Jim Gerweck has written for many of the finest magazines and websites in the sport of running over the past three decades. He is also a member of a semi iconic media secret society called Slap Central (Paul Merca, Jim Gerweck, Larry Eder) founded in the early hours of a Chicago morning, a decade ago.
New Balance 890 version 6, photo by Jim Gerweck
Jim texted me that he was going to the NB relaunch of the NB 890 and we asked our slappy friend to write a bit on the shoe, New Balance, and perhaps, the meaning of life.
NB 890 version 6, photo by Jim Gerweck
The NB 890 write up is quite good, we will give Jim some more space to write on the meaning of life, in the near future.
Also, nice job, New Balance. In between sponsoring New York City Marathon and London Marathon, we are sure glad that you remember that, at the end of the day, running shoe companies are remembered for making fine running shoes.
Usually in the athletic world, comebacks from retirement seldom work out well. But when New Balance announced it was bringing back the 890, runners from elites to mid-packers rejoiced, and with good reason. In this case, dusting off the cobwebs has resulted in a shoe that’s even better than well-loved earlier iterations.
The orginal 890 was introduced around the turn of the decade as the lighter, faster sibling of the stable 860 and the neutral 880, all part of the company’s moderate cushioning 800 series. The 890 disappeared from the lineup about two or three years ago, but now it’s back as the 890v6 (keeping the New Balance’s practice of maintaining the model number for ease of consumer identification, merely incrementing the version number suffix).
“We heard from a lot of runners who were missing the 890,” said Running Product Manager Sara Wild at the re-launch even in Manhattan’s Chelsea district Friday night. “But, we knew if we were bringing it back, we had to do it right.”
The timing and location of the event were more than coincidental; two days later some 22,500 runner would take to the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan on a new course for the United New York City Half Marathon, and Wild feels the 890 is the perfect shoe for the average runner to use as a racer over that distance or the marathon. “We say it’s the shoe to find your fast,” she continued, and with a 6mm (11/17) drop the shoe has that quick roll-through and toe-off of a racing flat, but with the greater protection those of us not built like gazelles or Kenyans need.
The reborn 890 is built on an entirely new last, the PL6, with an upper made of engineered stretch mesh using a no-sew construction for a fit that is at once supportive but forgiving. The REVlite midsole, which has become the workhorse material for much of the New Balance line, provides enough cushioning to absorb the impact of higher intensity workouts or races without being so soft it robs all the energy needed for rapid propulsion. “The ride is as smooth as we can get,” said Wild. “We’ve heard from elite to average runners that it’s a great shoe for tempo runs, speed workouts, and longer races.”
With that in mind, New Balance even rolled out special editions of the shoe for the NYC Half and the London Marathon, at $10 more than the regular version’s $119.99 price tag. With a size 9 weighing 9 and 8 ounces for men’s and women’s models respectively, the shoe won’t feel like combat boots as you approach the tough final miles of a long road race. In the case of the 890v6, this is one comeback definitely worth cheering for.