New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 vs. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 review

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is a lightweight neutral cushioning running shoe with a touch of stability. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 delivers a soft and comfortable ride for long runs...

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 are both at the top end of their neutral cushioning categories so should be comparable.

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The upper of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 The preceding link takes you to Amazon.com differs quite a bit from that of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 due to the overlays in the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 has a very broad overlay that wraps the midfoot. This overlay also has some stitches in it at its ends.

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 The preceding link takes you to Amazon.com has a largely no-sew upper with some stitches on the saddle and at the back of the shoe. The overlays on the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 are very light and provide just enough structure to keep your foot in place and give you a custom fit.

Both the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 have an external piece at the back of the shoes for extra support with the heel counter of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 being sturdier and more supportive than the overlay and plastic piece wrapping the heel in the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080, and both have a forefoot that is quite open and free of overlays on top.

The mesh of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is also more open in the forefoot so should feel very breathable. It also has a bit of structure to keep things in place in the forefoot.

All in all, if you are looking for a secure fit, the New Balance 1080v6 is likely to be able to give you that more than the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18, especially around the midfoot, but the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 is more likely to give you an overall glove-like fit.

Because the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 are neutral cushioning running shoes, they are meant to provide you with a soft ride.

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 does this through the implementation of GEL cushioning between two layers of foam with the one closest to the foot being the softer layer and the one closest to the ground the more responsive one.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 has one main layer of foam, which tends to flair out at the bottom and slightly increase the stability of the running shoe.

While it is difficult to see with the naked eye which running shoe would be the more cushy one, running shoe lab tests reveal that the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 are almost equally cushy for men with some minor differences to be noted.

The forefoot cushioning is about the same in the two running shoes, but the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 delivers just a tiny bit more heel cushioning than the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18.

For women, however, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 wins all the way. It has just a tiny bit more forefoot cushioning than the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080, but its amount of heel cushioning is way above what is delivered by the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 has above average heel cushioning for women but just cannot compete with the amount delivered by the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18.

This is partly due to the fact that the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 has 3 mm of extra height in the heel to take stress off the Achilles tendons of women. The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 does not come with this extra height in the heel.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 are neutral running shoes so do not provide any kind of support other than the previously mentioned flaired-out midsole of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080.

The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 has a midfoot shank that consists of two separate pieces under the midfoot to provide some degree of support but not much correction. Its vertical flex groove takes care of helping you achieve a more efficient gait but does not correct anything.

The New Balance 1080v6 does not have a midfoot shank but rather implements an all-in-one midsole with a good amount of ground contact. This should not only increase the stability of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 but also the smoothness of your ride.

However, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 does not have as many main flex grooves as the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 does, and the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 displays a larger degree of separation between the rubber compartments in its outsole.

Running shoe lab tests show that the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 is more flexible than the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 for both men and women, but the difference is larger for women than for men.

For men, both shoes are on the stiff side. For women, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is stiffer than the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18.

The women's version of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 weighs about 9.8 oz (278 grams) and the New Balance 1080v6 for women weighs approximately 8.6 oz (244 grams).

The men's versions of the shoes weigh 12.1 oz (343 grams) and 10.5 oz (298 grams), respectively, with the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 being the lighter one.

If you are a neutral runner looking for a lightweight running shoe that provides a good amount of cushioning and a secure fit, then the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 might be worth looking into.

Women may be delighted to run in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18, which delivers a soft and comfortable ride and relieves some stress.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more about the running shoes.


This review falls under: ASICS | New Balance

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