Shoe Review: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

A plush feel, a smooth ride and a sock-like fit make the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 one of the best running shoes on the market today.

New Balance built off the success of the previous 1080 by tweaking the fit and updating the mesh. But the premium experience didn’t change thanks to a generous bed of Fresh Foam cushioning and a dynamic upper.

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Fleet Feet reviewers say the 1080v11 feels luxurious. And that premium feel isn’t an accident.

“We wanted to provide an unbelievable Fresh Foam running experience, and the 1080 series is really the best vehicle for us to do that,” says Paul Zielinski, New Balance product manager. “It’s the statement maker.”

By putting in real-world miles, Fleet Feet runners got a feel for how the Fresh Foam 1080v11 fits, rides and compares to the previous model. Here’s what they thought.

Soft, Stretchy Upper Creates Dynamic Fit

The tongue of the New Balance 1080v11

The 1080v11 boasts a unique upper with different zones of stretch and structure. In fact, it's one of the stretchier uppers of running shoes on the market today, which makes it feel like it has plenty of volume to accommodate lots of foot shapes while also creating a snug, bootie-like fit that doesn’t hinder your foot’s movement.

One reviewer with a high arch and instep says he had plenty of height through the midfoot to feel comfortable for longer runs.

“The upper feels like you’re wearing a sock,” another reviewer says. “It’s so comfortable and stretchy that it feels like it really hugs my foot without feeling tight or constricting.”

The upper is also seamlessly knitted with targeted, structured zones throughout. Fleet Feet testers found the structured parts—in the midfoot and in a strip that runs around the forefoot—have a tighter weave to create a secure feeling where you need it most.

The Ultra Heel design incorporates an internal heel counter with a soft, stretchy heel collar that molds to your foot.

One reviewer said dirt and debris would sometimes fall into the collar of the previous model, but the 1080v11 feels a little more refined.

“The heel counter seems to fit more securely, and I'm not having dirt from the road end up in my shoe,” he says.

Fresh Foam Powers 1080v11 For Smooth Ride

The Fresh Foam midsole in the New Balance 1080v11

Fresh Foam shines again in the 1080v11.

Reviewers say the Fresh Foam midsole is everything they want from an everyday training shoe: It’s lightweight without losing any softness, and it has a responsive ride, which feels lively on the road.

“I love a lightweight, high-cushion shoe, and this one is dreamy,” says another Fleet Feet reviewer. “It's soft underfoot with a bouncy, propulsive feeling on the run. It's the perfect shoe for logging everyday miles and long runs.”

The shoe leads to the efficient stride and helps create a quick turnover even when you turn up the pace.

“It truly feels alive,” one reviewer says. “The experience feels really interactive, something I don’t normally think about when I describe the ride of a running shoe.”

Multiple reviewers also noted the grippy rubber outsole. There’s plenty of rubber beneath the 1080v11 to provide traction on pavement. The rubber completely covers the forefoot, and it includes thin channels to make it more flexible. The heel also has a horseshoe of rubber for confident landings.

“I found the outsole to be quite grippy for a road shoe—I had no problem on mud, wet surfaces and some moss/algae-type stuff that’s on the road near my house, which can be slippery,” one tester says.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 vs Fresh Foam 1080v11

A side-by-side comparison of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 and the Fresh Foam 1080v11

New Balance overhauled the 1080 when it released the v10. Designers added a Fresh Foam X midsole, knit a new upper and created a more aggressive aesthetic that made it look as fast as it felt.

The 1080v11 doesn’t mess with any of that—because it doesn’t need messing with.

Instead of making any big changes, New Balance maintained a lot of what made the previous version successful and tweaked little things to improve the fit.

One noticeable change is a rim of static mesh around the toe box. The extra support where the mesh meets the midsole helps contain your foot a little better than the previous iteration, which occasionally felt a little too stretchy.

Designers used a new knit pattern across the vamp (or font of the shoe), but it doesn’t feel much different than the 1080v10. It is a shade lighter than before, though: New Balance says it was able to take about a half ounce of weight out of the shoe just from changing the pattern of the knit.

They also updated the look of the midfoot, which maintains the same static mesh band as before but with a subtler look.

Beneath the shoe, New Balance used an identical Fresh Foam midsole and rubber outsole on the new model as they did on the outgoing one. Because they didn’t make any changes there, you can expect the same ride as before.

Because New Balance didn’t make any major changes, we’re confident anyone who liked the previous version will have the same experience in the 1080v11.


The outsole on the New Balance 1080v11
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The updated New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is as good as expected.

A Fresh Foam midsole paired with a finely tuned upper creates a premium experience beginning the second you put it on.

“The 1080 ride is the smoothest ride I’ve ever experienced,” Zielinski says. “It is soft, it’s plush, it’s cushioned. But it is so smooth from heel to toe. Nothing hiccups your stride as you’re running in it.”

The plushness underfoot feels immediately comfortable, which gives the shoe a premium vibe. Matched with the soft heel cup and stretchy upper, the new 1080 is a high-comfort, high-performance training shoe that will work for a wide variety of runners.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.