Facts

  • Discontinued
  • Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support

    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

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    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.

  • Price
    $110
  • Weight
    Men: 8.9oz
    Women: 7.4oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 4mm
    Women: 4mm

    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 height
    Men: 28mm
    Women: 24mm
  • Forefoot height
    Men: 24mm
    Women: 20mm
  • Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Unknown
Show more facts

Summary

We spent 6.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • Most runners believe that the comfort of the Fresh Foam 980 is simply one of the best in the business.
  • Most runners loved the comfortable fit right from the get go.
  • The transition from landing to take-off is effortless, based on the observations of several testers and runners.
  • It is quite flexible.
  • A significant number of runners raved about its versatility.
  • Consistent and responsive cushioning excels in the New Balance Fresh Foam 980.
  • It has an affordable price.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners hoped for more room in the toe box.
  • The upper material came apart after a few months for some users.
  • Others noted that the forefoot platform was a bit thin.

Bottom line

The New Balance Fresh Foam 980 ranks high in the list of neutral runners, according to experts and countless runners. This really shines when used for long distance runs or speed trainings because of its great arch support and responsive cushioning. It is a running shoe that deserves a place in the shoe rack of runners.

Rankings

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

80 / 100 based on 33 expert reviews

  • 60 / 100 | The Ginger Runner

    I was really bummed. I had high expectations and they kinda came in just below that.

  • 82 / 100 | GEARIST

    Get a pair of these on your feet, actually try 'em out. This is a really pretty sweet shoe, but it's not what you think it is.

  • 90 / 100 | Road Trail Run

    The 980 is a well cushioned and light trainer for those seeking a smooth, supportive ride.

  • 84 / 100 | Solereview

    The New Balance Fresh Foam 980 comes attached with connotations of extreme softness, but the reality is a sharp disconnect.

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Updates to New Balance Fresh Foam 980

  • New Balance builds up the anticipation of runners by introducing the Fresh Foam 980 with a new midsole that is quite plush and comfortable, but with bouncy resilience. Although most runners expect the shoe to have oversized and soft cushioning, New Balance offers a padding with just enough firmness that runners will not be sinking into the cushioning.
  • The Fresh Foam 980 delivers a comfortable hug in the form-molding upper. New Balance designs an upper that moves well with the foot and with good stretch in the forefoot for those with slightly more volume and width in this area.
  • New Balance placed a lot of research and time in the new midsole geometry to enhance the stability of the shoe without the traditional midfoot insert. By creating a new mix of convex and concave designs, the shoe effectively helps slight overpronators with the kind of gradient support that makes the run smooth and stable. Without a PU insert or other traditional medial post, the Fresh Foam 980 keeps its weight down that it becomes an excellent option for ultra-long runs or speed trainings.

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 size and fit

The fit of the Fresh Foam 980 should make most runners comfortable as it is fairly average in the heel, the midfoot, and the forefoot. As mentioned, the upper has decent stretch in the forefoot, which should help runners with more volume or width. Medium, wide, and extra wide are the available widths of this shoe. The sizing is also standard with options 7 to 15 for the men’s and 4 to 12 for the women’s.


Outsole

The outsole is full-contact with just enough rubber patterns for decent traction on light trails. Like most outsoles with an almost flat underfoot, it helps with the stability of the shoe as there is a consistent platform for the runner to use. New Balance uses blown rubber for enhanced traction. The concave and convex rubber pattern on the outsole coincides with the midsole design for the right blend of stability and flexibility.


Midsole

The 980 is named after the midsole foam that New Balance is using for the first time—the Fresh Foam. It is made with the help of 3D printing, which is one of the reasons for its very light nature. Together with proprietary materials and other technologies, this one-piece foam has excellent durability and delivers plush cushioning with dynamic responsiveness. Sophisticated technology is not just limited to the new foam, but also includes the whole midsole. New Balance uses a convex design in the midsole near the midfoot for more support to the arch. This helps runners who love to pile on the miles or do ultra-long runs. The stability will help them with their form as the distance lengthens. Going to the forefoot, New Balance changes the design into concaves for better flexibility and a more natural feel.


Upper

The main upper material is the Air Mesh, blanketing a large part of the shoe in breathable fabric. With a nice touch of flexibility, the mesh allows natural movement and a foot-wrapping fit. It has synthetic overlays for structural control and a seamless construction for irritation-free and superb interior comfort. A traditional sock liner increases underfoot cushioning and fit. The tongue and heel collar are well-padded.