Tuesday, December 15, 2020

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 Multi Tester Review

Article by Jeff Beck, Cheng Chen, Michael Ellenberger, and Sam Winebaum

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 ($150)

Introduction

Sam: The 1080 is New Balance’s premium “performance” oriented daily trainer. It weighs well under 10 oz at 9.55 oz (same as v10) in a US9, has plentiful somewhat firm and responsive Fresh Foam X cushion stack, and a secure Hypoknit upper and an Ultra Heel which is focused on weight reduction and not added plush. Examined closely, it has few apparent changes from the very well received v10, one of our testers’ top favorites of the last year. New Balance says no major changes or really even minor ones beyond changes to the laser midsole side wall detailing and tweaks to the upper. Why mess with success after the 1080v10 saw huge changes from the v9! But of course there is always room for improvements.. or steps back, some not so obvious! So what more did our testing discover?


Cheng: I’m going to be frank - the 1080v11’s ultimately did not work for me, but I will give as much of a technical review as possible to provide a perspective on how this platform could perform for others. I never tried the v10’s and actually looked forward to the v11’s. In an initial, visual review, I thought the shoe to be well designed. There’s a posterior heel flare accompanied by a rockered sole and a very sharp toe spring, perhaps implying a smooth, guided ride. The toe box appeared amply sized with a stretchy knit material that could shape to any foot. These were among many design choices that I thought would stack together to produce a solid training platform but turned out to be quite the Achilles heel, starting with… the heel.


Jeff: Unlike Cheng, I reviewed the v10, as well as the v9 (and ran in the v8), but just like Cheng, I had one major issue with the v11 - the heel. Sam is correct, the changes from the v10 are very small, with the midsole and outsole being so similar you could easily just write it off as a new release of colorway. Which makes sense, the v10 was a very well cushioned shoe, especially for its weight, and had virtually zero objective problems. It fixed the pervasive heel slip that plagued the v9, and while some runners didn’t appreciate the homage to footwear popular in the North Pole via the flared upper achilles, there weren’t any glaring issues. 


Unfortunately for me, the spacing on the heel changed, but just a little bit, but sometimes that just a little bit is enough. This is my first time experiencing this issue, and I don’t have an oddly shaped heel (like my slightly wider than normal foot or somewhat wide toes), so I can’t really write this off as a “me” problem - though I am curious how many of us are going to have the same experience. Ultimately the v11 is a tale of two halves, an incredible front half, and a very lacking rear half.

Michael: This is my first ever New Balance 1080 (Fresh Foam or otherwise), but I was familiar enough with the past offerings to have a pretty good idea of what was to come here - a little less than the Fresh Foam More, a little more than the 880, Rebel or Fuelcell TC. And while the 1080 didn’t end up amongst my favorite trainers I have run this year released or to be released as the 1080v11, it certainly didn't disappoint - and in fact, I came away pleasantly surprised with the range of this flagship beast.


Pros

Sam: 

A relatively light (9.5 oz) daily training ride focused on serious mileage and faster paces.

Very reasonable weight for cushion

Distinct forward rocker yet also flexible (more flexible than v10)

Very well cushioned heel that doesn’t linger, has lots of pop and doesn’t transmit shock

Fresh Foam X is liviler than old FF but this is not a pillow soft ride, nor has much bounce

Broad stable platform that doesn’t get hung up at midfoot.


Jeff:

Very little changed from an already great shoe

Upper has a nice hold but also good stretch

Midsole/outsole combine to give a great ride with top notch blend of cushioning and flexibility

Cheng:

Lightweight and highly flexible for the stack height

Michael: 

Lightweight, springy, and surprisingly fast - an overall pleasant and engaging ride!

Durability sure to be a plus

    

Cons

Sam:

Somewhat crude, thin, if improved, achilles/heel hold feel

A daily training ride focused on serious mileage and faster paces

Jeff:

The heel cup doesn’t extend far enough back, creating lots of pressure at the back of the foot

The weakest element of the v10, the heel, got much weaker

Cheng:

Heel counter is awkwardly shaped and does not provide significant lock-down

The overly flexible midsole deforms too readily under load at slower paces

Michael: Heel and achilles issues 


Tester Profiles

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. In December 2019 he raced his first 50 mile trail ultra. 

