THE SITUATION: The 1080s have traditionally served as New Balance’s high-end cushioned shoe for neutral runners. That’s still the case with this year’s update, but the shoes now feature the company’s new Fresh Foam midsole. While the cushioning isn’t as prominent as the more radical maximalist shoes on the market, the 1080s are a step in that direction, with a highly cushioned ride that provides comfort through the entire run. They might look more like a traditional running shoe, but these are definitely along the lines of a maximalist shoe.
WHAT YOU GET: The mesh upper gives your feet room to move, and the bootie-like construction of the wide tongue makes this shoe a joy to slide into. The stretchy laces are a nice touch, and the shoes never feel too tight, even though you get plenty of support. As you’d expect with a highly cushioned shoe, these aren’t necessarily the best performers when it comes to racing. They are a nice option for runners who may be interested in trying the maximalist trend without completely abandoning the road-feel that they’re used to. For neutral runners who want to pound out a lot of miles, it would be tough to find a more comfortable ride.