After many years of running on Asics, I decided to try other brands. That other brand turned out to be New Balance. So effectively I’ve relaxed my running shoe buying criteria, but the other two still remain in effect. (Was it on Sale? Yes. Was it available in extra wide width, 4E? Oh yeah.)
The shoe that I got was New Balance 780 V5. It is entry-level neutral cushion shoes that’s available at around $70.
I have been running on it for about 37 miles, and I can feel the difference from familiar Asics running shoes.
Here are some notable differences that I saw.
At first glance, it felt cheap. New Balance 780 V5’s retail price is $85, and generally can be bought around $70. Compare that with Asics Gel-Cumulus 16 which retails at $115. 780 V5 is $30 cheaper.
And it shows.
When I unboxed it, I must admit, I felt disappointed. Upper shoes were made of some nylon mesh with printed logo, instead of stitched logo that I was used to with Asics. It didn’t have firm heel grip either. Overall the shoes had no contour, and looked like a pair of colorful booties.
But my disappointment ended there.
When I put them on and went out on the road, I was pleasantly surprised with its road manner.
Cushion and sole were much softer than Asics Gel-Cumulus from the get-go. Unlike Gel-Cumulus 16 that required a bit of break-in period (about 20 miles or so), 780 V5 was ready to rock and roll right out of the box. As soon as I stepped out to the street, I could immediately feel the soft cushion under my feet, supporting my each landing.
It was also light. At 9.8 oz, it’s less than 1 ounce lighter than Gel-Cumulus, which is 10.6 oz. But somehow it felt lighter on my feet. Its soft cushy sole might have made it feel lighter than what it really weighed.
My gaits felt springy and well balanced. Note that other runners with pronation might not feel the same way.
780 V5 is definitely for neutral to under-pronating runners. If you are okay without pronation support, but looking for soft cushy shoes on a budget, I think you’ll be happy with how it feels on the road.
Oh, and that cheap mesh top was actually quite breathable as well. It easily absorbed puddle of water that I stepped in even after a couple of steps, and I could feel my socks get soggy. Consider that for what it’s worth. 🙂