>2/1/14: Shoe Review - New Balance Fresh Foam 980

written by Jenny Cunningham


Working in the running shoe industry, we see a lot of the same. Same shoe, different colors. Same shoe, a tad lighter. Same shoe, just this year’s version. So when something brand new comes out, forgive us if we get just a little excited.


Enter New Balance’s 980, with their brand new “Fresh Foam” technology. For starters, the midsole looks unique - think carved out, feather like shapes decorated with color fade graffiti. Do I have your attention yet?! There’s also no variation in the materials the 980 is made up of: no visible gel or air pockets, guidance lines, or dual density foam. Remarkably, and re“fresh”ingly, uncomplicated. The outsole, or bottom of the shoe, looks like a flattened honeycomb - full ground contact for a stable ride.


This runner loved the way the New Balance 980 didn’t manipulate her foot, resulting in a comfortably natural gait pattern and allowing for easy mid-foot striking in a non-minimal shoe. Whoa... if that explanation was too technical for you, it translates into this: firm marshmallow. Soft but not flimsy. The hug your foot might need on an easy run day when you leave your watch behind and enjoy yourself.


We’re also talking light. Weighing in at just 8.8oz for men and 7.2oz for women, the Fresh Foam 980 has fast written all over it. It has a 4mm offset, comparable to the Saucony Kinvara and Brooks PureFlow, but with a more foot-protecting feeling. Like the sensation of a plush, more cushioned shoe but want to go lighter? You have to put this shoe on your foot.


With a slightly wider fit, this shoe welcomes previous New Balance 890 wearers who may be finding v4 just a little shallow. With an average overall fit, as well as no restricting overlays, it should accommodate many different foot shapes. This shoe will be available in all Marathon Sports locations in February.


We've given you our take above...here's a little homegrown review from our friends in the November Project: