Who should buy it

Take the Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 from New Balance if you're looking for a:

  • highly cushioned daily trainer for long miles on the road
  • running shoes for easy to moderate days or progressive runs (where you start easy and finish fast)

Who should NOT buy it

Those with narrow feet can have a more locked-in fit with the NB 880 v11 instead of the NB 1080 v12. And if you're looking for a true tempo speedster that won't weigh you down, get the NB FuelCell Rebel v2 or the NB FuelCell Propel v3.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 vs. v11

  • Gone is the "dreaded" UltraHeel design (less padding) in this iteration. For a comfier, more locked-in heel hold, it has more padding in the rear.
  • To have a stickier grip, the twelfth version has larger lugs. 
  • For a more stable ride, it also has a wider base.

Mellows out the impact

As a more cushioned sibling to the NB 880, everyone agrees that the NB 1080 v12 kills it when it comes to protection. Even when pounding hard and heavy miles on the pavement, the majority state that they don't feel strained.

There's so much cushion underfoot; ground feel and shock absorption are a priority in this running shoe. They even recommend it to heavy runners. 

A little less weight would do

Although it has a bit of responsiveness for a quick change in pace and a fun ride, road runners still stay that it's not the best choice for fast runs. When placed head to head with lighter shoes like the Asics Novablast 2, NB Fresh Foam X 1080 pales in comparison because of its bottom-heavy design. 

Smooth like butter

The heel-to-toe transitions are A-OK. The rocker geometry of the shoe allows the ride to be smooth and seamless. 

The new upper slays! 

The NB Fresh Foam X 1080 v12's new Hypoknit upper is unlike other knitted uppers. Reviewers even say it's "one of the most impressive uppers" they've ever worn. It feels "premium and soft;" they have not experienced any rubbing or abrasion.

The heel only takes this feeling up a notch as it has more padding now than the v11. Those who are not fans of the past version say this is a welcome update as it eliminates the digging sensation of the last edition.

Experience a slip-free run

Apart from the comfort it delivers, the upper also generates a locked-in foothold that inspires confidence when even when cornering. And with the heel's more padded design, the heel clutch has been nothing but awesome. 

This said, runners claim that there's no need to lace lock this shoe at all. Experts also find the "wider base" a complement to this, making the ride even more surefooted.

Wide feet won't feel constricted in the Fresh Foam X 1080 v12

It's very roomy and accommodating up front; it doesn't feel tight even when the foot starts to swell. This has also been praised by broad-footed runners, saying it gives them enough room to feel comfortable. 

However, those with narrow feet, and those who prefer a snugger fit find the shoe's toe box and midfoot too spacious. They say their feet were swimming in the shoe!

Stays cool

Even under humid conditions, the NB 1080 v12 stays breezy and airy. The upper is porous, and lets in air, while the tongue keeps a sufficiently padded design without being too thick.

Tongue that protects

Speaking of tongue, the Fresh Foam X 1080 has just the right amount of padding. So much so, there have been NO reports of lace bites even when cinching the laces down. Even more, it adds to the shoe's overall lockdown. 

Traction is solid

For a road shoe, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12's grip is exceptional. On snow, slush, wet, and dry pavement, the outsole remains tacky. What's more is that the lugs don't store rocks and pebbles. 

Built for the long haul

It's not just great for long miles, it's also built to last long. After 30 miles of heavy wear testing, droves of runners say that they barely put a dent on the outsole. 

Hey there, good lookin'

Almost all reviewers agree that the 1080 v12 "nails it" in the style department. The vibrant colorways make the shoe a standout; they say many onlookers praise it.

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 292g / Women 249g
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 26mm
Heel height: 34mm
Collection: New Balance Fresh Foam, New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

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New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 video reviews

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.