Article by Bryan Lim, Jeff Beck, Sally Reiley, Beto Hughes and Mac Jeffries
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 ($160)
Bryan: I will start with a disclaimer that I have not worn any previous versions of the 1080 and to be honest this version did not work for me, as I suffered foot pain on every run in it. What I do know is that there is a greater volume of Fresh Foam X injected into v12 than v11 in terms of platform width, although there has been no change in stack and drop. The 1080s place in the New Balance lineup remains that it sits in between the maximalist More (not to say the 1080 is not a maximalist shoe in itself!) and the more traditional 880 v1 in terms of cushioning. I will provide thoughts about this down in the review, but looking past the pain, I did enjoy my runs in them to an extent. I will strive to give a technical review that gives credit to aspects of the shoe where due.
Comfortable and well-cushioned plush upper that stretches to fit the foot - Sally/Beto/Jeff/Mac
Delightfully soft underfoot - Sally/Beto/Jeff
NB did away with the miserable (IMO) high “Ultra Heel” heel counter of the V11 - Sally/Jeff
Smoother and more flexible ride - Sally/Beto/Bryan/Jeff
Very soft underfoot feel just about perfect dense feel for heavier runners - Beto/Jeff
Wider front platform feels more stable at any pace - Beto/Bryan/Sally/Jeff/Mac
A bit heavy compared to comparative daily trainers - 1 oz/ 28g more than previous version - Sally/Bryan
Not true to size, runs long for size and is very wide in the midfoot - Sally/Jeff
Bottom heavy - Bryan
Ride not the liveliest as compared to other maximalist trainers - Bryan/Jeff/Mac
Bryan is a road and trail runner living in Melbourne, Australia. He is a consistent sub 1:25 half marathoner and is presently chasing a sub 3-hour marathon. He is 176cm/ 5'9" tall and weighs about 65kg / 143lbs.
Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 30 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.
Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past eight Boston Marathons, one Chicago, and two NYC Marathons, with a Boston PR of 3:29 and a NYC PR of 3:26, good for 2nd place AG. Along the way she has raised over $240,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. She has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04), Half Marathon (1:37), 5 Mile, and 5K. She ran the NYC Marathon in 2019 to commemorate her 60th birthday and finished 2nd in her age group with a time of 3:28:39, a feat she repeated in 2021 when she ran NYC again with an all time PR of 3:26:54 (a few weeks after 5th at Boston in 3:32:24). Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.
Mac is a former 275 lbs American football defensive lineman who took up running at age 30. Now, at 6’4” (193cm) 200 lbs (91kg) , he has PRs of 19:19, 1:33:xx, and 3:19:xx.
Beto Hughes Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico
32 yrs old, Height: 5’10,, Weight: 195 lbs
I started running in 2016 and training to lose weight. I used to weigh 295 lbs and between running and Crossfit began my love for the fitness life and for running. I am now aiming to be a Boston Qualifier.
Weekly mileage: 60 - 75 miles
Favorite distances: Marathon, Half Marathon and Ultra Marathon.
You can follow me on Instagram @betohughes https://www.instagram.com/betohughes/
Weight: men's 10.30 oz / 292g (US9) / women's 8.8 oz / 249 g (US8)
men’s 12.4 oz / 354 g (US12.5), 10.30 oz / 292g (US9), US 11.14 oz / 316g (US10.5)
women’s (US 8): 8.8 oz / 249 g
Stack Height: men’s mm 34 heel / 26 mm forefoot
$160. Available April 2022
Prior Version: 1080 v11 RTR review: HERE
First Impressions and Fit
Bryan: With a quick background read about v11 and its achilles heel, pun intended, I was pleased that the v12 was redesigned with a simpler upper with no heel flair. The shoe fits true to size with no immediate or subsequent issues or slippage. The Hypoknit feels premium and moderately secure, instilling a sense of security unlike most other knit shoes I’ve worn. It’s a good start! Oh, and I received a bright Orange pair which screams go fast!
Sally: I have been a fan of the NB 1080 line as cushioned daily trainers, but I was NOT a fan of the V11. The Ultraheel or whatever they called that uncomfortable heel counter was a deal breaker for me. So I was excited to see that the V12 scrapped that miserable heel and went back to a traditional and well-cushioned heel counter.
