New Balance 990 vs 1080 Fresh Foam Compared [What’s the Difference?]


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When I compared the New Balance 990 vs 1080, this is what stood out the most to me:

  • Both shoes are listed as running shoes, but that’s about where the similarities end. The 1080 is a modern, lightweight running shoe that provides that “squishy” feeling under the foot. The 990 is more of a casual athletic shoe, that you can pair easily with jeans or use it at the gym. But it isn’t as lightweight, breathable, or soft under the foot as the 1080. Here’s where I demonstrate how soft the 1080 shoe is under the foot.
  • The New Balance 990 is part of New Balance’s “Made in USA” collection (the 1080 is not). The 990 was not my favorite Made in USA option – the 993 was. This is where you can view the New Balance 993 Made in USA shoes (affiliate link takes you to NewBalance.com).
  • Because the 1080 is a modern running shoe, it was more flexible. But overall, the flexibility was reasonably close and surprised me a little bit. I’ll let you be the judge: this is where you can watch as I test the flexibility and “twistability” of both shoes.
  • The New Balance 990 and 1080 both fit within the realm of what I consider “true-to-size”. If you made me choose, I’d say they both fit just a tiny bit looser than my normal shoe sizing, but overall, I felt like my normal sizing was the correct choice. I would suggest you check out these side-by-side comparison photos I took to compare the sizing of these shoes to other popular brands.
  • The 1080 weighs less than the 990. The 990 weighs 1.01 pounds and the 1080 weighs 0.77 pounds per shoe for a size 12 men’s. Click here to read more about how these weights compare to other New Balance shoes.
  • I recently tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, and the 1080 was my choice for the most comfortable. Yes, the 990 is also comfortable, but it doesn’t offer as much compression under the foot as the 1080 (but it is sturdier). See other options I liked.

In this article let’s take a closer look at the New Balance 990v5 and the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 by using the videos and pictures I took of the shoes that I own.

Table of Contents

New Balance 990 vs 1080 Comfort

New Balance markets both of these shoes as running shoes, but as I mentioned above, that’s about where the similarities end. The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is a lightweight, modern running shoe that feels “squishy” under the foot. The 990 is more like a casual athletic shoe, that has a sturdier design that can pair easily with jeans, or be used at the gym.

Can you run in the New Balance 990? Sure. But if you are a serious runner, there will be better options (see my favorites).

How They Respond on Foot

To give you an idea how these shoes respond on a foot, here I am wearing mine:

As you can see above, the 1080 offers more compression under the foot (especially under the heel). But, to be fair, the 990 is also very comfortable, and feels on the foot more like a casual shoe. If you prefer a sturdier shoe, the 990 will be the better option.

The 1080 just happens to be my favorite shoe that New Balance makes, so if you are looking for max comfort, I think it is a great option (most comfortable New Balance shoes explained). The other running shoe I though was basically just as comfortable was the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 – click here to view the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 (paid affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

I also compared the flexibility and the “twistability” of these shoes, and you can view those results here.

Alternative Options

If you like the casual athletic design of the 990 (which is a bit sturdier than modern running shoes), then I would also suggest the Made in USA 993. I actually thought the 993 was the most comfortable shoe in the New Balance “Made in USA” series. Click here to view the New Balance 993 shoes (paid affiliate link takes you to NewBalance.com).

If you like the lightweight running style, I think the New Balance FuelCell Rebel is another great option. It provides that “squishy” comfort under the foot, and when I tried over 30 types of New Balance shoes, the Rebel was the lightest in weight out of all the shoes. Click here to view the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 shoes (paid affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

New Balance 990 vs 1080 Flexibility

In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible these shoes are:


Overall, these shoes are very similar in how flexible they are. There is, however, a difference in weight. Click here to view the difference in these shoes regarding weight.

