New Balance 880 vs 1080: New Balance Fresh Foam Shoes Comparison

Last Updated: Feburary 02, 2024 | Author: Jake Thompson

In the marathon of running shoe comparison, the New Balance 880 vs 1080 are like two seasoned athletes with distinctly different running styles.

Amidst this competition, New Balance's rising popularity and awareness among runners have turned it into a brand synonymous with innovation and comfort, attracting a diverse crowd of athletes and casual joggers alike.

I've tied the laces of both, feeling each shoe's unique heartbeat against the pavement.

The 880v12, with its firm yet forgiving embrace, has been a reliable partner on many runs, its consistency a comforting whisper in a world of flashy promises.

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On the other foot, the 1080v12, with its lush Fresh Foam X cushioning, has sometimes felt like running on a cloud, a luxurious experience that has occasionally made me question my loyalty to its more grounded counterpart.

As I reflect on the miles covered and the sensations each model provides, I find myself poised at a crossroads, weighing the merits of these two formidable contenders in the realm of comfort, performance, and endurance.

Stay with me as I unpack the intricacies of each model, and perhaps together, we can navigate the course to finding the perfect shoe for the long run ahead.

Table of Contents:

  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Table: New Balance Fresh Foam 880 vs 1080
  3. Pros & Cons
  4. Design Comparison
  5. Upper Construction
  6. Midsole & Outsole Features
  7. Performance
  8. Stability & Support
  9. Cushioning & Comfort
  10. Durability and Traction
  11. Final Verdict
  12. Frequently Asked Questions

Key Takeaways

  • - The New Balance 1080 is a highly cushioned and softer running shoe, while the New Balance 880 offers a balance between support and comfort.
  • - The 1080 is often used for speed due to its rocker design, while the 880 is available in various widths to accommodate different foot sizes.
  • - Both shoes use Fresh Foam X technology for cushioning, with the 1080 having a slightly lower heel-to-toe drop.
  • - The Fresh Foam X technology provides a responsive, comfortable, and lightweight running experience, offering cushioning without sinking into the shoe.

Table: New Balance Fresh Foam 880 vs 1080

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12 New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12
Feature New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12 New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12
Design Engineered double jacquard mesh upper for breathability. Engineered knit upper for a soft and stretchy fit.
Cushioning Fresh Foam midsole for a plush, more natural ride. Fresh Foam X midsole for enhanced softness and rebound.
Support Molded external heel counter for added stability. Bootie construction with Ultra Heel design for a snug, supportive fit.
Weight 205 grams (7.2 oz) 10.9 oz
Sole Blown rubber outsole for durability and traction. Blown rubber outsole with more cushioning in the forefoot.
Drop 10mm drop for a traditional running feel. 3.3 mm drop to promote a more natural running form.
Intended Use Ideal for daily training and mixed distances. Best suited for long-distance running and high-mileage runners.

Pros & Cons

New Balance 880

  • - Versatile for various training needs.
  • - Balanced cushioning with Fresh Foam X.
  • - Durable and suitable for different terrains.
  • - Comfortable fit for wide foot ranges.
  • - Insufficient midfoot lockdown at high speeds.
  • - Primarily designed for hard surfaces.

New Balance 1080

  • - Enhanced cushioning with Fresh Foam X for comfort.
  • - Supportive Hypoknit upper.
  • - Aesthetically pleasing design.
  • - Better for runners with higher arches.
  • - Less responsive in newer versions.
  • - Slightly heavier build.

Design Comparison

As we shift focus to the design comparison between the New Balance 880 vs 1080, I'll examine the upper construction, midsole, and outsole features of both models.

The technical specifications of the 880v12's engineered mesh contrast with the 1080v12's Hypoknit technology, which demands scrutiny for their implications on foot lockdown and comfort.

Additionally, assessing the variations in midsole foam density and outsole patterns will illuminate how each shoe translates these design choices into the overall running experience.

Related: Brooks vs New Balance: Guide to Finding the Right Running Shoe

Upper Construction

Examining the upper construction reveals distinct differences in design that cater to individual runner preferences and needs.

The 880v12 features an engineered mesh upper, which ensures breathability and a comfortable, adaptive fit. This mesh also contributes to the lightweight feel of the upper part of the shoe, while offering a roomy toe box essential for toe splay during runs.

In contrast, the 1080v12 utilizes a hypo kit upper, which provides targeted areas of stretch and support, adapting to the contours of the foot. The hypoknit construction also supports breathability but offers a more structured feel, with a heel counter that ensures a secure lock-down.

Both designs, while distinct, are crafted to meet the demands of serious runners.

Midsole & Outsole Features

Delving into the midsole and outsole features of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 vs 880, we notice that each caters to different runner needs through its innovative design and materials.

The 880v12 offers a reliable balance of cushion and responsiveness, employing a midsole foam that's engineered for durability and comfort.

In contrast, the 1080v12 features a plush Fresh Foam midsole, characterized by its luxurious underfoot feel and higher stack height for superior impact absorption.

  • Fresh Foam midsole: Provides a soft, cushioned experience with a focus on heel-to-toe transition.
  • Stack height: A higher stack in the 1080v12 adds cushion, while the 880v12 balances cushion with ground feel.
  • Outsole: Both models use blown rubber for durability and grip, but differ in flexibility and pattern design.

The technicalities of these designs reveal a commitment to meeting diverse running demands.


When assessing the performance, I'm particularly focused on their stability and support features.

The 880v12's engineered mesh and strategic cushioning offer a firm yet comfortable platform, enhancing the shoe's overall stability for a variety of foot strikes.

