Light as a Feather, But My Knees Need More

Thanks to the good folks at New Balance, I was able to test drive their new RevLite 890 shoe from the company’s spring line. As I mentioned before, I’ve only worn one other brand of shoe besides Brooks and they were from New Balance. As a Brooks junkie, I was amped to try something a little different, and quite frankly, something a little more stylish. The technology: The New Balance 890 features RevLite, a foam compound “designed for the neutral runner who wants to run fast or feel fast in a lightweight package, without sacrificing durability, cushioning, or support.” Curbside Appeal: The New Balance 890 launched in two colors for women. The 890 upper package is bold, sleek and eye catching. It’s definitely one of the sexier running shoes on the market. The shoe also features the name “Barringer” on the women’s version for Team NB runner Jenny Barringer, who served as the inspiration for the design and development of these shoes. Claim to fame: Weighing in at a mere 9.65 ounces the “New Balance 890 is the lightest shoe of its kind in the neutral cushioning category, the fastest growing segment in the running shoe industry. To achieve this lightness, the shoe doesn’t sacrifice cushioning, stability or durability, nor does it reduce underfoot cushioning or greatly minimize the construction, the stack heights, or change the heel to forefoot drop. Instead, through use of the RevLite midsole foam neutral runners have a surprisingly light running experience, but feel safe, secure, and comfortable treating this shoe as their high mileage trainer.” It also has ABZORB® cushioning crash pads that work to absorb initial shock and provide the right amount of lateral release to guide the foot smoothly through toe off. The sacrifice: Retails for $100. My take: As much as I wanted to love this shoe (and believe me, I really tried), it wasn’t my cup of tea. I typically wear neutral running shoes, but I do need a little more stability due to slight over-pronating. Over-pronating means the foot rolls inward more than the ideal fifteen percent. This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body, and shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently. At the end f the gait cycle, the front of the foot pushes off the ground using mainly the big toe and second toe, which then must do all the work.  While the shoe is uber light, and I literally felt like I was floating on air, my knees couldn’t take the impact. I even had to stop mid-run, because of the aches, pains and overall lack of support the shoe gave me. I didn’t feel the ABZORB cushioning crash pads and it felt like I didn’t have control of my follow through. But, I must admit when I went back to my Brooks, I couldn’t help but miss the lightweight feeling I had. I actually started daydreaming about them during my recent half marathon in Atlanta as my Brooks began weighing me down. The verdict: For the true neutral runner, this shoe is a gem. It’s super sexy and you’ll appreciate the meager weight of the shoe, especially around mile seven. For more information about the RevLite 890 or to purchase, visit www.newbalance.com/890


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