New Balance 870 V4 Review

My second pair of running shoes for the first half of 2017 was New Balance 870 V4. I bought my pair right after 2016 Thanksgiving day from Eastbay at $74.99 excluding tax. It was the more expensive pair of running shoes. (The other pair was Asics Gel-Contend 3, which set me back $39.23.)

When I ordered the New Balance 870 V4, I was attracted by the discount. Normally they sell for more than $100, and I must have thought that it was a good deal at the time.

New Balance has particular numbering scheme for their shoes. The last two digits signify what type of shoe it is. For example, 70 means that the shoes are designed to have light stability. The first digit signifies how much technologies went into manufacturing the shoes. In case you want to browse what each number means, you can find the list here.

After ordering I remember thinking that they must be high-end New Balance running shoes because of price tag, and 870 number. It only goes up to 900 range, so the second best must be pretty good, right? I tried New Balance 490 and 780 earlier, and they were pretty good shoes, I thought.

The shoes had good stable feel to them. According to Strava, I have put on 345 miles or so since January 1st, 2017. It almost felt as though they were full-on stability shoes. They gave me controlled gaits, and each step felt as though they are getting planted with solid rolling resistance. But when it comes to cushioning, I felt it could have used a bit more in the mid-food area. During initial break-in period, I had to remind myself that this pair was almost twice more expensive than Asics Gel-Contend 3, and there must be something that I was missing from my initial break-in.

After running 300 more miles on them, I still couldn’t find that something that made this pair more special than $40 pair running shoes. I thought I would get a bit more lighter steps with more bouncy feeling. Maybe it’s just New Balance’s way of designing light stability shoes. They are more geared towards stability shoes, than being light.

Don’t get me wrong. They are good pair of shoes. But given what I know about how good $40 pair of running shoes can be, I don’t think I would fork over twice that much for features that didn’t translate to how it felt on the road.

One thing that I did with this pair of shoes that I did not do was to run on the trails. I had a good fortune of living close by single track trail near Lake Chabot, and I wore my New Balance on dirt road quite a bit. I must give some credit to how well it held up.

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As shown in the picture, it lost treads outer edges of shoes due to my supination. However, they were able to take the punishing rocky trails of Lake Chabot hills quite well.

My verdict? I think New Balance 870 V4 is really a pair of stability shoes. If you are looking for high performance running shoes with cushion, control, and stability, you’ll probably walk away not completely satisfied.

Happy running, everyone.

-Jae