If you loved the New Balance 1080v10 or v11, then you will probably hate this review and maybe be a little mad at New Balance with the new 1080v12. You’d be wrong of course because New Balance actually listens to the majority of their customers (and the reviewers) so they got rid of that old weird heel cup and went back to something more traditional. Sure, the midsole gets some subtle changes, but this is really about fixing things up top. Buyers be warned however as it does still have some quirks.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Solid daily trainer and yes, they went back to the old heel design!!
- Definitely a bit roomier than the prior versions, so consider trying a size down.
- Weight – 10.3oz or 292g for a US Men’s 9, 8.3oz or 235g for a US Women’s 7
- Cushion – 27mm of cushion and an 8mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $159.99 USD
- Colors – 6 options
Construction and Materials
- Upper – The upper has moved to a full Hypoknit upper which is designed to provide strategic areas of stretch and support making it more accessible to broader foot types. A gusseted/bootie construction hugs your foot for a snug, supportive fit.
- Midsole – The midsole here continues to use Fresh Foam X which offers a nice blend of cushion and bounce but New Balance has also introduced flex zones which give this a softer feel.
- Outsole – They have used blown rubber on the outsole focusing on the forefoot to help with toe-off.
What we loved
Ah the New Balance 1080, this shoe continues to be a perplexing one. We remember a few years back at TRE when everybody on the floor had the v10 on. Sure it was a cool-looking shoe and the midsole along with the rocker were fantastic, but the upper was always a little funky and with a v11 New Balance stuck to the recipe in fact leaning in on the upper and especially to that odd heel cup design. So when we got our first look at the 1080v12 we were ecstatic to see that New Balance had gone back to something more traditional because it was always the thing that kept us from liking the shoe. So happy to say that with this new iteration the entire step in experience is fantastic.
The Hypoknit material used in the upper stretches really well and allows your foot to move around while also feeling supportive across the mid foot. The gusset keeps you held nice and tightly in place and this new heel cup is just so much better, even though it feels very traditional, we are just so glad they went back to it. There are no hotspots, the laces stay well secured, and the upper really works.
The midsole also got some subtle changes and while you can’t see it externally, they have added flex grooves that give the shoe a bit of a softer feel on foot strike. This means the Fresh Foam X absorbs impact a bit better while also allowing you to still have a responsive and up-tempo experience. It is a subtle change but honestly does do a good job improving the ride of the shoe. And the rocker that we loved since the beginning remains intact and does really help with the transition through the gait.
What we didn’t
The shoe does have one big problem however and that is the size, these things feel at least a half size too big. Not only are they too long, but that width also carries through to the toe box giving them a bit of a sloppier feel unless you size down. So when you try them on definitely take the time to ensure you’ve got a good fit and you don’t feel any movement in there because when it does move, the shoe just doesn’t function as well as it should.
The weight on the shoe is also starting to head north and whether that is the move to a more robust Hypoknit upper, the additional rubber added to the outsole, we aren’t sure but things are definitely ticking in the wrong direction. We would love to see this continually come in under 10oz at its base configuration at a minimum.
We are SO pleased New Balance went back to the original heel formula in the 1080v12. It makes a shoe that we felt was getting a little awkward and put its back on the tracks with an incredible step in. That being said, the new Hypoknit might be a little too roomy and the last itself feels like the shoe is a half-inch longer than it should be so definitely try before you buy. If it does fit well, then you can expect an amazing ride and a shoe you can use across a variety of distances at a range of paces.
These shoes were provided by the manufacturer or its partners for the sole use of review. No implied or explicit guarantees were provided as it relates to the provision of these products and all editorial commentary is strictly the property of Running Northwest. In short, the fact they allowed us to test these shoes does not mean we are required to give it a favorable review… every product must earn it. We appreciate our manufacturer partnerships and if you have any questions, you can read our Disclosure Policy in further detail.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.