In today’s article, I’m going to talk about the New Balance 890 replacement and some other noteworthy alternatives.
In case you’re not already informed, the New Balance 890 was a mixed bag for runners. While some have appreciated the stiffness and firm ride it offered, there was a substantial portion of the running community that didn’t quite embrace that particular sensation.
For those in search of alternatives that retain the sought-after fast-day properties but come equipped with a softer FuelCell midsole, abundant responsiveness, and a lively feel, we’re here to guide you through some exceptional choices.
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New Balance 890 Replacement
Before we dive into the alternative, let me share my own experience with the 890 series to jog your memory about what running in those shoes was like. But, if you’re in a hurry, you can skip right to the first alternative.
My experience in the 890 series
I had the chance to test both the New Balance 890v7 and the 890v8, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you. Let’s dive into my experiences with these two running shoes.
When it comes to the 890v7, I noticed that it had a pretty firm feel because of that RevLite midsole material. When I hit the heel area with more impact, that stiff foam transferred the impact to my heel. However, after about 4 or 5 miles of running, things started to change. The shoe seemed to mellow out, and at that point, I found it suitable for daily training. It remained somewhat firm, but it was manageable.
The stiffness and the performance it delivered brought to mind the Zoom Fly SP or the Zoom Fly v1, which featured Lunarlon foam. Lunarlon wasn’t known for its extreme cushioning or softness, but when I was pushing for faster runs, I certainly appreciated the advantages of that foam, and I saw a similar effect with the 890v7.
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However, I found the RevLite midsole to be quite enjoyable, especially when I picked up the pace. I took the 890v7 for a spin on a range of runs, covering distances from 10k up to 20 miles. Along these routes, I explored various paces, including faster ones, marathon paces, and even easy recovery paces on a treadmill, and everything in between. It was evident that the 890v7 truly thrived when I pushed the pace and ventured into those faster territories.
Again, for those days when I wanted to be more in my midfoot and onto my toes, this was a shoe that I would easily reach for; I’m talking tempo days, threshold days, or repeats.
In terms of sizing, I went true to size, but it was a bit roomier in the toe box. That was good for some runners who have a little bit wider feet or those who found some other running shoes to be a little bit too snug at that time.
I found it a little bit not uncomfortable but noticeable that the fit was a little bit bigger on the shoe. But that being said the flexibility of this upper material didn’t create any issues for me whatsoever. It was really more a matter of preference than it was performance.
The other shoe that the 890v7 reminded me of was the Adidas Adios 4 which was another shoe that I really liked at the time.
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The 890v8 felt quite similar to the 890v7. It was still a shoe for those who preferred a firmer ride. If you’re a fan of RevLite, the 890v8 could work well for tempo runs, but I wouldn’t consider it a racing shoe anymore. For runners who hadn’t experienced RevLite, the 890v8 might not be the best choice. The category for tempo-day shoes was already filled with strong competitors, both within and outside the New Balance lineup.
Similar to my experience with the 890v7, the 890v8 began to truly shine when I hit my marathon paces. It was during those moments when I transitioned away from the heel and focused more on the midfoot and forefoot that the shoe started to feel livelier and lighter. It seemed like I was benefiting from a positive synergy between the FuelCell and RevLite in the midsole during these faster-paced runs.
The upper had some structural elements in the heel cup and even in the toe box. These features aimed to provide stability but also contributed to the overall sense of firmness. While it wasn’t necessarily tight or snug, the upper material felt a bit too firm and less forgiving, making it less comfortable for this type of shoe.
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One significant change with the 890v8 was its weight. This increase in weight transformed the 890 from a racing shoe that could also be used for training into more of a fast trainer. It wasn’t the go-to choice for races, unless they were longer races. But even then, the firm ride might not be the best fit.
To sum it up, the 890, while not a bad shoe, wasn’t for everyone. Its firm ride and weight made it better suited for specific training scenarios rather than as an all-around performer.
So, if you’re looking for an alternative in the 890 for tempo days with a shoe that has the same FuelCell foam, I’d recommend the FuelCell Rebel v3, as it offers a more suitable balance.
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New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3
Here’s a screenshot from Reddit where apparently a designer from New Balance confirmed the Rebel was the replacement for the 890 series:
Let me start with how I’ve been using the Rebelv3…
I’ve been using the Rebel v3 as my primary daily trainer for all my regular runs, and I’ve found it to be incredibly versatile. It not only handles long runs effectively but also adapts seamlessly to pace changes. Whether I’m going for an easy run with some strides at the end or tackling something as fast as a track day, the Rebel v3 shines. Its lightweight design and low profile make it a great choice for these scenarios.
Now, you might think that the low-to-the-ground design sacrifices cushioning, but that’s not the case. Thanks to the FuelCell foam, this shoe provides a plush and impact-absorbing experience. What’s remarkable is how the foam quickly springs back, giving each stride an enjoyable and responsive feel. Despite its lightweight nature, it manages to deliver an engaging and fun running experience.
And let’s not forget about comfort. The Rebel v3 is exceptionally comfortable, making those daily runs a pleasure.
Again, the 890v7 was best suited for those seeking faster paces, making it a high-performance option for harder workout days rather than an everyday trainer for all paces.
Similarly, the 890v8 catered to those who preferred a firmer ride, particularly RevLite enthusiasts. It excelled as a tempo-day shoe, but it no longer felt like a suitable racer. However, for runners unfamiliar with RevLite, the 890v8 faced tough competition in the crowded tempo-day category, both within and outside the New Balance lineup.
