Review: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 – Balancing cushioning and responsiveness

The flagship high-mileage shoe still ticks all the boxes
Review: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is the latest version of the brand's flagship cushioned running shoe, designed for versatility and comfort over long runs.

The 1080 lineup has long been a go-to for runners looking for an all-rounder shoe, offering the ability to log big miles in comfort whilst still retaining a good level of responsiveness.

Although the 1080v10 saw a number of upgrades to its predecessor, the 1080v11 has received minimal changes - something that will come as welcome news to fans of the hugely popular 1080v10.

We've been putting the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 through its paces over 60 miles of running. Is it worth investing in as your long-distance race shoe? Let's take a look.

The specs

Price: $149.99 | Weight: 263g/9.3oz (Men) / 230g/8.1oz (Women) | Type: Road | Heel to toe drop: 8mm | Sizing: Fits to size | Alternatives: Brooks Glycerin 19, Hoka One One Clifton 7, Asics Gel Nimbus 23, Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2


New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

At first glance, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is a hefty looking piece of kit with a noticeably thick stack of Fresh Foam midsole cushioning. Its primary focus is comfort when it comes to high mileage training, offering a plush and comfortable ride.

The Fresh Foam midsole material is used across a wide range of New Balance's shoes and is notable for its balance of cushioning and responsiveness. Unlike many heavily cushioned options available, the midsole is relatively hard, which makes it a versatile shoe that can tick a lot of boxes when it comes to varied running sessions.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

Like the 1080v10, the synthetic mesh upper is made from a stretchy knitted fabric that, when combined with the Ortholite sockliner, provides a close bootie fit. At the rear of the upper is an "ultra heel" design that extends from the heel collar to help with pulling the shoe on and off.

There's a good level of outsole rubber to protect the Fresh Foam midsole, although there is a large section in the centre of the shoe where the foam is fully exposed.

Other features include an extended reinforced section at the back that cups the heel in place for a secure fit and a slightly reinforced midfoot material.

Road testing

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

If you're one of the many people that picked up a pair of Fresh Foam 1080v10s, you'll be pleased to hear that the new version is much of the same. Like its predecessor, it's a Jack of all trades, offering an excellent level of versatility for those runners looking for something that can be used in many situations.

Despite its noticeable wedge of midsole, the 1080v11 Fresh Foam offers a running experience that manages to balance a good level of cushioning with a competent amount of responsiveness. When compared with shoes like the Nike ZoomX Invincible or the Brooks Glycerin 19, the 1080v11 gives a firmer ride which means it has a wider span of uses.

Although it's best suited to daily training miles and those long runs where your main focus is comfort, the responsive midsole is no slouch if you want to pick up the pace and push a bit harder. That makes it a great option for those times when you head out for a run and you're not quite sure how fast you're going to go, giving you the versatility to modify your training without needed to change your shoes.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

We've tested the 1080v10 across a range of distances and speeds and found that it delivers a competent experience in most cases. The only time we really felt it pushed to its limits was for short distance speed sessions when the midsole felt noticeably sluggish when going full out.

If you're looking for a PB over a 5k or 10k races, it's not the best option out there, but for half marathon and marathon efforts where your goal is to maintain a consistent pace in comfort, it's a good option.


The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is an impressive all-round running shoe that offers a high level of versatility for people who want a shoe that can tick a lot of boxes. For slow or long training efforts it delivers a comfortable and cushioned experience that minimises any unwanted impact, for faster efforts it manages to keep up a good pace with a surprisingly responsive midsole. There have, however, been minimal changes made from the previous version, so keep an eye out for the 1080v10s at a reduced cost if you want to save some money.

Tags:    Running
Tagged    Running