New Balance Fresh Foam X Battle: 880 vs 1080 vs More

A detail shot of New Balance's Fresh Foam X midsole foam.

New Balance running shoes are no longer just for dads—they grace the feet of ambitious marathoners and novice runners alike thanks to a wide variety of styles, an accommodating range of sizes and their secret formula midsole technologies, with the most popular being Fresh Foam X and FuelCell foam. Midsole foam is the heart and sole of every shoe and, with Fresh Foam and FuelCell, New Balance makes a statement.

New Balance Fresh Foam X offers a soft, plush underfoot feeling that’s perfect for long runs and recovery miles. Fresh Foam first graced the market in 2014 and became so popular that, in 2020, designers upped the ante with Fresh Foam X—a softer, more energetic compound than its predecessor. In this article, we’ll break down the differences between three of New Balance’s most popular Fresh Foam X shoes—the 880 v13, the 1080 v12, and the More v4.

While all three shoes offer premium materials and a comfortable fit, differences in the cushioning, fit and overall feel of the models mean you may prefer one shoe over the others. Read on to learn more about which New Balance running shoe is best for you.

The Classic Workhorse: The New Balance 880 v13

The women's New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13.

Perfect for: The beginner runner, the runner seeking simplicity, the runner needing accommodating sizing.

Tech Specs

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13

Weight 8.4 oz (W), 10.6 oz (M)
Heel-to-toe drop 10 mm
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 27 mm/17 mm

The New Balance 880 is the running shoe version of the Honda Civic—classic, dependable and reliable. It’ll get you to your destination safely and on time. While it may not have the bells and whistles of a luxury Escalade, it has everything you need. The 880 is such a popular shoe with Fleet Feet reviewers and customers alike that we added it to our list of Our Top 6 Running Shoes for Beginners.

The New Balance 880 v13 is built with a dual-density midsole created with Fresh Foam X under the heel and a firmer, high-density foam beneath the forefoot. This combination of foams creates a balanced ride that’s soft during landings and energetic during takeoffs.

“I like how the underfoot feel is soft enough to absorb impact but firm enough to give my body good feedback and energy response on the road,” Kate says. “I prefer a firmer shoe to a squishy shoe, and the 880 strikes the perfect balance for me.”

The 880’s stack height of 27 millimeters in the heel and 17 in the toe classifies it as a moderately cushioned trainer, which is great for runners who like to feel some semblance of the ground beneath their feet without too much pounding on the pavement.

Another notable feature of the 880 is its availability in different widths. Most running shoes are available in standard width (B for women, D for men) and wide widths (D for women, 2E for men). The 880 takes it a step further, offering narrow, standard, wide and extra-wide sizing for both genders. This makes it a great choice for runners with narrow feet or those seeking a roomy toe box due to wide feet, bunions, hammertoes or other ailments.

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The Luxury Experience: The New Balance 1080 v12

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12.

Perfect for: The long-distance runner, the runner craving softness, the comfort-seeker

Tech Specs

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12

Weight 8.3 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
Heel-to-toe drop 8 mm
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 27 mm/19 mm

The New Balance 1080 v12 is that luxury Escalade we referenced earlier. It has a bit more cushioning (2 millimeters in the forefoot) for an even softer ride. Of course, with that comes a higher price point—20 dollars more than the 880, to be exact.

Our reviewers felt the higher price point was worth it, given the soft yet bouncy midsole that seems to roll you along effortlessly through each stride.

“I had a great run in these shoes and my feet seem to effortlessly pop back up off the ground after landings, even during a tough hill workout,” Caroline says.

The 1080 v12 uses pressure-mapping technology to bring thoughtful details into the shoe, like more cushioning across wider areas of the midsole as well as increased flexibility. This lends to quicker, smoother transitions, providing that soft and bouncy feeling that’s a trademark of the 1080.

And not only is the 1080 packed with a generous amount of Fresh Foam X midsole foam, it’s got a smooth, Hypoknit upper that wraps around your foot like a glove for a luxurious experience. The upper is both stretchy and supportive, making it work for a variety of different foot shapes. Both our wide-footed reviewer and our medium-width reviewers found the fit to be comfortable.

It’s these thoughtful details that give the 1080 a luxurious feel, making it perfect for runners who crave more cushion and more comfort. It’s an excellent choice for those who want extra softness underfoot, whether they’re increasing their mileage or just getting started.

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The Godfather of Cushion: The New Balance More v4

The New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4.

Perfect for: The runner who demands more from their daily trainer

Tech Specs

New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4

Weight 9.0 oz (W), 10.9 oz (M)
Heel-to-toe drop 4 mm
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 34 mm/30 mm

The New Balance More v4 is the pinnacle of cushion and support. It has the thickest bed of Fresh Foam X cushioning in this lineup, giving you everything you need from a daily trainer and then some. Not only is it packed to the brim with underfoot cushioning, the More v4 has a wide base that cradles your foot from the moment you step into it.

“Even with such a high stack height, my feet feel immersed in the cushioning, like my foot is fully surrounded. I felt stable while running and even when taking sharp turns,” Nate says.

The More v4 features a 4-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, meaning your heel sits 4 millimeters above your forefoot—significantly lower than the 880 v13 and the 1080 v12. Lower heel-to-toe drops have been known to reduce pressure on your knees and hips, making the More v4 a great choice for those experiencing pain points in those areas.

A gentle rocker shape helps you transition efficiently from heel to toe. That, combined with the wide base and ample cushioning, make for an ultra-smooth, balanced ride. Plus, the upper is equipped with thoughtful details like an asymmetrical tongue to prevent rubbing and reflective details to increase visibility.

Whether you’re training for a marathon or spending long days on your feet, the More v4 is there to provide comfort and support with each step.

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Remember, these three shoes are just a fraction of the New Balance running lineup. If you’re looking for extra stability, check out our review of the 860 v13. If you’re seeking the ultimate speed racer, the FuelCell SC Elite v3 might do the trick.

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