Sunday, November 17, 2019

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 Multi Tester Review

Article by Jeff Beck, Peter Stuart, and Sam Winebaum

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 ($150)


Introduction
Sam:  The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 in its 10th edition gets an engineered knit upper with trace fiber stitching at mid foot for support and a swept back rear collar for a secure pressure-free rear fit. Underfoot, the Fresh Foam is now called Fresh Foam X with more aggressive sculpting of the lateral side walls for a touch more softness, a more pronounced rocker and a modified outsole which makes the shoe more flexible and easier to transition. 


Pros
Peter: Smooth, comfortable.
Jeff/Sam: Improved ride, upper, and flexibility from predecessor, bonus no more heel slip. 
Sam: Slightly softer with easier and smoother transitions due to rthe ocker and outsole design, great looks.


Cons
Peter: flared heel might scare some traditionalists away (due to looks).
Jeff: Black colorway is boring (literally the best I can come up with) 
Sam: Fresh Foam is a bit dated in ride, on the firm more responsive side with relatively low (for these days) energy return.


Stats
Weight:: 9.5 oz / 269g (US men’s 9
  Samples: 9.25 oz / 262g  (US 8.5), 10.2 oz / 289g US 10.5D
1080v9 approx. 10 oz
Stack Height: 30mm heel / 22mm forefoot, 8 mm drop
Available $150



Tester Profiles
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:39-1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.
Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39 both he is working to demolish with help from his coach Dave Ames as he trains for his first 50 mile race in December 2019.
Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years


First Impressions and Fit
Peter: Whoa, the folks at NB are not afraid to make some big changes to a flagship daily trainer! The flare on the back of the heel may prove to be divisive--but I like the way it looks and LOVE the way it just stays out of the way of the achilles. The last version of the 1080 I ran in was the V8 and it was a pretty typical looking daily trainer. I skipped V9 because my heel kept slipping out of the shoe when I tried to run in them. The materials here are soft and plush, the knit upper is refreshingly supportive and the shoe has lost weight. 1080 v10 fits true to size for me. 


Jeff: Peter is 100% correct. It’s almost astonishing how much New Balance has changed on this shoe. I ran the v8, which was pretty terrible, and almost named the v9 my shoe of the year despite its heel slip issues. But this is a whole new beast, and it’s almost unfair to think of it as a 1080; it feels and runs much more like the Beacon Plus (or Beacon+ if Disney was in charge of branding). Regardless, this shoe has lots of firm cushioning, and is super flexible despite nearly the entire outsole being rubber. The continued weight loss is just a bonus. My 10.5 fits true-to-size.


Sam: Progress from an heavy, dull, stiff v8 to a more lively lighter v9 to a smooth fitting, modern looking, easier to move along at all paces v10. The fit is true to size with the new engineered knit providing some welcome stretch over the toes, the v9 feeling a bit low and stiff over the toes. Engineered knit can at times be less than supportive but NB through the density of knitting and the stitched in trace fiber which is in a seemingly random pattern provides me a comfortable secure fit front to back. The swept back molded heel sure looks radical and for me it works very well. The heel is very well held, far better than the low stiffly padded v9’s. In addition to great hold, the swept back design leads to no pressure on the achilles area yet also with no slippage. 


