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New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 vs v9 Comparison Running Shoe Review

by Sportitude
12 Dec 2019

Josh introduces the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 running shoes and highlights how New Balance have re-engineered this innovative ride from the 1080v9 with feedback from real-world runners.

Lighter than competitors in its category, the 1080v10 is a top pick for neutral runners seeking a ultra-cushioned shoe for high mileage running with enough flexibility for the occasional tempo run.

A full Fresh Foam X midsole creates a super plush yet responsive feel, dampening aggressive impact forces like those felt on heel strike. The flared heel counter feels natural on, locking in your rearfoot for an improved fit, stability and reduced irritation as you put foot to pavement.

Check out full review with transcript below.

Hi guys, Josh here from Sportitude and today we’re doing a shoe review on the New Balance 1080v10, this shoe right here.

The 1080 has been one of my go-to series for a number of years now. I loved the v6. The v7 and v8 weren’t too bad, but the v9 from last year which I have in front of me here as well, was an absolute cracker. I really enjoyed this running shoe.

What we have in front of me is the new and improved 1080v10. This is a huge change for New Balance in regard to how they’ve engineered and executed this shoe. However, they stay true to what this shoe is all about. It’s a neutral, high mileage and extremely cushioned running shoe.

Like all my shoe reviews I like to go over every aspect starting from the outsole, then we’ll move to the midsole and then we’ll talk all thing upper and compare it to where it was in the v9. There’s a change in every single aspect of this shoe. Go make yourself a cup of tea or a coffee, grab a glass of water, sit down and let’s get stuck in.

Foot Type

What we like to do is profile the runner that should consider this shoe. First things first, we’ll look at the foot type. Like I’ve done with my previous shoe reviews, we’re going to highlight the fact that it is designed for a neutral runner.

Generally speaking, a static position of a neutral foot will look something like this. It’s not true to all cases but this is a bit of a generalisation of what a neutral foot will look like. We’ve got a pretty high arch, a bit of real estate between the ground and the medial sides of the arch and the navicular sits a bit higher. When a runner comes down on the heel and goes through to midstance, the majority of the time the pressure is either through the centre of the shoe or tilted towards the lateral side, so a borderline supinated foot type.

As we go through to toe-off, we tend to propel off our second or third metatarsal, sometimes third and fourth. Therefore, we aren’t seeing the foot type that collapses through to midstance and splays out through the arch area.

However, like the majority of shoes in this stable neutral category we have had some success fitting it with mild pronators like myself. When I go through my midstance phase after making contact with the ground, I happen to be a midfoot striker and my arch does splay out ever so slightly.

Technically I should be running in something with a little bit of medial support or assistance but I find this shoe is perfect for me. It is stable enough to give my arch a bit of support, mainly due to the new engineered upper with the Hypoknit design. The shoe is nice and responsive so I feel like I’m popping out of my gait cycle quite well.

Runner Profile

Now we have covered foot types, what sort of runner should be considering this in regard to how to introduce it into your training? This is a max cushioned shoe. It has truckloads of cushioning so it’s an easy everyday or long running shoe, something you can put plenty of hours per week in.

However, I changed it up a little bit with this shoe when I went for a couple of runs. I did some speedwork and a couple of sessions in it and found it very comfortable. It is extremely responsive in the forefoot for a cushioning shoe.

Generally speaking when you’re talking about the competitors in this category like your Glycerin from Brooks, your Nimbus from Asics, and I might throw in the Vomero from Nike as well just to name a few, this shoe is certainly lighter. It is more responsive through the forefoot than its competitors as well. That’s my personal perspective, I found it really nice when I was going through my toe-off phase and putting speed through my transition.

Outsole

Let’s talk all things engineering and how New Balance have executed this shoe in comparison to what they did in the v9. Let’s hold up the v9 and we’ll talk about the outsole. You can see there’s quite a bit of change.

The outsole of the v9 is one of my absolute standout features. I really like the fact that it was full ground contact with minimal flex grooves for the forefoot which was providing a little extra propulsion for me on toe-off. With first point of contact through midstance or heel striking, you’re going to get a really nice plush point of contact with the ground with the v9.

They didn’t change that with the v10. They have just ever so slightly changed where the outsole sits in regard to protecting the Fresh Foam midsole. You’ve got plenty of Crash Pad for the heel striker that comes down on the heel first.

