The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is, spoiler alert, the best 1080 ever. Also, the name is so long we’re shortening it to New Balance 1080v13 or 1080v13 for the rest of this review. Don’t worry, we’ll talk a lot about the Fresh Foam X, we’re just not including it when we reference the shoe.
Consider this Annie and I saving our fingers from all that extra typing so we can focus on giving you more analysis so you get the details you need to make a buying decision.
New Balance 1080v13
Release Date: October 13, 2023
Weight: Men’s 9.24oz., Women’s 7.27oz.
Drop: 6mm (38mm heel stack)
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The New Balance 1080v13 is a squishy, bouncy daily trainer with a great fit that’s a little on the pricey side.
Annie: I was a little worried before try-on because finding the perfect fit in the last New Balance Fresh Foam X shoe I’d run in—the New Balance More v4—had proven somewhat elusive. But I’m happy to report that the New Balance 1080v13 hugged in all the right places and felt great in my usual running shoe size. While still plenty accommodating for my average-to-slightly-wide forefoot, the fit here is less voluminous overall and simply better refined.
Drew: Lengthwise, the New Balance 1080v13 fits just right. You can buy your normal running shoe size. Widthwise, there’s good room throughout and I can see many wide footers enjoying the fit. But, this being a New Balance shoe, it will likely be available in wide versions on release day. If you traditionally wear a wide version in New Balance, you’ll be covered.
Annie: The dialed-in fit worked in tandem with a premium feeling mesh upper that asked precisely nothing of me. And that’s just great.
I wouldn’t describe the New Balance 1080v13 as thickly padded (apart from the tiny pillow that mysteriously and whimsically resides on the outside of the heel…), but the sensation of being wrapped in comfort was real. I felt snugly nestled into the shoe by its structural elements without ever feeling swallowed up by volume or materials. Breathability wasn’t challenged too greatly due to moderate temperatures during testing, but I had no complaints.
Lockdown was easy to achieve. The stretchy, gusseted tongue stayed in place. The heel cup did its job, and there was no rubbing or slipping. Lacing up was very much a “set it and forget it” kind of experience for me.
Drew, this upper was a big departure from the v12, right? What did you think?
Drew: Yes, way different. New Balance dispensed with the previously used Hypoknit upper and went with a very traditional engineered mesh upper. It’s simpler and fairly basic, but it looks nice and is comfortable all around.
The New Balance 1080v13 is not thickly padded similar to the More v4, instead opting to give you exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. Well, except for the external Achilles puff/pillow. Which is a super weird addition that doesn’t really have a true purpose. However, I used it as a pull tab to slip the shoe on, so it can do something useful.
Annie: Initially, I feared I might get lost in the cushion since it seemed to be on the squishy side. But right when I thought I was about to sink too far into the midsole, the Fresh Foam X cheerfully rebounded with an unexpected liveliness, and I merrily rolled along into my next stride.
Turnover came easily without the need for an overly prescriptive rocker or aggressive toe spring. The foam’s combination of softness and bounce never teetered into squirrelly, unpredictable territory either.
It turned out to be not only the protective ride I’d expected for this stack height, but it was also surprisingly fun and easygoing in character. Getting into a smooth, joyful rhythm came naturally, and trusting the New Balance 1080v13 for recovery runs, steady daily miles, and even long runs was a no-brainer.
The geometry felt like that of the Brooks Ghost Max, another shoe I really enjoyed this year. But the Fresh Foam X in the 1080v13 gave a slightly softer, livelier ride. Both shoes share the ability to successfully straddle the categories of Daily Trainer and Max Cushion. They sit on the high-comfort-side-of-daily-trainer or on the lighter-more-versatile-side-of-max-cushion. Regardless of how you like to think of it, it’s tough to go wrong.
Drew: I’m right with Annie on the softness of the New Balance 1080v13. It’s the squishiest New Balance forefoot I can think of outside of the FuelCell Elite line that’s meant for race day.
