New Balance 860 vs 880 Fresh Foam Compared [What’s the Difference?]


new-balance-860-vs-880

When I compared the New Balance 860 vs 880, this is what stood out the most to me:

  • Both shoes are running shoes, but the 880 is a neutral running shoe built to provide soft cushioning under the foot. Recently I tried over 30 New Balance shoes, and the 880 was one of the most cushioned options out of all the shoes. The 860 is very comfortable, but it isn’t as soft under the foot as the 880. The 860 is built for stability, and has a medial post in the heel to reduce improper foot movement. If you prefer max cushioning, the 880 will be better. If you need support and stability, the 860 will be better. I would suggest you watch these short videos as I demonstrate how soft each shoe is under the foot.
  • Although I thought the 880 provided a lot of cushioning under the foot, my personal favorite New Balance neutral runner is the 1080. Click here to view the New Balance 1080 at NewBalance.com (paid affiliate link takes you to NewBalance.com).
  • Since it is a neutral runner built for comfort and cushioning, I did find the 880 to also be a bit more flexible than the 860. But overall, the flexibility is reasonably close and surprised me a little bit. I’ll let you be the judge: this is where you can watch as I test the flexibility and “twistability” of both shoes.
  • For men, one major design difference in these two shoes is the 880 has the extended-heel midsole which can help heel-strikers and be beneficial for descent running. The 860 has a more traditional heel. For women, both the 880 and the 860 have a more traditional heel. This is where you can see a picture of this extended midsole on the 880.
  • Although both of these shoes are made with breathable knit uppers, I did find a few New Balance running shoes to be more breathable than these shoes. This is where you can see the shoes I thought were more breathable.

In this article let’s take a closer look at the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12 and the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12 by using the videos and pictures I took of the shoes that I own.

Table of Contents

New Balance 860 vs 880 Comfort

Although both the 860 and 880 are part of the New Balance Fresh Foam line of running shoes, I found a significant difference in the under-foot comfort of these shoes.

The 880 is a neutral runner made to provide soft cushioning under the foot. Recently I tried over 30 New Balance shoes, and the 880 was one of the most cushioned New Balance shoes that I tried (the 1080 and FuelCell Rebel were my favorite for max cushioning).

The 860 is also very comfortable, but it isn’t as soft under the foot as the 880. The 860 is built more for support. It has a medial post in the heel to reduce improper foot movement. If you prefer max cushioning, the 880 will be better. If you need support and stability, the 860 will be better.

How They Respond on Foot

To give you an idea how these shoes respond on a foot, here I am wearing mine:

As you can see above, the 880 offers much more compression under the foot (especially under the heel). To be fair, the 860 is also very comfortable, but it won’t feel “squishy” under the foot.

Again, the 860 has a medial post to help reduce improper foot movement. However, New Balance does make shoes that even more support. For example, the 1540 is a running shoe that has New Balance’s ROLLBAR technology for increased stability.

The point is, even though the 860 is built for support and stability, it is still more lightweight and flexible than many other types of support and stability running shoes. Let’s look at flexibility next.

New Balance 860 vs 880 Flexibility

In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible these shoes are:


Overall, I thought the 880 provided more flexibility, which isn’t shocking since it is a neutral running shoe and the 860 has the medial post for added stability. Still, I was a bit surprised how flexible the 860 was despite the added support and stability.

I also found a difference regarding the weight of these shoes. Click here to view the difference in these shoes regarding weight.

New Balance 860 vs 880 Padding

Both the 860 and the 880 have quality padding around the collar and tongue. In my opinion, there was no noticeable difference in this area.

Here are mine (860 first):

new-balance-860-padded-collar
new-balance-880-padded-collar

Insole Thickness

Yes, both the 860v12 and the 880v12 have removable insoles, so you can clean or swap them as needed. First, here is the insole of the 860:

new-balance-860-insole
new-balance-860-insole-measurement

And below, is the insole for the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12:

new-balance-880-insole-1
new-balance-880-insole-measurement

By my measurements, the insole thickness was basically the exact same. These aren’t the thickest insoles I’ve ever had, but they were very standard compared to other types of New Balance shoes. The good news is, if you prefer a thicker insole, you can easily swap this one out.

New Balance 860 vs 880 Design

Upper Material

The upper material on the New Balance 860 vs 880 is very similar. It is a mesh-knit upper that is soft and very breathable:

Here is a look at the upper material on my shoes (860 first):

new-balance-860-material
new-balance-880-material

Again, these uppers are breathable, but there were certain types of New Balance running shoes that I found to be more breathable than these shoes.

For illustration, here I am holding my New Balance 860 and my New Balance 880 up to the light (860 first):

new-balance-860-breathable-material
new-balance-880-breathable-material

You can’t really see any light passing through the material.

