Brooks Glycerin 21 VS New Balance FF 1080 v13: What Should I Buy?

If you’re a runner searching for a comfortable, well-cushioned daily trainer, the Brooks Glycerin 21 and New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 are two of the most popular options on the market. Both shoes provide a plush, smooth ride, but they have key differences when it comes to stability, weight, and ideal use cases.

This in-depth comparison explores all the nitty-gritty details of materials, technologies, sizing, pricing, and real-world performance between the Glycerin 21 and Fresh Foam X 1080 v13. Read on to find out which one is the better pick depending on your running needs and preferences.

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Glycerin 21 And New Balance FF 1080 v13:

FeatureBrooks Glycerin 21New Balance FF 1080 v13
Launch Date20242023
StabilitySupportive and stableLow stability
FlexibilityModerately flexibleModerate flexibility
SizingMen’s 7-13, 14, 15, 17. Women’s 5-12Men’s and women’s sizes
WeightNot provided9.2 oz
CushioningPlush and comfortableHigh cushioning
OutsoleDurable rubberDurable rubber
MidsoleDNA LoftFresh Foam X technology
Upper SoleEngineered meshSoft, breathable knit mesh
Retail Price$160$165

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Brooks Glycerin 21 comes equipped with a durable rubber outsole for traction and abrasion resistance on varied surfaces. The upper uses an engineered mesh which provides structure while still being breathable. The DNA Loft midsole gives highly responsive, adaptive cushioning resulting in a smooth, luxurious feel underfoot.

GLYCERIN 21
GLYCERIN 21

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13
NB FF X 1080 V13

Meanwhile, the New Balance 1080 v13 utilizes a breathable knit mesh upper with strategically placed synthetics. It sits atop the innovative Fresh Foam X midsole technology designed to deliver ultra-plush comfort that compresses easily to absorb impact. The outsole uses high-abrasion rubber in key high-wear areas for durability over miles.

Durability:

Constructed with a hardy rubber outsole and durable engineered mesh upper, the Glycerin 21 is built to go the distance. Most reviewers found it held up incredibly well over many miles of wear and tear without breaking down.

The 1080 v13 should have decent durability too but some testers felt the knit upper or exposed midsole foam may be more vulnerable compared to the Glycerin. It can likely last for reasonable mileage but may not quite match the Glycerin for extreme, heavy-duty use over a long-term period.

Fit:

The Glycerin 21 seems to fit slightly long and wide according to many wearers, so runners may prefer sizing down a half or full size. The roomier forefoot design provides an accommodating fit for those needing a wider toe box area.

GLYCERIN 21 TOP VIEW
GLYCERIN 21 TOP VIEW

New Balance FF 1080 v13 TOP VIEW
NB FF X 1080 V13 TOP VIEW

Meanwhile, testers found the 1080 v13 to have a snugger, performance-oriented fit profile, making sizing up a half size a good option for a comfortable amount of room, especially in the toe box. Both models utilize soft, flexible, and breathable upper materials that offer a smooth, sock-like fit embracing the foot all over.

Stability:

The Brooks Glycerin 21 incorporates GuideRails support technology which acts as a rail system guiding the foot through proper motion pathways. This helps provide noticeably stable cushioning for runners who mildly overpronate.

In contrast, the New Balance 1080 v13 is appreciated by testers for its flexibility which allows freedom of movement, but with its lack of structure, it is not well-suited for overpronators requiring stability or support features. The 1080 v13 is designed purely for neutral runners seeking a cushioned platform with no corrective elements.

Cushioning:

The Brooks Glycerin 21 is renowned for its exceptionally soft yet responsive cushioning that provides a smooth, luxurious underfoot feel. The DNA Loft foam gives it a plush ride while still maintaining energy return.

Similarly, the Fresh Foam X platform of the New Balance 1080 v13 compresses easily to absorb impact but also delivers a noticeable bounce-back sensation.

Testers consistently praise the 1080 v13 for its ultra-plush cushioning properties that make runs a comfortable, enjoyable experience. Both models excel at providing high levels of cushioning for neutral runners doing daily training miles.

Value for Money:

With price tags of $160 and $165 respectively, both the Brooks Glycerin 21 and New Balance 1080 v13 deliver excellent cushioning and comfort at reasonable mid-range price points compared to other premium trainers.

Considering its proven durability and stable support lasting for high mileage, runners may find the Glycerin 21 provides exceptional value over its lifetime.

Meanwhile, the Fresh Foam X tech of the 1080 v13 gives it an equally impressive plush and smooth ride that matches up well against competitors, making it a great buy for neutral cushioning seekers on a budget.

Performance Comparision:

Walking:

With its plush DNA Loft cushioning, the Glycerin 21 keeps walks feeling smooth and comfortable mile after mile. Similarly, the Fresh Foam X platform in the 1080 v13 provides exceptional shock absorption and energy return with each step.

But the New Balance option is more lightweight and flexibly designed specifically for walking and casual use. For pure walking comfort, it’s a top choice.

Running:

The New Balance 1080 v13 is ideal for neutral runners prioritizing cushioning that maintains responsiveness and bounce. The energetic Fresh Foam X midsole makes runs feel fast and smooth.

While also extremely comfortable, the Glycerin 21 gives mild overpronators necessary support through its stability features, making it a better pick for those runners.

Plantar Fasciitis:

Runners suffering from plantar fasciitis will benefit greatly from the Brooks Glycerin 21’s ample DNA Loft cushioning and smooth heel-to-toe transition, taking pressure off the sensitive heel and arch areas with each step.

The 1080 v13 unfortunately lacks the necessary support features to prevent overpronation aggravating PF pain. However, its ultra-plush Fresh Foam X platform still helps significantly reduce impact and inflammation throughout the foot during activity. So while not ideal, it can provide some relief.

Standing All Day:

The Brooks Glycerin 21 provides excellent stability features and arch support which helps substantially reduce foot fatigue for workers who stand all day. Its supportive cushioning maintains comfort even after hours on your feet.

Though also decently cushioned, the New Balance 1080 v13 tends to flatten out a bit and lose responsiveness with extended standing which can negatively impact comfort and lead to increased pain over a long shift.

For superior comfort standing or walking for prolonged periods, the Glycerin 21 is likely the safer, longer-lasting pick.

Final Verdict:

For runners needing stability or those with plantar fasciitis, the Brooks Glycerin 21 is a clear choice. Its GuideRails support system, durable build, and DNA Loft cushioning provide a stable, smooth, and comfortable ride even over hundreds of miles.


However, for flexible, lightweight cushioning ideal for neutral runners, the award-winning comfort of the Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 is hard to beat. Just beware it sacrifices some structure and durability compared to the Glycerin.

Both shoes retail around the $160 mark and deliver well on plush cushioning technologies. Make sure to consider your personal needs and foot type before deciding if the Glycerin’s stability or the 1080’s flexible cushioning is the better fit.

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