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Road Running Shoes • November 4, 2019

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v10 Performance Review

New Balance 1080 v10

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.1 oz./286g for a US M10.5, much lighter than the past two versions
  • Fresh Foam X midsole is responsive and keeps the legs feeling fresh
  • New stretchy engineered knit upper provides great comfort and lockdown
  • Put this one on the Christmas list, y’all— it may be the best daily trainer this year

THOMAS: I just got a left hook from the New Balance 1080 v10! The 1080 v8 and v9 lulled me to sleep, and I let my guard down. The 1080 v8 was a clunky, stiff tank of a shoe, and the 1080 v9 fit didn’t work at all— too much room in the toe box, heel lift, just clumsy in general. Both of those models had no business contending for top gear awards, not even close.

The 1080 v10 though, this shoe is a daily training champion. Check out my thoughts below, in addition to the rest of the review team.

New Balance 1080 v10 outsole

The Good

THOMAS: The upper is on the good list mostly because of how lousy the v9 fit my foot. In that version, I never felt secure and got a lot of heel lift. I am generally not a big fan of knit uppers. But New Balance scored with this engineered knit; it stretches comfortably over the front of my foot and will accommodate most feet.

A denser knit and embroidery creates the lateral and medial support. Flat laces and a gusseted, stitched-in tongue provide the midfoot lockdown.

While the Keebler-elf looking top of the heel looks slippery, it is not.  The entire heel package with its 3D heel design locks everything down while imitating an ovomorph from the Aliens movies.

The Fresh Foam midsole feels noticeably softer than the v8 and bouncier than the v9. That translates to a cushioned ride with more energy return. The midsole almost feels airy underfoot.

While the two previous versions had almost full rubber coverage on the outsole, the v10 is significantly reduced, resulting in a lighter ride. After more than 45 miles, there is some cosmetic scraping on the exposed Fresh Foam, but it won’t have an effect on the longevity of the shoe.

The 1080 v10 isn’t a featherweight at 10.1 oz./286g, but it has dropped close to an ounce and a half over the last two models. The drop on the shoe is 8 mm.

The end result? The 1080 v10 is pure pleasure on the foot. It glides through my stride, lands soft and bounces off. While definitely not a speed shoe, during a 14-mile run I found myself comfortable pushing the pace with quick turnover. The longest single run in the v10 was a 20 miler with almost 1,000 ft of gain, and my feet and legs felt as good as they could after 20 miles.

MEAGHAN: Like Thomas, I’m a mixed bag when it comes to knit uppers. That said, I think New Balance did a nice job with this one. The engineered knit is really comfortable, with a softer feel and a lot more stretch than its predecessors. The thicker layers of knit through the midfoot, along with the lacing system, really lock the foot down.

I also had issues with slippage around the collar and heel in v9, but that’s all been fixed. The design is contoured to the heel and the shoe fits like a glove.

Underneath the foot is full-length Fresh Foam X. It’s a softer, lighter, more flexible version of Fresh Foam. I love it. The shoes felt great right out of the box and continued that feeling throughout the run.

Beneath the midsole is some blown rubber, but it’s more strategically placed rather than covering the outsole entirely. It’s just enough to create traction and durability without adding any extra weight. In fact, the shoes lost about half an ounce, my W7.5 came in at 8.05oz vs. 8.45oz of V9.

AUSTIN: Going into this review, I didn’t have great expectations. To be honest, I hadn’t run in the 1080 in years. Post-testing, I can say that I’m more than delighted to eat a slice of humble pie with Thanksgiving in a few weeks.

I can best sum up my accolades of the New Balance 1080 v10 like this— I ran 17 miles this past weekend at a 7:29 pace, which is much faster than my typical long run pace. It was surprising, and surprisingly easy. Throughout, the 1080 responded as smooth as could be.

This tenth iteration is fantastic. It shouldn’t be shocking that New Balance has dropped another solid trainer in 2019, continuing a trend for the company.

As Thomas and Meaghan (and a lot of other runners) have said, v9 had major issues with heel slippage. I experienced no such discomfort or sliding in the v10.

The long and short of the 1080 v10 is that I tied them up and took off. I never needed to adjust the laces, and I never felt any issues during any of the runs. The heel is locked down, the midfoot is locked down, and the engineered stretchy knit upper gave my toes ample freedom to splay (such a great word, right?).

