New Balance 880 vs 860 – Two Amazing Workhorse Shoes for Different Runners


In this 2023 updated comparison, I’m going to compare the New Balance 880 vs 860.

If you’re overwhelmed by the New Balance numbering system, you’re not alone.

To give you the latest information, we’re going to compare the latest New Balance 880 v13 vs 860 v13 and then compare these to their previous iterations.

So, what do the 880 and 860 feel like, and which runner is going to benefit from which shoe?

Let’s find out …

New Balance 880 vs 860

Make sure you check out New Balance 880 vs. 1080.

If you’re in a hurry, here are the most important differences and similarities between the 880 and the 860.

Neutral vs Stable


880 Fresh Foam X

If you’re not familiar where it sits in the lineup, the 880 is a medium cushion shoe that sits right underneath the 1080 which is kind of your max cushion shoe.

The 880 is a neutral daily trainer designed to handle a wide variety of runs. It is also great if you walk a lot or have to stay on your feet all day long.

It has a dual-density midsole but no stability mechanism. However, I will say the 880 is a relatively stable neutral shoe but not to the point where it’s going to be suitable for overpronators like the 860.

Like the 860, the 880 is a great option if you want to run one or four days a week. If you’re looking for something that just feels soft, comfortable, and balanced on foot for everyday use, the 880 v13 is going to be a perfect option.

You can check today’s price of the 880 below:

860 Fresh Foam X

The 860 has been a reliable staple daily trainer for that person looking for a beefed-up stability workhorse of the New Balance 880.

It is one of New Balance’s most popular and most durable shoes built with a lot of premium materials.

Compared to the 880 which has no built-in stability element, the 860 has a posting on the medial side. The posting is very hard and very firm and is designed to keep your foot from rolling to the inside too much.

However, New Balance reformulated the medial post to have a more natural feeling.

The midsole on the 860 v13 also has some mini foam sidewalls or guide rails towards the back half on the lateral side and medial side. This is just another support element that gives you a little bit of guidance as you run.

Of course, this level of support makes the 860 great for issues like plantar fasciitis or bad ankles.

If you’re used to the mild type of stability shoes like the Saucony Guide or Hurricane, the 860 is a little bit more stable.

For me, this is a shoe for the easy days, for the daily miles, and for those longer runs when you just want to hold your ankle a little bit more.


Firm vs Soft

Compared to some of the previous versions of the 860, the 860 v13 has seen some huge improvements in terms of the step-in feel, comfort, and cushion.

Now, the 860 is going to offer instant soft step-in feel when you first try the shoe on and a soft-upon-impact feel when you’re first taking those running or walking steps.

In other words, the 860v13 has become much softer than its predecessors.

But don’t get me wrong. The 860 still has a pretty firmer midsole compared to the 880. It’s just that New Balance wanted stability runners of the 860 to have a softer landing and an energetic toe-off, which is something that stability shoes often fail to offer.

This level of firmness means you’re not going to sink down and kind of wobble with each and every step, which adds to the stability of the platform.

Compared to the 880 or the 1080v10 and v11 which also have Fresh Foam X, the Fresh Foam X midsole on the 860 doesn’t feel the same. Of course, it wouldn’t feel the same because of the firmer medial posting right underneath it.

So, while the midsole on the 860 is much softer than before, it’s still more solid and firmer than the 880.

To wrap this quick comparison up…

… if you’re somebody who’s much more neutral across the board and doesn’t need any guidance, then the 880 is your shoe.

And if you’re somebody who overpronates or somebody that needs that medial support protection and ankle protection, go with the 860.

Now, let’s dive more into detail and start with the specs…

Heel-to-toe Drop, Weight, widths, Price


Both the 880 and 860 are 10mm heel-to-toe drop shoes.

The 10mm drop is a little bit lower than some shoes in that category. So, if 12mm shoes like the Brooks Ghost or Mizuno Wave Rider scare you, try the 880 or 860. These might work better for you.





The 880 v13 weighs in at 10.6 oz for men and 8.4 oz. The 880 is slightly heavier than the 880 v12 which comes in at 10.5 oz.

The 860 v13 comes in at 10.9 oz for men’s size 9, which is .3 oz heavier than the 880 v13. However, the 860 v13 is lighter than the 860 v12 which comes in at 11.4 oz.

So, while the 860 v13 is heavier than the 880 v13, it’s almost an ounce lighter than the 860 v11. This is a really good thing for a stability shoe with all those built-in stability features.

However, even though it’s a little bit bigger and heavier compared to its predecessor, the 860 v13 has become much softer, much more enjoyable, and a lot less clunky.

From what I can see, the neutral 880 is getting heavier while the stability 860 is getting lighter. That’s weird!