Cheng is a CrossFitter turned runner. He lifts and base builds in the winter while racing in the summer with recent PBs of 5:29 (Mile), 1:28 (Half), and 19:45 (5K). In season, he trains at 50-80 miles per week in shoes ranging from 0-10mm drop, racing in various plated super shoes. He is 5’7” and around 145 lbs.

Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, with an interest in patent and intellectual property law. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He recently secured a 2:31 marathon PR at the Austin Marathon. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 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 just sub 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 163 lbs.


Stats

Estimated Weight:

men's 9.55 oz /271g  (US9)  Samples: men’s 9.2 oz / 261g (US8.5), 10.2 oz / 289g (US10.5), 8.7 oz / 248 g (US8)

Same sample weight as v10

Stack Height: 30mm heel / 22mm forefoot

Drop: 8mm

Available Feb 2021. $150  


First Impressions and Fit

Sam:  Fit is true to size and very similar to v10 with less over the toes pressure from knit as the bumper doesn’t extend as high. Lower midfoot hold is a touch more relaxed while a thinner and a touch firmer tongue and a gusset that is now attached all the way to the heel unlike v10's. The rear top of achilles hold is slightly more flexible and more swept back for a more comfortable hold there.


Cheng: Upon first step-in, I experienced the main issue with this shoe: the heel. While the Achilles flare is all the rage, this implementation was quite odd. On the surface, the materials feel very plush, with a small amount of resilient foam hugging an internal rigid heel counter. However, smooth as it may feel to the hand, it’s perceived as more choppy to the heel. After a few runs, I’ve determined that this sensation is mostly due to the heel not sinking deeply enough into the shoe; and with this particularly light cushioning in the heel cup approach, there simply isn’t enough material nor shape to firmly hold the heel in place.


Jeff: “They sent me the v10” was my first impression, and I dug out my pair of v10 to compare. Quickly I realized no, that is the v11, it’s just VERY similar to the v10. And in some cases I might drag the manufacturer over the coals for phoning it in, but in this case, the v10 was one of the best daily trainers released in 2019, why blow it up and start fresh? Unfortunately, I had virtually the identical experience Cheng did. The heel does not contour deep enough back, creating lots of pressure there during the run. Other shoes may have a similar shape, but the heel is so sparsely padded, the result is simply pain. 


Michael: Without the backdrop of trying the v10 (though I read the review, as I do all RTR publications - what can I say?), I was pleased with the modern fit, feel, and appearance of the Fresh Foam 1080 v11. For a shoe in its eleventh iteration, the 1080 doesn’t feel as though it's a bygone shoe, limping by year-over-year. Instead, the technology here is sophisticated and comfortable - the Hypoknit upper (despite problems below) looks and feels premium, and NB’s Fresh Foam X (“FFx”) is quickly becoming a fan-favorite midsole. My 8.5 review pair fit my foot perfectly, and I was out the door.


Upper

Sam: The upper is New Balance’s Hypoknit  with zonal stretch designed for adaptability and a “compelling visual”. The knit is very similar to v10’s but seems a touch thinner. 

The molded UltraHeel is designed to be close to the foot and reduce weight. Does both but it is not exactly a plush rear fit, more performance. I had none of the pressure issues of my colleagues and even put them back on after my A/B Test to see if I could detect any differences and yes the v11 cup length towards the rear is slightly shallower. Barely detectible and no issue on the run but all or feet are different so...


The midfoot upper is dense and a bit stiff but with the gusset which is now attached all the way to the heel and a thin but densely and adequately padded tongue ( thinner and denser than v10) completely and comfortably looks down the mid foot.


The toe box design and shape is very similar if not identical to the v10 with one significant difference and a positive one for me. 

The toe bumper while of the same firmness does not extend as high or over the toes as v10’s did with it extending almost to the change in color from black to gray on the lateral side.  I had some pressure over the toes in the v10, as I often do with knits and rocker design shoes but not so in the v11 but as I did in the v10 and this was clearly felt during my A/B test. In combination with the slightly thinner knit of the v11, this is one secure and comfortable toe box with the knit providing stretch for wider feet, and my relatively thin foot's bunion. The knit upfront is not overly compressive or loose in feel. So I would say very well tuned!