Upper
Peter: As you can see in the pictures below, the 1080 is more aggressively styled than previous versions. 
There’s a big old flared heel at the end of a rubberized heel cup. This back section connects to a knit upper with tiger stripes and an oddly volcanic looking eruption in white at midfoot. The upper is essentially a stretch bootie, with an amply padded tongue that’s elastically connected on both sides. The upper might be warm in summer months, but as it’s now chilly and wet here I can’t weigh in on that.  What I can tell you about the upper is that it feels terrific. The support is great, the foot feels locked down at midfoot, there is NO heel slippage and the toe box is just right. I haven’t had a single issue with the upper. It’s a lace up and go shoe. In general, knit shoes have been bumming me out, but for some reason the NB 1080 V. 10 feels terrific to me. 
Jeff: I was initially worried (well, not worried but sure that NB had continued with a mistake) that the exaggerated heel flare was going to have the same issues as the v9 - but no. Zero slip whatsoever, and if that was the only change they made from the v9 we could consider this a win. Instead, they changed a bunch, and it’s all for the better. 
The v9 toebox was fine, the v10 toebox is great. I don’t believe the upper is going to be warm (one of my longer runs happened later in the morning and was nearly 80 degrees when I finished and I had zero heat issues from it), and it certainly isn’t when the weather is nice and slightly cool. The slight change in material feels a little more breathable, which is great, and not was not anticipated as when you go from a mesh upper to a knit one uppers tend to get warm. 
The tongue construction is a little odd, the bottom half of it is effectively just more of the upper. It isn’t a problem, and doesn’t affect performance, it was just a little weird when I played with lacing.
Sam: The upper is engineered knit with fairly substantial trace fiber stitching (the white lines seen at midfoot) providing mid foot support along with an inner bootie. The toe box has some stretch over the toes (gray areas) while the denser knit (black areas) around the toes and to the sides provide support. 
The rear molded swept collar is distinctive in appearance and effective in both holding the heel securely and relieving achilles pressures. This is one super comfortable upper, one of the first knit uppers I have tested that doesn’t compromise between the smooth seamless feel of knits and effective locked down support,


The differences between the v9 and v10 are easy to see!


Midsole

Peter: The midsole is Fresh Foam and for some reason--probably the laser engraving and the “data driven design”--feels fresher and foamier than in previous versions of the 1080 that I’ve run in.  It’s hard to write about midsoles without sounding like Mr. Ad speak, so I’ll just give in to it. It’s plush and responsive! It rides lighter than its weight. It’s a perfect mix of cushioning and bounce!  It’s all true. It seems that those perforations in the rear part of the midsole are actually doing something!


Jeff: If this had been the Fresh Foam New Balance delivered when they brought the first FF to market (which was billed as running on clouds or marshmellows and the actual result was anything but) I think more runners would think better of Fresh Foam. This midsole is fantastic. Between the midsole density and geometry all I keep thinking of is Beacon, and I’ve experienced the same accidental speed boost in the 1080v10 as I have in both versions of the Beacon - that is to say my easy runs in these shoes end up being anywhere from :45-1:30 faster than I intend to run. And that’s all midsole. The laser engraved holes must be doing something, but if you’re one of those folks who gets weirded out by lots of holes (trypophobia - it’s a real thing and there’s literally dozens of us), don’t look too closely. Luckily, staring at the side of the midsole while the shoe is on your foot is virtually impossible, so pretty low down on the negatives.


Sam: New Balance calls out the midsole as “Fresh Foam X”. I have no information if the formulation (materials or firmness) is different than prior Fresh Foam in the 1080 or other Fresh Foam. And on the run it didn’t feel significantly different. This said what can clearly be seen on the “outside” leads to a slightly different ride if not exactly a different overall midsole feel when I did my A/B test, v10 on one foot, v9 on the other foot.
The v10 lateral landing side side walls clearly have larger pentagon concave shapes than v10.


The combination of larger concave shapes and the lazer engraving clearly leads to a sligthly softer ride than the v9 but overall the Fresh Foam ride here is still on the firmer more responsive side of the spectrum and is not the softer bouncy Fuelcell midsole feel of New Balance’s Propel trainer (RTR Review)


Outsole
The new outsole design has larger contact pads with more flex and decoupling grooves


Peter: There’s a little less rubber on the outsole than there was in previous iterations of the shoe. There’s a little bit of exposed Fresh Foam. I’m at about 50 miles on my pair and there’s no real sign of wear anywhere. The decoupling of the various sections of rubber under the forefoot do a lot to give the 1080 V10 a lively toe-off. It seems that the grey rubber under the forefoot is just a bit softer than the black rubber at the heel and on the toe, which makes for a really, really smooth transition all around. I’ve had a couple of very wet runs in the FF 1080 V10 and they’ve been almost surprisingly grippy. No traction issues, no wear issues. 


