I finally got my feet into a pair of New Balance’s new maximalist shoe, the New Balance Fresh Foam 980. Now I’ve known about this shoe for the last year and knew I’d want to try it as soon as it was dropped. I had high expectations, thanks in part to New Balance’s excellent marketing campaign, but was sadly disappointed in the final product.

The midsole material in this shoe is it’s biggest selling point, but unfortunately is it’s biggest flaw. Advertised as “soft, pillowy, marshmallow” goodness, the shoe feels more “brick-like, dense, dead” than anything. While I give the shoe props for being more responsive, it comes at the detriment to it’s comfort. If you want responsive shoes, there are lighter, more flexible options. If you want a comfortable cushioned ride, there are a more comfortable options out there. This shoe doesn’t quite have a home in my arsenal, unfortunately.

BUT, I hope New Balance hears my call and delivers the goods in another version. I want a cushioned, maximalist shoe from them and I know they can do it. The RevLite material they use in other shoes is some of my favorite midsole EVA out there. DO IT, NEW BALANCE!


  • Flexible (despite responsive cushion)
  • Seamless upper
  • Durability
  • Drop (4mm)
  • Transition (full outsole)


  • Not soft (too responsive?)
  • Narrow
  • Thick tongue
  • Laces untie
  • Naming convention

PRICE: 3/5
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 13/20

These shoes were provided by New Balance for review. All opinions are my own.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,