One can’t help but notice the very bright colorways - my women’s sample is a bright mango-apricot-orange with hot pink accents and a big stack of white foam. I must admit to liking this colorway more and more, and I definitely get comments of “I like your shoes” from strangers. This shoe is blissfully comfortable and feels delightfully but not overly soft underfoot, right out of the box.
New Balance typically runs true to size for me, sometimes a bit wide for my narrow foot, but this sample seems to be way too large both in length and in width for my usual W8. More on that later, let’s see how it feels on the run!
Jeff: The 1080 has been on a roller coaster profile of ups and down over the last few years, with last year’s v11 being a massive disappointment from the v10’s previous high point - so I opened the box of the v12 with some trepidation. Would the heel issues of v11 continue (not just slipping, but awkwardly short causing pain with every step?) and would the midsole continue to be “fine, but kind of underwhelming?” As much as I admired the bright orange colorway, and I did, I had to throw them on to see how they ended up. I’ll go into things in much greater detail below, but the short answer is, I had a massive grin on my face from the first moment, and it hasn’t gone away.
As for fit, it’s a big shoe. Both in length, where it runs about a half-size up. Granted, as a big trainer having some extra room up front isn’t the worst thing ever, and if I pick up a second pair of these down the road (which could very well happen, that’s how much I’m still enjoying this shoe) I wouldn’t size down, but I could see runners who appreciate a tidier fit would go that route.
Also, the shoe is very high volume. My foot measures between D and 2E, and it took a little bit of dialing in the lacing to get a good foot hold, so I’d imagine true D width feet, and especially narrow footed runners, are going to have some issues there.
Beto: The 1080 has been one of my favorite high cushioned daily trainers for when I need extra soft foam. The 1080v10 was one of my favorite versions. The Hyponit fitted my foot shape perfectly, the Ultra Heel was ok for me with no issues, and the Fresh Foam X on the v10 was soft and bouncy, a very enjoyable ride especially for long runs. I didn’t like the new upper of the 1080 v11. It fitted nice but not as well as the v10. The UltraHeel was meh for me, no issues but it felt different than v10’s.
And now the 1080v12 arrives fixing those issues with no Ultra Heel, a new upper, gaining 1oz in weight and with a wider platform up front. The shoe feels very soft and comfortable and the upper fits my wide foot but the size is a bit long and fits my US12.5 size foot a bit wide and long but with no issues.
Mac: If I could only try these on in a shoe store, I would buy them in a heartbeat. First off, they are dang good looking in the flare orange that I received. I know that is subjective, and I don’t care: if you don’t think these are hot, then you need hot lessons. It must be hard to balance simplicity of design with eye-catching aesthetics, but the 1080v12 nails it. Secondly, they are extremely comfortable on-foot; that goes for the upper as well as the midsole. No pressure points, just slide them on, lace them up (maybe cinch them down a hair tighter than normal), and out the door you go!
Bryan: The Hypoknit is one of the most impressive knit uppers I’ve worn to date. It's one of those uppers where you really need to think about it hard to analyze its merits and shortcomings because it's so forgettable, in a good way - slip it on and off you go with no fit issues to think about. It's plush, accommodating in all the right ways and breathable. The upper features zonal stretchability, where the top of the forefoot is less structured and more breathable than the side walls, which are structured with a varying stitch pattern, which is also found in the toe bumper. The toe bumper is reinforced and works well. The knit overall worked a treat for me, but people with narrow feet may find the forefoot overly voluminous.The gusseted tongue is also well padded and holds its position well during runs. I found no issues with the flat laces.
Without much background about the heel flair in v11, the heel cup and overall rear of the shoe worked well for me. As in the image below, the knit upper in the midfoot continues to wrap around the heel of the shoe, unlike that in the v11 which presented itself as a new ‘section’ per se, with a different material and more skeletal construction used (see below).
Back to basics, it seems, but to mirror Occum’s Razor, simpler is in this case better. The heel cup features two spotted rubbery pieces on the medial and lateral side (see image below) connected by a gray plastic-like reinforced band that curves to lock down the runner’s heel or calcaneus. Like the rest of the upper, it works! I found there to be no heel slippage on my runs.
Sally: The Hypoknit upper is super stretchy, soft to the touch, and seems to have the ability to stretch to accommodate any foot shape.
It is also wonderfully breathable. The gusseted tongue is padded well enough without being overly thick, and the flat stretchy laces are of a just right length and work well. Everything shouts comfort here. The heel lockdown was solid. But the sizing is way off on my pair, both too long and too wide and spacious in the forefoot and midfoot.
