In this 2023 updated comparison of the New Balance 1080 vs 880, I’ll be comparing the latest editions, the 1080 v12 and the 880 v13.
New Balance say the 1080 is the best and most versatile running shoes that they make.
- Has the 1080 lived up to their hype?
- Why would anybody even consider getting a shoe like the 880?
- Are there any features that would make you lean toward the 880 over the 1080?
Let’s find out…
New Balance 1080 vs 880
New Balance has a really long history and expertise in road running and I really love how they put a lot of engineering and enthusiasm behind their shoes.
All of today’s shoes are equipped with New Balance’s soft plush Fresh Foam X cushioning underfoot. So the differences really lie in the fit, feel, and of course, the amount of cushioning that you’re going to have.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick comparison of the New Balance 1080 vs 880 (vs More).
New Balance 1080 v12
The 1080 v12 (Sponsored) is New Balance’s premium flagship neutral daily trainer built for runners who crave extra softness, extra cushion, and extra comfort.
You can use the 1080 for long-mileage training and recovery runs and the 880 for shorter distances. The 1080 offers a bit more of a cushioned ride and the 880 is less cushioned and more nimble.
It’s an excellent option whether you’re ramping up your mileage or you’re just getting started.
New Balance 880 v13
On the less cushioned side, the 880 v13 (Sponsored) is actually benefiting from a lot of the research and design that New Balance is putting into its flagship shoe, the 1080.
One of those carryovers is actually the Fresh Foam X which is the softest Fresh Foam New Balance has ever made.
It is still that classic workhorse for neutral runners. It’s comfortable, dependable, and a little bit more nimble than the 1080, especially in the forefoot.
The 880 is a good option for beginner runners and pretty much anybody who wants a traditional ride with super-updated materials.
Also, if you want a shoe that you can easily run in and take to the gym, the 880 can definitely do that.
But I probably wouldn’t recommend the 1080 for the gym just because the Fresh Foam X does compress quite a lot.
So the 880 will get you where you need to go on time and within budget. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of the 1080 or the More, it does truly have everything you need.
Talking about the Fresh Foam More…
The More v4 (Sponsored) is built for runners who simply demand even more stack height, more plushness, and more comfort than either the 1080 or 880.
Here’s our comparison of the New Balance 1080 vs More.
Still quickly comparing the shoes, let’s compare how the midsoles feel underfoot…
The midsole is what really separates the shoes.
New Balance 1080 v12
The 1080 v12 has 34mm in the heel and 28mm in the forefoot whereas the 880 is packed with 34 millimeters of stack in the heel and 24 millimeters in the forefoot.
As you can see, the 1080 has two more millimeters of stack in the forefoot, which significantly changes the ride as I will discuss below.
Both shoes have a Fresh Foam X midsole which is a nice and bouncy foam, but it also absorbs a lot of impact from the road as well.
But unlike the 880, the 1080 has a generous amount of Fresh Foam X from heel to toe, which gives a very consistent ride runners come back to year after year.
The 1080 is still not quite as plush, comfortable, or as squishy as the More v4, but there’s definitely more stack height and more comfort underfoot than what you see in the 880.
To make the super cushy forefoot a bit more nimble, there is a rocker at the front of the shoe to help get you through that gait cycle nice and quickly.
Thanks to this geometry, as your foot starts to roll through, this rocker helps pick up the heel off of the ground and you’re able to pick that foot up a little bit quicker.
From another perspective, if you are a little bit bigger or taller, the 1080 v12 (Sponsored) is going to be a better option for you than the 880 thanks to the added cushioning in the forefoot.
New Balance 880 v13
The 880 v13 has a dual-density midsole setup with Fresh Foam X underneath the heel and a firmer high-density type of FuelCell foam underneath the forefoot to help with that toe-off.
Again, 1080 and 880 have no big difference in terms of the stack height, but on the 880, the combination of Fresh Foam X in the heel and FuelCell in the forefoot really helped create a really soft experience as you’re landing and then a little bit of a more energized feeling as you’re toeing off for a really nice balanced ride.
While the heel wasn’t the liveliest or bounciest ride I’ve ever felt, the firmer forefoot in the 880 really offers better energy return than the 1080.
