Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
Good to know
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 10.4ozWomen: 9oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 8mmWomen: 8mm
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
Heel heightMen: 30mmWomen: 30mm
Forefoot heightMen: 22mmWomen: 22mm
WidthMen: narrow, normal, wideWomen: narrow, normal, wide
Release dateDec 2018
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89 / 100 based on 10 expert reviews
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 - Sleeker, but not yet sleek enough
I like maximally cushioned shoes, so I’d been looking forward to trying the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 for a while. It wasn’t the first New Balance shoe I tested, but it was the first Fresh Foam shoe I got to test, and I was curious about it.
Every big shoe company has its own cushioning material. Nike has Epic React, Adidas has Boost, Asics has its Gel, and New Balance has Fresh Foam.
New Balance has made quite a few changes compared to the previous version of this shoe. Obviously, they still used the Fresh Foam in the midsole, but it has been adapted to create a slightly softer ride.
The outsole and upper have also gotten an update. The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 is a neutral running shoe which weighs 254 grams and has an 8mm drop. It has a heel height of 30mm and a forefoot height of 22mm.
Sometimes, a shoe feels light or heavy regardless of the weight of the shoe itself, but more because of the weight distribution throughout the shoe. This shoe feels surprisingly light for the amount of shoe.
The upper is made up out of two separate parts. There is the double jacquard mesh on the toe box of the shoe, while the heel counter is made of a much smoother material and has a build in the heel cup.
New Balance calls it the Ultra Heel with their 3D heel counter to improve the fit and comfort. To be honest, I’m not sure why that makes it special, because I don’t see how you can even have a 2D heel counter.
This upper is supposed to be sleeker than the one on the 8th version of this shoe, which had more overlays, but it still seems to me that there are still many of components to this upper and maybe some of those could have been eliminated.
Especially in the midfoot, there are some overlapping parts on the in- and outside of this shoe. Although it didn’t create any hotspots, I don’t think that much overlapping was really necessary.
On the inside of the midfoot, there is an extra piece of colored fabric stitched in to provide a splash of color, but it is hardly noticeable through the jacquard mesh.
I had some issues with the collar of this shoe. Since there is no padding in the collar and there is only a stitched rim, this would create blisters on my Achilles.
I first tried to fix that with some band-aids, but after a couple of kilometers, the band-aids wouldn’t stay in place anymore. I tried sports tape instead, which did stay in place and made it easier for me to run in the shoes. I could only run in them if I taped my Achilles before I went out on a run.
Since the midsole of the 1080 v9 is so thick, I was expecting a very plush ride and that I would sink into the midsole a little bit. So, I was quite surprised to find that the Fresh Foam felt different than I had expected.
It was a lot firmer than I had anticipated. Initially, I couldn’t really feel any difference in firmness throughout the midsole. It just felt firm and not very flexible to me.
But over time, the midsole softened a bit, and now I can notice that the Fresh Foam is a bit firmer underneath the midfoot than underneath the forefoot and heel. The firmer Fresh Foam underneath the midfoot does help with stability.
The midsole has laser cut indentations in the shape of diamonds and hexagons, to fit the same patterns on the heel counter and outsole of the shoe.
These appear to be there mainly for aesthetic reasons, although New Balance claims that they are based on data. However, what data and their purpose never became clear to me.
The outsole is made out of blown rubber hexagon shaped lugs and has a pressure map painted on it in different colors. The blown rubber appears to be the same density throughout the entire outsole, but the hexagons are different sizes throughout.
The outsole has five flex grooves cut out of the rubber to provide flexibility, but they don’t really seem to help much because of the stack height of the 1080 v9.
I was surprised to see that the forefoot of the outsole started to wear down after only about 50 kilometers in these shoes. Especially, since I’m a heel striker.
I have no idea why the wear has started underneath the forefoot instead of the heel. Maybe this shoe changed my gait more than I realized.
The 1080 v9 has a wide forefoot, and the toe box is nice and roomy, which is often the case with New Balance running shoes. The sole is even wider than the upper which creates a stable ride.
The heel is a bit narrower, which I personally do not mind since I have a bit of a smaller heel. However, the heel of the 1080 v9 is also shallower than I’m used to with other running shoes, which might partially explain the problems I have with the collar of this shoe.