Smooth is such a common word to describe the ride of running shoes, but the 1080 truly embodies this quality. Smooth, like chilled cranberry sauce and butter being spread across croissants straight out of the oven. Let’s get that turkey broiling, y’all.

ADRIENNE: New Balance is killing it right now— as evidenced by the FuelCell line, and the 2019 offerings in general. While this is a Fresh Foam shoe, it’s an incredibly far cry from the early versions of the Fresh Foam 1080 in ride, midsole responsiveness, and fit.

Before even lacing them up, I could tell they were a green light for my narrow, high arched, slightly janky feet. The Fresh Foam X midsole feels awesome and required no break-in period– just slip on and go. A combination of smoothness and responsiveness had me extending my initial run in them.

It really doesn’t matter where your foot lands, because the decoupling and flex grooves allow the shoe to move with you. It’s not over-engineered, but New Balance is keeping up with the industry.

The shoe is soft underfoot, yet the midsole shows no trace of sloppiness. Those who like a soft heel will be excited about this version. In fact, I barely felt the heel because of the cutaway, and really no sensation of heel slip, especially at easy paces. Crazy.

The outsole seems to grip fairly well. I took them on a 9-miler with pickups and never had to worry about slipping or cornering. This probably has to do with the Trace Fiber sidewalls and engineered knit upper. The v10 has the foot locked in, and my toes felt freer to move around.

About the laces, even NB got these right-I’m happy to report that they are NOT too long! And they don’t seem to come untied. I guess I can’t use the “tying my shoe” excuse if I don’t like the pace we’re running anymore…

Ride-wise, I’ve already said these things are smooooth. New Balance has fixed the slow, awkward transition of earlier editions of the 1080 for something that just moves you down the road unobtrusively. One of my favorite features is the nice pop you get from the Fresh Foam X. On easy runs I did have to watch my pace some when wearing these.

They may be a bit heavier than their little brother the Beacon, but they definitely feel closely related. I found the 1080 softer and maybe a touch more responsive. Those putting in big miles will likely enjoy running in this shoe, and I think is a great easy and long run shoe: comfortable, light-ish, and energetic.

Shop New Balance 1080 v10


New Balance 1080v10


The Bad

THOMAS: My bads are all cosmetic. As every person who isn’t a teenager knows, too much tongue isn’t a good thing. With the 1080 v10, you get a puffy tongue that pokes up high. Tone. It. Down.

The Keebler curl off the heel counter is super exaggerated and could, like the tongue, be dialed down without having an effect on performance. Finally, I am not in love with the organic/veiny design pattern incorporated into the design of the upper. These are all little tweaks that could make the v11 a BANGER.

MEAGHAN: The only thing this shoe lacked was some room in the toe box. It wasn’t a huge issue since the upper is so stretchy, but I would love a slightly wider build.

AUSTIN: The only concern I noticed is the outsole. During my long run I encountered some damp boardwalk. The moment I stepped on it, I sensed some sliding. Consequently, I decided to complete that section of the route with additional caution. I also noticed this sliding on the white striping of roads. It’s not a deal-breaker by any stretch, but I do want to point it out when conditions are wet.

There’s a lot going on with that upper design, but I can get behind it based on how it’s performing mile after mile. Also, I wore a black and white pair, which is always a classy color pairing across any shoe model.

ADRIENNE: I’m actually struggling here.

I guess a warning for those who need a wide toe box— this one narrows nearly to a point. New Balance is the one company that creates wide shoes in pretty much every version, so that will be out upon the release in December.

And okay, the aesthetics: I keep going back and forth with the upper being too busy or badass. Someone on social media said they look like “clown shoes”. Ah, to each one’s own. The v10 definitely looks different than its predecessor, the v9. Even if I don’t understand the stitching on the side panels, it still runs great.

Shop New Balance 1080 v10


New Balance 1080 v10 upper

New Balance 1080 v10 Conclusion

THOMAS: The 1080 v10 knocked me out. I enjoy running daily miles in this shoe, it has the right cushioning with just enough pop to keep you moving. I would compare the cushioning level to that of the HOKA Clifton, but the Fresh Foam X packs more of a punch with energy return.

With the upper improved over the 1080 v9 and extra oomph from the midsole, the 1080 went from zero to hero. We are in November and the 1080 v10 might be hitting my top spot for 2019 daily trainer, bumping down the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 and the HOKA Clifton 6.