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The New Balance Propel has proven to be a reliable choice in terms of its foam performance. Even after reaching 100 miles, it’s still a joy to run in. It maintains that delightful lightweight and springy quality while offering sufficient cushioning for longer runs. The foam has held up impressively.
Moving on to the outsole, the rubber has shown remarkable durability. Aside from some minor discoloration, it remains in excellent condition, performing as expected. There is a bit of wear in the high-impact areas, which is to be anticipated after covering 100 miles.
Now, let’s talk about the upper. Despite the all-white design showing a bit of discoloration, the condition is truly outstanding. There are hardly any signs of wear, even on the dual-layer mesh, which might seem delicate at times. This speaks to the strength and flexibility of these materials, which still shine through at the 100-mile mark.
One of the standout features of the Propel is its excellent fit on my foot. This not only enhances comfort but also contributes to the longevity of the materials. Poorly designed shoes or ones with sizing issues can lead to bunching or tension in areas where they are too tight or lack sufficient volume.
Fortunately, I didn’t encounter any of these problems with this shoe. It offers a comfortable fit that’s easier on lightweight, thin, and breathable materials, ensuring their durability even in the face of 100 miles of use.
Aesthetics & Fit
I decided to stick with my true size for these shoes, and I believe it’s the right choice for most people. The width of the shoes is just perfect, allowing enough room for my pinky toe. This means I can wear these shoes for hours on end without any discomfort, like bunching, squishing, or toe crunching. It significantly enhances the overall comfort, making those long runs a breeze.
The material these shoes are made of is lightweight and breathable. Even during summer runs, they don’t turn into a sweat collector. It’s a crucial feature that contributes to the overall comfort and performance.
I’ve truly enjoyed these shoes for a variety of activities, much like you would with a daily trainer. The all-white version, in my opinion, looks absolutely fantastic. However, not all the available colors are to my liking. I must admit that some of them I consider less attractive, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
New Balance Propel v3 vs Other Shoes
When it comes to comparing the New Balance Propel v3 with other shoes, I’ve got a few thoughts to share. The first two shoes that I consider in my top three daily trainers are the Hoka Mach and the Novablast.
Hoka Mach & Asics Novablast
The Mach and the Novablast, in my opinion, share a similar approach and purpose, and they also yield comparable results. They’re versatile enough to handle both long runs and speed workouts.
The Hoka Mach 5 is a slightly bulkier shoe, offering a bit more in terms of cushioning and support. But if you find yourself doing a lot of speed work, the New Balance Rebel version 3 might be the better choice for you.
The Novablast 3 was my top pick for the shoe of the year last year. Both the Rebel and the Novablast are incredibly fun and versatile daily trainers that can handle a wide range of activities. The additional cushioning in the Novablast 3 makes it my preference for longer road runs, but both of these shoes can handle everything from speed work to your daily long runs and everything in between.
When it comes to pricing, both the Hoka Mach 5 and the Novablast 3 are still available at their original retail price. Although $140 might seem a bit steep, it’s a fair price for the quality they offer, as these shoes are some of the best on the market.
Now, the New Balance Rebel v3 has a retail price of $130, and most colors and sizes fall within that range. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice aesthetics for savings, you can head over to Joe’s New Balance Outlet, which is New Balance’s official outlet store, and snag the Rebel v3 for just $60. That’s a fantastic deal and an easy choice in my book.
If you decide to pick up the Rebel v3, whether it’s a color you like or one of the discounted ones, let’s explore some options for incorporating this shoe into your rotation…
Building a rotation around the Rebel v3
When it comes to New Balance, there’s a fantastic lineup of shoes that all share the same FuelCell foam material in their midsoles. It’s a versatile collection that covers various needs.
SC Trainer, SC Elite 3, Metaspeed Sky
In this lineup, you have the SC Trainer, which offers maximum cushioning, making it an ideal choice for those longer runs where you want extra heel support.
On the other hand, there’s the SC Elite v3, a racing shoe designed for top-notch performance. Despite the differences in their intended purposes, they share similar road dynamics and manners.
For the SC Trainer, you get that plush cushioning perfect for extended runs. If you prefer more cushion under your heel for long runs, this is the shoe to consider. On the other hand, the SC Elite v3 is a shoe that features a carbon fiber plate and is ready for race day, providing a responsive and efficient ride.
Creating a seamless rotation with these shoes is straightforward. If you’re a fan of the Rebel v3 but find the SC Elite 3 a bit too soft for racing, you might want a more aggressive option. In that case, consider pairing the Rebel v3 with the Asics Metaspeed Sky, even if it means stepping outside the New Balance family for a bit.
The mechanics of the Metaspeed Sky should complement the Rebel v3 nicely and provide a more aggressive racing experience. It’s all about finding the right combination that suits your preferences and needs.
The New Balance Rebel v3 emerges as a superb alternative to the 890 series, offering a refreshing take on running performance. What sets the Rebel v3 apart is its versatile character, making it an ideal choice for a wide spectrum of runners.
Its FuelCell midsole combines the best of both worlds, providing a cushioned yet responsive ride that caters to those who found the 890’s stiffness less appealing. This soft yet lively midsole translates into an enhanced running experience, and the shoe seamlessly transitions from slower, more comfortable paces to the faster tempo and threshold runs.
Whether you’re after a reliable daily trainer or an option that can confidently tackle those fast-day workouts, the Rebel v3 holds its own, making it a compelling choice for runners seeking a softer, more dynamic alternative to the 890.