The 1080 is more focused on creating a very consistent soft plush experience rather than energy return. However, I didn’t find the Fresh Foam X to be the most energetic, but it does have a much softer, much more plush feeling in the forefoot compared to the 880 v13 (Sponsored).
(Bonus) New Balance More v4
The More v4 has got even more cushioning underfoot, giving this shoe a plush, dreamy ride.
The More v4 also has a wider base than the other two shoes we mentioned, leaving your feet completely immersed in the Fresh Foam X cushioning.
This wide platform is a must-have feature for a max cushion shoe like the More v4 (Sponsored). Just like the 1080, the midsole on the More v4 has got a gentle rocker shape to help you transition quickly and easily from heel to toe.
So, the 880 is softer in the heel and firmer in the forefoot while the 1080 is softer from heel to toe.
If you want a cushioning shoe battle, make sure you read this comparison of the Hoka Clifton vs the Bondi series.
Are the 1080 and 880 stable enough?
I will say that both the 1080 and 880 are relatively stable thanks to their really wide base. However, the 1080 has a slightly wider forefoot compared to the 880.
But if you’re someone who doesn’t want to go all the way to a stability running shoe like the 860 v13, I think both of these are quite stable and work quite well.
But overall, I think the 880 v13 is a little bit more stable because of the uniform upper which just holds your foot a little bit better.
Make sure you read our 2023 comparison of the 880 vs 860.
Drop & Weight
The 1080 is an 8mm drop shoe while the 880 is a 10mm drop. This basically means your heel is going to sit 2mm higher in the 880 v13 than in the 1080 v10. This is not a big difference, but it’s always good to know the stats.
The 1080 v12 is lighter coming in at 10.1 oz (men’s size 9) while the 880 v13 comes in at 10.6 oz (men’s size 9).
Also, if you like the 1080 v12 and you’re concerned about weight, the 1080 v12 is about an ounce lighter compared to the 1080 v11. It’s always great when your favorite series is shedding weight rather than getting fatter.
But compared to other shoes in the same daily category, I guess both shoes are a little bit perhaps on the heavier end. However, I didn’t find them to be very clunky when I was wearing them though. They’re just pretty comfy cozy cushy shoes.
Fit & Width
Not only is the 1080 v12 (Sponsored) packed with a generous amount of Fresh Foam X cushioning underfoot, it’s also got a smooth Hypoknit upper that wraps around your foot like a glove.
Hypoknit is a bit supportive yet stretchy, which makes the 1080 accommodating to a variety of foot shapes.
Although it fits like a glove, the 1080 v12 is just really nice and pleasantly roomy through the forefoot and midfoot. This is mainly because it feels a little bit longer of a shoe and the fact it has that stretchier Hypoknit upper material.
So both wide-footed runners and narrow-heeled runners would definitely find their perfect fit in the 1080.
The 880 v13 has a slightly superior lockdown than the 1080 and that’s part of the reason why I think the 880 is a little bit more snug.
Now, most running shoes are available in a standard width and a wide width, but the New Balance 880 v13 and 1080 v12 take it a step further. They’re available in narrow sizing and extra wide sizing, making it super easy to find your perfect fit.
Dive into our dedicated article on the best running shoes tailored for narrow-footed runners. Explore our top picks and make every run a breeze.
On the 1080, the Hypoknit upper was extremely comfortable and really good on foot compared to the more traditional synthetic upper of the 880. Hypoknit has been great for the last several years in the 1080 series.
The tongue on the 1080 is partially gusseted and kind of connects into that Hypoknit upper. This gives you the ability to pull the tongue and kind of stretch it a little bit more compared to the 880’s tongue.
The upper on the 880 is a little bit stretchy, but the 1080 is better in terms of stretchiness.
The 880 is quite a bit deeper and just holds quite a bit firmer on the forefoot whereas the 1080 is a bit more forgiving over the whole shoe.
Breathability & Lockdown
The 880 v13 has better breathability compared to the 1080, but I will say that the 880 does have a bit of a better lockdown. I think the 1080 v12’s lockdown is good but just not as good compared to the 880.
While they both have a ridiculous amount of rubber on the outsole, the 880 has a slightly thicker outsole pattern. It’s also more flexible through the forefoot thanks to the deeper grooves.
