New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Review

New Balance Fresh Foam 980

by Sherwin Loh

The first time I saw the Fresh Foam 980 Trail , I was reminded of the rocker sole shoes most commonly used by Skechers.

Those shoes have extremely thick cushioning and look like the sneaker variant of platform shoes meant to make a person seem taller.Some are also rounded at the bottom, allowing wears to rock back and forth while standing still.

The Fresh Foam 980 Trail has the same thick sole, but uses a flat sole instead. There is a rocking sensation with the slightly curved front, but most running shoes offer that.

Still, I wondered how comfortable they would be with such a thick heel.

When I put them on,I found out that they were probably the most comfortable, well-cushioned running shoes I have ever used – and I am a fan of minimalist running shoes.

What kind of running is the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Designed for?

The Fresh Foam 980 Trail is a very fine trail shoe for rugged terrain as well as a smooth runner on the road;  a versatile hybrid for varied terrain.

These shoes are geared for nature-made tracks, such as the ones at MacRitchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, where it is common for one to step on twigs, exposed roots, pebbles, and to walk along slopes with loose soil.

The cushioning that the 980 has in abundance is meant to protect the foot under these conditions.

The upper mesh grips your foot and holds it snugly in place while providing soft cushioning should you land on something irregular, such as an exposed rock with sharp ridges – This is where that 25mm of foam material is able to absorb the impact.

On the one hand, it means that your foot rarely feels it is landing on anything but a flat surface, as the protrusions never so much as graze your foot.

As a result, those who enjoy the feedback from the ground; of pounding on pebbled tracks or getting a proper grip of the soil as you race up the slope, will miss that feeling – The shoe’s protection prevents all of that !

That said, the 980 trail is anything but bulky and its soles offer a high level of manoeuvrability and control.

The foam material compresses easily and a solid heel strike creates a bounce in the stride, as the shoe recoils from the ground.

A mid-strike offers a stable grip and the entire package is lightweight enough to scamper around on.

The overall cushioning on the Fresh Foam 980 Trial makes running on trails responsive and effortless.

Video overview of the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail

The styling of the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail

New Balance seem to have the knack of making shoes that not only perform well and fit really good, but also look great too. There is a variety of color schemes available for both Men and Women, and they all look very stylish. Finding a pair that really catches your eye and fits in with your taste should be quite easy.

The FreshFoam 980 Trail has a lightweight, breathable construction paired with a simple, plush upper to keep your feet comfortable and protected. A gusseted tongue has been added to keep out debris and keep the runner comfortable.
Additional support and protective elements in the upper allow for the unpredictable nature of trails. A synthetic and mesh upper with no sew overlays make for an eye-catching design to provide a lower to the ground running shoe ideal for any trail workout.

With a lugged outsole and super soft cushioning, the Fresh Foam 980 is the perfect combination of protection and comfort.


  • 4 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 4 mm drop are approximate
  • Aggressive lugged outsole gives maximum traction for off-road activities
  • Blown rubber outsole, breathable air mesh upper, no-sew material application
  • Synthetic/mesh upper

Click here to get the best price for the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail today on Amazon

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