Jeff: The new outsole works very well. The rubber definitely feels softer than the super dense outsoles of previous versions, and even though the vast majority of the shoe is covered in rubber, it is very flexible and as a result runs incredibly smooth. What’s more, the exposed outsole is in an area that is unlikely to negatively affect performance as it does wear out. One of my runs happened after a thunderstorm that left a number of puddles, and then a smaller cell moved in and dumped on me for about thirty minutes - zero traction issues in the wet. I wouldn’t grab it for any trail use beyond ultra groomed dirt path, but I wouldn’t take most daily trainers into technical singletrack. 


Sam: Outsole design always plays a big role in flexibility and smoothness of transitions. Earlier versions of the 1080 were notable for me for their continuous slabs of stiff firm rubber, seemingly more about design than function as I found early version until v9 particularly hard to transition and yet firmer in cold where they produced a brick like harsh ride,
Top to Bottom: 1080v8, 1080v9, 1080v10
In the v10 New Balance reduced the rubber coverage at midfoot, increased the surface of the front lugs and strategically placed flex and decoupling grooves in the forefoot as shown below,
While still not the most flexible of shoes due to the stack when combined with the rocker the v10 now has a more agile transition and toe off. I think NB could have gotten yet further deepening and widening those front grooves yet more but still big progress


Ride
Peter:  Ride is where the NB FF 1080 V10 is greater than the sum of its parts. I don’t think there’s a better daily trainer out there. From the first time I put these on (on totally trashed legs the day after a race) I knew they were something special. The ride is smooth and balanced, they are soooo comfortable and easy to run in and they’re fun. Yes, fun! There’s some bounce and power return when you speed up, there’s plenty of cushion when you slow down. They’re not the lightest shoe out there, but they’ve never really felt particularly heavy to me, even on uphill slogs at the end of longer runs. 


Jeff: Smooth with a little pop, the 1080v10 works better than advertised. Peter is right, fast or slow, this shoe feels great. It hits the Goldilocks zone in a number of ways - cushioned but not mushy, it has pop but isn’t harsh, flexible but not unstructured - I could go on for a little while. I wasn’t sure it had enough squish to make a ten mile recovery run pleasant following a particularly brutal twenty miles in the desert, but after a few miles and my legs warmed up they felt great, and my splits went from upper 10s to low 9s by the end, and the 1080s were great the whole way.


Sam: New Balance has improved the ride of the v10 in significant ways (rocker, flexibility, slightly softer) while not fundamentally changing the ride characteristics which are a ride which is very well cushioned and on the firmer more responsive side. If you want softer and bouncier in a training ride New Balance, known for firm and responsive, now has a softer bouncier option in the FuelCell Propel. The v10 is a great riding shoe for faster, hard short or long training miles but for me is not an easy run top choice.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Peter: The upper may be a little warm for summer months, and if the shoe lost an ounce somewhere it would be unbelievable. But they’re great. Just go buy them. For most people the 1080 v10 would be a great daily trainer. I’m pretty sure they will be the shoe I wear most over the next few months. 
Peter’s Score 9.7/10


Jeff: One of the smoothest riding shoes of 2019, the 1080v10 is the shoe that just disappears on the foot. I’ve got nearly 30 miles on my pair, and between a few easy runs, some speedwork, and a ten mile recovery run, I haven’t been disappointed in any setting. While some shoes feel heavier on the foot than the scale would indicate, this shoe feels lighter, which is great. If it wasn’t for the existence of the Triumph 17, this would probably be my go-to shoe like Peter - but I just slightly prefer the little extra oomph the Saucony gives. That said, in a year of absolutely amazing shoes, the 1080v10 shines above most as a phenomenal daily trainer.
Jeff’s score 9.8 / 10 
Ride 10 (50%) Fit 9.5 (30%) Value 10 (15%) Style 9 (5%)


