The barefoot running trend is, ironically, creeping into sneaker design. Inspired by the phenom of running sans shoes, many popular running shoe brands are bringing lighter weight running shoes to the market this Spring. New Balance, a company that built its reputation on well-cushioned, fortified sneakers, is introducing the revamped 890 running shoe ($100).
It's a bantam weight sneaker — one shoe clocks in at 7.75 ounces according to my little electronic food scale. Shoes this light are usually pared down racing flats, but the 890 is a neutral training shoe, meaning it still offers cushion. New Balance has created the midsole with a new foam, christened REVlite, which weighs nearly one third less of equally durable compounds.
But how does the shoe feel? Well keep on reading.
These shoes are incredibly light. You can feel it when you pick the sneakers up. My first couple of runs wearing the 890s were on a treadmill and the shoes felt great. My foot didn't feel overly insulated so I could easily feel where my feet were making contact with the belt. But there was enough cushion that the ball of my foot was happy. Then the wintry skies cleared and I ran outside in my 890s. After five miles the shoes felt a little to thin on the asphalt for me; my knees were craving a bit more cushion. But after running in many shoes designed to correct my pronation, the neutral shoe felt good on my ankles and arches. I am dedicating these sneakers for my gym workouts because they feel good on the treadmill. Since the combined weight of the pair is just over a pound, the 890s are great for travel, either to and from the gym, or across the country. I don't usually like strength training in running shoes, but this flexible shoe works for weight training and plyometrics.
The shoes are available in four colors for women including the flashy orange and blue pictured above, black with pink accents, dark gray with touches of mint green, and light gray with bits of blue.