The New Balance 1080v3 was one I've not had a lot of experience with, so was interested to see how it performed.
Out of the box, the design was the thing that stood out. I was impressed with the way they looked, and they were very light. The outsole had an interesting pattern, and was not as logical as some other shoes (i.e Asics Guidance lines), but none the less, it was eye catching. Putting te shoes on, they were comfortable, but snugger than I'm used to, and my feet felt a little suffocated. For most people, this will not be a problem, and the mesh was very breathable. The cushioning underneath was not overly soft, which was good, as your feet can feel lost when a shoe is too cushioned so this was a happy medium between cushioning and responsiveness.
The midsole uses REVlite foam, and an ABZORB crash pad for excellent cushioning, and with an 8mm heel to toe offset, you can easily transition in this shoe. It definitely felt like it was a transition shoe. The cushioning was, as I've mentioned, soft but responsive. New Balance have not really been known for their cushioning in the past, but thats not really been an issue in the past. The 8mm heel drop is a good touch, as I've mentioned, it definitely feels like a lower transitional shoe, but has enough about it to be a regular neutral shoe for heel strikers.
The upper has been completely redesigned, and looks fantastic. New Balances Fantom Fit technology moulds to the foot, and the mesh is very breathable, but has a secure and strong feel to it, which I think a lot of brands lack. Some meshes feel flimsy, and although they are flexible, are often prone to tearing. New Balances new mesh on the 1080v3 feels that little bit tougher.
The outsole has an interesting look to it. My understanding of the redesign is that each circle is over a pressure point, and provides optimal grip over the whole foot. Whether or not this works is yet to be seen. It is made of a blown rubber to offer durability and grip, whilst maintaining a lightweight feel.
As suspected, my feet felt a little suffocated, however as I mentioned, most people would find this comfortable as opposed to suffocating. The fact that I'm used to having a little more space around te toe box would be the reason for this, so I will try and ignore that point. In terms of the ride, the shoes were just cushioned enough to offer a comfortable and smooth ride, but also responsive and give you a real feel for the ground. The outsole did surprisingly feel grippy and I am unsure as to whether this was a subconscious thing or not. The heel of the shoe felt good and my foot sat comfortably in them, whilst feeling secure.
All in all, the shoes were comfortale, and I suspect will be good for the majority, but for those used to having more room in their shoes, i'd look at something more like the Inov8 Road-x255 or even just a 2e in this shoe.