I wore my normal running shoe size with this shoe, and it fits me just fine.
The 1080 v9 is a nicely cushioned shoe which has a bit of bounce to it. It is not a very fast shoe, but more of a long distance running shoe which you might use for longer training runs or maybe to run a marathon in if you don’t have a racing shoe or just prefer more cushion during your marathon.
I had my initial doubts about the 1080 v9, and it took me a while to break them in and to fully figure out the best way to run in this shoe. But it has grown on me, and I started to like the Fresh Foam midsole.
I like the Fresh Foam, but I’m not in love with the upper. I would have definitely liked this shoe better if it would have had a padded collar and a smoother transition between the different upper materials. It will be interesting to see if New Balance changes anything about the upper in version number 10.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
First Impressions - New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V9
When the mailman came to deliver the package he commented: “I like these types of packages, nice and light”. And it certainly didn’t weight much. The package contained a pair of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V9.
This is the second pair of New Balance shoes I get to test. The 1080 is the maximum cushioning model from New Balance.
And version 9 is supposed to be even softer than version 8. So, when I put these shoes on I was expecting a plush, marshmallow kind of feeling, but the Fresh Foam was surprisingly firm. In that regard it made me think of the Asics Gel Nimbus.
When you squeeze the fresh foam with your fingers it appears to be softer underneath the forefoot and on the medial side of the heel, but while running I don’t really notice a difference in foam density throughout the midsole.
I always wonder why shoe designers decide to make the toe box of a pair of running shoes white. Because you know it is not going to stay white. I do like the ombre effect, but white?
Really? It’s not the first pair of running shoes I’ve seen this in. The Hoka One One Elevon also has a colorway where the toe box is white.
The upper is divided into two parts. The front of the shoe is made out of a double jacquard mesh while the heel counter is made out of a smoother fabric. The heel counter overlaps with the front of the shoe and the two parts are stitched together around the midfoot. I wonder if there wouldn’t have been a way to make a smoother transition between the two materials.
The second layer of the jacquard mesh consists of two colors. The fabric around the midfoot is the same color purple as some of the other details of this shoe, while the fabric around the toe box is black.
The purple fabric around the midfoot is also stitched in. Since the holes in the top layer of mesh aren’t that big the purple isn’t that clearly visible, so to me it seems like more unnecessary stitching inside the upper.
The 3D ultra heel counter is supported by a solid heel cup. The collar of the shoe doesn’t have any padding and the top of the collar has a lining which is stitched on.
Since there isn’t any padding my Achilles rubs against the lining and it is giving me blisters. So, the only way I can comfortably wear these shoes is by taping my Achilles before I go for a run.
Midsole and outsole
The midsole has laser engraved indentations which on the medial side look a bit more like hexagons and on the lateral side look a bit more like a diamond shape.
New Balance says it is a data-inspired pattern, but their function seems to be merely aesthetic.
The same pattern can be found on the outsole. The blown rubber outsole has a data-inspired pressure map depicted in different colors, but once again the function seems to be esthetic, the rubber appears to be the same throughout the outsole.
The different colours were painted onto the rubber and the lines between the colors are a bit sloppy. Sometimes there’s even staining for one color onto the next. Surprisingly the flex grooves on the outsole weren’t incorporated into the design of the outsole, but first, the full-length rubber outsole was created and painted after which the flex grooves were cut out.
It took quite some time for me to break these shoes in. In the beginning, I found the Fresh Foam to be pretty stiff and not as soft as I had expected.
It felt like I had to work quite hard to run in these shoes in the beginning. But after about 20 kilometers the Fresh Foam became softer and I started to like this shoe.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9 – First impressions
I always do my best to avoid being swayed by how a pair of trainers look. I have fought with too many injuries to allow aesthetics to be a factor.
For me, it all comes down to function. That being said, I can still appreciate a good-looking pair of shoes. The “New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9”s are definitely that, of the 4 available colours mine are the “White with Black & Deep Ozone Blue”.
The white forefoot fades into the black heel with a shimmering elegance that screams “fast”, imitating mud flicked up the bodywork from a supercar’s wheels. The reflective material forming the trademark ‘N’ on the side of the shoe flashes as the angle of light changes.