Cheng: I might be able to explain why it is that Sam did not feel that the upper worked well with the rocker shape. My view of uppers is that those with significant volume should adopt more structured forms to allow the feet to move within the shoe - think Altra. 


Where flexible knit fabrics do best is in a low volume upper, securely wrapping around the feet. With the 1080v11’s, the upper is highly stretchy, flexible, and voluminous to a detriment. It did not produce enough tension to securely hold the foot in place, making the shoe feel sloppy, especially across slower paces. Further, the US 8(D) size did not work well with my wider feet. Instead of wrapping and supporting the lateral side, the material constantly tugged at it to the point of annoyance. I’d like to emphasize that this is not a knock against New Balance, as they provide excellent EE platforms, but know that the stretchy material will not compensate for a wider foot.


Jeff: Sam describes the upper very well. As I mentioned above, this shoe feels like it came from two different design teams - the group that put the front together gets top marks, and the group that worked on the back half needs a few more iterations. I realize that absolutely isn’t the way shoes are designed, but it's really interesting how the shoe is so hit or miss. 

The shaping of it reminds me of the Honda S2000 roadster - the very elongated hood reminds me of the stretched out front of the shoe, it’s just a shame that the rear comes to a screeching halt. 

Michael: The most distinct feature on the 1080 is the new achilles flair, which is also where most of my complaints about the shoe arise - despite a cool visual appearance, and (I assume) an effort to take pressure off our collective sore achilles, the weird jettisoned knit shape never sufficiently locks in your foot, causing some irregularities when wearing high or low socks, and mild irritation across most runs. I never had bleeding or overt blisters, thankfully, but I also spread my testing over several weeks (more on that later).


The rest of the shoe is well-done, and I was pleased with how the 1080 handled both in relatively hot (80+ F) and relatively cold (35 F) weather. There weren’t any breathability issues, but, crucially, there also weren’t any hotspots or niggles as I tested the 1080 on a variety of surfaces and conditions. Setting aside the heel and achilles for a brief moment, I do think New Balance is almost there with the 1080.



Midsole

Sam: The midsole ostensibly remains largely the same as the v10. Same Fresh Foam X, same durometer (firmness), same stack height, same geometry.  


The laser detailing does move from a pattern of holes to mini engraved hexagons inside the larger concave Voronoi hexagons on the lateral side for a more “premium look and feel”. 


The medial side pattern of smaller hexagons, designed for a touch more stability on that side are unchanged.


The v10 was the first model with the new and I definitely think improved Fresh Foam X which in combination with more effective outsole designs have given FF shoes a liviler, slightly softer feeling and a bouncier and more flexible ride. While New Balance told us there is no change in the durometer (firmness) of the midsole, many other factors in the compound can be tweaked to change the feel of the midsole for example density, adding other materials such as TPU, gasses in processing such as CO2 and Nitrogen, etc....


In my A/B test one on each foot with a light mileage v10, I clearly felt the v11 was slightly softer with a touch more rebound, especially at forefoot. The mid foot to rear feel was also slightly softer and the flex slightly more easy. All of these “subtleties” translate for me to a slightly less harsh feel and one that moves the v11 in a more “comfortable” performance rocker design midsole that likes to go fast with plenty of mush free for sure now slightly less firm rebound. 

Cheng: In recent years, there’s been a race to produce ever softer midsoles in the goal of pleasing runners with a plush ride. This has often been reduced to a discussion around the durometer of the midsole. 


However, I’d like to point out that there are many other quantitative material properties that might not be felt immediately with a squeeze, namely the modulus of elasticity. Without going into an engineering discussion, the modulus of a given substrate measures the ability of that material to deform under load. For foam, think of it as how bouncy it is as opposed to how soft. For instance, when you squeeze eTPU midsoles like Boost, it might feel hard and measure with a high durometer score (stiffer), but it is actually more bouncy due to its inherently high modulus. 


