New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 Fully Reviewed

Where do we start with the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9? The New Balance 1080 is now on its ninth version, and some may say it is the best one yet. The v8 was supposed to be stiff and bulky, so New Balance pared down the design and made the v9 to be durable, lightweight, stylish, breathable, comfortable, flexible, and supportive. It is an all-around great sneaker. The sleek silhouette comes in a variety of great-looking colors, and the Fresh Foam midsole is exceptionally comfortable. Although the price tag is a little hefty,  considering the fantastic shoe that you get, it just may be worth it.

Keep reading our in-depth New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 review to find out if it is worth the investment.

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Pros & Cons
  • Durable blown rubber outsole 
  • Five flex grooves at the forefoot deliver excellent flexibility
  • Fresh Foam midsole is extremely comfortable and supportive
  • The double Jacquard mesh upper is lightweight and breathable
  • Available in regular and wide widths
  • A sleek silhouette and very aesthetically pleasing
  • Cons
    • On the pricey side
    • Foam heel counter may feel strange to some
    • Key Features
      The outsole of this lightweight running shoe is made of durable blown rubber with a honeycomb-like pattern throughout its entirety. Its predecessor, the 1080 v8 featured a similar outsole design but the v9 features updated flex grooves for better flexibility. These flex grooves are placed in the forefoot to allow the sneaker to bend and flex smoothly with your foot as you run. The outsole also features pressure mapping colors to indicate impact zones.

      The rubber in the outsole is responsive and durable and allows for excellent abrasion resistance.
      New Balance collected data from thousands of athletes to create their newest premier cushioning foam, which is placed in this shoe’s midsole. Fresh Foam is the company’s softest and lightest midsole material to date and is designed to provide maximum comfort underfoot cushioning. This material will attenuate shock and will release the energy it absorbs on impact, providing a smooth heel to toe transition.

      The laser engravings on the midsole are not just there for looks, somewhat they reduce the weight of the shoe and enhance the sneaker’s flexibility and comfort. The sneaker also features a removable Ortholite insole which is designed to deliver even more cushioning and arch support where it is needed.
      The New Balance 1080 v9 has a newly redesigned upper compared to its predecessor. Accordingly, the upper has been slimmed down and is now mainly made up of double Jacquard mesh and features a freshly designed molded foam collar at the heel rather than a plush cushioned collar. Some of the overlays have been removed on this updated version of the 1080s, giving the sneaker a sleeker and more aesthetically-pleasing look.

      These features combine to result in a bootie-like construction that comfortably wraps the foot and allows for excellent airflow. The material used in both the forefoot and heel area of the sneaker will adapt to any foot shape comfortably without causing any constriction.

      The heel area of the shoe does feature some firm molded foam to make up for the lack of plush padding, and this seems to be a welcome change since reviewers said that it is comfortable and helps to keep the heel locked in place.
      These neutral running shoes are lightweight and breathable in both the men's and women’s versions. The jacquard mesh and molded foam collar combine with the soft Fresh Foam midsole to result in a great feeling lightweight sneaker. The men’s weighs in around 10.4 ounces while the women’s weighs around 9 ounces.
      The jacquard mesh that makes up the front part of the shoe has a great amount of breathability thanks to the pores created by the mesh. This material is not only slightly stretchy to accommodate your foot, but it is also highly breathable. The updated upper has been almost entirely stripped of the synthetic overlays that were featured on its predecessor, other than New Balance’s iconic “N” logo on either side.

      It helps to keep the airflow going throughout the front and middle part of the shoe smoothly.
      Many reviewers rave about the comfort level of the New Balance 1080 v9, especially when comparing them to their predecessors. These sneakers offer a lighter weight midsole that is slightly softer than the previous version, and the outsole has been redesigned for improved flexibility and even more cushion in the forefoot.

      This shoe’s predecessor was said to feel stiff, bulky, and sluggish, but the 1080 v9 is the complete opposite. One reviewer said that it was hard to believe that the v8 and v9 had the same midsole material at all, as it felt that different. Although the toe box of this version is not as wide as the one that came before it, many reviewers said that didn’t change the fact that the shoe is incredibly comfortable.

      One may assume that because the highly padded heel collar was exchanged for a molded foam heel collar in this version that it might be less comfortable. However, many consumers said that they enjoy the molded foam over the super-padded heel collar because it is lower and perfectly comfortable.
      The New Balance 1080 v9 bears a resemblance to the 1080 v8 in many ways, but it was redesigned in such a way as to make them even more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing. Rather than looking like a bulky daily training sneaker, the v9 disguises its regular running features in a sleek new package. The synthetic overlays were removed to make the sneaker more minimal looking, but this does not detract from its support and appeal.

      The slightly-lower top helps the sneaker conform firmly to your foot and wrap around your ankle in style. The colorways offered are all very appealing in both the men’s and women’s versions.
      The outsole of these shoes has been redesigned to deliver more durability. The blown rubber features a similar honeycomb-design as its predecessor, but the pattern is smaller and allows for more flexibility and a smoother transition from heel to toe. The outsole also features a color-coded pressure map which indicates the higher areas of pressure.