Overall, the weight of the 860 isn’t bad considering the cushioning and stability elements built into it. It’s right in line with shoes in the same stability category.




Both the 860 v13 and 880 v13 are available in B (narrow), D (medium), 2E (wide), 4E (extra-wide) for men and 2A (narrow), B (medium), D (wide) for women.

The size goes up to men’s size 16 and women’s size 11.

As you see, the shoes come in almost every width and size and no matter your foot size or shape, you should find a version that fits, which is quite a nice thing because I realize not all models do that.

Looking for some secure running shoes for narrow feet? Check out our top recommendations.


In terms of the price, the 880 and the 860 are the same price. You can check today’s prices here:





The 880 v13 has the same midsoles as last year. It’s a dual-density setup with Fresh Foam X in the heel and through the midfoot. And once you get to the forefoot, it transitions into partially Fresh Foam X and partially FuelCell.

FuelCell? Are you serious?

I know this is confusing because New Balance has a wide variety of FuelCell foams and they just don’t necessarily label it.

With the 880 v13, they didn’t label this on their website and they didn’t advertise it, but when I asked them, “Hey, what is this white foam in the forefoot,” they said, “Yes, it’s FuelCell.”

However, the FuelCell in the 880 v13 is different than the FuelCell found in their top-tier racing SC Elite. The FuelCell on the SC Elite is much lighter and bouncier while the FuelCell on the 880v13 is more dense.

So, starting from the 880 v12, the shoe now is soft upon impact in the heel and the forefoot has a really nice energetic toe-off.



The 860 v13 has got a complete redesign from head to toe. The midsole makes the biggest impact mainly because it’s going to be a softer experience now featuring Fresh Foam X like the 880, the 1080, or the More.

What’s great about the new midsole is it’s now a triple-density setup, which I think is quite unique.

Let me explain…

You have softer foam on top, Fresh Foam X being Fresh Foam X, and a medial posting.

Fresh Foam X is more focused on cushioning and being soft, but it isn’t the bounciest foam.

Softer foam. To elevate the Fresh Foam X which isn’t very bouncy on the 860, they added this bouncier blue foam on top to provide a higher energy return than some of the other foams that New Balance have within their line. 

Hard foam. Then, you’ve got that harder, more dense foam underneath the arch called the medial posting. This posting is supposed to keep your foot from rolling to the inside too much. But what’s so amazing about the 860 v13 is that they’ve reshaped the medial post so it feels a bit more natural underfoot.

If you’re wondering, the new medial posting on the 860 v13 isn’t super intrusive or a clunky experience. Plus, you do get used to it the more miles you put into the shoe.

While using this shoe, I really did appreciate the top layer of foam. It has a little bit more bounce to it and I think it did change the overall experience.

The 860 v13 is not the bounciest shoe ever, especially if you compare it to the FuelCell line. However, the shoe did have an elevated more fun and lively experience, especially compared to a shoe that is just purely Fresh Foam X like the 880 or 1080.

Just a side note! The 860’s level of support makes it a nice alternative for the discontinued New Balance 1260

Asics 860 vs Kayano 30 in terms of stability

Of course, the biggest and best-selling feature of the 860 and the Kayano 30 is their stability.

The 860 v13 is a really nice supportive shoe. I did appreciate how locked in I felt, especially with the foam sidewalls on both sides and that medial posting.

It’s doing a really good job in terms of providing support for runners with flat feet or those who tend to overpronate.

The previous Kayanos were super supportive and the 860 was no match to it all in terms of stability. But things have absolutely changed now.

The Kayano no longer has that classic plastic Trusstic system.

The Kayano now provides stability through a combination of FFBlast+ foam, a new Truss Lite system, and 3D Space Construction. Basically, when you run and land, these elements limit the amount that your foot is turning inwards.

So, if we compare the 860 v13 to the latest Asics Gel Kayano 30, the Kayano NOW feels more natural and a little less intense in terms of stability than the 860.

So, if you’re looking for and need a true stability shoe, then the 860 is your best option.

All in all…

The 860 v13 is a complete revamp from top to bottom. I feel like the people who have been wearing this shoe are going to continue to come back to it. The shoe is still great if you’re looking for that balanced cushioning underfoot and that level of stability that’s just going to get you through those miles.





The New Balance 880 is a tried-and-true shoe from New Balance. It works for a lot of runners with different shapes and sizes of feet.

The 880 v12 was a little bit too wide. I think New Balance may have overcorrected here because the sizing of the 880 v13 feels about a half size smaller and it’s a rather narrow experience for me. 

I found my pinky had some rubbing and my toe was pretty much near the top of the toe box. Accordingly, I would go up about half a size to get a little bit more wiggle room.

