Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Shoe Review! Women's New Balance W980 Fresh Foam

Disclaimer:  I was given a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam shoes in exchange for a blog post review for Online Shoes.  All opinions are my own.

Several months ago, I received an email from Heather at Online Shoes, asking if I would like to review a not-yet-on-the-market pair of New Balance Fresh Foam running shoes. And you all know what happened next, right?

There was no way I could turn down some new kicks, so I happily said YES PLEASE.

I could not have been more excited to receive these bad boys in the mail!

Online Shoes' description of the Fresh Foams:

Wearing the New Balance W980 Fresh Foam athletic shoe, you can feel the science of softness with Fresh Foam technology, a performance midsole compound that delivers soft, plush cushioning to runners seeking a lower, more natural underfoot feel. This women's trainer features a minimal, no-sew mesh and synthetic upper with a lightly padded collar for extra cushioning around the ankle. A blown rubber outsole provides durability and supportive cushioning to the New Balance 980 running shoe, ensuring an incredibly soft, incredibly stable ride for mile after mile.
  • 4mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Air mesh upper
  • Blown rubber outsole
  • Competitor Magazine "Best Ride" award
  • Fresh Foam
  • Lace entry
  • Lightly padded collar and tongue
  • No-sew material application
  • REVlite®
  • Running Network "Best Neutral Shoe" award
  • Weight: 7.8 oz. / 206g

I took them for a 4 mile spin on the treadmill.

Halfway through, my left foot went numb.

So I reconfigured the laces in the hopes that things would run more smoothly.

I tried out a pattern that was supposed to help give my toes more space.

The verdict is still out as to whether or not this is helping.  I feel a bit ambivalent about these shoes, so I made a list to try and sort out my feelings.

  • They have fun colours
  • They are very lightweight
  • They are shaped to provide a good toe-off
  • The uppers are cushiony

  • They are not as flexible as they claim to be, and after a few miles my feet feel like they are just slapping the ground
  • The uppers push against my big toes, which gives me blisters

  • The Fresh Foams are a bit more minimal than I need, and a bit too narrow and shallow for my feet.  I will spend more time in them when I am not training for a race, to see if I can make them work, perhaps for shorter distances. 
  • Running shoes are such a personal thing.  As a klutzy, injury-prone runner, I think I do better with a little more support.
  • I think if you like a minimal shoe, but prefer stiffer soles, you should give the New Balance Fresh Foams a shot.

Thank you so much to Online Shoes for giving me the opportunity to review these shoes!!

They are pretty snazzy, after all.


1. What drives your shoe decision?

2. Do you like minimal shoes or supportive shoes?


  1. I loved your honest review! so refreshing!! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Lea. What's the point of doing a review if you're not honest?

  2. Um, hello to the cutest picture of you at the very end! Great review, I'm so glad you broke down your experience into pros and cons and gave us your opinion on the claims.

    1. Thanks Adrian! I felt like I needed to punch up the post a bit :P Shoes are so tough; you just never know until you try them out.

  3. They sure are perty! Congrats on the opportunity, too.

  4. Shoes really are such a personal choice. Our feet come in all shapes and sizes! I think I usually start with a 1 mile test run -- I am so nervous trying totally new shoes!
    P.S. I love the drawing with you relaceing the shoes. -- you are so talented!

    1. Thanks Coco :) You're right, our feet do come in different shapes and sizes! We wouldn't need all these different kinds of shoes, otherwise!

  5. Your graphics are too cute. :)

    But I, too, love the honesty of your review. It's true that it's so important these days and yet, so not always the case. Good for you!

    1. Thank you Andrea! I don't know, if you don't say how you feel, then you haven't done what you said you would do, right?

  6. I have a problem with reviewing shoes myself - for the exact reason you mentioned - MY FEET GO NUMB!!! My feet are BIG DIVAS (I wear a size 8, lol)... They only like ONE BRAND - but of course THAT COMPANY never reaches out asking me to review them, LOL!!!! That being said, I do love the COLORS of the sexy kicks ;) Just gotta wear them when you're not doing anything too CRAZYYYY!!

    1. Yup, they'll be perfect for gym workouts and walks. When I was young a shoe salesman said I had 'champagne feet', meaning that I would always have to buy expensive shoes :P

  7. LOVE honest reviews!! I read but I can only wear Hoka OneOne for now.. :)

  8. Ohhh...I love your post. Your Defining way through girl graphic picture. Its really amazing.

  9. I am so particular about my shoes. Once I find one that works I'm very reluctant to try out something new (unless it's on super clearance or free). I actually prefer the minimal shoes now. Once I got used to them I cannot go back to a supportive shoe. They feel like heavy clogs to me.

    1. I don't think I have found the right shoe for me yet. I still don't know if I need a minimal or more supportive shoe, but I agree that heavier ones don't feel good :)

  10. I think you should provide more detailed images corresponding to the characteristics of a type of shoe.There are so clearly we recognize and evaluate the quality and style of each different type of shoes

  11. I wonder if these shoes can fit also to overweight women?

  12. The decision is still out in the matter of regardless of whether this is making a difference. I feel somewhat irresolute about these shoes, so I made a rundown to attempt and deal with my sentiments.

  13. Shoe needs are vastly different for different people. People need shoes for different occasions for different activities; they are used for running, for walking, dancing and so much and so on. New Balance Shoes is one brand which aims at providing just the right kind of shoe.

  14. Nice reviews :) My feet are high arch so I would prefer good supportive ones. Do you have any recommendations?


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