This year with the 1080v8 New Balance brings only a few minor changes to the shoe that promises to deliver a softer smother ride.
The primary difference between the 1080 v8 and its predecessor being a switch from convex to concave geometric patterning on the outside of the midsole.
The upper remains mostly unchanged with a switch in the mesh material used to improve the comfort, and appears to be a bit more durable.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 General Info
I am really still trying to wrap my head around the Fresh Foam design. To me this is a concept that looked good on paper and possibly had some strong data to back it up, but when applied produced the opposite results.
While the 1080 feels great with the initial step in the ride just doesn’t match. The midsole just doesn’t compress and lacks the softness that myself and I think most runners expect from a premium cushioned shoe.
While the dense cushioning might bode well in the durability department it makes for a very dull and unresponsive ride.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 Sole Unit
The 1080v8 has very little to separate it from v7. This is still a solid piece of single density EVA foam with an 8mm drop. This biggest change comes in the hexagonal texturing along the sides.
Prior to this version these hexagons were convex along both sides. In geometric terms the convex pattering provides firmness and support. So, to try and ease back on the stiffness concave hexagons were utilized on the outside of the sole.
The logic being concave hexagons cushion and deflect energy and hopefully this would create a slightly softer ride while still giving the shoe medial support.
While this may have softened the ride its negligible and the ride is dull lacking the plush and bouncy responsiveness I would expect from a well cushioned premium shoe like the Nike Vomero or Brooks Glycerin.
This stiffness however has its benefits as the shoe transitions and pushes off really well at faster paces, but the shoes weight unfortunately works against this.
The outsole appears unchanged keeping with the same hexagonal shaped blown rubber lugs with a harder crash pad near the heels edge.
The flex grooves in the forefoot remain and add flexibility which provided a smooth ride. I appreciated the traction of the shoe as it performed well over varying terrain and conditions.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 Upper Info
The 1080V8’s upper is largely the same to the V7. The front has a molded toe-bumper, followed by the forefoot which uses a soft engineered mesh. The 1080 has a spacious toe box with both width and vertical space.
This gives the shoe and nice wide stable platform. The engineered mesh was soft, pliable, with plenty of breathability. A wide variety of foot shapes should be happy with the fit of this toe box.
Inside the midfoot is a sleeve which centers the tongue and makes the interior smooth. There are also external overlays stitched over the midfoot.
The midfoot overlays are more substantial this round, and that has eased off the side pressure which caused irritation in along the medial side of the midfoot in the 7.
A molded TPU heel clip was added also to this version. The combination of the hard-internal counter and the plush padding locks the rearfoot in place.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 Conclusions
With only minor updates to the shoe the ride quality and comfort have not really changed. If you were a fan of the previous version then you will continue to appreciate the 1080 for what it is and appreciate its improvement’s.
The one-piece midsole offers up a nice smooth, consistent, and stable ride but its lack of softness and unresponsiveness make it hard to get excited about.
One positive is that with the density comes durability and I have no doubt the shoe is very durable.
I would have a tough time recommending this shoe as I feel the price to value is just not there;
Especially where there are many other models that deliver the plush cushioning and responsiveness of a premium shoe like the Brooks Glycerin, Nike Vomero, or Asics Nimbus.
We purchased a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.