Friday 19 September 2014

New Balance 1080v4

Being such a big fan of the New Balance 1080v3, I was very happy when recieved a pair of the next generation 1080s, the v4, for review. In order to be transparent, these shoes were provided free of charge. However, all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

new balance 1080v4 white, blue and yellow colourway [photo:7t]

The description from the New Balance UK website is as follows:

Men's Road - New Balance 1080v4
Make running a luxurious ride with the 1080v4, a men’s shoe that combines the deluxe fit of a FantomFit upper with the stability of T-Beam and an asymmetrical heel counter. The premium cushioning of N2 in the heel and N2 Burst in the forefoot gives you exceptional response as you push off, and the no-sew material application means a snug, firm fit. The 1080v4: the stuff runners' dreams are made of.
292 grams (10.2 oz)


  • 8mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 8mm drop are approximate
  • ABZORB® Crash Pad allows enhanced motion control and stability within the heel
  • Abzorb® Strobel Board runs full length of shoe to maximize shock absorption and comfort
  • Blown rubber outsole
  • No-sew material application
  • Synthetic/Mesh upper

Tech Information

ACTEVA™ LITE premium lightweight midsole provides optimal resistance to compression set - 24% lighter than standard foam

N2 low-to-the-ground cushioning technology is a responsive, durable, sustainable cushioning system in a low profile execution

T-beam is a lightweight, flexible TPU shank engineered to deliver optimum torsional stability and arch support through a unique center beam design.

Essentially that all sounds very similar to the v3. The shoe retains its 8mm heel to toe drop, which seems to work well for me.

I have been wearing the New Balance 1080v3 as my main running shoe for over a year and I have had no complaints about it. The problem with liking the v3 so much is that it was going to be a hard act to follow.

The first thing I noticed with the v4 is that the tongue felt much thicker than the previous model. To me, this is neither good nor bad, just different. It is all part of the overall cosy feel of the shoe.

The second and more important change that I was immediately aware of was the fit around the heel. The v3 hugged my heel perfectly, but the v4 is a little wider. In fact it is so wide that I had to go away and do some research on different lacing methods before I could get them to fit well enough to actually go out and run in them.

So in order to make the shoe fit properly, I had to use the extra eyelets at the very top of the shoe. Once using this method of lacing I was finally able to run in them. I'm happy to say that with this issue out of the way the shoe started to feel similar to the v3, but possibly just a tad firmer underfoot.

However, I understand from reviews and other information on the internet, the v4 is not made on the same last as the v3. So it is really a different shoe rather than just an updated aesthetic design.

I sometimes feel like I'm floating on air as I run along the road. And with that in mind, I'd liken the 1080 model to a plush family car with lots of comfy suspension. They are great for a long distances, but not the greatest at negotiating tight corners at a fast pace. Don't get me wrong, I haven't lost traction, but the spongy feel isn't best suited to tight corners - For this type of course I'd maybe look for something little firmer (or stop being so picky). However, this doesn't take away the fact that I am still a huge fan of the 1080 model.

Being a good, comfy, longer distance shoe, when I do finally enter a marathon I suspect the New Balance 1080 shoes will play a huge part in my training and of course be my shoes of choice for the big day. For me the 1080v3 still has a slight edge, but once I had resolved the issue with the fit around the heel, I really got used to to feel of these shoes and really do like them.

[as I put more miles on these shoe I will probably add updates to this post]

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