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New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 Review

A rockered design with responsive cushioning keeps legs feeling powerful and fresh into longer efforts
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
Photo: New Balance
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $150 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Responsive cushioning, smooth heel-to-toe rocker, durable
Cons:  Loose heel cup, support under heel lacking
Manufacturer:   New Balance
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 18, 2021
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 8
  • Responsiveness - 25% 7
  • Upper Comfort - 20% 7
  • Lateral Stability and Support - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 7

Our Verdict

Great cushioning and responsiveness that pairs with an extremely well-designed heel-to-toe rocker make the Fresh Foam 1080v11 one of our top picks. These shoes have a springy, responsive feel which blends nicely with the ample underfoot cushioning. The well-fit, seamless, and one-piece (except for the tongue) upper is thin and comfortable. We experienced some heel slippage and think there is room for improvement here. 8-millimeters of heel-to-toe drop provides good all-around comfort being supportive yet still having a decent ground feel. The rubber on the outsole adds to the overall durability, which we appreciate even with a lightweight design.

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Pros Responsive cushioning, smooth heel-to-toe rocker, durableResponsive cushioning, breathable upper, lightweightLightweight, great cushioning, comfortable upperResponsive, light, fast affordableStable, supportive, durable, comfortable
Cons Loose heel cup, support under heel lackingMinimal support and stabilityLess responsive, lacks rubber outsoleMinimal support, lacks cushioning, lacks outsole rubberHeavier, less breathable
Bottom Line A rockered design with responsive cushioning keeps legs feeling powerful and fresh into longer effortsExcellent cushioning that provides great energy transfer with an extremely comfortable, performance fit upperThese lightweight shoes have top landing comfort and maximum cushion with a great upperA model that makes you feel quick, fast, and light that provides maximum energy transfer and forward momentumA classic design that is both supportive and stable with a great upper and durable outsole
Rating Categories New Balance Fresh F... Saucony Endorphin S... Hoka One One Mach 4 Saucony Kinvara 12 Brooks Adrenaline G...
Cushioning And Landing Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Responsiveness (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Upper Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Lateral Stability And Support (15%)
5.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
9.0
Weight (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Specs New Balance Fresh F... Saucony Endorphin S... Hoka One One Mach 4 Saucony Kinvara 12 Brooks Adrenaline G...
Weight (per shoe, size 9.5) 9.4 oz. 8.3 oz. 8.1 oz. 7.7 oz. 10.3 oz.
Heel to Toe Drop 8 mm 8 mm 5 mm 4 mm 12 mm
Midsole Material Fresh Foam PWRRUN PROFLY PWRRUN EVA
Sole Rubber Ortholite XT-900 Rubberized EVA Foam with rubber inserts Rubber
Upper Material Synthetic, mesh Engineered mesh Engineered mesh Mesh Mesh
Width Options Narrow, normal, wide, extra wide Normal Normal Normal, wide Narrow, normal, wide, extra wide
Sizes Available 6 - 20 7 - 15 7 - 14 7 - 15 7 - 15

Our Analysis and Test Results

Combining an 8-millimeter drop and a pronounced heel-to-toe rocker, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is comfortable, supportive, and responsive for all types of running. This is one of the better rocker designs which are becoming more popular in today's market. Weighing in at 9.38 ounces in a men's size 9.5 is impressive given the number of features and rubber material on the outsole. We had a few issues with the heel cup of the upper, which we think could have risen higher up the Achilles and been deeper, but minor slippage was our only complaint. We think this will work for various types of runners due to its comfort and responsive design will maintain decent stability underfoot.

Performance Comparison


The New Balance Fresh Foam provides great all-around comfort and...
The New Balance Fresh Foam provides great all-around comfort and responsiveness.

Cushioning and Landing Comfortc


New Balance does a great job of creating foam that is both compliant but responsive when you get to the max load of your footstrike. There is ample cushioning under the forefoot, but the heel has a nice firmness to it where there is less compression to provide nice stability through the landing. The heel-to-toe rocker is one of the best we've tested and worked great at keeping us forward and pushing off with our forefoot. This feature was great during long runs when our form would start to break down, and the natural motion of the shoe would help keep us engaged.


Some could find this shoe a bit bouncy feeling, and if you are looking for maximum responsiveness, you may want to check something else out. We found that the 8-millimeter drop provides both stability yet good ground feel. This is one of the better cushioning compounds; we like the nice blend of cushioning while maintaining a quick and agile feel.

