The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is softer and lighter than previous versions of the shoe, and makes for an excellent cushioned cruiser. Although the greater focus on comfort comes at the expense of versatility, the 1080 is now one of the best cushioned running shoes.
- Soft, comfortable ride
- Accommodating upper
- Light for a cushioned shoe
- Not good for speedier running
- Cheaper options available
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The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is the latest installment in a popular line of cushioned running shoes. It’s also my favorite 1080 in years thanks to the softer, more comfortable ride it has compared with its predecessors.
As a result, it’s one of the best running shoes for easy cruising and a good option for new runners who can stretch to its high price. However, the upgrade in comfort means the 1080v13 has become less versatile than its predecessors.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13: Price And Availability
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 launched in September 2023 and costs $164.99 in the US and £160 in the UK. That’s a $5 rise in price in the US and a £15 jump in the UK compared with the original RRP of the 1080v12.
How I Tested This Shoe
I’ve run just over 32 miles (51km) in the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13, using it mainly for short and easy training runs. I have done a 13-mile long run in it, as well as a progression run finishing at a fairly fast pace. I have also tested several older models of the 1080, including the v11 and v12, as well as a wide range of the best cushioned running shoes from all brands.
Design And Fit
New Balance has gone all out to make the 1080v13 a more comfortable shoe than its predecessor, which was itself a comfortable shoe. The 1080v13 has a higher stack of a softer version of the brand’s Fresh Foam X foam. While the official stack height isn’t given, it looks not far off 40mm, and the 1080v13 has a 6mm drop from heel to toe, lower than the 8mm of the 1080v12.
Given the high midsole stack, the 1080v13 is a surprisingly light shoe at 9.6oz/273g in my UK size 9. The low weight isn’t because New Balance has skimped on padding on the upper or rubber on the outsole either. The mesh upper has cushioned sections around the heel and tongue, and while there is exposed foam on the outsole, the main impact areas on the heel and forefoot are covered by rubber.
I found the upper to be comfortable over runs of any distance and the shoe fitted well in my normal size. It’s stretchy and doesn’t have the tightest lockdown for fast running, which points to the 1080v13’s main use as a comfortable cruiser for easy runs.
I’ve liked (but not loved) the past two versions of the 1080, which have been cushioned shoes with a slightly firmer ride than many rivals. This helped ensure their stability and also made them reasonably well suited to faster runs, as well as easy ones. I’d class them as cushioned daily trainers because they did a range of runs well, and see them as good all-rounders for newer runners. The 1080v13, however, is more focused on comfort, and is best used as a pure cushioned shoe for easy runs.
When plodding around with no regard for pace it was a joy to run in. It’s soft, has a smooth transition onto your toes, and protects the body from the impact of road running. The padding on the upper added to the feeling of comfort, and slipping the 1080v13 on for a recovery run after a hard session felt fantastic.
However, at faster paces the soft midsole didn’t give a lot back in terms of energy return, and when trying to push for speed the shoe felt like it held me back. I also had this at the end of the 13-mile long run I did in the shoe, which wasn’t at all-out easy pace, more at an easy-ish pace. By the end I was longing for a slightly firmer or bouncier platform to push against.
When you stick to the really easy stuff, this is a top-class running experience and an outstanding option for cruising through daily runs at slow paces. However, there are great cushioned shoes that do that job while also being more responsive if you do want to run quicker.
Is The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 Worth It?
The New Balance 1080v13 absolutely does its job as a soft, cushioned shoe that feels lovely and comfortable on easy runs. If that’s what you’re looking to add to your running-shoe rotation, you’ll find it here for sure, and while it is expensive, it’s cheaper than other great cushioned shoes, such as the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25.
It’s not a versatile shoe, though, and you can get max-cushioned shoes that are comfortable for easy runs but offer more when you want to speed up. The Puma Magnify Nitro 2 and Saucony Triumph 21 are two such shoes that may not be as soft on easy runs as the 1080v13, but are still comfortable and have more bounce if you want to use them for a variety of daily training runs.
I prefer the slightly firmer cushioned shoes myself, though if it’s all-out comfort you’re after, the 1080v13 provides it.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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