But again, the 880v13 is available from narrow to extra wide depending on your foot shape. But it can get a little bit tricky depending on the colorways and the store.

Again, the 880 v13 in my size does run a little bit narrow and about a half size small.



I will say the 860 v13 does fit true to size. However, it is a little bit more snug if you’ve tried other shoes like the 1080 or the More.

Those have plenty of room while the 860 fits a little bit more snug. However, I wouldn’t really recommend going up half a size. It’s just going to be a little bit more of a narrow fit.

Again, the great thing is you do have a wide variety of widths and lengths when it comes to this particular model.


If you’ve struggled to find running shoes that fit your wide feet and narrow heels, be sure to check out that article as well.




The 880 v12 was such an amazing update where they really focused on enhancing the underfoot experience. With version v13, you’ve got some tweaks in the upper to further enhance the on-foot feel.

New Balance changed the upper from a Jacquard mesh to an engineered mesh. The upper has no overlays and really hugs nicely to your foot, but the breathability is average.

I almost call it a topographical upper in a way that you have all these different layers that really just create a traditional soft and structured fit that you’ll want to wear every single day.

So, people who like more traditional shoes like Brooks or Saucony models, you’re going to like this because it feels traditional in that way even though it’s a more modern updated engineered mesh upper.


The heel counter does a good job at keeping your heel in place. I had no heel slippage and I think the lockdown was superb.

Part of the reason why the lockdown was so superb is because it is a rather narrow experience and I think it is a more snug fit. It’s just going to hug your foot a little bit tighter than some people may like. But as I mentioned earlier, you have plenty of widths available.


The tongue on the 880 v13 feels very much like a New Balance tongue and feels almost identical to the 860 and the More V4. It’s also pretty comparable to the 1080.

The tongue is moderately padded and does a good job of keeping the lace pressure off and I was quite happy with it. However, it is non-gusseted though compared to the 860.



The 860 has a traditional engineered mesh upper and the breathability was quite good. Nothing special.

The 860v13 continues with the new heel flare like most of today’s running shoes. Companies have found this kind of heel to be good at taking pressure off of the Achilles tendon. For me, this heel design fits me pretty well and I do get a really good heel lockdown. Talking about the lockdown…


In terms of the lockdown and fit, I would rate this as superb. This is not a shoe you can easily slip in and out of. You really do have to untie it to get your foot out because of how good the lockdown is.

I found three aspects that contribute to the great lockdown on the 860 v13…

First, the upper has this beautiful embroidery wrapping up in the midfoot saddle to help create a little bit more of a structured locked-down fit.

Second, you have that gusseted tongue which keeps the tongue in place and gives you that extra layer of fabric around your midfoot.

Third, the heel counter gives you a nice little spot for your heels to lock in with a moderate amount of padding in the ankle and Achilles area.

All of those things together give you a great fit and I felt very connected to this shoe overall.


The tongue is very similar to what’s on the More V4. It’s two layers of engineer mesh folded on top of each other with a little bit of padding in between.

It’s not overbuilt and doesn’t absorb a ton of sweat but isn’t super minimal where it doesn’t keep the lace pressure off.

I think it kind of walks that line very well and is fairly comfortable especially because it is gusseted.

The other thing I’ll say is it’s a low profile tongue and so it stays in line with the silhouette and doesn’t pop out too much either.

So, in terms of stability, it’s not only the medial post and midsole geometry that offer stability. It’s also the upper structure, heel lockdown, and gusseted tongue.

Again, in terms of fit, the upper on the 860 v13 is going to be a little bit more snug compared to most other New Balance fits like the New Balance 1080 and the More, but overall, it’s true to size and just has a superb lockdown.

Let’s finish our comparison with the outsole… 



Just like the 860 v13, the 880 v13 has a ridiculous amount of rubber. It has 5mm of outsole rubber, which is pretty substantial for a daily trainer compared to some other trail shoes that have 4mm lugs.

I used the 880 and the 860 on the pavement and asphalt. Then I took them on some softer surfaces like bark trail and dirt trail and they transitioned really nicely across all of those surfaces.

I think they also work on grass and I think they might even work on rockier trails just because of this really sticky firm rubber on the outsole.

As far as the flex grooves go, New Balance updated them. So, whether you’re a heel striker or a forefoot striker, you’re going to get a really nice transition just because of the way the outsole is designed with these flex grooves.

In terms of durability, both the 880 and 860 will last you a little bit longer compared to other conventional daily trainers. However, they do tend to weigh a little bit more because you have so much rubber underfoot.

So, having this thick rubber coverage is a huge win for people looking for durability in their shoes.

This is part of the reason people buy the 860 and 880 to log a ton of miles.

In terms of grip, the outsole grips nicely to whatever you run on. So, it shouldn’t be a problem if it’s wet or dry as long as you steer away from mud.

