Running fanatic Steve Wright laces up New Balance’s latest iteration of its 1080 daily trainer and is rewarded with soft, cushioned, super-luxe comfort over long miles.

The New Balance 1080 has always been up there with the best running shoes in terms of comfort. But the 1080 v13 takes the plushness of this wannabe do-it-all daily trainer and dials it all the way up.

This latest generation is a markedly different beast to its predecessor with a bigger stack of lighter, softer – and somewhat bouncier – Fresh Foam X midsole foam, a reshaped rocker with some added forefoot stiffness, plus revamped mesh uppers with extra padding in the heel and tongue.

If you’re looking for maximum comfort, this could be your shoe. But has the 1080 sacrificed some versatility for that all-out foot feel? I tested a pair over long and short courses to find out.

Men’s Fitness verdict

It’s lighter than its predecessor, with more midsole foam, and although it delivers comfort in spades the 1080 v13 may have dug itself a hole in terms of versatility.
  • Big, cushioned comfort
  • Plush, padded uppers
  • Lacks a bit of energy
  • Not as versatile as other daily trainers

How we test the best running shoes

Our testers put each shoe through their paces over a mixture of distances and paces to see where they excel, and clocked up significant distances in each one to examine how they wear over time. Each reviewer focused on speed, stability and comfort during test runs, while also assessing the effectiveness of any high-tech features on offer. Their detailed reviews are sure to help you choose the right running shoe for you.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 design

It was never a small shoe, but the New Balance 1080 v13 has gone max cushioned while also managing to shed some weight. It’s now the most cushioned shoe in the New Balance line up with a big stack of lighter and softer Fresh Foam X midsole foam across the whole foot. 

That big, broad base creates a wide, cushioned platform to run off with a lower drop, a rocker to smooth transitions and some extra stiffness in the forefoot, which I felt helped snap through each step. 

Up top, the engineered mesh uppers replace the looser, more flexible knit from the v12. There’s now more foot-hugging structure, but less toe-box wiggle room and airiness. I noticed the heel collars and gusseted tongues are also considerably more padded to deliver some excellent step-in comfort and an extra plush foot feel. If you like a cocooned sensation, these wrap you up nicely. 

The outsole has a liberal but strategic covering of New Balance’s Ndurance rubber to bring the grip and durability. 

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080V13
That heavily curved rocker helps to create a fluid rolling motion with each step

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 weight and price

At 9.2oz / 260g in my UK men’s 8.5 test shoe, the New Balance 1080 v13 shaves a considerable chunk off the 1080 v12. It’s also lighter than the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 (10.4 oz / 295g) and the Nike Invincible 3 (10.9 oz / 310g).

The New Balance 1080 v13 packs an increased 38mm / 32mm midsole stack. That’s up from 34mm / 26mm on the v12. There’s also a lower 6mm drop, down from 8mm. 

The price stays at £160 in the UK but goes up five bucks in the US to $165. That puts the 1080 v13 towards the higher end for do-it-all daily trainers.  

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 performance

In testing, I ran over 400km in the 1080 v13, with lots of slow and easy miles, plus a 90-minute half marathon test on a range of road and light park paths. 

I liked the New Balance 1080 v12, and although this shoe is a different proposition, the 1080 v13 offers everything I look for in a plush, soft, max-cushioned shoe. It’s right up there with the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 as a capable easy-day recovery option. And it’s 100% more natural than the bulky, interfering ride of the Nike Invincible 3

It’s a somewhat bulkier shoe than the 1080 v12, but I really liked its step-in comfort and the big Fresh Foam X stack delivers protection from the road in spades with nice, smooth transitions. It’s just an incredibly easy shoe to roll along in. 

However, there are sacrifices. If you like feeling more connected to the ground, as I do, some of that has gone from the v12. The bigger, softer stack has also deadened the response and the 1080 v13 lacks some of the faster-pace potential you’ll get from more versatile daily trainers like the On Cloudsurfer or the HOKA Mach 5

If you want a shoe that delivers cushioned protection by the bucket-load, this is one of the best I’ve run in for making the road disappear underfoot. It’s ideal for easy days, slow plodding ambles and recovery runs. The kind of miles you’re clocking for the joy of moving rather than fast Strava splits. 

If you’re a beginner or a larger runner, it’s also worth sticking on your list. 

A man road running with hi-viz jacket
Kelsey CEO Steve Wright puts some serious miles into the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13

A second opinion: what tester Steve Wright made of the shoe

My first impressions when walking in the shoes – aside from the comfort – was you the bounce you get from the 33mm/27mm heel/forefoot height. They’re not the lightest shoes out there and are quite bulky. But that Fresh Foam X in the midsole gives them a lightweight feel.

While I’ve found all of my previous New Balance training shoes very comfortable, due to that sock-like upper, some have had a tendency to split at the sides. In these v13 shoes the toe box has been made wider, and after more than 400 miles I’ve seen no sign of any splitting.

My first test of the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 was on a hilly five-mile road run immediately after a 10-mile time trial on the bike. With tired legs it was good to hit the road with a comfortable pair of shoes. That’s not just down to the cushioning; they also had a noticeable and welcome spring to them, helping me to pick my speed up. The 27mm forefoot height in the 1080 v13 is slightly higher than the previous version, and there is a noticeable bounce from the forefoot.

Product shot of the sole of NB running shoes
None of the midsole is exposed through the sole, as with some lighter-weight racers – these shoes are built to last

I found the shoes performed equally well on the hills as they did on the flat. They are well padded around the heel and the tongue, which improves comfort but can make your feet a little warm. So I’d recommend only a thin pair of socks, like these Falke Stabilizing Cool Socks.

I used these shoes as my main road and track speedwork trainers for two months, clocking up just over 400 miles. They’re made for mid- and long-distance road running and I found the good cushioning delivered from the Fresh Foam X made them perfect for high-mileage marathon training.

It’s fair to say that after more than 400 miles, much of it in wet British weather, my v13s are looking a bit grubby. However, they still have plenty of bounce and show no sign of wear on the uppers, and the tread on the soles is also in good condition. They’re still my favourite training shoe, and I expect to take them well beyond the 500 miles most trainers are recommended for.

MaterialsFresh Foam X midsole; Ndurance rubber outsole
Weight260g / 9.2oz
ColoursMarine Blue with Night Sky / Black with White / Black with Blacktop /
Grey Matter with Shadow Grey / Starlight with Marine Blue