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New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v11 Multi Tester Full Review
New Balance have declared the Fresh Foam 1080 as 'The Greatest Running Shoe on Earth.' We decided to put this to the test and put the 1080v11 through it's paces! Will it be able to live up to the title that New Balance have awarded it? Read more to find out!
KEY STATS AND FEATURES:
- Price: £135
- Weight: 263g
- Drop: 8mm
- Key Tech: Fresh Foam X Midsole/Bootie style construction
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is a neutral cushioned shoe designed to be the ultimate shoe for long distance running, from 5k up to marathon training. Given the bold tagline by New Balance as ‘The Greatest Running Shoe on Earth’ we’re giving you our thoughts after testing this shoe and putting it through it’s paces.
On my last check I had run over 4,000km in various models of the New Balance 1080 and completed at least 4 marathons in this shoe over the past 4 years.
It might not be the most obvious shoe to reach for in a world of so much choice but it’s had my vote for logging those daily training miles, keeping me safe from injury and helping me cope with intense training blocks. So, you can imagine my nerves every time New Balance announce that they are updating the shoe. (It’s perfect. Please don’t ruin it!) Traditionalists may say ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ right? But the truth is NB have subtly kept this model moving with the times.
As new insights and new technology becomes available, they have snuck it into the shoe without ruining the feel that we’ve come to love. But how does the v11 model stack up against the past delights and is it still a top pick for daily training with so many new and exciting releases from other brands in this space?
To save this review from being my totally one-sided love affair with the 1080, I have brought in some help to balance things out. Our Campaign Manager, Katie Brown has also put some serious miles into her pair. Listen up ladies... she knows a thing or two about running gear! Our Digital Content Editor, Tom Folan has never tried this shoe until now and as a big adidas fan he can offer a very neutral perspective.
So, let’s get into it, here is what we thought of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11:
Tom: As a preface to my review, I should state my experience with New Balance is refreshingly minimal up to this point but after hearing Dan tirelessly profess his undying love for the 1080 series, my affair with this popular staple daily trainer was long overdue.
In hand, I was struck by how light they felt in contrast to what is visually, quite a maximalist silhouette. From a purely superficial standpoint, I’m a fan of the vibrant blue colourway. It reminds me of those fleeting British summer days void of a single cloud and in the depths of mid-winter mileage, that’s a wondrous thing.
The Fresh Foam X midsole is pleasantly plush to the touch and the bold refelctive ’N’ embossed branding on the lateral and medial side of the shoe adds necessary structural integrity to an otherwise very adaptable knitted bootie style construction.
Katie: Since I’d been an owner of a pair of the black v10, my first impressions were instantly drawn to the colourway since the blue for me takes a step up. Otherwise, I feel confident that the v11 will continue to offer everything I liked about the v10. The Fresh Foam midsole cushioning, the bootie-like fit around the foot and the weight which is still very light.
Dan: When I first picked up this shoe I instantly fell for the commercial blue colourway, but it was how lightweight the shoe is that really got my attention. Specifically, the reduced rubber outsole and woven upper make this shoe super lightweight compared to some of the earlier models I’d been using. However impressive this is, my only concern was if the shoe would last as many miles with the reduced amount of rubber. Could I still get over 500km out of this shoe? I had over 650km from my last pair.
Tom: Ahh.. The fit. Now, as a disclaimer, I do have a pair of temperamental feet and often find myself agonisingly between sizes. I went with my fairly standard UK 8.5 and for me, I did experience some pressure towards the top of the eyelet chain and the toe-box volume did feel slightly claustrophobic. Like sitting in the window seat of a plane, it’s fine, but what happens if you need a mid-flight wee?
Anyway, overall, despite my desire to experiment with sizing, through some tinkering with the laces and armed with a thinner sock, I did achieve a comfortable fit and excellent lockdown.
Katie: The biggest difference in the 1080 compared to other shoes I own, is the bootie like feel around the foot which instantly gives a feeling of being locked-in and secure in knowing that you will be protected through the miles. For me as a size 7, the 1080s come up completely true to size.
Dan: I’d agree with Katie, it’s true to size and my 9.5 UK shoe felt perfect. That ‘first feel’ in this shoe is impressive, the seamless comfort from the sock-like upper and cushioning from the Fresh Foam got me pretty excited for my next run.
Tom: Hooray! The good bit! For me, the sign of a winning daily mileage shoe is unassuming high performance. Easy 10 miles on the menu? No problem. Your Sunday long run? Completed it mate. What I’m trying to say, is the 1080v11 just gets the job done. The Fresh Foam X foam midsole compound is soft and protective without feeling mushy but dense enough to provide responsiveness if you are trying to pick up the pace.
Katie: One of the interesting things I find about the 1080 is that while I continue to turn to them for the easier-paced run, it’s not to say that these shoes don’t have their speed and the responsiveness that you would normally find in a shoe labelled as fast. I have previously run a 10k PB in the v10’s so I think for an all-round shoe, your 1080 is a good bet.
Dan: For me this is a shoe I can slip on fresh from the box and go out for a long 16 mile run without even thinking about it. It seems to suit my foot shape perfectly and without distraction. Equally I can run a speed session, tempo run, hill session and to be honest I’ve worn it just as much in ‘life’ as a comfortable shoe to slip on for walks, shopping, day trips etc. The versatility of the New Balance 1080 is exactly why I like it so much. I found these shoes held up to around 550km of wear before the rubber had worn through on the lateral side, which is slightly less than the 650-700km I got out of previous models but still great value compared to other shoes in this category.
Tom: Unlike Dan and Katie, I’ve only banked 50 miles to date in my pair but even so, it’s abundantly clear why the 1080s reputation supersedes it. In future iterations, I’d personally love to see a departure from the heel flare and bootie style construction to a more traditional fit similar to the 880 but if you’re in the market for a shoe to bank the majority of your mileage, the 1080v11 is firmly cemented on the daily mileage Mount Rushmore.
Katie: The return of each version after version speaks for itself and I hope the 1080v11 continues in its iterations for as long as I am banking the miles! Like Dan, I have already packed a lot of miles in these shoes (across both v10 and v11) and it stands to be one of the trainers that I’ve completed the most miles in collectively. While I’ve completed some faster sessions in these shoes previously, I would stick to using these in the longer, slower miles where more cushioning is preferred and if you have the option to, I’d reach for a different pair for the faster training runs – the FuelCell Rebel is an option here!
Dan: The Greatest Running Shoe on Earth? For me it’s been right up there with the best for daily mileage. It can handle anything you throw at it. If you are looking for one shoe to do all your training in, or just want a shoe for clocking your easier mileage and long runs then this is a serious contender.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out the rest of our comprehensive in-depth running shoe reviews here! As always, you can check out the full adidas running line up now at Pro:Direct Running.
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The Ultimate Ride
Shop our full collection of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 now!