The New Balance Boracay is a neutral trainer that is made for you to push your pace. This shoe sits on top of New Balance’s Fresh Foam sole and offers a fairly high cushioned feel to a lightweight trainer.
Do not expect maximal cushioning throughout your foot contact, but it has high level energy return through your toe off. At the same price point as the Mizuno Wave Rider 20, Saucony Ride , Brooks Ghost and ASICS Cumulus.
With that in mind, if you are looking in the same price point and want more cushion, those other offering will hit the mark more than the Boracay.
New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3 General Info
The Boracay is a lightweight trainer from New Balance to hit the market in the $120 price point. It sits firmly in the middle of the of the New Balance line and won’t be confused with their high-end cushioned trainers.
However, they will fall in line with the aggressiveness of the Vazee 2090 but less cushion. They should easily hit the mark for any tempo or speed runs you may want to tackle.
When these shoes first showed up I was excited to see what they had sent my way. When I unboxed them I was incredibly pleased with the look. I was sent the simple, black-and-white colorway, but it was still striking.
The no sew upper was very catching and understated. The sole unit was also pleasing and they were wonderful all day teaching shoes.
On my first run, they were a little aggressive in their toe-box rocker which took a few runs to get comfortable with how they felt.
New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3 Sole Unit
The sole unit is made using the New Balance Fresh Foam technology. It offers great energy return on your ride and your push off.
However, the sole unit is not large or overly cushioned if you are looking for a high-cushioned trainer. The foam provides a good, stable surface for your strike and toe-off but won’t be confused with a maximal shoe by any means.
The outsole is a very good gripping rubber with a semi lug type pattern. With the use of these patterned pieces of rubber add to the flexibility of the sole unit as a whole.
Through testing, I was able to use these shoes on concrete, gravel and cedar and experience dry, rain, snow and ice. They held up very well for road shoes on all the surfaces.
Obviously, these were not designed for ice, but they held up better than most shoes in those conditions — although nowhere near as well as the Brooks Ghosts in grip.
The 4mm drop of this unit is great for mid-to-forefoot strike runners and thus helps propel you towards your next stride. The sole unit seems to push you forward once you are used to it’s upturned toe.
However, the toe area took me at least 12-15 miles of running to truly feel comfortable.
I also believe the rocker on the toe is what caused discomfort in my toes during runs longer than 10 miles — which made me thing that as I got more fatigued I would lose the form needed to fully utilize these shoes.
New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3 Upper Info
The upper of this shoe fits perfect to size. The size 13 left half a nail in my thumb of room for shifting during runs on the end. It also had a very nice toe box with some width while still feeling supportive.
The midfoot was snug and the heel stays locked in place despite not having the extra shoelace eyelet. The overall fit is quite nice, and was great for an everyday shoe as well.
The upper is fully seamless — in fact, New Balance claims it to be a “no-sew upper”. It is breathable and flexible throughout the full upper — allowing you to move or twist your foot as you need on your run.
However, due to this, it is not at all water or rain proof. During my two runs in the rain, my feet came back soaked, and made the runs a little uncomfortable.
New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3 Conclusions
Overall, this shoe is solid. It is a great choice for tempo or speed runs and holds up well for most half marathon training runs you’ll tackle.
However, I felt that they fell a little flat on the longer training runs, and I seriously question how they would handle full marathon long runs.
The furthest I took them was 13 miles and although I felt pretty decent at the end of the run, my feet and ankles were feeling more fatigued at that distance than they were with Ghosts, Wave Riders, Skechers GOruns or Altra Torins.
As stated before, where they shine is when you are looking to push yourself. I hit some of my best pace tempo runs that I’ve ever had in these — including a 10k tempo with 1-mile warmup/cool down that involved a new PR of the 10k distance (by almost 2 minutes).
These shoes will push you into your next stride and can make these workouts feel almost effortless.
However, they are not nearly as adaptable as some other running shoes — and at that price point, I would be hesitant to purchase a $120 tempo/speedwork shoe.
This is especially true when I could get the Ghosts or Wave Riders for the same price … or the GOrun 5 for $105.
In the end, they are a solid shoe.
I would continue running in them if I didn’t have new shoes to review. However, this is not a shoe I will be going out on a limb and recommending to my running friends (as I have done for the Skechers, Brooks, Mizunos and Altras).
They are quick, but when I look for a trainer, I want more than just quick.
We purchased the Fresh Foam Boracay v3 ourselves at full retail price in order to test them. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.