New Balance Reviews



The New Balance 1080 v11 is a thickly cushioned, neutral trainer. It’s one of the marquee shoes in the New Balance line and one of the best-selling models in recent years.

The 1080 is an everyday workhorse that can handle most paces and distances well. It has premium midsole cushioning, a premium engineered knit upper and it serves up a soft, smooth, stable ride. 

New Balance 1080 v11 - JackRabbit


The latest edition of the Fresh Foam 1080 has been given minor updates that improve the fit and make it one of the top-tier high-mileage trainers available for spring 2021.

The stretchy material of the upper has been loosened a bit to provide more comfortable and dynamic movement of the forefoot. All the while, the rear heel tab is more distinctly flared to reduce tension off the Achilles tendon.


The 1080v11 fits true to size with a medium volume interior from heel to toe. (Our review is based on a medium-width sample, but the men’s and women’s models are available in four different widths.)

The step-in feel is soft, cozy and plush. The shoe has a locked-down feel, thanks to the gusseted tongue and snug forefoot mesh. The ride is soft and sublime and a little bit resilient at slower speeds, but increasingly bouncy the faster you run.

The wide overall footprint of the 1080 v11 contributes an unexpected feeling of stability. This does limit the shoe’s agility if you try to run faster than tempo pace.

New Balance 1080 v11 - 2021


Runners who appreciate thickly cushioned neutral shoes for high-mileage training will embrace the Fresh Foam 1080v11.

New runners will love it for its secure fit and comfortable ride. Advanced runners will appreciate the 1080 v11 for its mildly energetic cushioning, plush step-in feel and hint of stability.

If you’re looking for a reliable, well-cushioned everyday trainer, the 1080 v11 is a good shoe to consider.

New Balance 1080 v11 - Pros

PROS: New Balance 1080 v11

Last year’s Fresh Foam 1080v10 was an amazing shoe. Fortunately, New Balance didn’t drastically change it too much with the minor updates to the 1080v11.

In fact, the well-liked midsole and outsole of the v11 have returned unchanged from the previous edition.

The resilient Fresh Foam X midsole foam that debuted in the previous edition of this shoe serves up a consistently soft, moderately bouncy and reliably stable foot strikes and toe-offs.

It seems to be slightly more responsive at faster speeds, but never excessively bouncy.

With a lightweight feeling and modestly energetic demeanor, the Fresh Foam 1080v11 is ideal for long weekend runs. It doesn’t give off the sensation of being race-day fast, but it’s proficient for consistent running slow to moderately quick paces.

The Hypoknit engineered mesh upper accommodates a wide range of foot shapes. It’s slightly more relaxed and less stringent than the upper of the 1080v10. (The laces also seem a little bit less stretchy than the laces on last year’s model.)

This Hypoknit gives a good amount of locked-down hold. It also gives the sensation of having more wiggle room in the forefoot. This allows your toes to flex and splay just before the toe-off phase.

A series of seven blown rubber outsole lug segments contribute to the premium ride sensation. This provides ample traction and allowing for compliant flexibility. This also helps keep the overall weight as low as possible.

If you liked the Fresh Foam 1080v10, you’re probably going to like the 1080v11. The minor updates have improved the fit but haven’t negatively impacted the ride.

The forefoot and heel will feel slightly different, but neither is something to get hung up about. This feeling tends to disappear as soon as you start running in it.

New Balance 1080 v11 - Cons

CONS: New Balance 1080 v11

The Fresh Foam 1080 has never been a speed burner and the v11 is no different.

It’s capable of faster long runs and tempo runs, but it’s not really built for the fast turnover you’ll want for long intervals, track workouts or short-distance racing.


New Balance 1080 v11 - Tech Specs


New Balance 1080 v11 - men's
New Balance 1080 v11 - women's
New Balance


Why not get the scoop straight from the source?! Let’s talk about New Balance’s proprietary Fresh Foam X technology and the running shoe range that features this midsole.

Journalist Brian Metzler sat down with New Balance Product Manager Paul Zielinski to get the insider talk on the what, why, and excitement around the continuing refinement of the Fresh Foam X experience.


New Balance Product Manager Paul Zielinski and Brian Metzler share the Zoom limelight talking about the Fresh Foam X. Spoiler alert, it’s a game changer with many more exciting things to come in 2021!


Have an urge to know more about the development of the Fresh Foam midsole and New Balance? Check out our tech review at the JackRabbit blog to learn more.

New Balance Reviews



The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 is a reliable daily trainer with loads of cushy comfort and stabilizing support.

The 860 v11 is ideal for short runs, long runs and week after week of high-mileage training. It’s also versatile and secure enough to go through the grind at the gym, too.

New Balance 860 v11 - What's New


New Balance updated this reliable training shoe with a softer midsole foam package to improve the comfort and ride. It also features a new upper to improve the fit and performance.

Those changes have given the 860v11 a lively new vibe and the fresh feel of a modern stability shoe.

The geometry of this shoe offers plenty of cushion and support while also playing a role in taking pressure off the Achilles.

The relatively high heel-toe offset (10mm) and heel stack height (31mm) is ideal for new runners. It also serves those interested in long, slow comfortable miles.


Forget what you know about stability shoes. The New Balance 860 v11 is sporty, plush and smooth. First, it is available in three widths (narrow, medium and wide) so it’s very accommodating to all sizes of feet. Generally speaking it has a medium volume interior from heel to toe.

The step-in feel is soft and luxurious, combining a squishy top layer of its footbed, a padded tongue. It also introduces a flared Ultra Heel collar, which both wraps the foot and reduces tension on the Achilles.

The thin layer of Fresh Foam midsole cushioning sandwiched between the footed and a thicker layer of EVA foam helps soften the ride and add a tinge of springiness in every stride.

New Balance created the concave and convex dimple pattern of the Fresh Foam compound. This alters levels of compression and resistance under impact based on gait data recorded from thousands of runners.

The ride is smooth and consistent, though not overly energetic. The new two-layer midsole foam gives it a mildly springy feel. The energy return is minimal even though the comfort value is high.


Runners who appreciate soft cushioning and need a bit of support to offset mild to moderate over-pronation. The 860 v11 is a great workhorse training shoe that can be a great shoe for many types of runners.

It’s suitable for new runners who don’t vary their pace much, taller or larger runners who want more cushioning and support.

The 860 also serves those who are known to pronate consistently or tend to endure form fatigue in final miles of a long run.

New Balance 860 v11 - Pros

PROS: New Balance 860 v11

The key component of the 860v11 is the medial post that provides noticeably stability under the arch. You can definitely feel the extra support in every stride — especially if you’re a severe over-pronator — but the shoe provides a smooth transition from the heel to mid-foot to forefoot without the clunkiness of some stability shoes.

The uniquely shaped and styled engineered mesh upper is similar to that of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10. And let’s be honest, the heel flare feature that keeps pressure off of the Achilles tendon makes it look a bit like an elf slipper. Our wear-testers loved the stretchy and supportive upper because it kept our feet comfortably and securely in place while running.

The 860v11 is a very durable shoe that will likely be able endure at least two seasons of training. Does that mean you’ll get 350 to 400 miles out of them? Yes, it’s quite possible, thanks to the durable nature of the midsole foam and the segments of blown rubber on the outsole.

New Balance 860 v11. Cons

CONS: New Balance 860 v11

The 860v11 is not a speed merchant by any means, so don’t expect it to be your go-to shoe for interval workouts or your next 5K race. However, it can suffice for moderately fast tempo runs in a pinch and your next half marathon or marathon, especially if you’re seeking extra support late in the race.


New Balance 860 v11 - Tech Specs



Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - trail running