Sam: Big progress for the v10. It is a solid workhorse daily trainer with a superb upper, the most comfortable AND supportive engineered knit to date for me and one without the gimmicks of cages. Dropping 0.5 oz to 9.5 oz it is decently light for its well cushioned if on the firmer side ride. Those with long memories will recall the v8 weighed a staggering 10.9 oz. Fresh Foam does not have the energetic ride of new compounds such as New Balance’s own FuelCell. It is firmer in comparison with less spring or bounce to FuelCelll, Skechers Hyper, Nike’s Zoom X, and upcoming Salomon Optibase so it is a bit dated but here finally optimized. On the flip side, its solid feel makes the v10 stable and consistent and much improved for slower paces for me although if I was seeking a single shoe in the quiver trainer I might reach for something a bit softer and more flexible yet.
Sam’s Score:  9.1 /10
Ride:8.5 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value:9 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)


Comparisons  Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Video Comparison of 1080v10 to NB FuelCell Propel, ASICS Glideride, Skechers Ride 8 Hyper, Nike Pegasus, Brooks Launch, and Salomon Sonic 3 Balance.

New Balance 1080v8  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The v10 upper is much more dialed in, the v8 feels sloppy by comparison. The v8 midsole feels kind of lifeless and dull, with lots of rubber on the bottom, while the v10 is the polar opposite. Amazing how far NB has gone in just two years, the v8 feels a decade old next to the v10.
Sam: Agree with Jeff. The v8 is a ponderous dinosaur in comparison to the v10


New Balance 1080v9  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. 1080v9 upper was the first to give me heel slip issues, none of that exists in the v10. The midsole and outsole of the v10 feel softer and more pliable, the v9 rubber feels thicker, making it run more traditional heavy duty trainer. The v9 was a massive step forward from the v8, and the v10 is another big step forward. No question, v10.
Sam: Both true to size. The v10 has a  better heel/achilles hold and a more comfortable toe box with just enough over the toes stretch. The touch of extra softness and flexibility improves the ride of the v10. Overall v10 is a significantly better shoe for me. 

New Balance FuelCell Propel   (RTR Review)
Sam: Take the v10 upper and a slightly firmer/more responsive version of the Propel’s Fuel Cell midsole put them together and it would be an ideal all around trainer for me.
Peter: I was pretty sure that the 1080 was going to take over as the best trainer of the year. It’s a joy to run in, can handle anything and is comfortable. But when I ran it back to back with the NB Fuel Cell Propel I was shocked, shocked I tell you. The Propel is lighter, smoother and more fun. Propel leaves the ground quicker—so sort of bouncier, but the 1080 absorbs impact a little more due to more cushion. The 1080 is great, but go grab a pair of the Fuel Cell Propel—they’re firmer and therefore a bit more economical, and they are less shoe overall. 


Brooks Ghost 12 (RTR Review)
Peter: The latest version of the Ghost just felt clunky to me. I couldn’t get to a place where I forgot about them during a run. Conversely, the 1080 V.10 just disappears on my foot. 
Jeff: Absolutely. While the 1080v10 feels lighter than the scale, the Ghost 12 feels heavier, and much clunkier. Absolutely 1080.
Sam: Agree the Ghost feels heavier and while only 0.5 oz heavier it is more ponderous and also less responsive than the v10. Easy pick, the 1080.