MEAGHAN: I’m a fan of the 1080 v10. They’ve been my go-to shoe as I’m slowly getting back into running after the Wineglass Marathon. I’ve put about 35 miles on them so far, and I’m confident they can withstand several hundred more. I would recommend this shoe to just about anyone looking for a new daily trainer.

AUSTIN: That 17-mile run is part of a training block for a December marathon. Though I plan to purchase my first pair of the Vaporfly Next% in the next week or two for a few runs as part of the final weeks of training, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to race a marathon in the 1080 v10 given the next-level responsiveness I encountered.

What’s more, my feet didn’t feel overly tired after that lengthy run. The moment I walked into the house I knew that I could go another 9.2 miles.

ADRIENNE: Clearly, I dig this shoe. 2019 is blowing my mind with the cushioned trainer releases, and this one tops my list. Give it a shot. I think you’ll love it too!

You can purchase it at Running Warehouse (w/ free 2-day shipping and free returns!) in December using the shop link below.

Shop New Balance 1080 v10




Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Lars Ivar says:

    Wow, this is so different from my point of view.
    The softness in the midsole feels absolutely dead when running, and the 1080 v9 stiffness in the midsole is much more enjoyable to run in (the fit of the v9 isn’t good though). There is no more responsiveness in the new Fresh Foam X either, I don’t care about marketing. It feels just like with everything else, like a huge marketing gimmick that people buy every time “because they say so”. You know that a responsive shoe often is a stiff shoe right (vaporfly is a great example of that)? When the foam is too soft then it doesn’t matter how many marketing expressions it has (energy return, etc.) This is way too soft in my opinion and the previous version was far superior. And don’t get me started on the upper that doesn’t hold the foot in place. Man, it’s a comfortable sneaker, but not a great runner. But happy to see your point of view, I’ll take that into consideration when writing my review, it seems I’m a bit alone on the negative side.

  2. Mark says:

    I have a narrow foot, how was the width on these? Thanks and great review as always.

  3. kevin says:

    great update, It kind of reminds me of the nike Epic react. Great upper , bounce return, good traction and just an all around great shoe. This one replaced my Clifton 6 right away…nice job New Balance

  4. Connie Jackson says:

    Just baught 1080 10 2 months ago…the soles are magorly warn, and I don’t run much. My 2 year old 1080 9 soles look new in comparison.

  5. birdie says:

    Have been using Nike Pegasus for Marathon running for a good amount of time. But after purchasing the new NB1080V10 for the LA marathon 2020.. my entire distance running capability changed for the better. My pace became more robust, the grip hitting the pavement more comfortable and precise. Just excellent over all. The heel support is its best part of this shoe. I suffered a torn achilles years ago, and always found it very difficult finding a running shoe that can give my heels the support and comfort they required over large runs. With the new V10, I found everything I needed. So happy with this near shoe. Well done NB!

  6. Prakhar says:

    I am an Underpronator with high arches. Debating between – 1080 v10 versus Kinvara 11 vs. Zoom Vomero 14. Any guidance will be much appreciated. Thanks.

  7. Steven says:

    Would you recommend the 1080 V10 for those who suffer of Haglund syndrome?

  8. Martin says:

    Lars Ivar, you’re not alone. I felt similarly about responsiveness but my main issue was different.

    I’d sincerely hoped these shoes would be my newly daily trainer and long run go-to for marathon training as part of a NB rotation. Like Thomas, I really love the Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit for speed work and races up to half marathons. I even have an extra pair or two stashed away in boxes now they’re gone out of production.

    I ended up putting about 45 miles on a pair of 1080v10s at the beginning of 2020.
    They really didn’t work for me. On every run I did, I found a major hot spot after about 3-4 mile (5-7k). This was at the front of my arches (first on my smaller foot, then on the other) and caused by severe rubbing at the crux where the medial knit-detailing (what Thomas calls the: “organic/veiny design pattern incorporated into the design of the upper”) meets the saddle tongue.

    I persevered with them by varying my lacing setup and making minor adjustments to the insole alignment but saw the same issue every time. Sizing really didn’t seem to be an issue either. I so wanted them to work for me, especially as I’d paid around $150 (European prices) including a small discount.

    The 1080v10s gave me the worst blistering I’ve experienced to date and left my feet in bits for weeks. I really can’t imagine rocking 17 milers in them on a Sunday morning, unless I was serving some religious penance!

    I was sorely disappointed (in more way than one) by NB with this shoe.
    For me the 1080v10 is just trying to do too much. I might have fared better with the no-frills 880 but have shifted my rotation over to Saucony for the time being.

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