New Balance 890
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The 890 is as simple as a high-mileage shoe gets: just rubber, foam, and a smooth one-piece upper for hot-spot-free comfort. Gone are the reinforcements and doodads—and almost a third of the weight—typical of most thick-soled, gait-stabilizing structure shoes. And you know what? We didn’t miss a thing. The heel was fat enough to appeal to the vast majority of our testers (though a few lighter runners thought it was too thick), while the low-to-the-ground– feeling forefoot made the 890 responsive and quick during toe-off. The midsole is also firm enough that the shoe doesn’t need the heavy plastic arch braces you find in many trainers. It all adds up to much more natural, unconstrained movement. If you’re thinking about trying a stripped-down running shoe, start here. 9.4 ounces; 12-mm heel-to-toe drop.
Flex: 5 (out of 5)