When your favourite training shoe is withdrawn, redesigned and replaced, it often sparks panic buying of all remaining stock in the right size. Well, when the NB854 vanished off the shelves to be replaced with the 857, we collectively raised our overpronating eyebrow and decided to put the new model to the test.
The 857 maintains that it is the high mileage running shoe of choice for the overpronator, a direct replacement of the 854. It is not the same shoe, however, and there have been various changes. From the outside, yes, it does look like a different shoe, and we think for the better. The 854 did look a little dull – it was never the prettiest shoe in the box, but the 857 has lightened up the whole affair, added a dash of silver here and there and dispensed with the most of the dull grey undertone.
Slip the shoe on, and you’ll feel the difference. The 857 feels lighter, and the forefoot feels as though it is less padded. For some, this might be a negative, but for us, this gave a light and responsive feel, something that is welcomed in a shoe offering a high level of motion control. Happily, the mid and rear sections continue to offer the support you are used to from the 854 and in our test runs, it felt as though support was offered in all the right places. On the technical front, for those who care, the shoe offers New Balance’s ABZORB foam, the ABZORB SBS, Stability Web, TS2, Extended Web and Acteva Ultra Lite.
Inside and the upper doesn’t feel as silky smooth against your foot as its predecessor, so those who run barefoot consider yourselves warned. In reality, it doesn’t make any difference, but perhaps adds to the feeling of lightness. The official weight is 309g, but our size 10 weighed in at 400g. Disappointingly the 854 is not much different in weight.
The toe box felt slightly smaller than the 854, which was always rather generous – some runners might want to try a half size larger depending on how their toes spread. The shoe also comes in two widths – B and D – and from sizes 5 to 12 and in size 13, so the vast majority will be able to get a decent fit.
The 857 is a worthy successor to the 854, and we are very happy with the 857. The styling is improved and the high level of comfort is there. Obviously, we didn’t have time to train for a marathon in these shoes, but thus far the support has been good and no sign of those tell-tale niggles in the knees or shins. As with all replacement efforts, this won’t agree with some runners, probably based around the change of feeling in the forefoot section.
These shoes were kindly supplied by fitnessfootwear.com.