My midfoot was swimming in this shoe. The forefoot is very voluminous, which would be great for high volume wide feet, but made for a challenging fit for my narrow foot. I typically like a lot of space at the front of the big toes, but this simply felt like the wrong size (too large) for me.
Given that this sample pair of V12 Women’s US W8 weighs 25 g more than the US W8 V 11 (shown left above), perhaps the sizing is mislabeled? If not, then I would recommend runners size down at least one half size in this shoe.
Jeff: I would echo just about everything positive my colleagues above have written. This is my favorite knit upper in a running shoe, full stop. The construction of it works well, with many knit uppers fumbling the execution of the tongue, and in this case, the tongue is great. I’ve been dealing with 1080 heel slip since they got a little funky with the v9, though with all three previous version I could defeat the problem with a lace lock (though that didn’t help the short heel pressing hard into the back of my foot in the v11) - but no lace lock needed here. The v12 heel just works, and while some may see it as a bit of an homage to the various “elf shoes” we’ve seen over the last few years, in person, it doesn’t flare out all that much.
I’m not sure what function it serves, but there’s a rubber texture on each side of the heel that’s an interesting design element, and if you are one of those runners who rubs your shoes together as you run, you may find that to be your best friend of worst enemy - either reinforcing what would be an early failure point or causing more damage on the other shoe.
Toebox height and width are both good. There’s lots of stretch in both directions, and the slightly unnecessary toe bumper doesn’t get in the way. The overall width is just a little loose in the midfoot, though I truly believe that’s more of a function of just how wide the midsole’s platform is, rather than an oversized upper.
Beto: The Hyponit upper is a knit and New Balance nailed the comfort of the shoe. The upper felt soft and secure and stretched to accommodate different foot shapes without sacrificing the secure elements of the upper so my foot felt secure, very comfortable, with the heel very secure so an update we all can appreciate.
The gusseted tongue is well padded and holds the midfoot very securely and very comfortably when lacing tight if you need to.
The toe bumper is reinforced and helps to keep the shape of the shoe. There are small knitted holes that look like holes but they are sealed and the upper still feels breathable so that’s a good to mention. The lockdown is very secure once you tighten the laces The knit stretches just enough to feel comfortable and the best part it stays in place even if you take the shoe off without unlacing and you put the shoe the next day without unlacing it, something I only did on the v10 so a very secure upper. The new heel counter is soft on the inside and has structure that can be felt on the outside so no heel slippage and it keeps the heel secure all the run.
Mac: This is one of the most comfortable uppers I have tried. Granted, you may want to cinch it down if you are picking up the pace, but the stretch of the Hypoknit is just wonderful: the barely noticeable extra structure around the laces allow you to lock down the midfoot, while the forefoot and toes are allowed to breathe. Zero pressure felt on my tailor’s bunion, heel firmly locked in… 10/10 here.
Bryan: The 1080 is the 880’s big brother with a greater stack height and consequently is constructed with more Fresh Foam X volume wise although the newest 880 v12 gets a wider platform than previously. It certainly is obvious on runs as the 1080 is far more fun and protective as compared to the 880 v11, which is more of a traditional everyday trainer. Whilst cushioned and almost soft, I found the ride to be quite muffled as compared to Hoka’s Profly construction and foams used in the Mach 4 and especially Asics’ FlyteFoam Blast used in the Novablast 2. Objectively, the Fresh Foam X presented in the 1080v12, whilst a little dull as compared to other offerings, rides well with an effective rocker up front. Transitions were smooth and its responsiveness is well suited to adapting to changes in pace.
However, I would not recommend these shoes for speed sessions given its weight. Perhaps my biggest gripe about the sheer volume of Fresh Foam X used is that the 1080v12 feels quite bottom heavy, which is accentuated by the very accommodating upper.
Sally: I place the 1080 V12 in the happy middle between the 880 V12 and the Fresh Foam More V3. All are great shoes on different points on the continuum of stack height and foam thickness and softness. The 1080 V12 is downright FUN to run in. It feels well-cushioned and plush and soft underfoot, yet smooth and flexible and even bouncy. There is somewhat of a rocker effect as you roll forward to less foam under the toes. The Fresh Foam X responds well to pushing the pace and the shoe feels surprisingly great at faster pickups (surprising because of its weight).