The golden material that the industry is trending toward is one with a high modulus and low durometer - plushy and bouncy! With the 1080v11’s, my view is that New Balance chose to focus on a lower durometer, soft feel at the sacrifice of elasticity, resulting in a somewhat awkward ride.

Jeff: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sam is the best around. I spent about 15 minutes doing an A/B test and came away with “it’s the same shoe underneath” but after reading Sam’s comparison, nope, he’s right. The v11 forefoot is just a little softer. It’s subtle, and you likely need to have one on each foot (as opposed to running in one pair, then the other), but there’s just ever so much of a difference. That said, I don’t think it’s going to change anything for any runners. If you liked the midsole of the v10, you’ll like this, and the same for the seven folks who disliked it. When it comes down to it, the v11 midsole is the Gold Standard for lots of cushioning in a nice, relatively lightweight package that works well for cruising miles or even fast ones. If you’re one of those runners that wants one shoe to do everything, you probably have your shoe.


Michael: There’s a lot to like here (and yes, that’s praise for the stack height). New Balance’s Fresh Foam X isn’t super soft, the way you may expect a flagship cruiser to feel, but instead it’s something better - liviler, springier, and a touch more flexible throughout the midsole. That flexibility comes in handy with such a big shoe, I think - instead of this feeling like a thick slab of foam strapped to the bottom of your foot, it presents more like a mid-tier or even low-stack trainer, giving you a taste of road feel without suffering the discomfort of limited-cushion trainers. I’ll cover this more in the Ride section, but Fresh Foam X’s springiness also makes the 1080v11 feel more akin to a performance trainer than classic mileage hog at quicker paces, which makes the shoe all the more appealing for those who want a do-it-all option.


Outsole

Sam: The outsole is pretty much unchanged from v10 in design. It does appear the front pads are slightly more separated from each other which I think translates to a small touch more front softness and also flexibility on toe off something I could just just sense on the run.


The rear blue rubber is firmer than the front teal but only slightly more so as the front is not the soft soft rubber seen on many shoes contributing here to the responsive feel.


The lug array grips well on all surfaces but this is not a shoe I will be taking on snow covered roads.


Cheng: The one aspect of the 1080v11 that I thought worked well was its outsole. It isn’t the most grippy material, but it is definitely flexible while providing good traction. My testing for this shoe was mostly done on concrete and asphalt, so I don’t have much to say in terms of outsole performance on trail.


Jeff: A year ago I lauded the v10 for using softer rubber and having enough flex grooves to make the shoe a solid balance between traction, durability, and flexibility, and nothing has changed there. There’s no weakness in the outsole, and while I still wouldn’t make it a trail shoe, it has plenty of grip.



Michael: The only thing I wish we had from the outsole was a bit more depth to the lugs, because I noticed that in wet conditions, while I wouldn’t say traction was concerning, it didn’t seem to handle quite as squarely as you may expect from a trainer in this class. 


Ride

Sam: The Fresh Foam 1080v11 has a solid, well cushioned, firmer daily training ride. With its rocker profile in the mix it is a shoe that leans faster rather than slower paces. I did not find them as enjoyable a tslower recovery paces than pushed to tempo and faster daily paces. At slower paces they are bit firm and awkward particularly at the heel. Those familiar with the ride of the v10 will be right at home here with a touch softer feeling cushion especially at the forefoot.


Cheng: This was where the shoe ultimately failed for me. I agree with Sam that at higher paces, the ride does become more alive. My cadence does not change much between easy and faster paces. Instead, the stride length increases and ground contact time decreases. With the 1080v11’s, I felt that only when ground contact was short at higher paces was I able to effectively engage the rocker shape. Anything slower and the experience deforms into a combination of all the problems I’ve mentioned thus far: the ride is mushy, the upper holds awkwardly, and the midsole feels overly soft.


