New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 General Info
The Zante series by New Balance has a good reputation. The two previous versions were liked by most people who wore them due to their ability to provide a soft yet responsive ride that could also deliver speed over long distances.
The Zante v3 looks to build upon an already very good platform with some updates to both the upper and midsole. The new version gains 0.1oz and comes in at 8.8oz compare to last years 8.7.
The shoe maintains its heel to toe drop (6mm) and stack height (23mm heel/ 17mm forefoot). Some of the key changes include an upgraded engineered mesh material used in the upper, a slightly modified fresh foam midsole, a reinforced saddle, and more blown rubber added to the outsole.
I was excited to test this shoe because of how much I liked the previous version. Putting the shoe on for the first time it feels familiar but slightly more snug than last years version.
The seamlessly constructed upper provides a glove like fit and the shoe feels extremely light.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Sole Unit
The Zante v3 utilizes a Fresh Foam midsole. For those not familiar with fresh foam materials, Fresh Foam has been around for a few years.
It is a midsole material that is created from one piece of foam intended to provide plush, more natural ride. The Fresh Foam used in the Zante v3 has been slightly modified.
This is evident in the appearance of the new versions midsole compared to last years version.
The overall shape of the midsole and outsole has changed as well. Looking at the outsole with the shoe upside down the shoe now takes a more drastic turn inward (medially).
The Zante v3 maintains the upward taper at the toe. There is also more blown rubber on the outsole.
The Fresh Foam midsole still provides a smooth and cushioned ride but it is slightly firmer than the Zante v2. The shoe maintains its responsiveness thanks to the shape of the midsole especially at the toe.
I did find it to be slightly less flexible compared to last years version. One of the goals for the Zante v3 was to increase durability which I think led to a slightly more dense midsole and thicker outsole.
This resulted in increased durability but a firmer ride and less flex. The shape of the shoe also means this shoe requires a neutral runner.
If you’re a runner who needs some help with overpronation but can sometimes run in neutral shoes I would suggest that you stay away from this shoe.
It has a fairly thin profile and just does not provide any more stability than is absolutely necessary.
I want to stress to readers that this shoe still has a really pleasant ride. I am pointing these things out so that those who have run in previous versions know what to expect.
The shoe hits a sweetspot between cushioning and responsiveness. It is also so light that you often forget you’re even wearing shoes. It has held up well so far and I think the thickened blown rubber was a good addition.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Upper Info
The upper utilizes bootie construction and a redesigned engineered mesh. Along the lateral and medial sides of the upper are a tightly knit mesh.
On top of the toe are there is a more loosely knit pattern with bigger openings that look like holes for breathability. The new saddle threw me off at first.
It is constructed of a thicker more rigid material, which again goes along with the theme of increased durability. I was worried that this would cause some discomfort but due to its placement I had no issues.
I actually found the new saddle to be quite nice. It allows you to strap these shoes to your feet very securely. Once you tie these laces nice and snug the shoe will not lose position on your foot.
Its really nice to know that there won’t be any sliding around even after a lot of miles. Overall the upper is very comfortable. The bootie and seamless construction are executed perfectly in this upper.
There are no areas of irritation or rubbing. One thing of note in the Zante v3 is that the shoe has shrunk in length by a few millimeters.
I wear a 10 and I was fine with a 10, but I could definitely notice a difference in the length compared to the Zante v2.
So if you were on the verge of needing more room in the Zante v2, you’ll want to go up a half size in this new version.
One other thing I’d like to mention is that due to the change in overall shape of the midsole and outsole, I believe some runners may have issues with the lateral side of the shoe rubbing their small toe or the side of their foot.
Because of the more drastic medial curve of the shoe it makes it so that there is plenty of room for your big toe (extra room even). This results in a little bit less room for the lateral side of your foot.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Conclusions
Overall I found this shoe to be incredibly versatile and pleasurable to run in. There is a reason that Runners World magazine gave this shoe the Editor’s choice award.
The upper is very comfortable but the magic with this one is in the midsole and its lightweight construction. This is a shoe that you can do anything in.
I used it to run commute to work for short runs at a relaxed pace. I also used it for long runs and it maintained comfort the whole time. All the while the shoe begs to be run hard and fast in, and better yet it’s capable.
When you consider the price point is when you can see its value. It’s not often that you can find a shoe as versatile as this.
The Zante v3 is a great update to an already quality platform that maintains the standard of providing a lightweight but cushioned shoe that also maintains responsiveness.
We thank the nice people at Running Warehouse for sending us a pair of Fresh Foam Zante v3 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.