Jeff: YES. This is the midsole I’d been waiting for in the 1080, though I understand why it won’t be for everyone. It’s still Fresh Foam X, which I’ve come to think of as really soft and a little underwhelming, but somehow in the mixture of the shoe’s geometry and stack height, they’ve made this shoe way more versatile. No longer the purely recovery day shoe like the Fresh Foam More v3, this is a midsole that isn’t super bouncy or exciting, but not so soft to get in your way while you run your easy miles. Definitely not the shoe to wear during speed work or any uptempo run, but it’s the shoe to wear for the other 90% of your miles.
Beto: The Fresh Foam X in the 1080 v12 comes in a new geometry so for me it felt a bit different than the previous version specially from the v10. The wider front platform feels more stable than previous versions, the shoe has a hint of a More v3 feel where you don’t feel the road and just feel how soft the midsole it so very good for those recovery days or long miles where comfort is key.
The shoe’s rocker geometry is something I really liked. You can start easy pace and the shoe rolls and when when I am in my easy pace from 6 min/km to 5:30 min/km the rocker feels very nice and when you push the pace to 5min/km the rocker keeps you going with ease with a very enjoyable, soft and a bit bouncy ride, and very stable one too with the wide platform upfront something that can be felt right away. The weight wasn’t an issue for me as they don’t feel heavy on foot to me but a good shoe to run easy miles + strides but not for faster efforts. I think they lack a bit of response at faster efforts.
Mac: This is where the 1080v12 starts to lose me. Fresh Foam X is great for shock absorption, and that is exactly what this shoe is designed for: generous amounts of shock absorption for heavy mileage (and possibly heavy runners!) If you want a soft shoe that doesn’t allow you to feel the road, then this may be the shoe for you.
Bryan: The outsole seems relatively unchanged from v11, albeit with larger ‘lugs’. The design is well thought out, with lug segments separated to promote flexibility in the shoe. Note also that the blue rubber used in the fore- and rearfoot is firmer than the orange rubber used in the midfoot. Some weight saving has been achieved through creating lugs as an extension of the midsole in the rear decoupling. I’ve only tested the shoe in dry conditions and it generally works well, but there is noticeable wear even just after 20km/12.5 miles in.
Jeff: Bryan describes it well, though I’ve worn my pair on a variety of wet surfaces between some snow and slush, and the traction has been just fine. I’ve got more than 25 miles between the treadmill and outdoors, and definitely seeing some wear on the outsole, especially in the front rubber which is incredibly soft.
Sally: The outsole works well and checks all the boxes for me: good traction and grip, durable, no gravel-grabbers, and not too loud (sorry, Nike VF!). After 30 miles on my pair, there is no noticeable wear at all (but bear in mind that I am a light weight runner that rarely puts wear on the outsoles of my shoes).
Beto: I agree with the other testers. The outsole works very well, I'd like to say it is going to be durable and has very good traction one any surface. As far as durability, I'll mention that I see some wear after my 57 miles on the shoe and I’m a heavy runner with the only wear on my lateral side thanks to my supination but it is minimal and at the front where I toe off on my run there is more wear than I expected. There is a lot of rubber outsole so I still believe it is a durable shoe so time will tell. (Picture Below)
Mac: Outsoles are like deep-snappers in American football: if you don’t notice them, then they are probably doing their job, and that’s how I would classify this one. It doesn’t take any risks, and it offers great traction and expected durability. No problems here.
Bryan: The 1080v12 generally rides well despite being bottom heavy. It did cause some tolerable foot pain during initial runs but started to improve as the Fresh Foam X was broken in and started to soften a little. .To describe it, the ride is cushioned, protective and firm-ish. While the rocker promotes smooth transitions and turnover, the shoes’ overall heavy weight is more suited to daily training and recovery paces. As mentioned, the shoe is pretty adept at pace changes, and is capable of bouts at quicker paces. It certainly does not have the New Balance TC’s (a different beast in itself) flair at maintaining speed.
Jeff: I would agree, this isn’t a fast shoe, or even the shoe I’d recommend slower runners wear on race day for a half or full marathon, but I wouldn’t put it even close to the firm camp when comparing it to similarly designed shoes. Its under foot protection is top notch, and while it won’t bring a smile to your face with its bounce, it’s likely to make you happy with how well it performs as a “what you see is what you get” kind of shoe. For me it’s got Goldilocks-levels of cushioning and softness, with an incredibly stable platform, and just a hint of rocker geometry that keeps the shoe from ever feeling sluggish.
