Friday, July 17, 2015

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Review


I have heard great things about New Balance shoes, but prior to testing the Fresh Foam Zante, I have never personally tried them.  My wife and several close friends run in NewBalance and love them.  The Fresh Foam Zante has had great reviews so my expectations were set pretty high before I even tried them on.

First of all, what is fresh foam?  It’s New Balance’s foam that provides a supportive, more natural feeling.  Don’t be confused though, it will not feel like you are running on a pair of maximal or minimal shoes but somewhat in between.  I would say that it has the right amount of cushion to tackle long training runs as well as shorter tempo or even speed runs.  The Zante is very responsive and felt great on my first 10 mile test run. 

This shoes has a 6mm heel drop, which I like because it allows you to run with a more natural gait.  It is extremely light at 7.6 ounces.  One of the other things that I really liked about the Zante is that it fit snug to my foot, but didn’t feel constrictive like some other snug fitting shoes. 

The Fresh Foam Zante has won multiple awards including:
Competitor Magazine’s “2015 Road Shoe of the Year”
Triathlete Magazine’s “Best in Class”
Running Network’s “Best Performance Shoe”

Pros:
Has won multiple awards
Great snug fit
6mm heel drop (still somewhat low)
Very light 7.6 ounces
Plenty of cushion for all types of runs
Great price ($100 at the New Balance website)

Cons:
They fit a little small, so I had to send them back for ½ size larger.

After my last race, I talked with the New Balance rep for about 30 minutes.  He talked about some of the features of the Zante like the fact that the fresh foam provides a more energetic feeling and how it returns some of the energy when you are running.  It feels like you are getting a little bit of a toe spring effect as well.  I felt what the rep was describing when I tested out the Zante.  It was easier to keep a higher cadence than with some other shoes that I have tested, which helps with running efficiency.  Overall this is a great shoe at a really good price.  I would expect this type of performance from a shoe that costs $50 more; New Balance definitely brought their A-Game with the Zante.  A little birdie told me that the shoe has some minor changes that will make it even better when the next version of the Zante is released.  This is one shoe that I will be utilizing a lot when my marathon training starts next month. 


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Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

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