Shoe Review: New Balance 1080

The not so regular shoe review is back! You the people have spoken. Polling on social media showed a desire for a review on the newly redesigned New Balance 1080 v10. The 1080 has been New Balance's premium cushion shoe for the last decade.  Released in November of 2019, the 10th generation of this shoe is a complete overhaul from the previous versions. From the redesigned Fresh Foam voronoi patterned sole to the hypoknit upper, and everything between, every aspect of this shoe has been designed with state of the art space age technology. Every time a shoe company radically updates a shoe, it will come with lovers and haters. This update is no different. This futuristic shoe seemingly has more in common with an Adidas Ultraboost than any of it's previous versions. Any more details and this will turn into your run of the mill overstuffed shoe review, so let's get down to it.

Every shoe company seems to be upping their rocker game. If you don't know about rockers, you are clearly a boomer. A proper rocker gives you a smoother transition from heel strike to toe off. With the New Balance Fresh Foam X under foot, that transition is extra smooth. This shoe has plenty of cushion for those in the premium cushion market (think Hoka, Brooks Glycerin, Asicis Nimbus) but without the gooey marshmallow feeling that seems to dominate those lines. But unlike the other premium cushion models this ride gives back. The new Fresh Foam returns a lot of energy with each step. Letting you have your cake and eat it too.

The first thing you notice when you slide your foot into the 1080 is the Hypoknit upper. Gone is the traditional engineered mesh upper that has been the industry standard for decades. The Hypoknit feels more like a compression sock than a shoe upper. Gently hugging your foot like a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Ground reaction:
Fresh Foam X is part of a new line of NB shoes that are being designed by pressure mapping and footstrike data. You get 30mm of this brand new foam to cradle your foot through each step. I'm a big fan of letting your foot work like it was designed, with varying cushion densities throughout the midsole, your foot can flow through it's natural step, but still have supreme cushion. In 2020 it seems you can have your cake and eat it too.

These aren't your Dad's New Balance. The eyes are immediately drawn to the voronoi patterned Fresh Foam, which manages to look futuristic and natural all at once. It is certainly a much bolder look than any previous New Balance models. This shoe looks like it would be at home on a Star Trek episode. So you'll look fresh and feel fresh.

Wallet pain:
It seems like $150 is going to be the new price point for run specialty shoes. Most of the popular running models from Brooks, New Balance, Adidas, Nike, and Asics all come in around that $130-$140 range. At $150 that price it certainly will make your head spin. But all the major players seem to be setting their premium cushion or higher tech shoes at the $150 and above point. If you are a higher mileage runner that goes through shoes quickly, running can get real expensive real quick with shoes at this price point. But with all the research, development, and technology that goes into creating these shoes, I understand companies wanting to flaunt that with these higher price tags.

The runner, walker, and exerciser who doesn't put in lots of miles or do much change of direction, but wants a soft yet responsive ride. If Hoka is too soft for you and Brooks and Asics are too firm, this may be your sweet spot. This shoe is great for the roads, track, and treadmill.