New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 Review

Finally, our New Balance 1080v12 review! The New Balance 1080v12 is a well cushioned everyday road training shoe. They are designed for those easy miles and long runs, with cushioning and comfort in mind.

The heel to forefoot drop is 8mm, which would suggest that it is designed for more of a heel striker. However, the gentle curve to the midsole reduces heel strike and makes it easy to land midfoot. The light weight (men’s 292g and women’s 234g) is impressive for the higher level of cushioning, compared with say the 880v12.

The upper is made of a stretchy and breathable knit. This has a soft handle to it and stretches to accommodate the shape of your feet. The tongue is lightly padded so it doesn’t feel too chunky. This offers enough protection from the laces. The main change between the 1080v11 and the 1080v12 is the construction of the heel. The 1080v12 has gone back to the more traditional heel tab with a plastic heel cup that offer a bit more stability at the heel than the previous version, although the heel tab still curves away from the Achilles tendon. The cuff is lightly padded for a comfortable solid fit.

The 1080v12 has been made using a slightly broader last than the 1080v11. This makes the shoe feel a bit roomier and allow more space for your feet to spread. The toe box has a much straighter big toe than the previous version that allows for a more positive push off. In our experience, this change in fit doesn’t change the size you require. Customers are still purchasing the same size that they used in the 1080v11.

The midsole is made from New Balance’s Freshfoam X. Freshfoam is rubber with lots of bubbles in it. The bubbles are larger at the heel to give a softer feel to the cushioning and smaller in the forefoot to give a more positive push off. The Freshfoam X in the 1080v12 has a slightly softer feel to it than the 1080v11. This makes the shoes feel more like a luxurious long run shoe than a more responsive all rounder like the New Balance 880v12. The midsole has a slight rocker shape to it, which adds to the smoothness of the ride, encouraging you to pull your leg back when it touches the floor. The midsole is more flexible than the 1080v11 was, which makes it possible to run quickly in the shoes despite the initial soft feel to the cushioning.

The other more major change to the New Balance 1080v12 is the broader base. This larger footprint gives the 1080v12 a more stable ride than the previous model. This helps keep you on track when you are tiring at the end of your long run. It also adds to the smooth feel of the ride as your foot is guided through the gait cycle.

The rubber on the outsole is split into different zones. The heel and the toe have a hard durable rubber, whereas the mid-section of the outsole has sections of blown rubber. The blown rubber is softer, more flexible and has a more cushioned feel to it.

The best description of how it feels running in the 1080v12 is ‘luxurious’. I found the ride soft, but didn’t feel like I was ‘sinking’ into the cushioning. The broader base makes them feel more stable, ideal for trotting through the miles, which is what they are designed for. Ideally you would pair these with a more responsive shoe to use for faster running. The 880v12 may feel better going quicker, but they don’t have the luxurious ‘trot along’ feeling of the 1080v12.

The 1080v12 is available in three widths for men and two widths for women. You can get the perfect fit. As with all running shoes, the advised fit is to have a thumb width of space between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoes. This is when you are standing up in the shoes with them laced. There should be no bulging at the sides and your toes should be free to wiggle. A lot of foot problems are caused by wearing shoes too small so that your feet can’t spread and function inside the shoes. Having shoes available in several widths and without a tight pointed toe box helps prevent these issues.

Other Considerations

Scott Pursuit: Similarly soft but with a more pronounced rocker. This makes them easier to run quickly in. Here is a link to our review:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scott-pursuit-review

Altra Torin 5: Zero drop with a broad rounded toe box. A similar soft ride. Here is a link to our review:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/altra-torin-5-review

Karhu Fusion: A firmer feel to the cushioning and more stable ride. Here is our review:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/karhu-fusion-ortix-2021-review-by-northernrunner-com

Brooks Glycerin: Similar stretch upper and plush feel to the fit. The shoes are stiffer with a higher heel to forefoot drop that makes the heel feel more noticeable. So, more of a heel strikers shoes: https://www.northernrunner.com/brooks-m59/glycerin-t204

Hoka Bondi: A firmer ride with a more pronounced rocker. https://www.northernrunner.com/hoka-m92/bondi-t94

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