The New Balance 980 Trail Takes Fresh Foam Offroad

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New Balance 980 Trail; M 10.2 oz, W 8.1 oz, 4mm offset, $110*

The release of the New Balance 980 is upon us, and with it we will see the introduction of the company’s new Fresh Foam midsole material, which promises a super soft & pillowy ride, keeping in with the trend of increasing cushioning between you and the road. The 980, which features a flexible, 4mm offset to keep your stride uninhibited, is starting to get some buzz going for it and should be a good option for those who want a plush ride without the look of an oversized midsole.

Though the 980 is intended for the roads, it won’t be long before Fresh Foam makes its way into the offroad world in a trail version of the shoe, the aptly named 980 Trail. Don’t expect any huge differences between the two shoes – save for a lugged outsole and slightly more rugged upper on the Trail version, the two 980’s are strikingly similar.

An interesting aspect of the Fresh Foam platform is the concave/convex pattern on the sidewall, which New Balance says affects the sponginess of the midsole. On the 980 Trail, the firmer, convexed pattern occurs on the medial side of the shoe, acting similarly to a medial post and delivering a slight amount of support for slight overpronators.

We won’t be able to tell how the Fresh Foam material will perform on the trail, but considering the similarities between the road and trail versions of the 980, the road version should provide some indication of the feel of the shoe. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited to test Fresh Foam for ourselves both on the roads and the trails.

The New Balance 980 Trail will be available July 2014.

*Footwear specs provided by New Balance

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