New Balance 990 vs 1080 Padding

Both the 990 and the 1080 have quality padding around the collar and tongue. Here are mine (990 first):

new-balance-990-padded-collar
new-balance-1080-padded-collar

Strobel Board

I did find a difference in the strobel board area (which is under the insole). The 1080 has a piece of foam-like padding on top of the firm strobel board, while the 990 just has a layer of fabric stitched over it.

Here are mine (990v5 first):

strobel-board-990
strobel-board-1080

Insole Thickness

Yes, both the 990v5 and the 1080v12 have removable insoles, so you can clean or swap them as needed. First, here is the insole of the 990v5:

new-balance-990-insole
new-balance-990-insole-measurement

And below, is the insole for the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12:

new-balance-1080-insole
new-balance-1080-insole-measurement

By my measurements, the insole thickness was basically the exact same. I did find the fit of these shoes to be slightly different. This is where you can view the side-by-side photos I took regarding sizing.

New Balance 990 vs 1080 Design

Sole Height

Below is the height measurements I took for the men’s New Balance 990 vs 1080 (size12; 990 first):

new-balance-990-sole-height
new-balance-1080-sole-height

As you can see, the midsole is thicker on the 1080 (bottom). The overall height of the shoes is similar.

Here is how the women’s 990 vs 1080 shoes compared (both size 7):

new-balance-990-women-sole-height
new-balance-1080-womens-sole-height

Just like the men’s, the women’s 1080 has a thicker midsole than the women’s 990. However, in the women’s version, the 990 laces finish a bit higher on the foot than the 1080.

I also found a difference in the heel-to-toe drop for the New Balance 990 vs 1080. This is where you can read more about those differences.

Outsole Width

Below is the width measurements I took for the men’s New Balance 990 vs 1080 (990 first):

new-balance-990-width-outsole
new-balance-1080-width-measurement-outsole

And below is the width measurements I took for the women’s New Balance 990 vs 1080 (990 first):

new-balance-990-women-width-measurement-outsole
new-balance-1080-womens-width

As you can see, the base of the 1080 shoes measure wider than the 990, but don’t expect the shoe itself to actually fit wider. In my experience, both shoes had a standard width.

The midsole of the 1080 flares out, which causes it to measure with a wider base. You can see in the photos below, the 1080 midsole flares out and the 990 does not:

new-balance-1080-on-foot
new-balance-990v5-on-foot

If you are concerned about fit, I would highly suggest you view these side-by-side sizing photos I took of each shoe (for both men and women) to get a better idea how both the 990 and the 1080 fit.

New Balance 990 vs 1080 Weight

For men, the 990 weighs 1.01 pounds and the 1080 weighs 0.77 pounds per shoe for a size 12 men’s.

new-balance-990-weight
new-balance-1080-weight

For women, the 990 weighs 0.72 pounds and the 1080 weighs 0.56 pounds per shoe for a size 7 women’s.

new-balance-990-women-weight
new-balance-1080-womens-weight

Again, the 1080 is a modern, lightweight running shoe while the 990 is more of a casual athletic shoe.

Recently I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes and I found the average to be 0.89 pounds per shoe for a size 12 men’s. If you prefer a lightweight shoe, the 1080 will be the better option. To view the full list of weights I took for over 30 New Balance shoes, click here.

New Balance 990 vs 1080 Heel Drop

When I measured my New Balance 990 shoes using an 8-inch Digital Outside Caliper, I found the heel drop to be approximately 12mm. When I measured my New Balance 1080 shoes using an 8-inch Digital Outside Caliper, I found its heel drop to be approximately 8mm.

It is important to understand that although I tried my best to get accurate measurements, the best way to measure heel drop is to cut the shoes in half and use an industrial caliper. Obviously, I didn’t want to destroy my shoes, but this is a convenient alternative way to measure heel drop.

The point is, think of these heel drop numbers as an approximation. For all official measurements, it would be best to reach out to New Balance directly.