In contrast, the 1080v12's increased stack height and Fresh Foam X technology provide a plush ride with superior shock absorption, though potentially at the cost of some ground feel and direct support.

Stability & Support

While both the New Balance shoes offer neutral support, the 880v12's design incorporates a slightly firmer midsole which provides enhanced stability for runners seeking a more grounded experience. This stability shoe is especially suitable for runners who prioritize a secure foot strike over plush cushioning. The midsole provides a responsive ride that adeptly balances wear and tear with performance.

The 880v12's TRUFUSE midsole is engineered for durability and responsive cushioning, making it a reliable choice for daily training.

A molded heel counter in the 880v12 ensures a snug fit, adding to the shoe's stability and supporting the heel during impact.

The 1080v12, while plush, also offers substantial support, with its design catering to various running needs, including long-distance endeavors.

Feature New Balance Fresh Foam 880v12 New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12
Midsole Fresh Foam X, FuelCell Fresh Foam X
Cushioning Softness (1-5, with 5 being the softest) 3 – Moderate 2 – Moderate
Bounce (1-5, with 5 being the most bounce) 3 – Moderate 2 – Low
Pronation Type Neutral Neutral
Upper Material Engineered mesh Hypoknit, gusseted tongue
Outsole Blown rubber Blown rubber
Use Cases Mid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon Mid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon
Fit and Foot Lockdown More volume, suits wider feet Improved heel counter, precise overall fit

Cushioning & Comfort

In assessing the cushioning and comfort of NB 880v12 vs 1080v12, it's crucial to consider the technical specifications of the Fresh Foam X midsole, which plays a pivotal role in the overall running experience provided by each model. The 1080v12, being a premium neutral running shoe, offers a more plush Fresh Foam X midsole, designed for those who prioritize a comfortable ride during long runs. On the other hand, the 880v12 presents a balance between cushioning and responsiveness, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of activities.

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The Fresh Foam X technology is engineered to deliver precise shock absorption while maintaining a lightweight profile. This cushioned shoe technology is essential for runners looking for both comfort and durability during their runs. The carefully tuned midsoles in both models ensure a smooth transition and energy return, reducing the impact on the joints.

Related: New Balance 992 vs 993 Shoes Comparison

New Balance Model Fresh Foam X Midsole
880v12 Balanced cushioning for versatility
1080v12 Enhanced cushioning for a plush ride

The 1080v12's cushioning is noticeably softer, making it ideal for long runs where a more comfortable ride is desired. The 880v12, while still providing a cushioned experience, offers firmer support, which can be preferable for runners seeking a more traditional feel.

Durability and Traction

The outsoles of both New Balance models, constructed with durable blown rubber, provide runners with reliable traction across various surfaces, ensuring a stable and secure grip during their runs. When I'm analyzing the durability of these shoes, I'm looking for an outsole that can withstand the rigors of daily training, and both these models deliver. Mile after mile, the outsoles show minimal wear, which is a testament to their robust construction.

The outsole of the New Balance is designed with traction in mind, featuring various patterns and flex grooves that respond to different terrains. This is particularly important for a neutral running shoe designed to cater to a wide range of runners. The 880v12 and 1080v12 are ideal for runners who demand a shoe that can keep up with their diverse training demands without losing performance or integrity.

  • - Durability: The high-quality rubber resists abrasion and lasts through extensive use.
  • - Traction: Engineered with a multi-directional grip that ensures safety on wet or dry surfaces.
  • - Flexibility: Flex grooves support natural foot movement, enhancing the shoe's overall responsiveness.

Related: New Balance 574 vs 515

Final Verdict

Choosing between the New Balance 1080 vs 880 boils down to your priorities. For a versatile, all-around running shoe with balanced cushioning and responsiveness, the 880v12 is the better choice. It's well-suited for a variety of distances and terrains, offering a comfortable and durable option for most runners. If you prioritize comfort and cushioning for long-distance running, the 1080v12 stands out with its plush Fresh Foam X midsole and supportive fit, ideal for those seeking a softer ride during extended runs. Ultimately, the 880v12 excels in versatility, while the 1080v12 is best for cushioned comfort.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What makes the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 a good choice for runners?

The Fresh Foam 1080 comes with a plush Fresh Foam midsole providing superior cushioning and shock absorption, perfect for runners seeking comfort and performance across miles on various terrains.

2. How does the New Balance 880 stand out in the lineup?

The New Balance 880 features a breathable mesh upper and a durable design, making it a popular choice for daily training. Its neutral cushioning is ideal for runners who seek a balance between flexibility and support.

3. Can you compare the New Balance 880 and 1080?

In comparison, the 880 offers versatile use with its breathable mesh and sturdy build, while the 1080 provides enhanced cushioning with the original Fresh Foam midsole, making it softer. Both offer excellent support and are designed for neutral-cushioned running.

4. Why is the 880 considered a popular running shoe?

The Balance 880 is a popular option due to its wide base and sturdy heel, ensuring stability and comfort. Its breathable mesh upper keeps the foot cool, making it an ideal shoe for daily training and runners who require consistent performance.

5. How do runners make the best choice between the New Balance 880 vs 1080?

Runners can expect the 880 to offer durable, breathable support for varied training, while the 1080 provides a softer, more cushioned experience with its Fresh Foam midsole, ideal for long-distance comfort. The right choice depends on the runner’s preference for cushioning versus versatility.

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Jake Thompson

Jake Thompson

I am Jake, a sports enthusiast, love everything about sports, particularly basketball and volleyball. I've played both sports at a local level. Here to share my passion for sports and sports gear experiences with you.