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New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 Review

A rockered design with responsive cushioning keeps legs feeling powerful and fresh into longer efforts
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
Credit: New Balance
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $150 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Responsive cushioning, smooth heel-to-toe rocker, durable
Cons:  Loose heel cup, support under heel lacking
Manufacturer:   New Balance
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
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  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 7.0
  • Upper Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Lateral Stability and Support - 15% 5.0
  • Weight - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

Compared to others in the competition, excellent cushioning and responsiveness combined with a well-designed heel-to-toe rocker make the Fresh Foam 1080v11 one of our top picks. They have a springy, responsive feel when running, which blends nicely with the ample underfoot cushioning. The well-fit, seamless, and one-piece (except for the tongue) upper is thin and comfortable. We experienced some heel slippage and think there is room for improvement here. The 8-millimeters of heel-to-toe drop provides good all-around comfort being supportive yet still having a decent ground feel. The rubber on the outsole adds to the overall durability, which we appreciate even with a lightweight design.

Editor's Note: This individual gear review was updated on March 6, 2022, to include new sections and details to help your product determination.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Combining an 8-millimeter drop and a pronounced heel-to-toe rocker, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is comfortable, supportive, and responsive for all types of running. This is one of the better rocker designs, which are becoming more popular in today's market.

Weighing in at 9.38 ounces in a men's size 9.5 is impressive, given the number of features and rubber material on the outsole. We had a few issues with the heel cup of the upper, which we think could have risen higher up the Achilles and been deeper, but minor slippage was our only complaint. We think this will work for various types of runners due to its comfort and responsive design will maintain decent stability underfoot.

Performance Comparison

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoes - the new balance fresh foam provides great all-around comfort and...
The New Balance Fresh Foam provides great all-around comfort and responsiveness.

Cushioning and Landing Comfortc

New Balance does a great job of creating foam that is both compliant and responsive when you get to the max load of your footstrike. There is ample cushioning under the forefoot, but the heel has a nice firmness to it where there is less compression to provide nice stability through the landing. The heel-to-toe rocker is one of the best we've tested and worked great at keeping us forward and pushing off with our forefoot. This feature was great during long runs when our form would start to break down, and the natural motion of the shoe would help keep us engaged.

Some could find this shoe a bit bouncy feeling, and if you are looking for maximum responsiveness, you may want to check something else out. We found that the 8-millimeter drop provides both stability yet good ground feel. This is one of the better cushioning compounds; we like the nice blend of cushioning while maintaining a quick and agile feel.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoes - heel-to-rocker helps get you on your forefoot for comfort landing...
Heel-to-rocker helps get you on your forefoot for comfort landing and pushing off.
Credit: Matthew Richardson


Responsiveness suffers a bit due to the plush cushioning of the foam. While never dull feeling, sometimes the shoe felt a little bouncy. While nice and comfortable, this springy feeling can sometimes reduce the amount of power put through the ground. Luckily, the foam feels denser and less compressive through the heel and midfoot. With this added density and the heel-to-toe rocker, we can still turn out all the fast miles we need. If you are looking for pure speed, you may want to check out a shoe that's a bit more firm and has slightly less heel-to-toe drop.

Due to the compliant responsiveness, this shoe excelled on long runs where the added compression made the shoe feel more lively even when our legs got tired. We took this on multiple 10+ mile runs, and the ending miles were some of our favorites. We wouldn't recommend this shoe for flatter, shorter races, but we could easily see ourselves using this day in and out for all-around training needs.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoes - responsive foam is lively and springy leading to a strong feeling...
Responsive foam is lively and springy leading to a strong feeling stride.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Upper Comfort

We experienced very few issues with the comfort of this model other than slippage of the heel. Although annoying at times, it did not detract from the model's performance. Of course, this could be more of a personal fit issue, but we did find ourselves wishing the New Balance's heel cup was a bit deeper and snugger to accommodate the heel. In addition, the upper heel cup could sit higher on our Achilles to feel more locked in. With that said, the rest of the seamless upper and thin tongue did a great job of supporting our mid and forefoot.

While the slippage issue wasn't a deal-breaker, we have tested other models that didn't have this circumstance. We imagine some users will find no issues with this upper, but others could have the same experience as we did. Using the thickest running socks helped us reach a more satisfactory fit.

While we did not have any durability issues during our testing, this is one of the thinnest upper materials we tested, which is great for quick drying and breathability. There is good arch support, making the shoe more stable even with the soft cushioning design.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoes - the seamless knit upper works well to hold your foot in place. we...
The seamless knit upper works well to hold your foot in place. We experienced minor heel slippage.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Lateral Stability and Support

This model has less stability due to the higher stack height and larger heel-to-toe drop. While we would not recommend this to users searching for a very stable design, we think the cushioning is the right density to offer average support and stability. If you often find yourself on uneven natural surfaces, you may want to look into something with a lower stack height or specific stability features.

There is often a tradeoff when looking at weight and stability, where higher weight generally equals a more stable design, but that is not always the case. The forefoot feels natural and well placed within the upper, providing a good sense of support and stability. The upper holds the midfoot snugly and reduces any movement when cornering, maintaining a supportive feel. This would work well for the average user, and unless you need the support for mechanical or form reasons, we think this stability will feel adequate for all types of activities.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoes - minimal support due to cushioning and higher stack height.
Minimal support due to cushioning and higher stack height.
Credit: Matthew Richardson


Coming in at 9.38 ounces (men's size 9.5), this shoe has a great balance of support and responsiveness without the cushioning features adding lots of weight. This weight is reduced by minimalizing support features or having heavy fabric on the upper. While there are a few durability concerns with the lightweight upper material, we experienced no issues after many miles of testing. We like the rubber outsole on the forefoot, which will last longer than exposed foam found on many lighter-weight models.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoes - nice rubber outsole which will be more durable than lighter models.
Nice rubber outsole which will be more durable than lighter models.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Should You Buy the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11?

Most shoes can't do everything perfectly, but this contender has a lot of positives, and we think it is one of the better rocker designs we tested among the men's running shoe contenders in today's market. It's light, agile, supportive, and comfortable. Plus, if you don't want to purchase multiple types of shoes, we consider this option a great all-around value for speed and long-run efforts.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoes - top pick for its great upper design and helpful heel-to-toe rocker...
Top pick for its great upper design and helpful heel-to-toe rocker design.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?

We have a couple of recommendations. If you frequently run on uneven surfaces, you may want to look into something with a lower stack height or specific stability features, such as the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21, which is one of the highest-scoring contenders in the lateral stability and support metric. Also, if you are tackling flatter, shorter races, we would suggest looking into the Saucony Kinvara 12, as this option is very responsive, lightweight, and fast to help drive your forward momentum.

Matthew Richardson
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