What It Is: Awarded “2015 Road Shoe of the Year” by Competitor Magazine, New Balance’s latest running shoe, called Fresh Foam Zante, was designed for speed. Available for men and women.
What You Might Not Know: I hit a wall trying to select a Fresh Foam Zante color design (they’re all cute), so I turned to my Facebook friends for their input. By 55 comments, the coral and black had gained the lead by a slight margin.
I still wasn’t sure, though, so I left it up to fate and asked New Balance to send me whatever was available in my size. Turns out, I’m a little obsessed with the pop of pink and heather grey on the ones I received.
Feelin’ the Love: New Balance says the Fresh Foam Zantes have a “bootie-like” design. That, plus their midsole foam cushioning, took a little getting used to because I’ve been wearing mostly minimalist shoes for a few years now. These ones feel positively pillowy.
I wore my Fresh Foam Zantes for all my usual workouts, like teaching my HIIT class and to see my personal trainer. I’d grade Zantes an A for gym use. They felt sturdy around the soles, and the uppers hugged my feet, providing great support whether I was landing squat jumps or loaded up at the squat rack.
But these shoes were made for running, so I needed to test-drive them out on the road, too. I set out to see if their “aggressive toe spring” and “smooth heel to toe transition” really did make me a faster runner.
Well, I’m not sure I’m even a good runner, let alone a fast one, but the shoes did help me establish a decent stride and stick to it.
If I Could Change One Thing: New Balance’s footwear sizing confuses me. The last pair I test-drove felt huge in my usual size 8. To compensate, I asked for a full size down in the Fresh Foam Zantes, but now these ones feel a bit small unless I wear ultra-thin socks. Based on that, I’d categorize the Fresh Foam Zante line as fitting true to size.
Should You Buy Them? If you’re in the market for a cushioned shoe with foam technology and a bright design, the newly released Fresh Foam Zante is worth your attention. Someone in that Facebook thread I posted above said she bought a pair in all three colors. I can see why.
Available at Sport Chek (Canada) and NewBalance.com (U.S.); $129 CND.