Now, compare that to what I thought was the most breathable type of New Balance running shoes, the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2. You can see light passing through the material:

new-balance-rebel-breathable

There were a couple other running shoes that I could see light passing through. Pictured below, first, is the New Balance FuelCell Propel and, second, the New Balance Fresh Foam Roav v2:

new-balance-propel-breathable
new-balance-roav-breathable-material

The main takeaway is this: both the 860 and the 880 are breathable, but if you are looking for the most breathable running shoes, New Balance has better options.

Sole Height

Below is the height measurements I took for the men’s New Balance 860 vs 880 (size12; 860 first):

new-balance-860-sole-height
new-balance-880-sole-height

As you can see, the midsole on the men’s 880 extends behind the heel. This extended heel can be beneficial to heel-strikers, and for extra cushioning for descent running.

Here is how the women’s 860 vs 880 shoes compared (both size 7):

new-balance-860-women-sole-height
new-balance-880-women-sole-height

Unlike the men’s shoes above, the women’s version of the New Balance 860 vs 880 does not have any significant difference in the design of the midsole.

Outsole Width

Below is the width measurements I took for the men’s New Balance 860 vs 880 (860 first):

new-balance-860-outsole
new-balance-880-outsole

And below is the width measurements I took for the women’s New Balance 860 vs 880 (860 first):

new-balance-860-women-width-measurement-outsole
new-balance-880-women-width-measurement-outsole

If you are concerned about the sizing and width of these shoes, I would highly suggest you view these side-by-side sizing photos I took of each shoe (for both men and women) to get a better idea how both the 860 and the 880 fit.

New Balance 860 vs 880 Weight

For men, the 860 weighs 0.83 pounds and the 880 weighs 0.78 pounds per shoe for a size 12 men’s.

new-balance-860-weight
new-balance-880-weight

For women, the 860 weighs 0.58 pounds and the 880 also weighs 0.58 pounds per shoe for a size 7 women’s.

new-balance-860-women-weight
new-balance-880-women-weight

Recently I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes and I found the average to be 0.89 pounds per shoe for a size 12 men’s. If you prefer a lightweight shoe, both of these shoes are good options.

However, I did find a few types of New Balance running shoes to weigh even less. To view the full list of weights I took for over 30 New Balance shoes, click here.

New Balance 860 vs 880 Heel Drop

When I measured my New Balance 860 shoes using an 8-inch Digital Outside Caliper, I found the heel drop to be approximately 10mm. When I measured my New Balance 880 shoes using an 8-inch Digital Outside Caliper, I found its heel drop to also be approximately 10mm.

It is important to understand that although I tried my best to get accurate measurements, the best way to measure heel drop is to cut the shoes in half and use an industrial caliper. Obviously, I didn’t want to destroy my shoes, but this is a convenient alternative way to measure heel drop.

The point is, think of these heel drop numbers as an approximation. For all official measurements, it would be best to reach out to New Balance directly.

Here I am measuring the heel drop of the New Balance 860 shoes:

new-balance-860-heel-drop-measurements-1
new-balance-860-heel-drop-1

Here I am measuring the heel drop of the New Balance 880 shoes:

new-balance-880-heel-drop-1
new-balance-880-heel-drop-measurement-1

New Balance 860 vs 880 Sizing

Both the New Balance 860 and 880 fit within the realm of what I would describe as “true-to-size” regarding length and width.

Here mine are side-by-side for men (880 on left):

new-balance-860-vs-880-sizing

Here they are side-by-side for women (880 on right):

new-balance-880-womens-vs-860-sizing

When I wear mine, I feel like the width of these two shoes is very standard, and very similar. Here are mine:

new-balance-860-vs-880

To give you a better idea how wide these shoes are, here they both are (in standard width) compared to the Nike Air Monarch 4E, which is a popular extra wide shoe (860 first):

new-balance-860-vs-nike-air-monarch-sizing
new-balance-880-vs-nike-air-monarch-sizing

To read more about sizing, visit my article that talks about how New Balance shoes fit.

In the sections below, I compare both of these shoes to other popular shoes so you can get a better feel for sizing.


New Balance 860 Sizing Photos for Men

These photos below all use a size 12 men’s shoe. To see women’s 860 sizing photos, click here. To skip ahead to the 880 sizing, click here.

New Balance 860 (right) vs Adidas Cloudfoam Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-adidas-cloudfoam-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Asics Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-asics-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Reebok Classics Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-reebok-classics-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Adidas 2k Boost Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-adidas-2k-boost-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Nike Zoom Winflo Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-nike-zoom-winflo-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Skechers Go Walk Slip On Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-skechers-go-walk-slip-on-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Keen Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-keen-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Vans UltraRange Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-vans-ultrarange-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

brooks-vs-new-balance-860-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Skechers Go Walk Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-skechers-go-walk-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Saucony Shadow 6000 Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-saucony-shadow-6000-sizing

New Balance 860 (left) vs Propel Sizing

new-balance-propel-vs-860-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Nike Air Max Excee Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-nike-air-max-excee-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-crocs-sizing

New Balance 860 (left) vs Roav Sizing

new-balance-roav-vs-860-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Under Armour HOVR Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance 860 (right) vs 1080 Sizing

new-balance-fresh-foam-860-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Hey Dude Wally Sox Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-hey-dude-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Nike Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-nike-af1-sizing

New Balance 860 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-converse-chucks-sizing

New Balance 860 (left) vs Rebel Sizing

new-balance-rebel-vs-860-sizing

New Balance 860 (left) vs 840 Sizing

new-balance-shoe-840-vs-860-sizing

New Balance 860 (left) vs FF More Sizing

new-balance-fresh-foam-more-vs-860-sizing

New Balance 860 Sizing Photos for Women

All women’s 860 sizing photos below use a women’s size 7 shoe.