As you come through to the midstance phase, there is a little cut-out in the outsole. It will be interesting to see how the wear goes on that cut-out. However, I’m very confident the outsole is going to dampen the impact on that first point of contact with the ground on harsh conditions like your bitumen, pavement or even your sealed rubber surfaces that I happen to run on around Adelaide.

I’m getting plenty of purchase on the ground through the first point of contact that’s going to be able to dampen shock with the Fresh Foam midsole as well.

Coming through the forefoot there is a little bit of a change in regard to the set-up of the old v9. As you can see those little cut-outs were placed there to give this shoe a little bit of flexibility, but mainly keep it nice and rigid through toe-off.

The 1080v10 is slightly more flexible. I found it to give a little bit more, especially on those quicker runs. I couldn’t run my tempo sessions in the v9, it just didn’t feel like it was flexible enough, but it certainly felt responsive.

The v10 is flexible enough. Put some velocity moving through that foot and it’s going to give you a nice spring through toe-off.

Midsole

No change at all on the stack height. We’re talking a 8mm drop in both men’s and women’s. We have 30mm in the heel and 22mm through the forefoot. Where the changes come is in the way they’ve executed the Fresh Foam midsole.

We’ve got the Fresh Foam series which has been rolled out for about four or five years now. In the v10 they’ve called it Fresh Foam X.

The actual shoe is certainly a lot lighter. The midsole is lighter than previously, and it’s a lot softer so on that first point of contact if you’re a heel striker, it is extremely soft underneath the heel.

Coming through to midstance, which is where I make the purchase to the ground. Again, it’s very soft. As you go through the forefoot you can see how the shoe itself curls up. There is a really responsive feeling.

We’re going to take the vertical force on heel strike or midstance and as you come through toe-off you don’t want to be sinking through the last phase of your gait cycle. That’ll put way too much pressure on the metatarsal heads. They’ve tightened the execution of the midsole through the forefoot, so you get a nice poppy feel.

Upper

As we come through to the upper, there is a new design. It’s a knitted upper the whole way through. It’s called Hypoknit from New Balance.

We’ve got jacquard mesh from the previous model which is pretty consistent to where it was previously. It has a couple of extra overlays on the medial side on the v9. What they have done with the v10 with Hypoknit, they’ve executed it to be a little bit freer through the forefoot.

You get a little extra movement which is nice and a bit of wriggle space through your toes. But as you come through to the midstance phase of the middle of the shoe where your arch sits, it’s nice and firm. It is almost the perfect mixture of control and support, but without overdoing it too much. I don’t feel too tight in that part of the shoe.

Coming through to this unique heel design, there is a lot going on there. I must admit when I unboxed these for the first time I wondered, what is going on? I really wanted to know why New Balance did this almost like an elf, or almost like a decanter as if you’re pouring a glass of wine. I really didn’t know when I first looked at that.

However, the complaints with the v9 which wasn’t me but came from a lot of runners out there was that it’s too low and there’s a bit of unusual wear. It wasn’t comfortable around the back of the calcaneus or the back of your heel. There’s a bit of unusual rubbing, especially for a lot of orthotic wearers out there. New Balance like the majority of brands listened, and they changed the execution on the heel counter.

They still have an internal heel counter and they haven’t sacrificed support. But this little… let’s call it a ‘pixie design’ heel counter, sits up higher and your foot actually sits a bit deeper inside this shoe without feeling like you’ve got a mid-cut boot on. It has a really nice wrap around the back of your Achilles, which is unnoticeable when you put it on.

You might look at that and think, that’s just going to feel weird on my foot. However, because this sits out it doesn’t actually catch on the back of your Achilles insertion to your heel. It actually feels quite nice.

Widths

Let’s talk about widths in this shoe. I happen to be holding the men’s in front of me, but the women’s looks exactly the same except the outsole is a light grey instead of a dark grey.

The widths that the women’s come in here in Australia is B which is standard, then we have a D which is a little more generous or a bit wider. That's two widths on offer in the women’s.

In the men’s we have three widths. We have standard D, then we’ve got a 2E, then we have a 4E for an extra wide fit as well.

It’s great. I love brands when they execute a great shoe they offer it in widths. If they’re offering it in widths it means they care. They want more varieties of foot shapes to be able to run in this specific shoe. Three widths in the men’s, two widths in the women’s, well done to New Balance.


There you have it, that’s a wrap for the New Balance 1080v10. If you haven’t subscribed to the Sportitude Youtube channel please do. If you have any questions please contact our Sportitude shoe experts and we’ll get back to you as soon as we possibly can.

Until next time, happy running. We’ll see you soon.