ASICS Glideride (RTR Review)
Peter: I know people like the Glideride, but it feels stiff and clunky to me. Feel more like an orthopedic support shoe than a running shoe. 1080 all day long! All night too. 
Jeff: These actually feel like very different shoes. The ASICS feels much taller, which brings more squish but also more instability, and feels like without the rocker it would be a sluggish shoe. The 1080 benefits from the geometry, but the midsole feels so good the geometry doesn’t seem as crucial to the experience. There’s a few runs I’d prefer to do in the GlideRide, but overall give me the 1080.
Sam: Slightly softer yet also more dynamic with about as nice but not quite as nice an upper, the Glideride just doesn’t make you work as hard due to its more pronounced decoupling and more aggressive rocker despite its stiffness. The ride of Glideride is for sure less traditional than 1080v10 but grew on me. Nod to Glideride


Nike Pegasus 36 (RTR Review)
Peter: The 1080 V10 is just a little smoother, a little softer and a little more fun to run in. I don’t find them overly soft, but if you need to go a bit firmer, Peg 36 would be a good choice. 
Sam: Direct competitors in the firm, responsive category hands down the more flexible better cushioned 1080v10. Really high time for Nike to retire the old school harsh ride of the Peg.


Saucony Triumph 17  (RTR Review)
Peter: For me the NB 1080 is the shoe the Triumph 17 is trying to be. The Triumph upper feels like too much, the transition feels a little too slow and the overall effect is kind of meh. I’m sure Jeff and I will disagree on this. 
Jeff: He’s right, we do, and I see where Peter is coming from. But I don’t think the Triumph is trying to be the 1080, to me they feel like the flipside of the same coin. I’ve used the comparison before for sport luxury sedans, and here it fits. The 1080 is the BMW, there’s good luxury, but they are more interested in being sport. And the Triumph is plenty sporty, but like Mercedes they’re trying to be more on the luxurious side of things. I think the 1080 runs smoother, but the Triumph is more comfortable. The 1080 upper is more dialed in, the Triumph upper is more plush. Ultimately, both incredible shoes, but if I had to Sophie’s Choice this, give me the Triumph 17 without a hint of hesitation.
Sam: Agree with Peter and Jeff. The Triumph 17 is “plush” all around and bouncier so a better choice for me for easier days and this despite its somewhat broad heavy heel at slower paces. No question I prefer the 1080v10 upper but miss having a touch more soft bounce of the Triumph in the 1080.  Both share, for me anyways, a fairly stiff somewhat laborious toe off. Slight nod to the 1080 overall. True to size in both.


Skechers Ride 8 Hyper (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. This A/B comparison surprised me, this latest iteration of Fresh Foam feels very similar to Skecher’s HyperBurst - and that’s big praise. Both have world class midsoles that lead to exceptional ride. The 1080 upper is more breathable and stretchy, while the GRR8 midsole just barely has the edge. If cost is no concern, flip a coin and either way you’re getting a great shoe, but if you are watching your budget, it’s hard to justify the extra $ for a little bit better upper, stick with the GRR8.
Sam: I prefer the springy feel of Hyper and the more sophisticated upper of the 1080 which does come at a cost. Both are fairly stiff to toe off at faster paces. Both true to size. Nod to the Ride 8 as it is more exciting to run and a better value.


Salomon Sonic 3 Balance (RTR Initial  Review)
Sam: Somewhat heavier at about 10 oz the Sonic runs way lighter than its weight and lighter than the 1080. It has a state of the art  Optibase midsole combining noticeably higher energy return feel from an Olefin compound instead of EVA and through an insert eerily effective vibration and shock reduction, It is easier to run at all paces and way more energetic at moderate to faster paces. Its upper is somewhat crude in comparison but fine. True to size in both. 


Mizuno Sky Wave Skyknit 3  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. Both have among the best, if not the best, knit uppers in the game. The Mizuno is shockingly more plush across the boards (first time that sentence has ever been written), and doesn’t have the same uptempo pop that the 1080 does. If you are looking for a do-it-all Swiss Army Knife of a shoe, stick with the New Balance, but if you’d like a dedicated easy or long mile shoe, the Mizuno edges it out just barely.
Sam: A full 1.5 oz heavier than 1080. Don’t stop reading. The Sky Wave is for sure heavier, and that is noted, but runs way lighter than its weight. For me it is smoother in ride and more forgiving in cushion from very slow to moderate paces. It doesn’t have the responsive pop of the 1080 but many runs require something softer and easier to move along and Sky Wave fits the bill. As such it is more versatile shoe for more miles than the 1080. One of the few shoes of the many many dozens I have tested this year I always want to reach for if I just want to enjoy a daily run at moderate paces. As with all of the comparisons here, the 1080 upper as with the Sky Wave an engineered knit is superior:  softer, more seamless in fit and equally secure,


