After more than 100 kilometres in the New Balance 1080 v10, I have formed a solid impression of these shoes. Read on for my thoughts, and find out if this might be a shoe for you.
Fit and Upper
Weighing in at 281 grams / 9.9oz it fits in at the lighter end of the scale compared to its competitors. This new version features a brand new, engineered knit upper. Like most knit uppers, it relies on a tight fit to properly lock your feet into the shoe.
To lock down the heel, New Balance has gone with an interesting twist. Called “Ultra Heel” 1Who comes up with these names, and how can I get in on that gig? I’m surprised the new foam isn’t called “Boost X.” the heel consists of a different material than the rest of the upper, and it is more reminiscent of a rubber solution than a regular knit. Furthermore, the heel is quite aggressive, to offer better support for the Achilles. It also features a pull flap to make it easier to get in and out of the shoes.
I am personally a big fan of tight, knit fits like what is on offer here. The shoe feels wonderful on my feet and immediately makes me want to get out and run. The design of the heel counter, daring as it might be, is a winning formula. The shoe locks my heel in perfectly, and there is no hint of slippage.
The one drawback for me is that the toe box has a pressure point directly on my second smallest toe, and in particular on my left foot. No doubt a quirk particular to me, as I haven’t heard anyone else offer similar complaints. Nevertheless, it isn’t enjoyable, and I’ve ended up with a black and achy toenail to show for it.
If you have a wide foot, you may find the shoe a bit tight around the midfoot area. New Balance does offer the shoe in no less than four different widths, however.
Sole and Shape
The midsole is significant, with a stack height around 30 mm at the thickest and 22 mm at the thinnest (8 mm drop) and it features a brand new foam. Dubbed “Fresh Foam X” it is an update on the old Fresh Foam from New Balance. They claim that it is lighter, softer and more responsive than the previous mix—a clear case of winning upgrade if there ever was one.
A pronounced rocker shape is the most noticeable aspect of the silhouette of the shoe. Coupled with a flexible rubber outside, it makes for a shoe that handles transitions well.
The result is a ride that is both smooth and comfortable. With the sizable midsole, I expected to turn to these shoes primarily on recovery days. However, the New Balance 1080 v10 retains the characteristic firm and responsive feel of its predecessors, making it suitable for all sorts of runs, from easy recovery to tempo runs, and even intervals.
Wear and Tear
All pictures in the collection below are taken after running in excess of 210 kilometres in the shoes. As you can see, there are few visible signs of wear. To add, the shoes still feel soft and responsive. Click the images to see higher resolution versions.
Verdict on the New Balance 1080 v10
1080v10 is a great shoe. With its versatility, it should fit seamlessly into most runners’ shoe rotation. Different runners will no doubt find different uses for a workhorse like this, but it shouldn’t disappoint.
For me, I am more partial to a softer and bouncier ride on my recovery compared to what’s on offer from this particular shoe. As a result, I tend to prefer it on my medium-long and long runs, where it serves as a complementary option to long time favourites such as the Adidas Adizero Boston and the Nike Pegasus Turbo.