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?


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