Hoka Clifton 6 (RTR Review)
Peter: The NB is smoother and livelier than the Clifton. The clifton is softer for sure--if that’s your thing. 
Sam: Soft Clifton, firmer more responsive 1080. Both are stiffer rides relying on a rocker 1080’s upper is considerably better executed and more comfortable upfront. True to size in both. Neither my ideal but prefer 1080. 


Hoka Elevon 2 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The higher stack height is very noticeable in the Hoka, but the 1080 doesn’t feel lacking by comparison. I’d give the edge to the 1080 in upper (more breathable), midsole (more responsive), outsole (not as loud), and ride (smoother at all speeds, more pop when running fast), so it’s a slam dunk for the 1080 for me.
Sam: Agree with Jeff on upper but not the rest. If you want a stiffer, firner well cushioned hauler the Elevon is well worth looking at for its more effective any pace rocker and consistent ride and this despite the racket from its outsole!


New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon 2 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. I put these shoes opposite each other on a whim, there’s such a weight/purpose disparity they aren’t your standard comparison, but once the Beacon was on the left vs 1080 on the right, it was surprising. So surprising that I went back and changed my score on the 1080’s ride from a 9.5 to 10. I’d thought during testing that the 1080 was the Beacon Plus, but it’s so much more than that. The Beacon felt dull underfoot compared to the 1080. There’s dozens of adjectives I’d use for the Beacon 2, but none of them would even get close to “dull”. It’s more than two ounces lighter than the 1080, and has lots of pop when pushing pace, but during slow runs it doesn’t have the same feeling the 1080 gives. Spend the money on the big brother shoe, get the 1080. You will not be disappointed.
Sam: Less Fresh Foam in the Beacon means a yet firmer faster ride but less overall versatility. 

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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6 comments:

Roy Hampton said...

Many thanks for the in-depth review guys! I'm interested to hear your thoughts on a 1080v10 / Rincon comparison.

Jeff said...

Hi Roy,

That's a great question. I'm not sure who else had the Rincon but I'm recovering from a 50K yesterday followed by 15 miles today so I'm hobbling around pretty badly. Tomorrow afternoon I'll do a left/right comparison with the Rincon/1080v10 and run around the block and give you a detailed comparison.

Barry said...

First off, thanks for the dedication you guys have shown in multiple testing of the latest gear/shoes - really is a help to all us weekend warriors that hit the road.
Seems the three of you have slightly different views of the 1080 V10. Sam, you seem to be a fan of the Sonic 3, in your opinion, is it worth skipping the 1080 and waiting until spring for the Sonic 3?
I am looking for a marathon/long run shoe with decent volume in the toebox and reasonable protection, but not mushy cushioning. As a heel/midfoot striker, the 1080, Sonic 3 and possibly Propel look to be options, or maybe something a bit more conventional like the Rider 23 - any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Thoughts on a comparison vs. the Brooks Glycerin? Thanks for the great review!

Anonymous said...

Looking for a daily trainer to complement the new balance propel. Need a bit more cushion for longer runs, not to firm and good shock absorption. Good for both easy and recovery runs to tempo. Not to heavy. Pace do in propel is around 8.00 mile/5.00kmh so looking at shoe good that can do moderate paces and fun to run in like the propel, considering saucony t17, NB 1080v10 and skechers GRR8 and others thanks. :)

Miki said...

Thank you all for your outstandingly detailed and in-depth reviews. I was surprised not to find the New Balance More among your comparisons, and wonder - is there a reason. If not - which would you recommend for a daily slow training long run.