Here I am measuring the heel drop of the New Balance 990 shoes:

new-balance-990-heel-drop
new-balance-990-heel-drop-measurements

Here I am measuring the heel drop of the New Balance 1080 shoes:

new-balance-1080-heel-drop
new-balance-1080-heel-drop-measurement

New Balance 990 vs 1080 Sizing

Both the New Balance 990 and 1080 fit within the realm of what I would describe as “true-to-size”. If you made me choose, I would say both fit a tiny bit looser than my normal shoe sizing. The 1080 I did feel like fit looser than the 880 and the 860, which are two other popular New Balance running shoes.

Here they are side-by-side for men (990 on left):

new-balance-1080-vs-990-sizing

Here they are side-by-side for women (990 on right):

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-990-sizing

To give you a better idea how wide these shoes are, here they both are compared to the Nike Air Monarch 4E, which is a popular extra wide shoe (990 first):

new-balance-990-vs-nike-air-monarch-sizing
new-balance-1080-vs-nike-air-monarch-sizing

To read more about sizing, visit my article about New Balance sizing and fit.

In the sections below, I compare both of these shoes to other popular shoes so you can get a better feel for sizing.


New Balance 990v5 Sizing Photos for Men

These photos below all use a size 12 men’s shoe. To see women’s 990 sizing photos, click here.

New Balance 990 (right) vs Adidas 2k Boost Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-adidas-2k-boost-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Reebok Classics Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-reebok-classics-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Nike Zoom Winflo Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-nike-zoom-winflo-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Skechers Go Walk Slip On Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-skechers-go-walk-slip-on-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

brooks-vs-new-balance-990-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Skechers Go Walk Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-skechers-go-walk-sizing-1

New Balance 990 vs Saucony Shadow 6000 Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-saucony-shadow-6000-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Adidas Superstar Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-adidas-superstar-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Nike Air Max 90 Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-nike-air-max-90-sizing-1

New Balance 990 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-crocs-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Under Armour HOVR Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Hey Dude Wally Sox Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-hey-dude-sizing-1

New Balance 990 vs Vans Slip On Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-vans-slip-on-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Nike Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-nike-af1-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Adidas Cloudfoam Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-adidas-cloudfoam-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Asics Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-asics-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Hoka One One Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-hoka-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-converse-chucks-sizing-1

New Balance 990 vs Vans UltraRange Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-vans-ultrarange-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Vans Old Skool Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-vans-old-skool-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Converse Pro Leather Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-converse-pro-leather-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Adidas Gazelle Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-adidas-gazelle-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Skechers Afterburn Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-skechers-afterburn-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Nike Cortez Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-nike-cortez-sizing

New Balance 990 vs Nike Blazer Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-nike-blazer-sizing

New Balance 990 (right) vs 574 Sizing

new-balance-990-vs-574-sizing

New Balance 990 (left) vs 880 Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-990-sizing

To read more, visit my article about the sizing of New Balance 990v5 Shoes.

New Balance 990v5 Sizing Photos for Women

New Balance Women’s 990 (right) vs Under Armour Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 (right) vs 880 Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-880-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 (right) vs 860 Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-860-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 (right) vs 327 Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-327-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Vans Slip On Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-vans-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Hey Dude Wendy Sox Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-hey-dude-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Skechers D’Lites Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-skechers-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Adidas Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-adidas-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Nike Air Max 90 Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-nike-air-max-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-converse-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Keen Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-keen-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-990v5-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Nike Air Max 1 Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-nike-air-max-one-sizing-1

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Nike Blazer Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-nike-blazer-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-nike-air-force-1-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Hoka Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-hoka-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-brooks-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Asics Gel Kayano Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-asics-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Nike Internationalist Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-nike-internationalist-sizing

New Balance Women’s 990 vs Columbia Sizing

new-balance-990-womens-vs-columbia-shoe-sizing

New Balance 1080 Sizing Photos for Men

These photos below all use a size 12 men’s shoe. To see women’s 1080 sizing photos, click here.