      This blown rubber is slightly thicker than the outsole that is found on the v8, and many users said they are happy to see that since the previous version of this shoe wore down quicker. Although the synthetic overlays on the sneakers' upper were removed on this newest model, the upper is still very durable thanks to the jacquard mesh material in the forefoot and lycra-like material at the heel. The molded foam at the rear of the shoe allows the sneaker to maintain its shape even after miles and miles of wear.
      The newly updated outsole of the New Balance 1080 v9 features a thicker blown rubber outsole than its predecessor which allows the sneaker to be better equipped to protect your feet from harsh underfoot elements. The blown rubber is designed to resist abrasion throughout miles and miles of use on concrete and asphalt. The thicker outsole will also help to protect the soft midsole from premature wear and tear. The upper is also made using no-sew technology to protect your feet from irritation and blistering.
      New Balance not only listened to feedback collected from its users but also compiled data collected from a multitude of runners to create a more responsive overall design in the New Balance 1080 v9. In doing so, the company made the midsole softer and springier, allowing for a more significant response than its predecessor. The flex grooves on the outsole were redesigned to provide greater flexibility and reaction, resulting in a smoother heel to toe transition.

      The rubber outsole and soft Fresh Foam midsole combine to deliver a smooth and responsive ride.
      The New Balance 1080 v9 offers a great deal of support in a lot of areas. The highly cushioned Fresh Foam midsole is extremely supportive to the entire foot but especially in the forefoot and heel areas. The cushioning is soft enough to allow your foot to sink into the foam yet firm enough so that you don’t feel like you are running on unsupportive marshmallows.

      The upper features Jacquard mesh which wraps around your foot and holds it snug in a bootie-like fit, allowing it to support your foot securely. The heel collar is made of a molded foam designed to grip your heel and support you without weighing you down. Another supportive feature is the removable Ortholite sock liner which provides additional underfoot support and arch support.
      The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 are ideally-suited for use on concrete and asphalt since they are a neutral running shoe. The blown rubber outsole will also perform on packed trails, but they do not offer the right tools to carry you over technical terrain, so trail running in these is not the best idea.

      Their comfortable engineering may make you want to wear them all day, and their sleek design is so attractive that they can be worn casually or for miles on end and still perform well.
      Currently, these high-quality neutral running shoes can be purchased for $150, which may seem like a steep price. However, considering how much research went into the making of, and improvement of, this model of the sneaker, this is a great value. They are made to be very durable so you could easily use them for quite some time, making them worth even more.
      With the blown rubber outsole offered on these shoes, the traction is pretty decent. Although there is no aggressive lug system, the outsole does boast a thick layer of this rubber which is designed to be durable and reliable. The honeycomb-shaped pattern featured on the outsole is designed to bend and flex with each step, so you are certain to feel sure-footed.
      The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9’s outsole has been redesigned for increased flexibility. The previous model featured two flex grooves in the forefoot for flexibility. This newer version of the sneaker features five flex grooves of various sizes in the whole of the forefoot.

      It allows the sneakers to adapt to ground changes and flex as you move through your gait. The improved flexibility results in a smoother ride and delivers a smooth transition. The upper is made of Jacquard mesh and will flex and move with your foot as you walk or run.
      Because these sneakers are not necessarily engineered to be “stability running shoes”, they do have some stabilizing features. The thick rubber outsole with its hexagonal pattern will grip the ground comfortably and will keep your feet stabilized as the shoe moves and flexes with you. The upper is built to fit like a bootie and wraps firmly around your foot to keep you secure.

      The thick Fresh Foam midsole is designed to stabilize your heel as you strike and deliver a smooth and supported ride on the toe off.
      The molded foam heel counter grips your heel and stabilizes you to protect from heel slippage. It should be noted that one reviewer said that the sneaker felt even more stabilizing if a runner’s loop lacing is used.
      The heel stack of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 measures 30mm while the forefoot stack measures 22mm in height, making the drop of this sneaker 8mm. It is less than many other 10mm drop sneakers and results in a lightweight yet surprisingly cushioned sneaker. One particular reviewer said that they would like the sneaker even better if there was a little less cushioning in the heel, but this may be personal preference.
      Key Features
      - Improved flexibility of the outsole thanks to the five flex grooves, allowing for a smooth and flexible heel to toe transition
      - Highly cushioned Fresh Foam midsole provides supreme comfort, support, and response
      - Thick blown rubber outsole makes the shoe extremely durable
      - Streamlined jacquard mesh upper is breathable and wraps the foot in comfortable support
      - Molded foam heel counter grips the heel securely and provides additional comfort
      Bottom Line
      The New Balance 1080 v9 has been said to be an incredible improvement over its predecessor, the 1080 v8. The midsole is even softer and more cushioned than before and delivers excellent comfort and response, all while making the sneaker very lightweight. The synthetic overlays evident in the previous model were removed, but this does not detract from the sneaker's performance.

      Instead, it allows for more breathability while still wrapping the shoe in bootie-like support. The outsole has also been improved with its thicker rubber for durability and more flex grooves for more flexibility and a smoother transition. These are great training sneakers and look fantastic to boot. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 would be an excellent option for anyone looking for a cushioned running shoe and are even available in wide width.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
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      Holabird Sports Link
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      Road Runner Sports Link
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      By Abbie Copeland
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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