Sally: The 1080 V12 provides a delightfully comfortable, well cushioned ride with some lively softness underfoot. It isn’t the OMG wow so bouncy ride of some current high stack shoes, but rather a smooth, flexible, natural rocker like ride abetted by less foam under the toes. This is a great easy miles cruising shoe for your daily training run enjoyment. And I do find this ride enjoyable! I appreciate Jeff’s analogy that this is the Goldilocks of cushioning and softness, where the 880 v11 might be on the firmer side and the FF More V3 on the softer side. The 1080 V12 is just right.
Beto: The 1080v12 is very soft, with just enough firmness when landing to not feel a sink in feel yet is very protective from the road. The ride is soft and comfortable but don’t expect the 1080 to be a fast shoe. It works best at easy and moderate paces or during a progressive run where you start easy and then finish fast. For faster efforts the shoe lacks responsiveness and I believe that is due to the softness of the midsole feeling different than the v11 but in a good way softer and more comfortable. This is a shoe that I recommend for heavy runners that want a soft ride but not as much stack as let’s say the More v3 which is my favorite maximalist cushioned shoe.
Mac: It’s soft. Not squishy, out of control soft, but the 1080 v12 definitely focuses on shock absorption at the expense of energy return. I feel like this makes the runner work a little harder, so I see it as a great mileage hog more than a recovery day shoe, although most any runner should be perfectly happy in these at any of their more relaxed paces. Picking up the pace - and after stopping to relace a little tighter - I could tell that I was getting very little feedback from the shoe. It was as if the energy from each footstrike were being dissipated, which might be great if you are coming back from a stress injury, or not-so-great if you are trying to hit certain paces.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Bryan: There’s generally nothing wrong with the shoe, and aside from the upper which is phenomenally good for knit, nothing else really stands out. As mentioned, the 1080v12 caused some grief early on in the testing with foot pain but eased as the shoe was broken in. The ride whilst not bad, pales in comparison to its competition. Fresh Foam X lacks the bounce and liveliness of PWRRUN (including PB), FFBlast, ZoomX, and even Hoka Profly and New Balance’s very own FuelCell. The main strength of a maximalist trainer like the 1080v12 is protection, but its competitors can also do the same. Whilst I appreciate the redesign of the upper, the shoe did not work for me.
Bryan’s Score: 7.50/10
Ride: 6.5 (50%) Fit: 10.0 (30%) Value: 8.0 (15%) Style: 9.0 (5%)
Jeff: I’ve been wanting to like the 1080 more than I did since I first ran in the v8. It just kept feeling like New Balance had missed the mark in every iteration, and even when it got everything mostly right in the v10, it was somewhat underwhelming to others. The v12 breaks that streak. I don’t know if I’ve been very often more enamored with a shoe that I would also term.. a little on the boring side. There’s no massive bounce, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s the right level of soft, plenty protective regardless of your running surface, the upper is a masterclass in knit construction, and the wide platform borders on too wide, but the result is a well cushioned big mileage monster, and we don’t have enough of those.
Jeff’s Score: 9.5 /10
Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)
Sally: The 1080 V12 is already one of my top daily trainers of 2022. It is a very well-cushioned comfortable shoe with a pleasantly soft but not overly soft ride, perfect for your daily training easy miles. This is NOT your race day shoe, but your everyday workhorse that will respond impressively well to a quicker pace, but prefers the smooth cruising paces. Thank you, New Balance, for listening to our feedback on the V11, the prior model, and doing away with the miserable ultraheel and updating the V12 to a more traditional trainer with a soft hypoknit upper and just the right amount of foam and softness. The only issue I had was with the sizing, as I found my sample pair ran very large, both in length and in width - the ride would be even more enjoyable if I had sized down for a more secure fit. Sizing issue aside, this shoe has earned a spot in my rotation!