I’m a big fan of anything that improves visibility when out pounding the streets on a Winter evening, without ruining the looks.
One thing to note is the lack of heel loop to help pull a shoe on. While this is not something that I ever use and as such makes no difference to me, I know some triathletes like to see this included for efficient transitions.
Out of the box feel
The heel cup is made from a bootie-like material. There is a small amount of integrated padding but in general, there is a lot less cushioning around the heel and Achilles than on other trainers. Despite the thin wall of the heel cup, it feels like there is a good amount of lateral support.
The minimal padding seems to be a theme of the upper construction. The toe box material is thin and aerated. Provided there’s no rubbing, this should be good for ventilation.
The midsole feels very soft to touch and is constructed from the namesake “Fresh Foam”. My expectation at this stage is that there will be a lot of cushioning but with a limited rebound. In fairness, this is how New Balance market the shoe, centered around ‘comfort and support’.
Despite the softness, the shoe is very stiff through the sole. The outsole is relatively thick with significantly contoured tread.
This should give a good grip for both on and off-road running. It is made up of one rubber compound for most of the surface, with a harder compound reserved for the heel strike, first contact region.
According to the official New Balance store, the trainers weigh in at 294g.
There is no mention of what shoe size this is based on but my pair of size 10s is 315g per shoe. Relatively heavy among the running shoe world, but not unusual for a training shoe with so much cushioning. Probably not one for a 5k PB though.
My feet measure near enough exactly a UK size 10 on a scale. Straight from the off, these shoes looked large and my initial thoughts were backed up when trying them on. While there appears to be an appropriate amount of space for my toes, the heel does not feel secure.
This may be in part down to the reduced cushioning around the heel cup.
This is partially alleviated by using the heel lock lacing and I’m pleased to see the laces are long enough to support this feature. As expected, the sole is very soft, particularly when applying weight directly through one heel.
First run performance
I took the 1080s out for their first miles, a brisk 5k, building towards the end. While the heel strike was very soft, as expected, I was surprised by how well the sole controlled the motion of the foot. Each stride was one smooth motion from heel strike through to pushing off with the toes, without lateral roll. The stiffness was evident. I have a fairly severe overpronation, particularly in my right foot, but the 1080s seemed to support my arch well.
The soft impact felt like it would support much longer runs without the usual runner’s knee pains as well. However, since there is significant compression in the heel, your feet effectively never see the quoted 8mm heel-toe drop. I would anticipate this is closer to a neutral shoe and feels like there is more work required in the push off from your forefoot.
There were only two downsides I noted on this run. The first is not really a downside in my opinion but other people might see it differently. The shoes are quite loud.
The harder rubber compound forming the heel portion of the outsole taps against the pavement on impact, audible enough that I thought it worth mentioning. On the other hand, this suggests to me that the material is relatively durable and should allow for high mileage before it fails.
The second downside is the shoe width. Despite noting earlier that these shoes felt slightly large in length, they’re a bit tight across the ball of my foot. The result was the hot patch every runner knows, on the bone just before my little toe. I’m hopeful that a few more short runs will stretch out the shoes and enable me to up the mileage without blisters. I will also make it clear, my feet are slightly on the wider side.
All in all, I’m so far impressed with the “New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9”s. At this stage, I’m confident in their ability to support a high training load and prevent injury.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9
Why did I buy the New Balance 1080v9? Well, really don’t like running landing on rocks when I’m running on hardpack dirt/gravel roads so I like a highly cushioned shoe for those runs. I had worn the Vomero 12 but just retired those and tried on the New Balance 1080v9 at a New Balance store and fell in love.
To me, it felt like a definite upgrade from the Vomero 12 that I had been running in. The Vomero 12 was fine to me for running on dirt/gravel roads because I kind of viewed it as a boat that protected my foot from those rocks.
Although, I never found myself reaching for those shoes when I was going to run on the roads or cement bike paths because it just felt clunky on smoother surfaces but not with the New Balance 1080v9.
I bought them because I liked the look and feel of them in the store and thought they could be a good replacement. But once I ran in them, I absolutely loved them.
It protects my foot from those rocks when I run on hardpack dirt/gravel roads but continues to have a smooth ride on roads and smoother surfaces. For me, this is a lighter shoe than what I was used to for those kinds of runs (down to 10.4 oz from 11.8 oz).