New Balance 1080 (right) vs Adidas Cloudfoam Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-adidas-cloudfoam-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Asics Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-asics-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Hoka One One Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-hoka-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Nike Air Max Excee Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-nike-air-max-excee-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Nike Air Max 90 Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-nike-air-max-90-sizing-1

New Balance 1080 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-crocs-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Reebok Classics Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-reebok-classics-sizing-1

New Balance 1080 vs Adidas 2k Boost Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-adidas-2k-boost-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Nike Zoom Winflo Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-nike-zoom-winflo-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Skechers Go Walk Slip On Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-skechers-go-walk-slip-on-sizing

New Balance 1080 (right) vs 992 Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-992-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

brooks-vs-new-balance-1080-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Skechers Go Walk Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-skechers-go-walk-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Saucony Shadow 6000 Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-saucony-shadow-6000-sizing

New Balance 1080 (left) vs Propel Sizing

new-balance-propel-vs-1080-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Under Armour HOVR Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance 1080 (left) vs 860 Sizing

new-balance-860-vs-1080-sizing

New Balance 1080 (left) vs 880 Sizing

new-balance-880-vs-1080-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Hey Dude Wally Sox Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-hey-dude-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Vans Slip On Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-vans-slip-on-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Nike Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-nike-af1-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-converse-chucks-sizing

New Balance 1080 (left) vs Rebel Sizing

new-balance-rebel-vs-1080-sizing

New Balance 1080 vs Vans UltraRange Sizing

new-balance-1080-vs-vans-ultrarange-sizing

New Balance 1080 (left) vs 840 Sizing

new-balance-shoe-840-vs-1080-sizing

New Balance 1080 (left) vs FF More Sizing

new-balance-fresh-foam-more-vs-1080-sizing

New Balance 1080 Sizing Photos for Women

New Balance Women’s 1080 (right) vs 880 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-880-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Nike Internationalist Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-nike-internationalist-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Under Armour Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-under-armour-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Vans Slip On Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-vans-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Hey Dude Wendy Sox Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-hey-dude-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Skechers D’Lites Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-skechers-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Adidas Sizing

new-balance-1080-womens-vs-adidas-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Nike Cortez Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-nike-cortez-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Nike Air Max 90 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-nike-air-max-90-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Converse Chucks Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-converse-chucks-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 (right) vs Nergize Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-nergize-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Keen Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-keen-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Crocs Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-crocs-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 (right) vs 574 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-574-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Nike Air Max 1 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-nike-air-max-one-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Nike Blazer Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-nike-blazer-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Air Force 1 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-af1-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Hoka Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-hoka-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Brooks Adrenaline Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-brooks-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Asics Gel Kayano Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-asics-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 vs Nike Air Huarache Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-nike-air-huarache-sizing

New Balance Women’s 1080 (right) vs 860 Sizing

new-balance-womens-1080-vs-860-sizing

To read more, visit my article about the sizing of New Balance 1080 Shoes.


New Balance 990 vs 1080 Conclusion

These shoes are both listed as running shoes, and that’s about where the similarities end.

The 1080 is a modern, lightweight running shoe that provides that “squishy” feeling under the foot. The 990 is more of a casual athletic shoe, that you can pair easily with jeans or use it at the gym. But it isn’t as lightweight, breathable, or soft under the foot as the 1080.

When I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, I thought the 1080 was the most comfortable shoe that I tried. That said, the 990 will be the better option if you prefer a sturdier fit.

The 990 is part of New Balance “Made in USA” collection, but the 1080 is not. The 990 is actually not my favorite New Balance “Made in USA” shoe (see my favorite option).

The sizing and fit is similar. I thought both option fit just a tiny bit looser than my normal shoe size, but not enough to where it caused me to change my sizing.

If you are searching for lightweight athletic shoes, I also really like the New Balance FuelCell Rebel. It is very comfortable under the foot, and was actually the most lightweight New Balance shoe that I tried. I also thought it was the most breathable. Click here to view the New Balance FuelCell Rebel shoes available at Amazon (paid affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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