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New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 Review Analysis (2022)

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 review

Last update: August 2022

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 is a very good reference for daily training that offers comfort and versatility.

The Consensus

9.2Overall score
A very good comfortable, and durable shoe with high-stack cushioning for daily running
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is a star shoe for daily and easy runs. It offers a comfortable fit with protective cushioning that provides a good compromise between shock absorption and structure.

The stack is as high as ever, with 34 mm heel height and a heel-to-toe drop of 8 mm. The Fresh Foam X is not exceptionally responsive, and testers didn’t note any noticeable bounce. Still, the ride is smooth and enjoyable, especially for slow to moderate speed sessions.

The main improvement (or backpedal) is the design of the heel counter. Runners had criticized it for its poor fit, so New Balance returns to a more classic shape to appease the (legitimately) disgruntled.

Finally, the 1080 v12 is still durable for daily training—it can take on long miles!

In summary, the NB 1080 v12 changes little and continues to be an excellent pick for everyday training. While not mind-blowing, it’s accessible and offers runners a comfortable and easy ride.

Please read our full review of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 for more information.
Comfort
9.5
Responsiveness
8.5
Foot lockdown
9
Stability
9
Durability
9.5
Value for money
9
Design
9
PROS
  • Comfortable cushioning that offers good protection
  • Smooth and pleasant ride
  • Sturdy shoe
  • Precise lockdown
CONS
  • High weight
  • Lack of responsiveness
  • It may be too loose for a narrow foot

Complete Review Analysis

Introduction

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 review

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 is the bestseller of the American brand. It’s a popular shoe for beginners and advanced runners looking for a comfortable model for most of their sessions.

However, after an acclaimed version 10, New Balance disappointed many runners by introducing a unique design in the heel (Ultra Heel) that caused discomfort for many runners (even pain and heel slippage in some cases).

So what’s this new model worth, and will it seduce again disappointed runners? That’s what we’ll find out in this detailed analysis.

Cushioning

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 fresh foam x midsole cushioning

The New Balance 1080v12 uses Fresh Foam X in its midsole.

This configuration provides a moderately soft underfoot feel (density is balanced). The high stack comes with more foam than the previous versions (34 mm in the heel, 26 mm under the toes). It offers excellent protection and isolates the foot from the ground perfectly. So it’s certainly not the model to feel the fresh asphalt under your feet!

As you can see in the photo below, the midsole texture is airy with laser engraving for a softer feel. This puts the 1080 between the 880 (firmer, traditional configuration) and the FF More (max cushion and even softer).

Focus on the Fresh Foam

On the other hand, the platform is wider than the previous model. Unfortunately, the result is better stability at the price of more weight (291 g/10.3 oz, so that’s 21 g/0.7 oz more, ugh!). In comparison, its main competitor, the Saucony Ride 15, is only 250 g/8.8 oz! This is one of the main criticisms of the testers: the shoe is relatively heavy, which makes it unsuitable for fast paces.

Finally, the platform has a slight rocker geometry to make transitions easier.

What does all this add up to in terms of the ride? That’s what we’ll see below!

Foot lockdown (upper)

New Balance 1080 v12 mesh upper

The breathable Hypoknit upper is soft and offers a focused structure with a flexible forefoot and a reinforced midfoot for precise lockdown. However, the shoe does feel loose, which may not be optimal if you have very narrow feet.

On the other hand, if you have wide feet, you will be pleased to find the 1080 v12 stretchy with good volume (including in the toe box) to accommodate your foot shape and size.

As mentioned in the introduction, the heel shape is more conventional than the 1080v11. The heel is tapered like a flame, but it’s not as long. The testers were satisfied with this return to a more traditional heel. They note that the lockdown is good without any discomfort or unpleasant flutter.

heel counter of the NB 1080v12

Next, the gusseted tongue is nice. This configuration wraps the top of the foot and prevents the tongue from slipping while running. The toe bumper is also sturdier to protect your toes and avoid tears in the mesh.

Overall, the new 1080 v12 has a more straightforward, more functional, forgettable design during exercise. Exactly what you want from a shoe!

Grip and durability

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 rubber outsole

This part of the shoe changes the least from one version to the next. The pattern is almost identical to v10 with some Flex Zones to help the outsole move with the foot.

It combines blown rubber and firm rubber to balance durability, flexibility, and comfort.

New Balance 1080 outsole blown rubber

According to testers, durability is good, with only minor signs of wear even after 100 miles.

Bonus point: 50% of the rubber is ecological following New Balance’s Green Leaf Standard. It’s not carbon-neutral yet but that’s a step in this direction.

Finally, the grip is also adequate, and the shoe holds up well on the road, even in rainy conditions.

The Ride

1080v12 on feet road running shoe

With its bulky design and somewhat heavy weight, the NB 1080 v12 remains in line with the collection. It’s a comfortable shoe for longer runs with a slow to moderate pace.

The protective and comfortable cushioning is fun for daily runs and long distances.

The flexible platform and light rocker provide a comfortable ride with smooth transitions.

However, this NB 1080 doesn’t offer much energy return despite its easy and fun ride. Simply put, testers note that it’s not bouncy, and they were hoping for more from the Fresh Foam X midsole.

Overall, runners who have tested the shoe note that it’s an accessible and versatile model that makes it suitable for many scenarios, except for fast-paced workouts like uptempo (though there’s nothing to stop you from doing that).

Conclusion

Fresh Foam 1080v12 New Balance traditional trainer

The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 stays true to itself. It has the same qualities that made the collection successful: comfort, high-stack cushion and protection, durability, and versatility for daily training and long runs.

The weak point of the v11 (poorly adjusted heel) is gone to the delight of the series’ fans, keeping this daily trainer super star relevant in 2022.

However, its high weight and unresponsive cushioning don’t make it as amazing as expected.

Comparisons

New Balance 1080 v11

The 1080 v12 is very similar to the previous version. The main change is the more classic heel shape to suit a wider range of runners. The v11 was a disappointment in this area so NB has rectified the issue.

The rest is very similar with a cushioned ride and a standard heel-to-toe drop of 8 mm. However, the feel is a bit softer and the platform is wider. Unfortunately, the v12 is about 0.7 oz/20 g heavier.

If the v11 was a good fit for you, you might try to find a pair during sales periods. If not, the v12 should be more appropriate with its new heel design.

New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v12

The 880 v12 is less cushioned with a firmer ground feel. See the detailed comparison.

Facts

Technical Specs

TerrainRoad
Pronation typeNeutral
Drop8 mm
Heel stack height34 mm
Forefoot stack height26 mm
FeaturesHeavyweight runners, wide foot
Weight (men)292 g/10.3 oz
Weight (women)249 g/8.8 oz
Release year2022

Cushioning

Softness (1-5)3 – Moderate
Bounce (1-5)2 – Low

Technologies

OutsoleRubber, blown rubber
MidsoleNB Fresh Foam X
UpperHypoknit

Use

SpeedSlow, moderate
DistanceMid/long distances, 10k, half marathon, marathon
Workout

Reference: New Balance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does the New Balance FF 1080 v12 fit?

The shoe runs true to size but it’s rather large. As a a result, it can be a bit big depending on your foot type. Some runners recommend going a half size down from your usual size. A trial run seems in order!

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.

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