Sally’s score 9.2 / 10
Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 8.5 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)
Beto: The 1080v12 has grown on me with its very soft and pleasant ride and nicely updated upper. It’s a shoe I can wear all day. The ride is soft but not overly soft, just the perfect amount of softness. The shoe is more daily trainer oriented which is fine and is not the best option for race day . If you plan to go Half or Full Marathon in them it can easily go those distances. The sizing is a bit long and wide so I’ll recommend getting true to size and trying them on first. I
The upper is very secure and breathes well, it’s an easy on and off shoe with a secure heel hold. The outsole grips well and has a lot to it and will last many miles. Definitely the colorway is one of the best right now. A Lot of people asked where can I get that shoe? New Balance has been nailing the colorways since last year.
Beto’s Score: 9.25 /10
Ride: 8.5(50%) Fit: 9.5(30%) Value: 10(15%) Style: 10 (5%)
Mac: The 1080v12 is a potentially great everyday trainer that just isn’t for me. I really prefer energy return over shock absorption, and this shoe falls solidly into the latter category. I am honestly relieved to see so many positive reviews from my colleagues, simply because I can tell that I should like everything about this one… it just doesn’t jive with my personal preferences, which would be a pretty unfair review if I were the only one reviewing these. Anyone looking for a mileage hog would do well to give these a serious look. See all of Mac’s ratings HERE.
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
New Balance 1080v11 (RTR Review)
Jeff: On paper, a very similar shoe to the v12, but its execution was flawed. Many runners had massive heel slip issues with the v11, and personally I found that the sizing was off in the heel. My pair was properly sized overall, but the heel was short, and put pressure on the back of both heels with every step. The midsole was still Fresh Foam X, but wasn’t nearly as soft or protective as the v12.
Sally: (W8 in both): The sharp unpadded UltraHeel of the V11 was a dealbreaker for me and I simply could not wear it with any degree of comfort, so the V12 and its traditional heel is a massive improvement in my mind. The V12 fits too large in my sample pair, but aside from that, hands down the V12 is the better shoe.
New Balance 880v11 (RTR Review)
Bryan: Also utilizing Fresh Foam X, the flavor of the ride is generally similar. However, the shoes diverge in all other ways where the 880 is a more flexible and traditional daily trainer without a rocker. It also features a more traditional drop at 10mm as opposed to 4mm in the 1080v12. I personally prefer the 880v11 for all training types over the 1080v12.
Editor’s Note: See our just posted RTR Review of the 880 v12 which now sits on a wider platform of Fresh Foam with a front FuelCell insert. None of the testers for the 1080 v12 have tested the 880 v12 as of yet.
New Balance FuelCell TC (RTR Review)
Bryan: The TC is an oldie but a goodie. Although similar in weight, the TC is in my opinion one of the best shoes I’ve ever worn and owned. Even with a carbon plate, it was capable of a comfortable slow run. It is even capable of sprint sessions, and I recall vividly clocking one of my best 400m-repeats in them. It has a far greater range, and offers an amazing pop on toe-off. Whilst heavy, it didn’t feel bottom heavy like the 1080v12. It’s a no-contest.
Jeff: The Fuel Cell midsole in the TC gives the shoe incredible bounce paired with its carbon fiber plate, and as a front striking supinator I appreciate the extra width on the lateral side. The TC’s upper has some major durability concerns, and doesn’t hold the foot nearly as securely as the 1080 does. And while I wore the TC when I ran a half marathon around my block during early days of quarantine, it’s no question the 1080 is the markedly better trainer for day-in/day-out use for me.
Sally: (W8 in both) I was over the moon with the Fuel Cell TC when it first came out: what a fun shoe! I recall smiling at my Garmin watch at the end of a run when I ready my avg pace - so much faster than the perceived effort! But I see the 1080 V12 as a much more accessible shoe with more universal appeal as a daily easy miles trainer. Apples and oranges IMO.
New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Bigger than the 1080v12 in every way, the FFMv3 is even wider and has a higher stack height, and the result is a lesser experience. It’s so well cushioned that it really only shines on the easiest of runs, making standard easy (as opposed to incredibly easy) runs a chore to maintain pace.
Sally: (W8 in both) I am curious as to what New Balance will come out with as the next iteration of the Fresh Foam More (V4?), because the 1080 V12 got a little closer to the foam levels of the FF More. But the FF More V3 is just that: More foam, more height, more softness. I personally love to wear the FF More casually, such as for long dog walks, and struggle with running in them (I have a problem with running appropriately easy miles in my training - I tend to go too fast). The 1080 V12 is the better well cushioned daily training shoe for me.
