New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 Intro
The New Balance 1080v10 is a neutral road running shoe and the premium road trainer of New Balance’s line.
This is a significant update from the previous version of the 1080 and NB’s new Fresh Foam X and HYPOKNIT make this feel like a completely different shoe.
With a stack height of 30mm the 1080v10 does compare with plush and premium designs from other brands including the Saucony Triumph 17, ASICS Nimbus 22, Brooks Glycerin 17, Adidas Ultraboost 20, and Nike Vomero 14.
Within New Balance’s running shoe line, the 1080v10 is firmer, heavier, and more stable than the very popular Beacon model, and it is the first New Balance shoe to debut Fresh Foam X.
With the foam wars still raging, Fresh Foam X should not be confused with Nike’s Zoom X midsole foam which has a totally different feel to it.
However, New Balance has had several different versions of Fresh Foam since its inception several year’s ago, and I find it very difficult to generalize the feel of Fresh Foam across different New Balance running shoes.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 First Impressions
The first thing I noticed about the 1080v10 was the eye catching design. With a simple black knit upper and a whole lot of clean white foam, the shoe is aesthetically pleasing.
The other aspect of the design that jumped out at me was the aggressive rocker shape of the shoe with an upturned heel and toe.
This rocker shape was confirmed when I first tried them on, and the plush feel of the Fresh Foam X actually felt softer when walking around my house than during my first run.
However, I didnt have any difficulty in taking the 1080v10 out for an easy ten miler straight out of the box.
As stated earlier, the upper felt constrictive initially and I was concerned that I would only be able to wear these shoes with my thinnest socks.
But, after a week of running in them the upper stretched out a bit and I’m able to wear any socks and still experience some toe splay.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 Sole Unit
The Fresh Foam X design of the 1080v10 is surprisingly responsive (read: firm) and it did take a bit of time to get used to the feel of the shoe.
Don’t expect Hoka One One Clifton 6 soft feel, or the kind of foam you sink into like Adidas’ Boost. While the Fresh Foam X feels sturdy and supportive it is more of a foam that the runners foot rides on top of.
Fresh Foam X does seem impervious to colder temperatures which was very welcome during cold morning runs where the weather was under twenty degrees Fahrenheit.
All this being said, the ride of the 1080v10 is fantastic. Its a shoe that I had no issues putting lots of miles on and I regularly reach for this shoe for my easy days and long days.
I do think its a shoe that could be used for tempo runs, but honestly I didn’t wear the 1080v10 for anything under 7:00 min/ mile pace save for some strides thrown in at the end of runs.
The rocker shape of the midsole really lends to long and smooth striding and New Balance’s description of the feel as “bouncy” is apt.
I’ve put 85 miles on this shoe and I’m barely seeing any wear on the outsole. Some abrasions are showing on the forefoot where I strike, but for the most part this outsole seems bomber.
The outside edges of the outsole and midsole are rounded which does help with running on dirt roads and mellow trails, but I wouldn’t suggest this as a trail shoe.
For runners needing a bit of stability the 1080v10 will work fine as the firmness of the midsole does seem to help with my mild pronation.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 Upper Unit
While the last version of the 1080 had a very traditional upper, New Balance decided to go a completely different direction with the v10.
Complaints of heel slippage in the v9 led New Balance to redesign the heel cup in a way that is becoming familiar among new shoe models.
Following the lead of heel cup designs like the Nike Pegasus 36, New Balance designed what they have termed their Ultraheel.
With its noticeable curve away from the achilles tendon the heel cup feels a bit loose when trying the shoe on, but it feels very comfortable while running.
This is a feature that some runners will adore and others will hate. I’ve found that the less pressure on my achilles tendon the better and I think we’ll continue to see this design trend in other running shoe designs.
The upper really only consists of two pieces; the knit dual density mesh bootie over the front two thirds of the shoe and heel cup which is made of molded synthetic material.
A well padded gusseted tongue is sewn into the knit bootie which creates a sock-like fit.
I didn’t experience any issues with the upper bunching or causing irritation anywhere on my feet, and this is an upper that seemed to fit better the longer I ran in this shoe.
I didn’t get to wear the 1080v10 in hot weather, but my feet did not overheat indoors on the treadmill. Again, construction and assembly of this shoe seems so sound that I would expect no issues over the course of five hundred miles.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 Conclusion
The 1080v10 is definitely a winner from New Balance. I’ve never enjoyed running in past versions of this shoe as it felt bulky, stiff, and dead.
With the v10 New Balance manages to cut over a half ounce off from its predecessor (9.5 ounces for men’s size 9) while maintaining the protective stack height.
That being said, the 1080v10 is not a shoe with great road feel that necessarily feels light and nimble. It is a long run cruiser that you can lace up on your easy days when your legs feel beat up.
Whether or not you like the new upper of the 1080 is entirely subjective. There aren’t any inherent design flaws in the upper, but I’ve found that some runners just don’t like knit uppers.
Additionally, the 1080v10 knit upper takes some miles to really shape to your foot, and I think a lot of runners trying this shoe on once will find it too constrictive.
As someone who appreciates a wide toebox I initially didn’t think this upper would work for me. But, with almost 100 miles in the shoe found it to fit just right without causing me any irritation.
Whether or not your a fan of Fresh Foam X is something entirely different. When I’ve heard other runners describe the foam as “soft” I tend to disagree.
Your ability to compress this foam will likely depend on your running style and weight, and Clydesdales and Athenas may absolutely love this shoe. But, as a 155 pound mid/forefoot runner it feels like I’m barely compressing this foam.
That being said, the 1080v10 is a must try shoe for runners looking for a highly protective trainer to log lots of miles in.
While the price tag is exorbitant in my opinion, its now become the norm for top of the line plush trainers (thanks Nike Vaporfly).
If you’ve run in the 1080v10 or simply have questions about the shoe, please leave your own review or comment and I’ll reply.
We purchased a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.