New Balance Women’s 860 (right) vs Under Armour Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Nike Air Max 90 Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-nike-air-max-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 (left) vs 1080 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-860-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Vans Slip On Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-vans-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Hey Dude Wendy Sox Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-hey-dude-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Skechers D’Lites Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-skechers-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Adidas Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-adidas-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-converse-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 (right) vs Nergize Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-nergize-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Keen Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-keen-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-crocs-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 (left) vs 574 Sizing

new-balance-574-womens-vs-860-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Nike Air Max 1 Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-nike-air-max-one-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Nike Blazer Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-nike-blazer-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-air-force-1-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Hoka Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-hoka-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-brooks-sizing

New Balance Women’s 860 vs Asics Gel Kayano Sizing

new-balance-860-womens-vs-asics-sizing

To read more, visit my article that discusses the sizing and fit of the New Balance 860 shoes.


New Balance 880 Sizing Photos for Men

These photos below all use a size 12 men’s shoe. To see women’s 880 sizing photos, click here.

New Balance 880 (right) vs Adidas Cloudfoam Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-adidas-cloudfoam-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Asics Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-asics-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Reebok Classics Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-reebok-classics-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Adidas 2k Boost Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-adidas-2k-boost-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Nike Zoom Winflo Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-nike-zoom-winflo-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Nike Air Max Excee Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-nike-air-max-excee-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-crocs-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

brooks-vs-new-balance-880-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Skechers Go Walk Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-skechers-go-walk-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Saucony Shadow 6000 Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-saucony-shadow-6000-sizing

New Balance 880 (left) vs Propel Sizing

new-balance-propel-vs-880-sizing

New Balance 880 (left) vs Roav Sizing

new-balance-roav-vs-880-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Under Armour HOVR Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance 880 (right) vs 1080 Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-1080-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Hey Dude Wally Sox Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-hey-dude-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Keen Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-keen-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Nike Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-nike-af1-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Hoka One One Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-hoka-sizing

New Balance 880 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-converse-chucks-sizing

New Balance 880 (left) vs Rebel Sizing

new-balance-rebel-vs-880-sizing

New Balance 880 (left) vs FF More Sizing

new-balance-fresh-foam-more-vs-880-sizing

New Balance 880 (left) vs 840 Sizing

new-balance-shoe-840-vs-880-sizing

New Balance 880 Sizing Photos for Women

All photos below use a women’s size 7 shoe.

New Balance Women’s 880 (right) vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-brooks-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Asics Gel Kayano Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-asics-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-crocs-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Under Armour Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Vans Slip On Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-vans-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Hey Dude Wendy Sox Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-hey-dude-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Skechers D’Lites Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-skechers-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Adidas Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-adidas-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Nike Air Max 90 Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-nike-air-max-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-converse-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 (right) vs Nergize Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-nergize-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Keen Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-keen-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 (left) vs 574 Sizing

new-balance-574-womens-vs-880-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Nike Air Max 1 Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-nike-air-max-one-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Nike Blazer Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-nike-blazer-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-nike-air-force-1-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 vs Hoka Sizing

new-balance-880-womens-vs-hoka-sizing

New Balance Women’s 880 (left) vs 1080 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-880-sizing

To read more, visit my article about the sizing of New Balance 880 Shoes.


New Balance 860 vs 880 Conclusion

Both shoes are running shoes, but the 880 is a neutral running shoe built to provide soft cushioning under the foot. Recently I tried over 30 New Balance shoes, and the 880 was one of the most cushioned options out of all the shoes.

The 860 is also very comfortable, but it isn’t as soft under the foot as the 880. The 860 is built more for support. If you prefer max cushioning, the 880 will be better. If you need support and stability, the 860 will be better. I would suggest you watch these short videos as I demonstrate how soft each shoe is under the foot.

Since it is a neutral runner built for comfort and cushioning, I did find the 880 to also be a bit more flexible than the 860. But overall, the flexibility is reasonably close and surprised me a little bit. I’ll let you be the judge: this is where you can watch as I test the flexibility and “twistability” of both shoes.

For men, one major design difference in these two shoes is the 880 has the extended-heel midsole which can help heel-strikers and be beneficial for descent running. The 860 has a more traditional heel. For women, both the 880 and the 860 have the traditional heel.

I found both the 860 and 880 to fit true to size regarding both length and width. Overall, I thought they fit very similar to other popular running shoes. That said, you may need to adjust for wide sizing. This is where you can read more about how these shoes fit.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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