New Balance recently came out with some brand-new kicks and being the shoe nerd that I am I decided to take a look. Don’t get me wrong I needed new shoes, maybe not two pairs, but at first glance, I couldn’t decide which ones I liked better so I got both the New Balance 880s and the New Balance 1080s.
They may seem very similar, but they have a few key differences, and after 5 mounts of wearing them I decided I’m ready for a New Balance 880 vs 1080 review.
- The New Balance 880 and 1080 can both be used for running.
- Both have extra cushioning.
- Both are stylish, comfortable and shock absorbent.
- One of the main differences is in the midsole.
- The 1080s have a slightly smaller heel drop.
Quick review for busy bees
Okay so if you happen to be in the store right now, facing a decision on which pair to get The New Balance 880s or the 1080s here’s a quick review that covers the basics.
Both models are running shoes meaning they have some cushioning action going on that is more noticeable in the 1080s.
Both have a different heel-to-toe high difference, with the 880s having a slightly bigger heel drop.
The 1080s are not very stable and have medium flexibility, while the 880s are very flexible and more stable.
In a nutshell, if you are a long-distance runner you will want to go with the 1080s, and if you want a classic training shoe, go for the 880s.
Deep dive: New Balance 880 vs 1080
If you have a bit more time and want to know more about the specifics of New Balance 880 vs 1080 then keep on reading.
Sole: New Balance 880 and 1080
Both models have soles made from rubber, but they do differ from one another.
Outsole: New Balance 880 and 1080
Both the New Balance 880s and the 1080s have a similar outsole, the blown rubber patterns are similar on the back of the foot and the heel, but the 1080s don’t have an extra pattern on the arch.
Midsole: New Balance 880 and 1080
Unlike previous models, the 880s and the 1080s use a Fresh Foam X, with one of the main differences being the stack height.
The 880s have a stack height of 28mm in the heel and 18mm in the ball of the foot. Meaning there is a heel drop of 10mm. On the other hand, the 1080s have a stack height of 29mm in the heel and 21mm in the ball of the foot. This means that they have a slightly lesser heel-to-toe drop of 8mm.
Both of the heel drops are steady, meaning you won’t feel a big difference. However, if you are suffering from pain in the ball of your foot you are going to want to pick the shoes with the smallest heel drop.
There is slightly more heel cushioning going on in the 880s, meaning that if you suffer from pain in the heel of your foot, maybe these ones will work better.
The 1080s are taller by 1mm and have a more curved sole which makes them perfect for runners because they follow the natural shape of the foot movement.
Think about how your foot touches the ground while running, you go heel first, this is why it’s important to have good cushioning to absorb the shock. Then your arch touches the ground and it bends forward while lifting your heel and finally the ball of the foot is on the ground.
Your foot essentially creates a half-moon shape, which is exactly how the 1080s look like.
Also Read: How Can You Sell an Old Treadmill
Upper: New Balance 880 and 1080
The upper part of the shoes is where the biggest difference in my opinion lies.
Both models are made from knit fabric with slightly different patterns. The New Balance 880s have a more traditional knit with two types of density all around the shoes. The knit is firmer in the middle sole part and less dense at the top.
This makes the shoe comfortable and roomy, but the thicker fabric makes the 880s firmer and they are slightly deeper.
The 1080s on the other have a wider toe box and a very stretchy dorsal side. This allows people with wider feet to fit comfortably in the shoes without having to experience pressure all-round the foot.
The 880s have a more traditional heel cup with a slight curve. The 1080s on the other hand have a flared-out heel that sits a bit higher on the Achilles tendon.
The 880s and the 1080s are made from a mesh knit fabric so both of them are breathable, meaning they allow air to circulate in order to keep your feet cool.
Who are they for?
Both models can be worn by anyone. They come in lots of different colors so you don’t have to pick a boring one if you want fun colorful shoes.
I got my 880s in Violet Shadow and my 1080s in Magenta. The color choices also have something to do with what I use them for.
I got the 1080s in a darker color because I use them for longer runs outside since they are specifically designed for that.
On the other hand, the 880s are more for general use, I wear them both to the gym and for coffee dates and I make sure they stay clean since I love the soft lavender color.
Pros and cons
If you are a visual person this list will help you make the right choice for you regarding the new balance 880 vs 1080, with simple side-by-side positive and negative aspects
New Balance 880
- Extra cushioning
- More stability
- Durable outsole
- Good for cooler climate
- Less breathable
- Upper can be too bulky for some
- Can cause overheating on hot days
New Balance 1080
- Extra cushioning
- Curved sole
- More absorbent
- Good for wide feet
- Sizing may be off
- May be too wide for narrow feet
- Less stable
Also Read: Why Your Legs Are Heavy When Running?
After closely examining every aspect of these shoes I can’t definitely say which one wins in the New Balance 880 vs 1080 battle.
I can however say that they are both very comfortable and durable shoes and I would highly recommend them even though they are on the pricier side.
I am going to continue wearing both whether I’m on the run in the woods in my 1080s or in the gym in my 880s.
It’s been more than 15 years, and I’ve been running 3-4 times a week ever since then. I’ve achieved goals, won marathons, went through injuries and learnt a lot along the way. That’s why, I created Suzlyfe together with my husband (Ken) to share my findings and help others reach their goals. Both me and my husband are avid runners, and it’s a big part of our life.