Jeff: I can’t always agree with Sam, and this is where our paths diverge. I think the ride is very enjoyable at slower paces. There I said it. Sure, it feels better when the pace jumps, but I’ve been running very slowly slowly for the last few months due to heart rate training (and compared to most of my colleagues, my fast paces are slow, so there’s that) and most of my 1080v11 mileage was very easy - and it was a nice smooth ride the whole way through. The geometry of the rocker works well without being too much, and while it is out of its weight class against the Saucony Triumph (a real recovery shoe) it is more versatile than Saucony’s biggest offering.


Michael: I quite liked the 1080 at both faster and slower paces, and was surprised at how apt it feels when turning over near tempo efforts - not something you expect from a shoe with this much stack. Indeed, as noted above, the long test period New Balance allocated us from shipment to review date meant I was able to take this shoe on runs both during high-mileage, more crucial training sessions this fall, and on slower, considerably more relaxed sessions with friends in the latter months. That range made me appreciate the 1080 even more as a show that can do it all - which, again, is not what I had expected from a flagship cushioned offering. 


Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Why mess with success! The v11 subtly improves on the v10 with a slightly softer ride, a bit smoother transition, lighter weight, and tuning of the upper with the less extensive toe bumper, something I particularly noticed. Not exactly the most “plush” of uppers (especially at the heel/achilles), or ride, its light weight for cushion at 9.5 oz and responsive faster focused firmer ride and rocker make it a solid daily training option that is less couch for your feet easy cruiser than a purposeful protective faster training paces option.


While much improved Fresh Foam X lacks some of the bounce/spring/liveliness of other midsole foams such as PWRUN, Zoom X, Hyperburst, Flytefoam Blast and New Balance’s fine FuelCell foam in the TC as it has a more traditional denser firmer feel. The midsole could use more modern jazz or a touch more softness and bounce to really shine for me. 

Sam’s Score: 9.17 / 10

Ride: 9.3 (50%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style: 9.3 (5%)


Cheng: While I might have given a dissenting opinion of this shoe, the 1080v11’s certainly has a customer base that could work well with it, just not me. Specifically, this shoe could be great for those looking to do higher pace workouts with a light and flexible platform with a lot of protective foam. This shoe could also be a good beginning-runner companion provided that the individual does not have overly wide feet. The mushy softness at slower paces would be perceived as a pleasant plushness of ride. Outside of these two cases, I’m having trouble recommending it to other runners. Beautiful as the 1080v11’s might be, they didn’t work for me.

Cheng’s Score: 7.55/10

Ride: 7.5 (50%) Fit: 7.0 (30%) Value: 8.0 (15%) Style: 10.0 (5%)


Jeff: Just about every sport has the cliche “it’s a game of inches” but in this case, it feels like it was a game of millimeters and we lost. The heel and it’s lack of depth effectively flavored every run I had in the v11, and while there were some minor improvements over the v10, the fit was a nightmare for me. It’s hard to appreciate a slightly more cushioned forefoot when the blisters start before mile two. And clearly it isn’t just me, as Cheng faced the same problem, though I hope it isn’t a widespread issue - because otherwise it’s a great shoe. In a year where very few things have gone wrong in running shoes, I think it’s safe to say that 2020 mayl be remembered for the great heel debacle of the 1080. Or other things.

Jeff’ Score 7.8/10

Ride: 10 (50%) Fit: 4 (30%) Value: 8 (15%) Style: 8 (5%)


Michael: Reading my fellow reviewers’ conclusions is particularly illuminating - not just in observing how everyone came down on this shoe (we are, of course, running all across the country on different sorts of terrain and all manner of paces), but also in appreciating how much each reviewer values certain elements more than others. Having a disappointing upper (at least from the tongue and backwards) is a frustration, to be sure. I had to think twice about my sock selection, and tried to avoid wearing the 1080 on back-to-back days during my initial testing. But! for me, having a high-cushion daily trainer that can also get-up-and-move when you need it should be assigned a high value. I appreciate a flagship trainer that can perform as well (or nearly as well) as New Balance’s more performance-specific offerings. The 1080v11 is not perfect, and without a v10 to compare it to, I can’t even say whether it's an improvement - but it’s a rock solid trainer with an exciting upside, and one I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. Some tweaks to that upper (and heck, maybe another half-ounce shaved off, just because!) and NB’s v12 will cement its place in the flagship echelon.

