New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 First look
With New Balance not so modestly, declaring the latest version of their flagship plush comfort shoe the “World’s best running shoe for everyone” it seems like a good time to look at the 1080 and see just why NB are so confident in the latest version.
A complete rebuild, the v13 refocuses the shoe from a comfort shoe to an everything shoe, giving extra speed, lightness, and propulsion to the famous plush comfort, but is that enough to make it live up to New Balances grandiose claims?
Foot type: Neutral
Weight: 262g (Men’s) 206g (Women’s)
Stack height: 33mm – 27mm
Heel drop: 6mm
Best for: Any type of road run
The 1080 has a history of comfort, over 13 iterations, and nearly 10 years of it using plush Fresh Foam cushioning underfoot, it is well known for its luxurious long mileage feel.
I have been wearing a pair of the old 1080 v12s for a while now and they are among my favourite shoes, the Hypoknit upper and squishy feel underfoot give a cosy sensation that is hard to match. The one thing they don’t offer though, is much help if you upped the pace, that is where the new v13 comes in.
I really like the look of the new shoe, as always it will be up to personal preference, but the new shape to the midsole somehow looks dynamic and ready for action, especially around the heel area.
The Hypoknit upper is a major strength, giving a foot hugging feel with complete comfort and a fresh, clean look. New Balance have also partnered with the global-leading recycled performance fibre brand REPREVE to make the upper, providing a more sustainable finish, and a highly breathable feel.
The secret to the shoes new speedy feel comes from the underfoot and is in two major parts.
Increased stack height gives more cushioning and more responsive foam underfoot, while the new tooling also provides greater response. A lower, 6mm heel drop lets New Balance place more foam under the forefoot too, providing a more energetic toe off.
It also uses a brand-new compound of Fresh Foam X, with a 13% softer step in feel it provides instant comfort, without being so soft you fear “bottoming out”. Lighter than the previous version it offers 15% increased energy return, which is so important at the end of a long run.
On the face of it this seems like a relatively minor change, New Balance have changed the pattern on the outsole from having horizontal flex grooves to vertical ones.
It has a massive effect on the shoe, the new flex grooves running in the direction of heel to toe create a huge 33% increased stiffness through the forefoot. As New Balance are aware from their research creating the Super Comp carbon plate range, a stiffer forefoot has some major advantages.
Firstly, it can help guide you through your stride, offering a more supportive feel and aiding the transition from landing to take off.
When used in conjunction with the new increased rocker shape (the upward curve of the outsole under the forefoot) it creates a smoother heel to toe roll, with a feeling of forward momentum urging you onwards.
It can also aid wear, by improving pressure displacement, you get a more even wear through the outsole, maximising its longevity, however you run.
You can see in our video what Tom thought of the shoes when he had a chance to run in them through Budapest, and amazingly, he seemed to agree with New Balance. If you need only one running shoe, the 1080v13 can do everything, from long distance comfort, to stepping up the pace and staying with you through fast training.
Or if you have a range of shoes to suit your training needs, you might want to take a second look at the 1080 and see if, like Tom, you have room for it in your rotation.
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