Shoe Review: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12

A side profile of the men's New Balance 1080v12.

Treat yourself to luxury with the updated New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12. Soft, responsive cushioning and lightweight materials combine for a smooth, energetic ride.

With an updated Fresh Foam X midsole and a streamlined, Hypoknit upper, the 1080v12 feels premium all around.

The latest version of the New Balance 1080 is designed to feel softer and fit better than the previous version. Fleet Feet reviewers took the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 on long runs, uptempo workouts and recovery days to see if they lived up to the hype. Here’s what you can expect from the latest version of the 1080.

Tech Specs

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12

Weight

8.3 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)

Drop

8 mm

Category

Neutral

Surface

Road, track

Fresh Foam X Offers Plush Cushioning, Eco-Friendly Sourcing

The women's New Balance 1080v12.

New Balance used their most cushioned foam in the 1080v12 – Fresh Foam X. Fresh Foam X is a unique midsole compound that adds soft cushioning while reducing weight, resulting in a plush, easy ride.

Fresh Foam X is made with 3% bio-based content made from renewable resources to help reduce waste. New Balance calls this their green leaf standard. At least 50% of materials in a shoe’s upper must be recycled content and at least one midsole or outsole component must be made with 3% bio-based or 5% recycled content in order to meet their green leaf standard.

In addition to being eco-friendly, the New Balance 1080v12’s midsole feels luxuriously comfortable.

“New Balance has really mastered the feel of soft and light with the 1080. It’s a plush shoe that still feels peppy and keeps me bouncing along without much thought about my footwear,” Kate says.

New Balance shoe designers used pressure-mapping technology to bring thoughtful details into the midsole. The 1080v12 features more cushioning across wider areas of the midsole as well as increased flexibility. This lends to quicker, smoother transitions to provide that bouncy, energetic feeling we’ve come to expect from the 1080.

“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.

What's a midsole? Learn more about the parts that make up a running shoe here.

New Balance 1080v12 Offers Smooth, Stretchy Upper

A pair of men's New Balance 1080v12.

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is topped off with a smooth breathable upper that hugs your foot in all the right places.

“These fit perfectly. They’re snug in the midfoot but roomy in the toe. The latest version seems to have a lot more room in the toe than previous versions, which I think most people will appreciate,” Caroline says.

The stretchy yet supportive upper is made with New Balance’s engineered Hypoknit material, which we know from their green leaf standard is made with at least 50% recycled content.

New Balance also did away with the molded heel cup and flared out heel tab of the previous versions, replacing it with a more traditional padded heel collar. Reviewers appreciated the update.

“The heel is one of the most obvious changes in this edition. While the 1080v11 had a very soft flexible heel collar up by the achilles, this 12th edition of the shoe offers more cushion and structure. While I liked the soft molded heel of the previous version, the new one gives me the structure and support I need without getting in the way,” Kate says.

Some reviewers noticed that the shoes fit larger than previous versions of the 1080.

“The 1080v12 has quite a bit of space - almost to the point where I could go down a half size. They do seem to run slightly large and my feet slipped around inside the shoes just a bit,” says Alex.

“The 12th edition of the 1080 is longer than the previous iteration. I can still cinch down the laces enough to where the fit isn’t a problem, but I also wonder if I could have gone a half size down in this shoe,” Kate says.

Whether you’re new to the 1080 or you’ve worn the previous version, it’s best to try on the 1080v12 at your local Fleet Feet to ensure correct sizing.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 vs 1080v11

The men's New Balance 1080v12 sits propped up against a wall.

Tech Specs

New Balance 1080v12

New Balance 1080v11

Weight

8.3 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)

8.1 oz (W), 9.3 oz (M)

Drop

8 mm

8 mm

Category

Neutral

Neutral

Surface

Road, track

Road, track

Despite being heavier than the previous version, reviewers noticed that the New Balance 1080v12 feels remarkably similar to the 1080v11.

“These feel almost exactly as I was expecting them, although I did notice that the cushioning feels softer,” Caroline says.

New Balance softened up the midsole with Fresh Foam X, redesigned the upper and did away with the molded heel collar. Although some reviewers noticed that the shoe runs long, they felt the latest version is an overall improvement.

“I think most runners will be pleased with the updates to this shoe, as it makes for a more comfortable fit. It’s also more accessible, runners with wide feet can now enjoy this shoe,” Caroline says.

A pair of women's New Balance 1080v12.

Final Thoughts

The New Balance 1080v12 is both comfortable and versatile. Thanks to a thick, plush bed of Fresh Foam X cushioning, it will keep your feet and legs feeling fresh for miles on end.

With just the right blend of softness and responsiveness, the 1080v12 can be used for a variety of runs.

“The 1080v12 is still the shoe I know and love. It’s an excellent all-around trainer that I recommend for everything from easy days to long runs and even speed work. While it’s not as peppy as a carbon plated race shoe, it’s responsive and durable, so you can count on it for just about any type of run,” Kate says.

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