The 1080v9 vs. the 1080v8
The Fresh Foam 1080 has been updated from its v8 version to v9. New Balance states that they collected data from real runners to improve upon this shoe. Amidst the changes are updates to the midsole and upper, as well as new colors. See the v9 below in the first photo, followed by the v8 which we tested.
- Midsole Updates — The Fresh Foam midsole is laser engraved on this updated version, which New Balance claims provides more substantial cushioning.
- Changes to Upper — The new upper is constructed of an engineered jacquard mesh, intended to provide more comfort and support.
- New Colors — The shoe is available in some different color options now.
Since we haven't yet tested the 1080v9, the rest of the review is a reflection of our experiences with the v8 shoe.
Hands-On Review of the Fresh Foam 1080v8
We tore the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V8s apart in our effort to scrutinize and analyze them. We trotted, paced, and sprinted miles to get a good feel for them and researched them for weeks to get an understanding of them. In our review below, we look at them through 6 measures and give them a weighted score to see where they do best and where they might be bested by other running shoes. Read on to see if these are right for you or if there are others that might better suit you.
New Balance's plush comfort offering uses a Fresh Foam midsole to minimize energy waste and return effort. The thick midsole cushions enough to feel good, but not so much that it bogs your stride down. It also has enough flex to allow a more natural gait, but with just enough rigidity to help you snap into the next step.
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V8s hit the right mix of plush cushion and firm responsiveness.
As great as these are, there are more responsive models out there. For those looking for a speedier shoe, take a look at the On Cloud X, which took our Editor's Choice Award and had more kick in it. For something in a lower price range with better kick, check out the Best Bang for the Buck winning Altra Solstice. If you need optimum response, take a look at the HOKA ONE ONE Elevon, which took our Top Pick for Stability.
These sorts of big, bulky trotters always do really well in this measure and the Fresh Foam 1080 V8s don't disappoint. Their soft Fresh Foam midsole takes the edge off the road, making for a pillowy ride for even the most percussive gaits. A big fat stack with a wide crashpad makes them both stable and smooth. These were our go-to for recovery runs and slow plods around the block.
A fat stack and broad crashpad make the 1080 V8s ideal for long, slow runs and heavy steppers.
It's hard to find better landers, but we did have a few. If you're after a plush ride, we suggest looking toward the HOKA ONE ONE Elevon
, which uses a maximalist design with a huge stack and a great, natural-feeling upper. The Nike Pegasus 35 also uses a plush midsole
and natural-feeling upper to reach the top of this measure. If you're after speed, the Top Pick for Lightweight Racing Flat Brooks PureFlow 7 also uses a super plush BioMoGo DNA midsole
to put out a top score for this measure. And our Editor's Choice winning Cloud X
also got top marks here, using their innovative EVA Cloud Units as a cushy midsole.
Some shoes are made to be feathery light and viper fast. These are not one of those. They come in at 23.6 ounces per pair of men's 11. They're not the heaviest shoe out there, but you can certainly feel the extra weight out on the road. They're big padded things meant for heavy running and a bit of abuse.
If you're looking for some sort of Talaria or other speedster, there are a few good choices out there. If you intend to head out on flat, straight runs and enjoy a plush (bouncy) midsole, take a look at the 18.2 ounce Altra Escalante 1.5s. If you're interested in a more firm racing flat with great comfort, try the On Cloud X.
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V8s are a wee bit heavy, but then again, they're largely designed for runners who catch the Wee Heavy reference.
Typically tankish shoes like the 1080s are super durable, but that doesn't seem to be the case here, at least in this 8th version. Most of the construction is solid. The typical vulnerable spots in the upper are either reinforced or covered, including the front of the toebox and lace eyelets. The blown rubber outsole is thicker than a lot of competitors, so it's good there too. And the no-sew construction and engineered mesh significantly increase strength.
A thick layer of blown rubber runs along nearly the entire outsole, offering excellent protection and improving longevity.
The issue with this version, however, is its midsole is a weak point. It appears to be a proprietary EVA formulation, which is fairly standard in the shoe industry, but this particular design tends to break down and lose its pop after about a season of running. The heel seems to collapse much sooner than expected and that can impact heavier runners who heel-plant the most.
Runners looking for a stable shoe with all kinds of midsole cushioning and good durability might be interested in looking at the Top Pick for Stability winning HOKA ONE ONE Elevon. Another option for lots of sole cushioning and good comfort is the Nike Pegasus 35.
One of our favorite aspects of these was the comfort. They have thick molded foam padding throughout the heel and tongue and the no-sew bootie made for a very smooth ride with minimal friction, even on the long, hot workouts. Underfoot, the Ortholite® Premium insole helps pique the experience, adding both cushion and support to make those long slogs and reluctant turkey trots more easily go by.
These are just fine and we quite enjoyed them, but they're a bit utilitarian compared to the top shoes in this measure. If you are deadset on comfort, we suggest taking a look at the Brooks offerings. For a light speedy thing, look at the Top Pick for Lightweight Racing Flat Brooks PureFlow 7, with its super plush upper padding and smooth sockliner. For an even more luxurious experience, check out the more stable Brooks Glycerin 16.
The 1080 V8 don't skimp on the padding and support. These are solid shoes for seasonal trotters and heavy steppers.
For what they are, the 1080 V8s do a respectable job of pulling out heat and moisture. Most of its positive scoring here comes from the bare synthetic mesh covering most of the upper. What limits it is the thick padding and reinforcements at the heel, toe, and laces. That all tends to insulate the shoe more. The other way to look at the design, however, is that it'll be warm when it's turkey trot season…
However, if you're looking for a comparable shoe for warm weather, we suggest taking a look at HOKA ONE ONE Elevon, which uses a wider mesh and airs out a bit better. For a speedier shoe with padding and better aeration, check out the Brooks PureFlow 7. If you're open to a more stripped-down model with limited padding and thin mesh, we suggest looking at the On Cloud X.
These are really meant for the road, but easy, hard-pack trails are fine too. There's no real drop-off in performance for any distance. They're just as smooth and comfortable on short runs as they are on your longest run.
We had a lot of fun in the 1080 V8s. They were super duper comfortable, kept us honest in the stride, and didn't burn up our feet, but for $150 bucks, you can find better options for comfort, support, stability, and just about anything else you're after. If you find them at a good discount, that could justify a purchase - they're still really good shoes, just not $150 dollars good.
We really liked getting out in the 1080 V8s, especially on recovery days. They reminded us of a nice, shiny, new pickup. Big, comfortable, safer feel on the road, and maybe just a little slower and perhaps more than you need. Either way, they feel great and they get the job done. They work best for trotters, bigger guys, and those looking for a ton of comfort that might not want to be the fastest runner on the road. If you fall into one of those categories, these will probably be a good fit for you and we suspect you'll enjoy them as much as we did.
With their bulk, weight, and max comfort, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V8s somehow seem more like chubby puppies than speedy running shoes.