New Balance Fresh Foam 880 vs. 1080 (2022)

Living in the shadow of New Balance’s superstar, the 1080, can’t be easy! Yet, with its rugged and versatile design, impeccable fit, and smooth running, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 is clearly underrated.

Detailed Analysis

Cushioning & Ride

Both New Balance running shoes have a moderate stack with 32 mm heel stack height for the New Balance 1080 v12 and 30 mm for the 880. Despite this difference, the shoes have roughly the same weight (10.2 oz/290 g for the men’s version).

They use the same technologies: a Fresh Foam X midsole. However, the 880 also uses FuelCell, an older generation foam.

In practice, this translated into a cushioned ride with good shock absorption.

Overall, testers report that the underfoot feel is a bit firmer with the 880 v12. However, the two models are relatively soft overall. Also, the 880’s platform is a bit more flexible. However, the 880 comes with a more traditional ride. It offers smooth transitions but behaves more like a classic daily trainer.

New Balance Fresh Foam 880 vs 1080

The New Balance 1080s are also daily trainers but they feature a more significant rocker. It doesn’t make these shoes more bouncy but the ride just feels different, which comes down mainly to a matter of personal preference.

The Fresh Foam 880 and the Fresh Foam 1080 are not stability shoes; they offer neutral support. Nonetheless, they are quite stable overall, especially because their midsole foam offers a good structure with a balanced density. Furthermore, both the 880 v12 and the 1080 v12 have a wider platform compared to their v11 versions.

Last but not least, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 has a higher drop than the 1080: 10 mm vs. 8 mm. That’s not a big difference but it can matter if you usually run in high drop shoes.

Fit and Foot Lockdown

New Balance 1080 vs 880 upper

The 1080 v11’s upper received mixed reviews because of its heel counter with a strange shape that causes discomfort for some runners. As a result, the 880 v11 was superior overall. In 2022, New Balance fixed this issue on the 1080 v12: it comes with a more classic heel collar that prevents heel slippage comfortably.

However, the 880 v12 also changed meanwhile. Now, it offers more volume inside the shoe, which is good news for runners with wider feet but it can prove tricky if you have narrow feet. As for the New Balance 1080, it also offers a roomy toe box in the forefoot and the fit is more precise overall.

880 vs 1080 heel counter

Another important point: as you can see in the image above, the 880 is lower than the 1080.

Nonetheless, the fit remains something personal that can greatly depend on the shape of your foot. As a result, it’s better to try both these models in a store if you can.

Apart from the above, the shoes feature a comfortable engineered mesh upper that does the job. A smaller detail that might matter to some: the 1080 comes with a gusseted tongue while the 880 doesn’t.

There was no major update between the 2021 and 2022 upper versions of these two shoes.

Grip and Durability

NB Fresh Foam X 880 vs 1080 (2022) outer side of the sole

The outsole of the New Balance 880 uses blown rubber, and so does the 1080’s. This configuration delivers good traction on urban surfaces, even wet pavement.

A durable outsole is important to ensure the shoes have a long lifespan. Reviewers reported no problems with these models (no early signs of wear and tear). As daily trainers, their goal is to sustain the heavy mileage of your long runs and previous versions have proven that they can deliver on this point.

880 vs. 1080: Which One?

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 vs 880 v12

The main difference between these two shoes is the cushioning. The 880 is less cushioned than the 1080 and the ground feel is more present and firmer.

If you’re looking for traditional running shoes for your daily runs and perhaps a half-marathon, then the 880 seems to be the best choice. On the other hand, if you’re after an allrounder with comfy cushioning and a slight rocker, then the 1080 v12 is a better match! It’s a shoe that’s ideal for your daily workouts and long runs, but it would also work for a full marathon.

Another thing to consider is your budget. The retail price of these running shoes is $180. However, there can be noticeable differences during promotional periods like Black Friday. In that case, you may just want to go for the cheaper one!

Last but not least, as we were mentioning in the introduction, the 1080 is the bestseller of NB so most runners prefer it to the 880.

Side-By-Side Comparison

Bottom Line
New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11
New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12
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Very good comfortable running shoes that combine roomy upper and smooth ride for your long runs.
Soft cushioning with just the right amount of bounce
Versatility on a variety of surfaces Classic, durable design
Classy yet fun look
Overly bulky upper that makes the fit complicated
A little bit too heavy
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12
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Very good, comfortable, solid shoe with plenty of cushioning for everyday wear.
Comfortable cushioning that offers good protection
Smooth and pleasant ride
Sturdy shoe
Precise fit
Heavy weight
Lack of responsiveness
Can be a bit loose for narrow feet

New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12

Technical Specs

Pronation typeNeutralNeutral
Drop10 mm8 mm
Heel stack height32 mm34 mm
Forefoot stack height22 mm26 mm
Weight (men)10.4 oz/294 g10.3 oz/292 g
Weight (women)9 oz/256 g8.8 oz/249 g
Release year20222022


OutsoleBlown rubberBlown rubber
MidsoleFresh Foam X, FuelCellFresh Foam X
UpperEngineered mesh upperHypoknit, gusseted tongue


Softness (1-5)3 – Moderate2 – Moderate
Bounce (1-5)3 – Moderate2 – Low


SpeedSlow, moderateSlow, moderate
DistanceMid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathonMid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon
WorkoutDaily runsDaily runs
Kevin Le Gall

Kevin Le Gall

Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner's Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He's also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.