Interestingly, the 1080v13 most reminded me of the Asics Novablast 3 more than any previous New Balance model. It’s a plush, pillowy sensation upon landing but then you feel a bounce akin to a shoe with a TPU plate. It’s shoes like these that make me question whether plates really add any bounce. This version of Fresh Foam X is plenty bouncy on its own.
And as a result, the New Balance 1080v13 picks up speed nicely. It’s a max cushion daily trainer but I think many people will find that it acquits itself quite well to speed work. While I wouldn’t call strides or intervals in the 1080v13 effortless, you will feel like you’re working hard as you increase speed, it’s more than capable of helping you hit paces you wouldn’t try in some of its lumbering yet comfortable competitors.
Drew: While I had no issues with the performance of the New Balance 1080v13’s traction across a variety of circumstances including wet roads and some cinder or leaf-strewn paths, I’m concerned about the long-term durability. The Ndurance rubber outsole doesn’t seem to be all that durable. I’m already seeing significant wear at my toe-off point.
I think the Ndurance rubber is a softer blown rubber, and though it’s improving the overall cushion and shock absorption, rubber-like this typically wears out quicker than usual. But I’m also 6’6” and 200 pounds so those lighter and smaller than me may see better results over time.
Annie: The rubber coverage did the job for me and hasn’t exhibited an unusual amount of wear over the miles. The outsole didn’t feel like I was sticking like glue to the pavement, but I also didn’t experience any slippage. It held its own traversing some wet leaves on a wooden pedestrian bridge, so that always earns my respect (and thanks).
Is the New Balance 1080v13 worth $165?
Annie: While I think the New Balance 1080v13 is a fantastic shoe, and I thoroughly enjoyed running in it, I can’t help but give a little side-eye to its $165 price tag when the vast majority of other premium daily trainers and/or max cushion shoes hover at or below the $160 mark.
Perhaps New Balance is hedging against that comparison via the fact they offered the More v4 at $150, a price which many felt was consumer-minded. I have personally enjoyed the 1080v13 considerably more (pun intended) and do believe it to be a more (…) premium shoe, but a few bucks is still a few bucks for many (including me) when considering it alongside its range of competitors. All of which is to say, it’s not a dealbreaker, but I would be remiss to forego at least mentioning it.
I’m curious as to what you think though, Drew, especially as value relates to durability. The forces your speed and size exert on a running shoe are inherently greater than those imposed by my middle-of-the-pack, 5-foot-tall frame. Will durability come into play for you in a more significant way?
Drew: As I mentioned above, I am concerned about the durability of the outsole. The Fresh Foam X will likely last plenty long though. There’s a balance there that keeps the durability within the right value band. However, I agree that $165 feels steep.
Part of that is New Balance being one of the first to price their premium daily trainer post-inflationary increases across the board. But, you can get a lot of shoes with similar value props for $5-$10 less. Most of those shoes tend to be a bit heavier (by around an ounce) so New Balance is delivering something for that extra cash…but is it enough? That likely depends on your current cash position in this age of astronomical interest rates.
New Balance 1080v13 Summary
Annie: Whether you want to call it a well-cushioned daily trainer or a more versatile max cushion cruiser, the New Balance 1080v13 has hit on a winning formula. Given its fit, versatility, and protective but undeniably fun ride, it’s very easy to recommend for a wide range of runners.
Drew: New Balance is going to sell a lot of the New Balance 1080v13. The fantastic try-on squish paired with a no-frills, comfortable upper will convince many runners to wear them right out the doors of their local running shop. Add in the fact that it’s accommodating, comes in wide, and can be used for some speedwork and you’ve got a shoe that will win hearts.
The only questions that remain are will it win wallets with the $165 price point and will the quickish outsole wear dishearten some buyers? Time will tell. But if you’re not price-sensitive, the New Balance 1080v13 is a fun shoe and is worth considering as you choose your next daily trainer.