The 880 v13 is about $20 cheaper than the 1080 v12. You can check today’s prices down below:
So, when it comes to the 1080 vs 880 epic shoe battle, which shoe did I enjoy more?
Which shoe is the winner for me
At the end of the day, I think it comes down to your personal preference and what you’re looking for.
The 1080 has a very consistent soft Fresh Foam X ride. The 880 has a very soft and slightly bouncy heel section and then kind of transitions to a slightly firmer feeling forefoot for more energy return.
Of course, everyone’s choice is different, but I’ve definitely enjoyed running in the 1080 than in the 880.
Over the last few years, the 1080 has been experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. But the good news is the 1080 v12 finally makes sense as part of a cohesive New Balance lineup.
Fresh Foam X is really good at absorbing impact from the road. It’s easy on the body, but it still feels bouncy and exciting underfoot thanks to that rocker geometry.
The rocker really helps the shoe roll forward and lets you get into a nice rhythm with this shoe. The 1080 is going to be a great companion to have in your running shoe rotation, especially when you’re just rolling at an easy conversational pace.
The Hypoknit upper is super comfortable and stretchy and feels very premium.
Because of the shaping of the shoe and because of the way they’ve tied everything together, the 1080 v12 (Sponsored) rolls well for easy long runs, recovery runs, and just generally all of your other easy regular training days.
I don’t find the 1080 to be a super exciting shoe at faster speeds and here’s why…
I did have the 1080 v12 for some strides, but while it can eventually get there, it doesn’t really like quick pace changes. For me, I just feel like I’ve got to put a lot into it to get it and keep it at some faster speeds.
But, again, when it comes to easy speeds and maybe even to the moderate range, I feel like the 1080 is a really capable shoe and a good set-it-and-forget-it cruise control type of shoe.
I hope this quick comparison helps you delineate between these two models as they are kind of similar on paper but different underfoot.
Now let’s dive into more details if you’re a thorough runner like me…
New Balance 1080 vs 880 (More Details)
Just like the More, the New Balance 1080 is one of these top max cushion running shoes. The New Balance 880 is completely re-imagined while retaining its essence as a more traditional-oriented daily trainer.
They’re balanced, soft, trustworthy, and reliable for your everyday runs, but they’re also great if you need to walk or have to stand on your feet all day.
The 1080 and 880 have been such important series for New Balance and such a big success that most stores have trouble having them available at all times.
1080 and 880 vs other shoes
If you own or have run in another shoe before and want to know what these two shoes compare to, the 880 goes quite well against the Brooks Ghost or the Saucony Ride, and the 1080 competes with shoes like Saucony Triumph, Skechers Ride, or Hoka Bondi series.
I would probably pick the 1080 v12 over the Bondi especially if you’re looking for a better rocker sole.
Now for my running experience in these shoes…
How does it feel to run in the 1080 vs 880
My first run in the 1080 v12 was a recovery run as my feet were a little bit beat up from the workout over the weekend.
The shoe was very comfortable not only to step into or to walk around in but also to have for those first couple of miles where my body was still feeling a little bit creaky and a little bit cranky.
After a few runs in the shoe, I started to understand that the 1080 is just as comfortable in lots of different run environments. Since then, I’ve taken the 1080 out on other longer runs when I’m not thinking about pace very much and I just want a comfortable ride.
After your first run, it won’t take you very long to rack up the miles in the 1080. It’s a very versatile daily trainer that you can just very easily reach for on a lot of different occasions.
Overall, the 1080 v12 shines in different distances and I can understand New Balance saying this is the shoe “to get you through your running journey”.
In a nutshell, the 1810 v12 (Sponsored) is meant…
- For longer distances
- For luxurious comfort
- To give you that feeling that you just sink into it
The one thing that I didn’t really dig about this shoe is just the weight. I feel like it’s a little bit heavier than some of my daily trainer options.
The added weight comes from maybe the reinforced plastic on the runner’s eyelet and some of these extra texturized pieces or outsole rubber.
Something exciting for me is that I got to try on the 880s pretty much at the same time that I’m trying on the 1080s.
