lockdown
  • Comfortable, highly durable model
  • Top-notch construction and design for everyday use

CONS

  • Lack of responsiveness

Introduction

Each brand has a signature series in its collection embodying a typical running style. For New Balance, the 880 line is aimed at those looking for versatile, comfortable, and durable shoes.

The previous version was very popular, but a number of runners criticized the upper for being too bulky and the fit too loose. Has New Balance fixed its all-rounder? Let’s find out.

New Balance Fresh Foam x 880 v13 unboxing

Cushioning

There are two foams in the midsole. First, Fresh Foam X offers comfort with medium density and a rather firm feel (though not unpleasant) for a gentle ride. Next, FuelCell is softer and more about responsiveness.

With a heel height of 32 mm (22 mm for the forefoot), it’s still “not much” compared to other similar models with a higher stack.

New Balance 880 v13 midsole foam heel

The 10-mm drop is classic to suit as many runners as possible without requiring any transition.

The good level of shock absorption means that you can use the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13 for all distances, making it ideal for marathon preparation, for example.

Energy return

With a weight of 9.5 oz / 269 g in US size 8.5 (EU 41.5) and a rather firm feel, the foot rolls well, and the bounce is satisfactory.

However, reactivity is not its specialty. Perhaps there should be more FuelCell foam than Fresh Foam. At any rate, it will be enough for most runners, especially if responsiveness is not your #1 criterion.

Tester Julien Guyod assessing the performance and comfort 880 v13 running shoes

The rocker is present but moderate. It doesn’t really encourage a forefoot stride. Together with the low forefoot thickness, this confirms that the emphasis has been placed on heel stride or mid-foot strides.

Support and stability

This neutral shoe offers good stability with its rather firm ride and wide platform. It doesn’t come with any guidance technologies for overpronation, but it’s worth a shot if you are not a fan of stability shoes.

runner wearing the men's version of the New Balance 880 v13

Foot Lockdown

The mesh upper is less bulky than on the v12 and more airy. It remains classic and will work well in both summer and winter.

Locking is better than on the previous version. However, despite my wide feet, I still have plenty of room. There’s nothing to worry about, especially as the emphasis is not on performance but comfort, but it’s something to watch out if you have narrow feet.

Other than that, the 880 v13 runs true to size so you can pick your usual size.

heel with collar and mesh made of organic materials (3%)

Traction

The outsole is certainly one of the most impressive I have seen and experienced. There’s a thick layer of rubber, which certainly accentuates the firmness of the impact but provides extremely effective traction.

Grip is optimal, whatever the surface, wet or dry, with the best results on roads, of course. But it also does very well on non-technical paths.

The depth of the flex grooves enhances grip and makes the sole more flexible.

Ndurance rubber outsole

Use

Let’s face it, the Fresh Foam X 880v13 isn’t for competition running, nor speed training.

However, it’s important to put things in perspective and use pace as a context when we evaluate shoes.

For example, “super shoes” express their full potential at race pace. However, you will also need a pair to accompany your preparation for slower and longer miles. Some runners also prefer using the same pair for training and racing to find the same comfort and avoid surprises (understandably).

880 field tests

New Balance has clearly understood this and that’s where the 880 comes in by offering an all-around, stable model with great protection and excellent durability. Add to this a top-notch design, and you have road shoes to tackle anything.

As such, it can be used for any type of session. However, it will clearly be more effective on moderate-pace long runs.

Quality and Durability

The quality of the outsole is such that I haven’t seen any signs of wear after 100 miles.

Combined with the high-quality upper, there’s little reason to doubt that the shoes can last a very long time (over 600 miles), making them a great value.

view of toe box (forefoot) and laces

New Balance’s Green Leaf standard is an example of a more ecological design. For textiles, 50% or more of the materials used come from recycled fibers or, for cotton, from sustainable cultivation methods.

Unfortunately, the 880 is not vegan and likely contains animal products.

New Balance 880 v13 navy blue color

Conclusion

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13 is a clear step up compared to its predecessor. It keeps the highlights that make the series successful while correcting its shortcomings.

These shoes are ideal for beginners looking for a single pair for all their runs. It’s also a suitable option for more experienced runners looking for a versatile and long-lasting daily trainer for slower sessions of any distance.

Facts

Technical Specs

TerrainRoad
Pronation typeNeutral
Drop10 mm
Heel height32 mm
Forefoot height22 mm
Weight (men)276 g/9.7 oz
Weight (women)254 g/9 oz
FeaturesWide feet, Recycled materials
Athletes
Release year2023
PriceCheck prices

Cushioning

SoftnessBalanced
ResponsivenessLow

Technologies

OutsoleNDurance
MidsoleFresh Foam X, FuelCell
UpperEngineered Mesh

Use

SpeedSlow, Moderate
DistanceShort, 5K, Mid, 10K, Half marathon
WorkoutDaily running

Comparisons

New Balance 880 v12

NB 880 v13 (2023 model)

Little has changed between these two versions. The key takeaways are the more eco-friendly design, more rubber on the outsole, and an improved upper for a better fit and lockdown.

Nevertheless, this last point alone justifies upgrading since it was the main criticism of the V12.

New Balance 1080 v13

More popular than the 880, the 1080 is the star of the NB series. It comes with even more cushioning and versatility, making it more suitable for longer distances. See our detailed comparison here.

Julien Guyod

Julien Guyod

Julien Guyod, 40, is a math teacher and freelance writer. He took up running in 2015 and specializes in marathons, clocking in with a 2:38 personal best at the La Rochelle marathon in France. He's passionate about running shoes and loves to share his impressions of the models he's tested, always pushing the mileage further to discover more insights!

1 thought on “New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13”

  1. The V13 is the best version yet, I have the 880V12’s as well and agree that the new upper material is better than the old. Love the dual layer midsole foams.

    Reply

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