Heel-to-rocker helps get you on your forefoot for comfort landing...
Heel-to-rocker helps get you on your forefoot for comfort landing and pushing off.
Photo: Matthew Richardson

Responsiveness


Responsiveness suffers a bit due to the plush cushioning of the foam. While never dull feeling, sometimes the shoe felt a little bouncy. This springy feeling, while nice and comfortable, can sometimes reduce the amount of power put through the ground. Luckily through the heel and midfoot, the foam feels denser and less compressive. With this added density and the heel-to-toe rocker, we can still turn out all the fast miles we need. If you are looking for pure speed, you may want to check out a shoe that's a bit more firm and has slightly less heel-to-toe drop.


Due to the compliant responsiveness, this shoe excelled on long runs where the added compression made the shoe feel more lively even when our legs got tired. We took this on multiple 10+ mile runs, and the ending miles were some of our favorites. We wouldn't recommend this shoe for flatter, shorter races, but we could easily see ourselves using this day in and out for all-around training needs.

Responsive foam is lively and springy leading to a strong feeling...
Responsive foam is lively and springy leading to a strong feeling stride.
Photo: Matthew Richardson

Upper Comfort


We had very few issues with the comfort of this model other than slippage of the heel. While annoying at times, it did not detract from the performance of the model, and this could be more of a personal fit issue. It seemed there could be a deeper cup to accommodate the heel. In addition, the upper heel cup could sit higher on our Achilles to feel more locked in. The rest of the seamless upper and thin tongue did a great job of supporting our mid and forefoot.


While we did not have any durability issues during our testing, this is one of the thinnest upper materials we tested, which is great for quick drying and breathability. There is good arch support which makes the shoe more stable even with the soft cushioning design.

The seamless knit upper works well to hold your foot in place. We...
The seamless knit upper works well to hold your foot in place. We experienced minor heel slippage.
Photo: Matthew Richardson

Lateral Stability and Support


There is less stability on this model due to the higher stack height and larger heel-to-toe drop. While we would not recommend this to users searching for a very stable design, we think the cushioning is the right density to offer average support and stability. If you often find yourself on uneven natural surfaces, then you may want to look into something that has a lower stack height or specific stability features.


There is often a tradeoff when looking at weight and stability, where higher weight generally equals a more stable design, but that is not always the case. The forefoot feels natural and well placed withinside the upper, which also provides a good sense of support and stability. The upper holds the midfoot snugly and reduces any movement when cornering, maintaining a supportive feel. This would work well for the average user, and unless you need the support for mechanical or form reasons, we think this stability will feel adequate for all types of activities.

Minimal support due to cushioning and higher stack height.
Minimal support due to cushioning and higher stack height.
Photo: Matthew Richardson

Weight


Coming in at 9.38 ounces (men's size 9.5), this shoe has a great balance of support and responsiveness without the cushioning features adding lots of weight. This weight is reduced by minimalizing support features or having heavy fabric on the upper. While there are a few durability concerns with the lightweight upper material, we experienced no issues after many miles of testing. We like the rubber outsole on the forefoot, which will last longer than exposed foam found on many lighter-weight models.


Nice rubber outsole which will be more durable than lighter models.
Nice rubber outsole which will be more durable than lighter models.
Photo: Matthew Richardson

Value


This product, with all of its benefits, is worth its list price. Our test model has held up well even given the thin upper, and the outsole still looks great with minimal wear. There is normally a tradeoff between comfort and responsiveness, but this is a great all-around package that will work well for all of your activities. If you don't have the desire to buy multiple types of shoes, this would be a great all-around value for your speed and long-run efforts.

Conclusion


There are a lot of positives with this model, and we think the comfortable cushioning and responsive rocker make for a great all-around trainer. We wish the heel cup were a bit deeper and snugger. While this wasn't a deal-breaker, we have tested other models that didn't have this issue. We imagine some users will find no issues with the upper while others could have the same experience as we did. Using the thickest running socks we owned helped this issue, but at this price point, the upper should not have this issue. We think this model would work great for users who want a high score of all attributes we tested. Most shoes can't do everything perfectly, but this shoe does a good job at all of our most important categories. The shoe is light, agile, supportive, and comfortable, and we would not hesitate to recommend this to our readers who want a quiver of one.

Top pick for its great upper design and helpful heel-to-toe rocker...
Top pick for its great upper design and helpful heel-to-toe rocker design.
Photo: Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson

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