Beto: I agree with Sally the 1080v12 has a lot of hints from the More v3, the wider front platform, less road feel, very soft but without a sink in feel and comfortable upper too. So can’t wait to see what New Balance has cooked for the More v4! The 1080v12 feels like the shoe you want when you don’t want that extra stack of the More v3 but with more ground feel.
Asics Novablast 2 (RTR Review)
Bryan: This may be a harsh comparison as the Novablast 2 is at present my all time favorite cushioned trainer. It is lighter, bouncier, far more responsive and utilizes a more traditional upper that offers better lock down than even the best knit I’ve worn ever in the 1080v12. The 1080v12 is inherently more stable with its use of the firmer Fresh Foam X midsole but also features a wide platform, while the Novablast is slightly less stable to the very dynamic FlyteFoam Blast midsole but this is sufficient for my needs. The Novablast is more versatile in handling a very wide range of paces, even at threshold.
Asics Glideride 2 (RTR Review)
Bryan: The Glideride 2 is probably the most similar shoe I’ve worn to the 1080v12. It is moderately firm, similar in weight but differs in utilizing a more traditional upper with a rather padded tongue. Both feature a pronounced rocker although the Glideride 2’s is a little more extreme, which in my opinion limits its functionality to uptempo and quicker paces, but then ti gets bogged down by its weight. Transitions are smoother in the Glideride but the 1080v12 is slightly more versatile in function, as it's more suited to everyday training paces where its hefty weight is less of a concern.
Brooks Glycerin 20 (RTR Review soon)
Jeff: Another big cushion shoe that’s taken a quantum leap forward with the latest iteration, the Glycerin 20 uses nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3, which adds just a hint of bounce over the old EVA based DNA Loft v1 (if you are confused, DNA Loft v2 exists in Brooks’ Cascadia, a trail shoe) without going as far as the super bouncy Aurora-BL. Both the G20 and v12 execute well on what they’re going for, both great uppers, both wide platforms, both great midsoles, both grippy outsoles, and it’s hard to say which holds the edge. The Brooks outsole seems more durable and has more bounce, New Balance upper has the edge and is a little softer. Flip a coin or grab both, and have one of the best 1-2 punch big trainers have ever seen.
Beto: Jeff explains the DNA Loft v3 perfectly and if you compare it to the 1080v12 the Glycerin 20 feels more energetic and with a nicer bounce.
Brooks Glycerin 20 Stealthfit (RTR Review soon)
Beto: The Glycerin 20 regular upper has a knit brother in the Stealthfit upper with the same midsole and outsole just the upper being different and the Stealthfit overall lighter in weight. For me the upper is very comfortable and lighter than the 1080v12. It only has padding in the heel area to hold the heel in place. The midfoot has an inner overlay, a little cage for the laces, to secure the foot and it does an excellent job at holding the midfoot with the laces as there is no tongue so a booty type upper. The front has nice space for the toes and has volume too. It is a bit long so you might go half a size down if you want. The midsole and outsole are very durable but the midsole feels soft with a nice bounce and a is lot more energetic than Fresh Foam in the 1080. Glycerin 20 is a shoe I can go from easy pace to moderate pace with ease and still can push the pace without any concerns as the foot feels secure and well held. It is definitely more versatile than the 1080v12.
adidas Adistar (RTR Review)
Jeff: The biggest stacked adidas training shoe in some time, the Adistar has a similar “bigger is better in all directions” philosophy that gives a big stack that’s plenty wide. Its upper is similarly well done to the v12, but the ultra firm Repetitor+ midsole in the heel creates a somewhat awkward running experience for heel strikers.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 24 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Yet another long time big cushion shoe that got much better this year, the Nimbus 24’s midsole is FF Blast+ and the result is not quite as soft, but much bouncier than the 1080. Another top notch upper, the N24 tongue is ultra stretchy in a way that works well, but the overall upper isn’t nearly as well executed as the 1080. The Nimbus does well during easy miles, as well as some faster paced stuff, while the 1080 does much better at just the easy stuff.
Sally: (W8 in both) I totally agree with Jeff’s summation that the Nimbus is suited for faster tempos as well as easy runs, whereas the 1080 V12 is best for strictly easy runs. Both excellent updates to very popular shoes, the Nimbus is a bit firmer with a more “boring” upper (yet that stretchy tongue is ingenious!). Toss-up for me.
The 1080 v12 is available now below at our partners including New Balance HERE
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes.. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'