Weight: 9.2 (M), 7.3 oz (W)
The New Balance 1080 is the brand’s everyday running shoe, best suited for easy miles and long training runs. It’s soft, it’s comfortable, and it’s been around for 13 years, which is long enough for a shoe to have a fan base of loyal runners. The 1080v12 saw New Balance make some big changes to the shoe, and this has continued with the 1080v13, which is, without a doubt, my favorite iteration yet. It’s soft, it’s comfortable, and it’s lighter than some of the other plush everyday running shoes on the market.
But what has changed between the 1080v12 and the 1080v13? Who is the running shoe best suited for, and how does it compare to some of the best running shoes on the market like the Nike Invincible 3 and the Asics Gel Nimbus 25? Read my full New Balance 1080v13 review below to find out more.
New Balance 1080v13 review: Price and availability
The New Balance 1080v13 is available from October 13, 2023. The shoe costs $165/£160 and is likely to come in the same wide range of sizes and widths as the 1080v12, which comes in women’s sizes U.S. 5-13 (U.K. 3-9), men’s sizes U.S. 7-16 (U.K. 6.5-14) and in three different shoe widths — standard, wide, and extra-wide.
The shoe is slightly more expensive than the 1080v12, which cost $159/£145 at launch. This puts the 1080v13 in around the same price bracket as the Asics Gel Nimbus 25 and the Nike Invincible 3.
New Balance 1080v13 review: Design and fit
With the 1080v12, New Balance switched back to a more traditional design and fit, based on runner’s feedback from previous versions of the shoe. They’ve tweaked things slightly again with the v13, but kept the same plush, cushioned fit — comfort is definitely the name of the game with this shoe.
Fit-wise, I’ve always struggled with New Balance, and my main critique of the brand is that sizing varies massively between models, which can be confusing for runners. My normal running shoe size is a UK 5 (US 7), but in New Balance, I size up to a UK 5.5, as I find their shoes come up small.
The 1080v13, however, doesn’t have that issue — the shoe is almost too big. I can still comfortably run in it, but I probably have a little more room than needed in the toebox. I’d say the shoe fits true to size but comes up bigger than other New Balance running shoes.
The engineered mesh upper of the 1080v13 is similar to what we’ve seen in previous versions of the shoe. Again, it’s made from the brand’s “Hypoknit” material and it’s stretchy and comfortable across the top of the foot. There are reinforced areas to offer extra support in areas you’d need it most.
The tongue is nicely padded across the foot, and there’s a good amount of cushioning around the collar for a super-plush, super-comfortable shoe. I didn’t have any issues with rubbing or chafing when testing the shoe, and I'm thrilled with New Balance’s decision to move away from the stiff heel counter we saw in the 1080v11.
Here’s where the magic happens. New Balance says the 1080v13 has more of its Fresh Foam X midsole foam, and the stack height is larger, yet the shoe has gotten lighter. My 1080v12 weighed in at 260g (9.2 oz) in a UK 5/US 7, whereas the 1080v13 is 218g (7.7oz) — this might not sound like a huge difference, but you do notice it underfoot.
The Fresh Foam X midsole is definitely softer and lighter than before, giving the shoe a little more versatility than other iterations of this shoe. It’s extremely plush, and you get a good amount of sink-in comfort when first putting the shoe on, yet it’s still got enough bounce to feel fun when running — it’s not so spongey that you lose responsiveness on the run.
While it’s definitely best suited for longer, easy miles, there’s enough snap to wear the 1080v13 while picking up the pace. Faster runners might still find the shoe too hefty for anything but easy miles, but beginners are bound to enjoy this midsole foam.
The 1080v13's outsole has also changed from the 1080v12, both in terms of the pattern of the blown rubber, which I imagine is now grippier on wet concrete, and the geometry of the shoe. New Balance says the new outsole design came from research from the New Balance Sports Research Lab. The brand says they have increased forefoot stiffness, and enhanced the rocket to improve transitions between strides.
Underfoot, I found the shoe did feel less clunky than previous versions, which didn’t really compete with other cushioned running shoes on the market. The 1080 has never been a shoe in my regular running shoe rotation, and I’ve always found it somewhat forgettable, but I instantly appreciated the snap of the 1080v13.
New Balance 1080v13 review: Performance
So how do all these changes feel on the run, and who is this shoe best suited for? I’ve been testing the New Balance 1080v13 over a number of different sessions, and have been impressed with this shoe. It feels completely different from previous versions and more similar to something like the Asics Gel Nimbus 25. It’s light, it’s bouncy, and it’s comfortable underfoot.
As mentioned above, the lighter midsole allows this shoe to be a little more versatile than other everyday running shoes — while I’ve mainly reached for this shoe for easy miles, I have been able to pick up the pace a little for a tempo session, without feeling like I was having to work hard to run faster wearing it.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the 1080v13 — it’s a comfortable running shoe, that could easily be worn for anything from a 5K to a marathon. It’s a brilliant example of what you’d expect from an everyday running shoe and a reminder that you don’t need multiple running shoes in your closet to train well for a race.
New Balance 1080v13 review: Verdict
The New Balance 1080v13 is, by far, my favorite iteration of the New Balance 1080 to date. I love the lightweight feel of the shoe, paired with the plush sink-in comfort. It’s up there with the ZoomX foam used in the Nike Invincible 3, although I’d argue the ZoomX is softer still, and a little more performance-based.
If you’re trying to choose between the 1080v12 and the 1080v13, I’d opt for the newer shoe, as I think you’ll get a lot more out of it. It’s more comfortable, it’s more versatile, and I really enjoyed running in it.
If you’re trying to choose between the New Balance 1080v13 and the Asics Gel Nimbus 25, I’d argue the New Balance feels slightly livelier underfoot, giving it a bit more versatility. If you’re looking for a cushioned, everyday running shoe, this is a great option.