By Keiran Alger
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 has always aimed to bring comfort to your daily training miles. This thirteenth generation has seen some pretty big changes designed to elevate that. The 1080V13 now packs a bigger midsole stack that’s softer, lighter and bouncier while the uppers add extra padding, maxing out on plushness.
The result is a shoe that’s much closer to the likes of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 than it is to leaner, faster daily shoes like the On Cloudsurfer 7. But has it sacrificed some of its versatility in pursuit of easy-mile protection? Dive into the New Balance 1080V13 review to find out.
New Balance 1080V13 - Stack Height, Drop, Weight and Price
The New Balance 1080 V13 now has a bigger stack of updated Fresh Foam X across the midsole. The stack height now sits at 38mm / 32mm compared to the V12’s 34mm / 26mm. There’s also now a lower 6mm drop, down from 8mm in the last-gen shoe.
When it comes to weight, despite the bigger stack, the New Balance 1080V13 shaves a considerable chunk off the 1080V12. It tips the scales at 9.2oz / 260g in our UK Men’s 8.5 test shoe. That’s lighter than the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 (10.4 oz / 295g), the Saucony Triumph 21 (9.9oz / 281g) and the On Cloudmonster (9.8oz / 278g ) but still heavier than other daily options like the On Cloudsurfer 7 (8.4oz / 237g).
On price, at $165 – up $5 on the 1080v12 – and pushing the top-end of what you can expect to pay for a good daily trainer.
Stats : NB 1080V13
Easy recovery runs
9.2oz / 260g
True to size
8 / 10
New Balance 1080V13 - Design
This is the biggest update to the 1080 that we’ve seen for a few years. The headline changes here are a bigger midsole stack of new lighter Fresh Foam X, with a lower drop, an updated rocker shape, some extra forefoot stiffness and a decent drop in weight.
The bigger midsole platform now makes the 1080V13 the most-cushioned shoe in the New Balance line-up, putting more foam underfoot than you’ll find even in the max-cushioned New Balance MoreV4.
There are some significant changes to the upper too. You’ve now got engineered mesh uppers that are more structured and hugging than the V12’s flexy knit uppers. There’s significantly less flex and room in the toe box that makes for a more wrapped, less airy fit overall.
The heel collars and the gusseted tongues are notably more padded for boosted plushness and good step-in comfort that rivals the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 for that luxe on-foot feel.
Flip them over and there’s a generous outsole covering of New Balances’s Ndurance rubber for boosted grip and durability.
New Balance 1080V13 - Fit
I ran true to size in my UK 8.5 and I found the fit spot on with good step in comfort, good heel hold, decent lace lock down across the midfoot and a padded tongue that helps avoid lace pinch. There’s ample room in the toe box for both length and across the top of the toes (though they’re less roomy and airy than the New Balance 1080V12) and I’d recommend going true to size. The 13 version is also available in wide widths.
New Balance 1080V13 - Performance
I’ve done 40km in the New Balance 1080v13, mostly easy plodding with some runs up to 90 minutes on feet. Those miles were over a mix of road and light off-road river paths.
I’ve found them excellent for those easy efforts where you just want a bit of reliable protection and all round plushness on the foot. If you want cocoon shoes for slow mile comfort, the 1080v13 delivers.
They tick all the boxes for a plush and soft, max-cushioned comfort running shoe. This is a very capable easy-day recovery option that definitely rivals the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 and outperforms the Nike Invincible 3.
The foot feel is great. The more structured uppers hug without restriction. They’re not as flexible as the V12 so if you like that wiggle room, you might not like this as much but you can still move your toes fairly freely.
Now despite being nearly 30g lighter than the 1080v12, oddly the V13 feel noticeably larger on the foot. The V12 weren’t small but the changes to the V13 definitely move the V13 into the bulkier daily trainer territory.
The 1080v13 put more Fresh Foam X between you and the road which deadens more of the impact but it also leaves you feeling less connected than the V12.
So if you like things more direct, these might not be for you. You can feel the bigger stack particularly in the heel, too and I found the V13 rolled me a little more to the lateral side. While the V12 ran a bit flatter – and more stable. I would say the V13 still has decent stability even with that big bouncy sole. But that’s a change from the past generation.
As for the ride, the V13 screams slow, comfort to me. They’re not the most energetic which limits their use somewhat to slower, easier efforts. You’re unlikely to go chasing intervals in them or want to run longer, marathon pace training runs either. But for those runs where you’re ambling, they’re a very easy shoe to roll in with smooth transitions and unquestionable comfort.
Also if you’re a bigger runner who needs more underfoot, or a beginner who just wants guaranteed comfort, these are a good option.
New Balance 1080V13
Probably the biggest compliment I can pay to this shoe, is that I very nearly chose it to go and run 100 miles in 3 days around Lake Garda in Italy. Simply because of the reliable comfort you get from the super-luxe uppers and that soft and pillowy midsole.
In the end I opted for the On Cloudmonster because it has more energy and response and I was worried the 1080V13 might prove a little too leg sapping over longer hours on feet. And this is where it perhaps misses a beat.
It’s a little less energetic than close rivals like the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 and much more so than snappier daily trainers like the HOKA Mach 5, the Saucony Triumph 21 or the On Cloudsurfer 7. It runs a little softer and more sluggish and that’s likely to limit its versatility.
But if you want a shoe that delivers good cushioned protection that makes the impact of the road disappear, this shoe does that really well.
It’s a great, easy day shoe, ideal for recovery runs and those happy head-up excursions where you’re running for the joy of moving rather than to hit fast splits.
Is it an upgrade on the V12? I think that’ll come down to whether you like a larger, softer, squishier stack of midsole to really dampen that ground feel. Or you want something that’s a shade more direct and connected. If it’s the former, go for the V13. If it’s the latter, the V12 are the better option.
If you can find a cheap deal on the V12, that’s what I’d recommend.
That said, the V13 is a good, solid, reliable cushioned shoe that delivers comfort by the bucket load. It’s a close rival for the Nimbus 25 – and cheaper – and if you’re after a max comfort, max cushioning, I don’t think you’d be disappointed with the V13.