It’s probably a little bit of everything, the slightly smaller drop at 8mm instead of 10mm or the flex groove pattern on the outsole of this shoe that I find myself reaching for these shoes for anything except for maybe faster efforts (4 min per km).
I have an average width foot with a very high arch & roof of my foot. Sometimes getting a shoe to lock down well so that my heel doesn’t slip, without ratcheting down the laces too hard and causing me to have pain on the top of my foot, can be a challenge.
So far, I haven’t had any issue with the 1080v9 upper. It feels very comfortable and secure on my foot and hasn’t given me any problems. I have seen complaints of a shallow heel causing some slipping, but I haven’t experienced this.
This is a highly cushioned trainer, so the stack height is a little on the large side - 30mm in the heel, 22mm in the forefoot for an 8mm drop. It feels very comfortable on foot as soon as you try it on and walk around in it.
I tried on the 1080 v8 while I was in the store and I believe they did something with the Fresh Foam between last year and this year that makes quite a difference, as this version felt much more plush and softer.
The 1080v9 has an almost full length blown rubber outsole, with flex grooves in the mid to forefoot area that allows the shoe to be just flexible enough to have a smooth ride.
I think a big part of why this shoe works for me so well is that the outsole provides just enough protection without getting in the way of the smooth ride. The traction has been good on all the places I’ve been in this shoe, which includes wet roads/paths and hardpack dirt/gravel roads.
I feel like I have discovered a hidden gem in this running shoe. It is on the pricier side, but it feels great, and it is built to handle a lot of miles, so I feel like I will get my money’s worth out of it. It has even expanded my perception of what this category of a shoe can be used for.
It’s heavily cushioned and offers a lot of protection, but with a smoother ride than any other shoe, I’ve tried in its category so far. If you’re a neutral runner interested in trying a highly cushioned running shoe, I would definitely encourage you to give this shoe a try.
Updates to New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9
- The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 has been modified from the upper to the outsole. The enhancements aim to provide runners with a more comfortable and satisfying performance, mile after mile.
- Designed for neutral runners, the 9th version of the New Balance 1080 features a new midsole design. This version is still using the Fresh Foam midsole material, but it has been tweaked for a softer and comfortable underfoot cushioning.
- The upper of the shoe also features an all-new design. It uses an engineered mesh on the forefoot and a Lycra fabric covers the heel area. These upper materials aim to provide a breathable and comfortable foot wrap.
- A completely redesigned outer sole can also be seen on the 1080 v9. It uses the same blown rubber material, but with a different flex groove design and tread pattern. The outsole is specifically designed to deliver reliable traction and durability without affecting flexibility.
- The 9th iteration of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 also has a shallower heel counter as compared to its predecessor.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 size and fit
When it comes to sizing, the New Balance 1080 runs true to size. The shoe has a medium fit in the forefoot and midfoot. The heel counter is shallow but it holds and secures the foot comfortably. This road running shoe is available in D - Medium, EE - Wide, and 4E - Extra wide with options for men and the women’s version is available in 2A – Narrow, B – Medium, and D – Wide, EE - Extra Wide options.
The outsole of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 has been modified. It uses the same material, but the flex grooves were lightly redesigned for durability and flexibility.
The blown rubber material covers the entire outsole of the Fresh Foam 1080 v9. It gives added cushioning and responsiveness while delivering protection against abrasion.
The flex grooves are strategically placed in the forefoot for more flexibility. The grooves help the foot achieved a smoother transition; they flex effortlessly as the foot bends while running.
The same as the 8th version, the latest New Balance 1080 makes use of the notable Fresh Foam midsole cushioning. This innovative technology has been used Fresh Foam Zante v4 and in several New Balance running shoes and sneakers for plush underfoot protection.
The full-length Fresh Foam material is designed for luxurious cushioning. It provides reliable foot protection since it disperses landing impact, giving runners a smooth, plush ride. The Fresh Foam has a light construction and is meant to deliver consistent cushioning for long-distance runs.
The midsole foam performs better together with the laser engravings. These engravings are designed for enhanced comfort and flexibility.
