new balance 1080 review

The New Balance 1080 is the brand’s flagship shoe, designed for serious runners. With cushioned soles and a knitted upper, it combines style and comfort.

But is it worth the hype?

The 1080 New Balance is a long series of exceptional running shoes. Despite a few misses, the brand went all out with its newest edition, including significant updates to the sole, enhancing the wearer’s performance.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at this running shoe and its history to see if it’s worth your time. So sit back and relax; in a few moments, you’ll know everything about the 1080.

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About the New Balance 1080

The womens 1080 New Balance, and men’s, isn’t a new series—the brand launched its first version back in 2010, with the New Balance W1080 V1 Cross Country Running Shoe. It spent the next few years improving its design, and now has over 10 versions released.

However, just how New Balance manages to improve its running shoes continuously is game-changing.

Each version outperformed the other, and once the brand began incorporating its Fresh Foam technology, there was no stopping it.

New Balance utilizes a range of technologies to better the performance of this shoe. Things like pressure-sensing force plates, motion-capture systems, and high-speed cameras all contribute to the 1080’s outstanding achievements.

The w1080 New Balance running shoe is designed for performance. Offering maximum cushioning and flexibility—it’s a shoe that can carry you for miles.

As an update from the previous 1064, the first 1080 boasts a streamlined upper with N-ergy cushioning. At the time of its release, the 1080 running shoe featured some of the brand’s most advanced shock absorption.

Newer versions, like the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V9, took things further by improving the sole’s flexibility.

New Balance 1080 Break Down

Upper Design

One place where we can see immense improvements is in the upper.

From the first to the latest version, the 1080 looks like a completely different shoe. It has taken on a much more modern, contemporary appearance from its early, sort of clunky look.

The best upper so far in the series is the one we see on the Women’s New Balance 1080 V10 Running Shoe.

The previous version, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V9, sported a very traditional upper, but it was a total miss—users reported a poor grip on the heel, causing rubbing and blisters.

New Balance was quick to correct this, redesigning the heel cup for the 1080 V10. The brand followed the outline of the Nike Pegasus 36, which led to its new Ultra Heel design.

The upgraded design comes with a noticeable curve leading away from the achilles. It gives a looser fit with less pressure on the tendon.

There are only two pieces for the upper itself: the dual-density knitted mesh bootie and the molded synthetic material for the heel cup.

The tongue is well-padded and sewn into the bootie, creating a comfy sock-like fit.

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Sole Unit

In 2016, the brand introduced a new technology for the outsoles, namely the New Balance Fresh Foam. This new invention caught the eye of several professional runners, like Emma Coburn.

You’ll have a single piece of foam sporting both convex and concave hexagonal shapes in New Balance Fresh Foam shoes—these are visible on the sides of the sole.

The hexagonal shapes in the foam provide both cushioning and a flexible release throughout the stride and foot strike.

It’s not a soft foam that your feet sink into, like the Adidas Boost. Instead, it’s a sturdy feel, allowing your feet to ride on top. It may take some time to get used to, but Fresh Foam delivers superb bounce.

Covering the Fresh Foam at the front and around the heel is blown rubber, increasing the durability.


The midsole on the newer versions of the 1080 is also a Fresh Foam cushion, running from toe to heel. It provides plush underfoot protection by dispersing landing impacts, giving you a smoother run.

The lightweight construction of the Fresh Foam midsole works to deliver consistent cushioning throughout your run.

On previous versions, like the 1080 V5, we see full-length ABZORB foam. Not as good as Fresh Foam midsole, ABZORB provides some firmness and responsiveness.

Size and Fit

The 1080 runs very true to size across various versions. They’re in both men’s and womens New Balance 1080, running in different widths. For more information, read our guide on how New Balance shoes fit.

What Is the Difference Between the New Balance 880 and 1080?

Both the 880 V10 and 1080 V10 include New Balance Fresh Foam midsoles. The main difference is that the midsole is thicker on the 1080, measuring 1.18-inch in the heel and 0.88-inch at the front.

Another noticeable difference is the firmness. The Fresh Foam 1080 is slightly softer, giving it a better bounce and lightweight feel.

Because of this, the 1080 is better for long runs, whereas the 880 V10 is more suited for short trips.

The most significant difference is in the shape of the midsole. The 1080 boasts a high-toe spring design, which rolls through your stride. The 880 V10 is flatter, providing better stability. It also features a full-blown rubber outsole, making it more durable.

For a closer look at the 880, please read our guide to the New Balance Fresh Foam 880.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the New Balance 1080 a Stability Shoe?

Stability shoes are designed to prevent overpronation while running. They usually include a special supportive midsole. However, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 isn’t a stability shoe.

Is New Balance 1080 a Neutral Shoe?

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is a neutral shoe. Its soft midsole doesn’t offer a lot of support for overpronation. So a better fit would be something like the 880 V10.

What Do New Balance Numbers Mean?

New Balance has this unique numbering system for each model. It can seem quite confusing, but it’s pretty simple.

  • Numbers 40, 50 and 60: Shoes with either one of these numbers delivers the highest stability.
  • Numbers 70 and 80: These are designed for neutral runners and provide light stability.
  • 90 and 00 shoes: The highest numbers are 90 and 00. These are the competition models and are the lightest.

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Final Thoughts

The New Balance 1080 is an evolutionary series from this brand. Over the last 10 years, it has evolved into a top competitive running shoe with an emphasis on style.

The newer version, the V10, offers a breathable knitted upper and a softer Fresh Foam sole. It provides superb bounce and support while running, enabling its wearer to run for longer.


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