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Road Shoes

Shoe of the Week: New Balance 1080v11

New Balance didn’t compromise in giving the 1080v11 plush trimmings, ample cushioning and luxurious foot hold in a shoe sure to become an easy-day favorite.

New Balance 1080v11 Review

Weight: M9.2oz, W8.1oz

Offset: 8mm (27mm heel/19mm forefoot)

Price: $150

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New Balance 1080v11 side
Photo: 101 Degrees West

Top Line

Sublime cushioned trainer as a recovery-run favorite.

What’s New

Fortunately, not much of the 1080’s cushy ride changed from v10 to v11. New Balance retooled the upper, using a laser-patterned and engineered Hypoknit fabric for a snug yet flexible stretch-to-fit hold that encompasses the foot without constriction, providing a comfortable, soft and supportive fit. The zoned stretch upper is breathable and the contoured “UltraHeel” cups the rearfoot with less material.

This is the shoe for you if…

You are feeling beat up, or simply want some cruiser miles to get the blood flowing without pounding. The 1080v11 is well suited for luxurious recovery runs, thanks to the Fresh Foam cushioning and the upper’s relaxed, comfortable fit.

Light blue women's New Balance shoes.
Photo: Molly Hanson

First Runs

The 1080 has consistently been New Balance’s expression of plushness, a soft coaxing way of getting runners to enjoy the activity, even when they are not necessarily feeling moved to get out the door. Perhaps that’s because the “ah” comfort is an immediate, step-in feeling, one of the best in the industry. The Fresh Foam midsole, blown rubber outsole and rockered design are enough to lull you into running, almost as though they could put you in a hypnotic trance.

The new engineered knit and stretch zones of the upper are remarkably flexible, with an adaptive, close-to-the-foot fit and a hint of structure and support on the sides. The new Hypoknit material is also highly breathable. The fit is wide enough in the forefoot that it felt sock like and accommodates a variety of foot shapes but as such, can feel a bit sloppy, which led our testers to crank down the lacing of the short midfoot saddle enough to get some bite. The only fit and feel complaints related to the highly-contoured heel cup, which some found a bit wonky in its shape, placement and hold.

New Balance 1080v11 top and bottom
Photo: 101 Degrees West

Our testers raved about how the soft upper contoured their feet as well as the comfort and “bouncy” midsole cushioning. The overall experience defied expectations because the plush underfoot experience usually comes at a price of bulk and heft, and that isn’t the case here, partly due to the lightness of the Fresh Foam plus the weight-savings of the new lasered upper. And, surprisingly, the plushness also doesn’t make the 1080 a squishy, sloppy ride.

Said one tester, “The midsole firms up upon weighting, producing a comfortable but fairly stable and responsive ride.” Another remarked, “I think this is a good shoe for more laid-back runs. It wasn’t pop-y enough for a super fast track workout but I enjoyed how comfortable it made me feel on easier runs.” Another observed that they “felt best at an easy pace, and OK up to tempo pace” but that, when surging the 1080 felt lethargic.

Ideal for daily training, even for those racking up high mileage, the 1080 is forgiving and well suited for easier “laid back” runs and recovery days, not unlike its predecessor, the 1080v10, since the updates were relatively minor. The step-in comfort is a lasting one and, when paired with the smooth roll-through of the rocker midsole, it makes the 1080 an everyday trainer that promises to be dependable and durable.

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