Michael’s Score: 9.2/10


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. Overally, probably the least amount of changes from one model to the next, unfortunately the heel is a deal killer for me. Even if you have the world’s shallowest heels - I’d suggest checking out the v10, if only for the last year’s model price point.

Sam: Very slightly softer in the forefoot, a bit smoother in transition with a touch more over the toes volume than v10 due to the changes in the toe bumper for me this update makes relatively minor but welcome changes. I had none of the achilles and heel issues of my colleagues and in my 7 mile decent tempo A/B test (see video below) noticed no real differences in that area.


New Balance FreshFoam More v2 (RTR Review)

Michael: Both true-to-size, and both finicky in the lacing and lockdown categories. The More felt almost like a top-shelf trainer of yesteryear, with a really odd lacing mechanic that I couldn’t quite get right, and a tried-and-true cushion that sure was nice for recovery, but lacked the upside the 1080 presents. Both are impressive trainers, but unless you really need the cushion, I think the 1080 is a more dynamic and engaging shoe.

Sam: I agree with Michael. The More v2’s higher volume, kind of crude in feel upper could be a better choice for higher volume feet and amazingly it actually weighs less than the 1080 likely due to upper. 


New Balance 880v10 and 11  (RTR Review)

Sam: The 880 is a much more traditional take on a Fresh Foam daily trainer. It has a 10 mm drop vs the 4mm of the 1080, weighs about the same, has the same Fresh Foam X midsole and is flexible rather than rocker profile. Its upper and particularly achilles heel collars are more conventional and comfortable, While not quite as well cushioned, I find it more versatile at a wider range of paces.


New Balance Fuel Cell TC  (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The TC was one of (if not the first) carbon plated super shoes to be released as a trainer, and not as a racer. Even though my pair is closing in on a year old and has over 200 miles on them, they still have a great soft squish paired with an outstanding pop at toe off. They can be a little on the unstable side, and I know several runners who have had issues with upper durability, but it is really a special shoe. As good as the 1080v11 midsole is, in an A/B test against their premium trainer, it’s no comparison, the TC is a rock star.


Michael: Hard to vote against the TC in basically any comparison. Soft, springy, and with perhaps more range than the 1080, I’d take the TC every time, if you can get past the $200 price tag.


ASICS Glideride 2  (RTR Review)

Cheng: The Glideride should be crowned as an industry-leading example of how to implement significant rockers. It utilized the large stack height in a manner that both provided cushioning while creating structure for the aggressive shape. Unlike the 1080v11’s, the Glideride’s shape did not deform at slower paces, but rather performed to guide the runner through the ground contact phase. This is somewhat suppressed at higher paces, but otherwise works well. Polarizing as the OG Glideride was, I still favor it over the 1080v11’s.


Michael: I have the same introduction as Cheng, but come out the other way - while the GlideRide is a terrific use of a midsole rocker, I think the 1080 is generally a more accessible and enjoyable trainer for most runners. Those who have tried the GlideRide and know what they want can disregard, but runners choosing fresh between the two will appreciate the 1080 not only for its familiarity, but also for its range.


Sam: I agree with both the guys! Two different approaches to a rocker ride here. The Glideride is a very directed equally cushioned, with a wider range of paces ride if a firmer ride due to its front hardened EVA propulsion plate while the 1080 is more conventional in ride yet also has a rocker shape in the mix. The 1080 is more “pleasing” to run for me while the Glideride with a superior upper is a more effective if very different feeling way to keep aligned and go fast in a more maximailly cushioned shoe,


Nike Tempo Next%  (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. Similar to the TC, it’s a super shoe that’s not just a racer, however, that’s where the similarities end for me. The unique nature of the outsole (if you look at the shoe from the side, the middle of it doesn’t touch the ground) means a very awkward landing for those of us who land midfoot. As much as I’ve wanted to like the Tempo Next%, and it’s incredibly comfortable on the foot, it’s on the opposite end of the smooth spectrum from the 1080. Heel issues be damned, it’s still a better running shoe than the Tempo Next% for me.

