The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 is the latest speed shoe in the New Balance Fresh Foam series.
New Balance Zante Key Facts:
Features Fresh Foam Technology
6 main models in the fresh foam series
The Zante is the “Fast” model
The third version in the zante series
3 CW ( Black/ Electric Blue, Black/ Thunder, Alpha Orange/ Outer Space)
Weighs around 250grams
Tight knit around the midfoot and tongue but has large holes in mesh in the toe box.
Padded Ankle collar
Hexagonal pattern on the outsole.
£95 RRP on New Balance website
What is New Balance Fresh Foam?
New Balance say that Fresh Foam technology is an “innovative midsole created from a single piece of foam that provides a plush, more natural ride”. Fresh Foam is a cut of foam with a variety of hexagonal concaves and convexes throughout the allow the runner to run with no discomfort. Fresh Foam is now used on a large selection of New Balance shoes, including winter boots and more casual, lifestyle models.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V3 Review
The Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 comes in three colourways; Black/ Electric Blue, Black/ Thunder, and I chose the Alpha Orange/ Outer Space version. I personally was drawn to the bright orange pair because they would be better for using at night, because they are impossible to miss and very, very visible. However, the black/ thunder colourway is also a great looking shoe. The New Balance logo also features 3M detailing meaning that it has reflective qualities, which gives even the black/ thunder colourway some visibility in darker conditions.
The first thing I noticed when I put them on for the first time was the fit. The various different patterns of the knitted mesh upper give a tight but true to size fit in the toebox, but some runners with wider feet may find them too tight. The various patterns also allow your feet to breathe when using them in hot weather. Unfortunately, I have only been able to use them in wet and damp conditions which gave me slightly soggy socks.
Fresh Foam is the standout feature on the shoe and it definitely delivers. The Fresh Foam Technology allows a comfortable ride but at the same time gives a barefoot feel to your run. Zante Version 3 also has a very supportive and comfortable heel counter which allowed me to use them for a longer distance than I planned. The Fresh Foam is designed to have a 6mm drop (differing between sizes and models) which adds the ability to run for longer distances without your feet getting sore. The honeycomb-like design on the Fresh Foam gives the runner extra comfort when running at higher speeds, which was great for practising my sprints.
The honeycomb design is also used on the shoe's’ outsole, adding good grip on some mixed terrain. The tread works particularly well on road and pavements which allowed me to change directions at high speed without slipping too much.
New Balance Fresh Foam Vs Adidas Ultra Boost
As a big fan of an Adidas everything, my immediate reaction was to compare the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3’s to my beloved Adidas Ultra Boost. Many people see the Ultra Boost as the most comfortable shoe on the market and is now marketed as a lifestyle shoe, as well as Adidas trying to put their Boost Technology in every other shoe they make.
The Fresh Foam is comparable to my Ultra Boosts even though I am biased towards my Ultra Boost. Even though the Zante Version 3’s that I have been testing focus on the comfort in the midsole, they excel over the Ultra Boost’s in the comfort in the heel, which has led to many users of the Ultra Boost having problems with their achilles (link to article). New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 gives me extremely good comfort and support in the heel which is something I’m not used to.
Something I was also not used to was the ease of purchase and price. My Adidas Ultra Boosts were £135 from Adidas, and I also had to be online and ready to shop for 9am before they instantly sold out in every size apart from 13.5 (Adidas have since made more pairs available on their store or other retailers). Zante Version 3 was £95 from New Balance and I didn't have to set an alarm to buy them. Although the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 has so many positives, and were better to run in than my Adidas AlphaBounce or any Adidas Tubular, It’s hard to steer me away from my lifelong Adidas Addiction.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3 is a great running shoe that focuses on comfort when running at speeds. The bright colours and details offer great visibility whether you run in the day or night. The shoe has an RRP of £95 which is a lot cheaper than the similar models from other big competitors. You can purchase them from New Balance’s website.