While most people probably use a calendar to keep track of time, I usually use running shoes for the same purpose. New models from the most popular franchises get announced with a fairly reliable cadence, and this is true for New Balance's 1080 line of cushioned shoes. And although not all the yearly updates are mind-blowingly good, occasionally, you get a shoe like the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 that just works on every level.
It's not like I didn't like the shoes' predecessor; I gave the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 five stars in my review. I also think, in hindsight, that they were one of the best running shoes released last year. And, as always, when I'm offered the chance to try the successor of such good shoes, I'm a bit worried that what made the product so good will be changed, and not for the better.
Thankfully, this isn't the case here. The New Balance 1080v13 improved in areas where it needed improvement but retained the same plush running experience we grew to love over the years. You should most certainly try these shoes, but before you run to your nearest running store to buy them, read my review below for the full rundown of what makes them the perfect daily trainers.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review: price and availability
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 was released on 14 October 2023 and is available to buy now in women's and men's versions at New Balance US, New Balance UK and New Balance AU for a recommended retail price of $164.99/ £160/ AU$ 260. The shoes are also available via third-party retailers, such as SportsShoes.com.
Interestingly, and this has been observed in other product categories, the only price increase is in the UK, which makes me wonder if it has something to do with the country leaving the EU's joint market.
Anyhow, the shoes are currently available in six colourways for women and five for men. I expect to see more coming out in the following months, such as the TCS London Marathon version. As a matter of fact, the new shoes are already available in the TCS NYC Marathon version (it's somewhat pricier, mind).
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review: specifications
- Weight: 9.9 oz./283 grams (men's US 11/UK 10.5)
- Drop: 6 mm (38 mm under heels, 32mm under forefoot)
- Width: D
- Foam: Fresh Foam X platform
- Upper: 'Second-Skin' mesh
- Best for: Daily training, recovery, plantar fasciitis
- Sizing: Go half size up
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review: technology
- Increased forefoot stiffness
- More pronounced rocker profile
- Taller stack height
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 further refines the Fresh Foam X midsole platform introduced in the previous iteration of the shoes. The new version has an increased forefoot stiffness as well as a more pronounced rocker profile, helping the shoes roll forward more efficiently without losing power at toe-off.
The reworked Fresh Foam X foam seemingly provides more energy return. You still get the squishy cushioning, but the bounce is better, making you feel light on your feet when you run. The stack height has also been increased from 36 mm to 38 mm under the heel – the shoes have the same midsole drop, though, at 6 mm.
New Balance redesigned the pattern in which the rubber outsole is applied on the 1080v13. The new system features horizontal lines of rubber instead of 'patches' found on the 1080v12. Seemingly, there is slightly less rubber around the heel area, although only fractionally.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review: ergonomics and fit
- Soft mesh upper
- Traditional symmetrical lacing
- Decent heel support
The 1080v12 was my go-to daily trainer for anything from walking to jogging to running. I love the shoes for their comfort and the bounce they provide. Not to mention, the mesh upper helped the shoes fit like a glove!
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is even better if it's possible. The stretchy mesh upper, although not wide-fit, is very accommodating. I've got wide feet, and had no problem with the standard D width. Quite the opposite, actually: I like wearing the shoes for anything and everything, as they are so cosy.
There is a decent amount of heel support, and the collar around the ankle is once and padded. Overall, if I had to describe the shoes with one word, the first thing that comes to mind if soft, but in a good way. Your feet won't move around the shoes, but there is support where needed. Top notch design.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review: running performance
- Plush cushioning
- Surprising amount of energy return
- Good grip
I appreciate not many people will buy the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 for its racing prowess; the franchise is more famous for its cushioning. Indeed, if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, the 1080v13 is an excellent option due to its incredibly soft midsole.
That said, I was genuinely surprised by how peppy the shoes were during testing. Switching up a gear was easy, and my legs felt fresh and ready to go. I find this combination of cushioning and responsiveness beyond satisfying. What else can you possibly ask from daily trainers?
Grip also seems on point, although I'm yet to try the shoes in super wet conditions. Grip is an often under-discussed aspect of running shoes, but here, it certainly adds to the appeal. You lose less energy at each step, and changing speed and cornering are easier.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review: verdict
New iterations of long-running performance shoe franchises can be a bit of a hit or miss, and this was certainly the case with the New Balance 1080. However, the last two entries were spot on, showing that brands can do more than one thing well (New Balance's sneakers are also sought-after).
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is the perfect do-it-all shoe. It's soft but responsive, comfortable but supportive, letting you do whatever you want in them, whether it's walking, jogging or running. You might even want to give them a try for racing because why not?
Do yourself a favour and have a look around to see if there are any decent deals on the shoes. If there are, get a pair. The price widgets at the top and bottom of this review help you find the cheapest offers right now.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review: also consider
Asics redesigned the Gel-Nimbus for the shoes' 25th anniversary. Nevertheless, they feel distinctively Gel-Nimbus. It's soft and springy, just like the 1080v13, and due to its being a bit older at this point (a whole six months or so), you can buy it for cheaper these days. Read my full ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 review.
If you're looking for something less soft, try the peppy Nike Pegasus 40. With its redesigned mid-foot band to the updated mesh upper, it's yet another excellent iteration of Nike's legendary yet affordable running shoe franchise. If you need comfortable, reliable and breathable daily trainers for walking, jogging, or running, you can't go wrong with the Peg 40. Read my full Nike Pegasus 40 review.