Sam: Designed to do how what it is named as the Tempo shines at...tempo paces especially  longer distance ones with its uniquely bionic disconnected from road and even legs in motion ride. I am a heel striker and find it more forgiving and faster than the 1080. It’s ride is less about a rocker than a drive to the rebounding giant Zoom Air Pod which collapses and tips you forward to toe off. At $200 it is considerably more expensive.


Saucony Ride 13  (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size.If you take away my heel issue with the 1080, these shoes are six and half dozen. They both have comfortable uppers that have the right amount of space in places, and the right amount of lockdown. The 1080 midsole is just a touch softer, which I like, and both outsoles are great. Both shoes work at all speeds, though I give the firmer Ride the edge on faster pace runs. If you factor in the heel issue, it’s no question, the Ride is a beast. Saucony really outdid themselves with that shoe.

Sam: A more conventional shoe with an 8mm drop and a flexible forefoot (vs rocker in the 1080) the Ride 13 has copious rubber bars up front which give it a distinct response to go with the slight bounce from its PWRUN TPU/EVA blend midsole. It weighs somewhat more at 10.15 oz and is $20 less  and in my view as with the similar and competing 880 is a more versatile daily trainer than the 1080.


Saucony Endorphin Shift (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. Another shoe that lines up very well across from the 1080. The Shift has a more cushioned, yet firmer ride, and the rocker geometry is a little more pronounced. The 1080 is a really good do-it-all shoe, but the Shift might be the best do-it-all shoe. Go Endorphin for me.


Michael: Agreed with Jeff entirely. The 1080v11 comes close, but the Endorphin Shift remains the king of the cushion. Saucony has found magic, and I hope they don’t change it.


Nike Zoom Pegasus 37 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The 37 was my first exposure to the Pegasus, and I liked it more than most. The airbag in the forefoot was noticeable, but not necessarily a detractor. They have a firmer ride, and definitely more uptempo than the 1080, while the 1080 upper feels far more premium than the Nike. The 1080 is more versatile, and feels better at slower paces.


Michael: I found the 1080 to be softer and more pleasant at both fast and slow paces, and while the upper on the Pegasus is a bit more polished (37 years of experience may do that!), I think the 1080 is a more fun and dynamic ride overall. Go New Balance.


Topo Zephyr  (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. Similar stack heights, but the 1080 feels much softer underfoot; perhaps the plate or it’s Topo’s choice midsole material. The Topo wins the toebox competition hands down, and the upper fits just right in about seven different ways. Similar usage, but I think the 1080 is better for slower runs, and the Zephyr, while good during slow stuff, really shows up during faster runs.


Mizuno Wave Rider Neo (RTR Review coming soon)

Jeff: Both fit true-to-size. The Neo is the premium non-US version of Mizuno’s bread-and-butter trainer Wave Rider, it features a midsole completely made of their newest midsole material Enerzy, while the WR24 for the US features Enerzy only in the heel. NB stack height is a little higher, but level of protection between the two shoes is very comparable. The non-stretch properties of the Neo upper are nice, because they give plenty of room up front and lock down the midfoot well. If you can get your hands on a pair, definitely check out the Neo.


Salming Greyhound (RTR Review)

Cheng: I’d pick the Greyhound’s over the 1080v11’s any day, any workout. The Greyhound’s plasticy upper did not work for many runners, but I found that once broken in, it provided a voluminous toebox that securely held the foot. Further, the midsole did a fantastic job of both being soft and bouncy. It didn’t implement a rocker like the 1080’s - just a solid, flat shape with lots of traction ala-Vibram.

Sam: While the underfoot ride was fantastic in the Greyhound the Vibram outsole while super durable was overdone and I never could get the plasticky upper to work for me, a rarity. 


The 1080v11 releases February 2021

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The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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5 comments:

Ben said...

Under stats you list the drop as 4mm. I think it's 8mm?

MrChengChen said...

Ben, good catch - I believe it's now updated.

A-Fly said...

Comparison to the Clifton 7?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi A-Fly,
Sorry for delay in responding. Clifton is softer, bouncier and less stable. Both have rocker type profiles.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Boy, Cheng's writing is so annoying to read! Like banging your head into a brick wall over and over.