And of course, the 860 v13 is heavier than the 880 v13 because the 860 has extra stability elements built into it.

Stable vs Neutral – How To Spot The Difference


So, the 880 and 860 are the two everyday trainers in a neutral and a stability category respectively.

When you’re looking at a neutral shoe like the 880, the midsole foam is consistent all the way around.

If you’re looking at a shoe like the 860, you’re going to see a little bit of posting through the inside of the shoe.

So, if you want to figure out the difference between neutral and stability shoes, look at the medial side. If you see a harder medial posting, then that’s a stability shoe.

However, some newer models like the Gel Kayano 30 do not use a plastic medial posting. Instead, brands make the midsole foam a little bit stiffer through the medial side to provide the stability overpronators need.

Then, some other brands like Altra and Brooks use a technology called Guide Rails.

Guide rails give support on the medial side and the lateral side to help both overpronators (whose feet roll inward) and underpronators/supinators (whose feet roll outward).

The 860 is still one of the old-school traditional medial support-only shoes designed for runners who just overpronate.

Final Thoughts


I think there’s a place for the 880 in pretty much every runner’s rotation. No matter if you’re a hobby jogger or if you’re training for long-distance races or kind of faster paces, this is a really great workhorse shoe.

The 880 is not too much shoe and there’s not a lot of clunk to it, but there’s enough cushion to get you through lots of miles.

Also, with that little touch of firmness, there’s even enough responsiveness to get through a tempo or a faster-pace run if that is your typical bag.

The New Balance 880 v13 is going to work for you if you like the Brooks Ghost or maybe the Mizuno Wave Rider because it fits really nicely into that category.

I think New Balance played it safe. They didn’t overhaul the 880 in the same way that they overhauled their most recent version of the 1080.

Overall, the 880 is your conventional, reliable, neutral daily trainer.


Stability shoes are not supposed to be springy kind of shoes. They’re supposed to be more stable, a little bit stiff, and controlling.

The 860 v12 was super supportive and super controlling but not in a brutal kind of way.

However, the 860 v13 is a complete revamp. While it’s still supportive, the introduction of that softer foam in the forefoot has made the shoe a little bit more dynamic, softer, and still protective compared to previous versions.

The overall ride experience was quite nice and the only real big negative for me was that shoe was on the heavier end of things.

Unlike some other big beefy stability shoes from other brands, the 860 is a great everyday function shoe for running and walking.

The 860 might not be the bounciest option compared to the wider community of stability shoes. But if you just want one shoe to:

  • Be a moderate stability shoe for your runs
  • Be a walking shoe
  • Be a work shoe
  • Last you a ton of miles

… I think it’s a great option and New Balance made some solid updates.

Overall, the core philosophy for the New Balance 860 v13 is maintaining stability for runners looking for that every single day.


Where to buy 880 (not affiliate)
New BalanceZappos
Where to buy 860 (not affiliate)
New BalanceRunning Warehouse

New Balance 880 vs 860


That’s it for this New Balance 880 vs 860 comparison. I was really happy making this article for you and I hope you’ve learned something new today.

If you’ve ever run in the 880 or the 860, please tell us your experience in the comments section below.

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

6 thoughts on “New Balance 880 vs 860 – Two Amazing Workhorse Shoes for Different Runners”

  1. Once NB changed the 860 & removed part of the medial post (3 yrs) ago, I couldn’t run in them. My knees would hurt. I use them to run around in, do errands. Switched to 880’s. Liked them alot. 6 months later, they changed them, no more wide toe box (necessary as I’m a former ballerina with bunions). I run in last years version even though I have to removed corns on my toes….so tight toe box. I just ordered a new pair but don’t know if these will work either…..Any advice

    • Hi Kendall.
      So sorry to hear about your struggle. If the only problem you have with the 880s is the narrow toe box, why don’t you get them in wide?

  2. I have 3 pair of the 860v11 and love them, especially the way the back lays around the heel/ankle. I’m wide footed but do NOT have any complaints about how they fit in the toe box. I’m training for a Jan. 2022 marathon and I change off between 2 of them as I run 4 days per week. As a female, I’d like more fun colors – especially Red. I do have the citrus which gets lots of compliments (I also have black on black and black with white).

    • Thanks for the comment, Michele. The 860v11 is a really fun shoe to run in. Glad you found a reliable shoe and good luck with your marathon training.

  3. I have been avid 860 runner, long distance. Mistakenly I ordered two pairs of the 880 and frankly enjoy running with them as well. I have read everything you wrote and agree both shoes are excellent. It really comes down to personal preference. New Balance has cut back supplying running stores shoes so when ordering online from
    NB order correctly. Keep on running.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.