The premium Ortholite® insole gives added cushioning while providing arch support. The insole foam is removable and can be replaced with custom orthotics.
A double jacquard mesh covers the majority of the upper, and on the heel is a Lycra-like material. These materials aim to deliver unmatched breathability and comfort. The mesh is flexible enough to wrap the foot without feeling tight and it has enough perforations for ventilation.
The upper of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 has a no-sew design with a bootie construction. It provides runners with a smooth, irritation-free environment.
The shoe features a traditional lace-up closure which aims to hold the foot securely while running.
It also has a plush tongue and collar for added comfort and secure foot lockdown.
The meaning of the 1080 number in the New Balance 1080 v9
New Balance has been using a unique “number” system in their shoe names for decades already. Some New Balance fans are aware of what the numbers of the shoe names mean, but for a beginner, the numbers might be confusing.
Here’s what 1080 means:
10 (the “hundreds” number) - It indicates the level of features or “premium” of the shoe model. 10, in the case of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080, means mid-features. While it is also used to determine the price level of the model, the number is also an indicator of the features. Compared to the models with number 8, such as the New Balance 890, the Fresh Foam 1080 is more expensive and runners can expect mid-range features. As runners move higher to number 12, like the New Balance 1260 model, runners can expect a higher level of performance and of course, a more expensive price tag.
80 (last two digits) - The two digits determine the level of cushioning. For this particular model, 80 means neutral cushioning. The number 40 means optimal control, 60 means stability, 70 means light stability, and 90 means speed.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 review
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 is a road running shoe designed for neutral runners. Here’s how the shoe performs compared to other neutral running shoes.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8
With enhancements on the midsole section, the 9th version of the New Balance Fresh Foam feels softer than the older version. Others may find it too soft, but it gained the approval of the majority. The midsole offers long-lasting and consistent cushioning through miles and miles of running.
Impressively, the latest iteration is as comfortable and breathable as the 8th version. It offers the foot a smoother in-shoe feel. It is also durable, feels secure, and provides enough amount of traction on varied surfaces.
The overall performance of the 1080 v9 is satisfying and the look of this running shoe is indeed a bonus.
Nike Revolution 4
The Nike Revolution 4 is a versatile road running shoe with a street-ready design. It is more affordable compared to the Fresh Foam 1080 v9 but it offers the same level of cushioning; it is soft, responsive and flexible.
The shoe is much lighter than this New Balance shoe, but not as durable. It also offers impressive comfort and breathability, just like the 1080 v9.
When it comes to the overall performance, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 is more reliable. But, if you are looking for a cheap running shoe, then you should consider the Nike Revolution 4.
The shoe is available in a wide variety of colors; runners can easily find the color that suits well their preferences and personality.
Adidas Ultra Boost
The Ultra Boost is one of the popular running shoes from Adidas. The shoe features the notable Boost technology, which is designed to give runners responsive cushioning. This lightweight midsole cushioning provides better shock absorption, resulting in a more bouncy, smoother ride.
Compared to the Fresh Foam 1080 v9, the Adidas Ultra Boost is more expensive because it is also considered as one of the premium shoes from Adidas.
When it comes to performance, the Ultra Boost offers luxurious cushioning that is bouncy and consistent. It is truly comparable to the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9. The outsole grip and durability of this Adidas running shoe is also impressive.
In terms of overall looks and comfort, the Adidas Ultra Boost won't disappoint. Overall, this road shoe offers value for money.
Asics Gel Kayano 25
The Asics Gel Kayano 25 is a premium running shoe. The Kayano model is one of the iconic running shoes from Asics. On its 25th anniversary, Asics has released a revolutionized version of the model, packed with reliable technologies, from top to bottom.
Performance-wise, the Kayano 25 is superb. The cushioning is not too firm; it is bouncy and shields the foot comfortably. The addition of the new midsole foams makes the Kayano 25 better than its predecessor.
The shoe also delivers reliable grip and outsole durability on varied paved surfaces. It is more durable than the New Balance 1080 v9.
The Asics Gel Kayano 25 is an expensive running shoe, but it gathered positive feedback from beginners and professional runners. Positive comments surround the shoe’s cushioning, durability, fit and comfort.
Since the shoe has a visually-appealing design, some users are happy to wear it on the street or during workout sessions.