Despite having that Fresh Foam X halfway through, the 880 was actually a more responsive feeling, especially in the forefoot.
Unlike the 1080, the 880 didn’t feel like I was sinking in or squishing into the shoe as much.
That dense experience has to do with the denser foam under the forefoot really giving you a little bit more of a responsive feel and allowing for the toe-off to kind of like snap back a little bit more.
If you’re a forefoot striker, you’ll definitely notice that and it’ll definitely feel like that throughout your entire run.
So, is the 880 a shoe that does it all? For me, it does one thing really well. It lets me turn my brain off during my runs and forget about the shoes on my feet.
So, if you’re a runner that’s looking to have a shoe that lasts for a pretty long time, I can see the 880 really shining through for you.
That’s my personal experience in the New Balance 880 v13s. I’m super curious to hear from you all. Is the 880 a do-everything shoe for you?
Leave a comment below.
New Balance 1080 v12
The 1080 v12 has a Hypoknit upper, which is just a fancy way of saying knit. The upper reminds me of a comfortable sweater that’s not going to make you too warm.
The upper is breathable and still got a little bit of that stretch. It’s a little bit more reinforced in the heel as you would expect but doesn’t feel too firm.
The 1080 v12 has a really interesting semi-gusseted tongue that just is an extension of the upper. Sometimes you get these really thin tongues, but this is kind of a pretty plush yet not puffy tongue. Puffy tongues just turn into a sweat sponge that gets really annoying on top of your foot.
The tongue got this cool rubberized portion for the New Balance accents.
In terms of the heel, the New Balance 1080 v10 and v11 had this pretty distinctive-looking heel called Ultra Heel. The Ultra Heel was like a giant bulbous thing in the back.
They’ve primarily designed it to kind of give you a little bit of an improved fit and off-load pressure on the Achilles tendon. But it seems a lot of people had problems with it that New Balance finally decided to retire it.
So in the 1080 v12, they’ve gone with a much more traditional style of heel cup. They’ve kept a little bit of a flare with some padding on it around the Achilles. But for the most part, it’s just a regular heel cup and a regular shoe.
There is a little bit of extra structure in terms of some armor that’s inside the shoe and some of these rubberized pads that are on the exterior part of the heel to try to keep everything from sliding around as you’re running.
The new heel cup actually accomplishes a more snug fit and for me, I didn’t even have to use a heel lock tie. I felt like I got that kind of snug fit there.
New Balance 880 v13
The 880 v13 (Sponsored) has a synthetic kind of material that has this knit feeling. Yes, it’s a little bit stretchy, but the 1080 is far more stretchier.
Just like the 1080, the tongue is not one of those really loose or really thin tongues, but it has got a little bit of a plush feel to it, which is really nice.
The heel cup on the heel of the 880 kind of goes up a little bit dramatically but doesn’t dip towards the back there. It just really locks down the foot as does a more traditional collar.
I was able to get a pretty secure fit without having to heel lock tie. You can see that you actually have two eyelets that are reinforced and one more in the back.
Essentially, the 1080 and the 880 share a very similar outsole that has plenty of rubber coverage for that grip and durability. Plus, the amount of rubber on the outsoles is pretty noticeable from a thickness standpoint.
Both shoes have blown rubber in the forefoot to try and make the rebound a little bit better.
There are cutouts and grooves along the forefoot to make the shoes a little bit easier to bend. However, the 880 v13 (Sponsored) is more flexible because the grooves are a little bit deeper.
When we talk about traction for road running shoes, you’re really just talking about how it can give you some grip and energy return, especially if it’s a little bit wet.
In terms of durability, you’ll probably have a lot of miles out of these shoes, which makes sense that New Balance would position these as do-everything shoes.
Also, folks that are running, jogging, walking, or doing some errands are going to see lots of life out of these shoes perhaps more than a comparable shoe that might not have as much rubber outsole.
Where you can buy these shoes…
New Balance 1080 v12
New Balance 880 v12
So there you have it. That pretty much wraps up this New Balance 1080 vs 880 comparison.
I hope I’ve been successful in highlighting the differences and similarities between these shoes.
If you have any comments, I would be glad to hear your thoughts down below.
Until then, see you in the next one 🙂