This is a great option for anyone who wants a running shoe that they can wear as a daily shoe, and be ready to run whenever. As a running shoe, it is best suited for smaller runners.
If you’re looking for a long-distance trainer for your half or full marathon, this is NOT the shoe for you. I’d also avoid them if you have wide feet (the toe box lacks structure), or if you are a heavier runner as it lacks some cushion under the forefoot.
New Balance introduced a very popular street-wear runner when they launched the Roav line of shoes.
These were very popular as everyday shoes, but were not great as runners. So New Balance went back to the drawing board and redesigned the whole shoe. This time, using their new Fresh Foam, and a brand new upper, they reintroduced the line with a complete update.
Priced at $85, and frequently on sale, these shoes are designed to be affordable and versatile.
At this price point there are not a lot of competitors that will offer the same amount of running technology.
When these shoes showed up, I was impressed by the look, and they were automatically in contention for use as a daily, work shoe. However, I needed to take it out for a spin and see if they’d work as a trainer.
On my first run, I thought they were good. Nothing blew me away, but it was a solid first impression, especially for a cheaper shoe.
The upper for the Roav is OK. Just OK. It’s a comfortable knit upper with not much flair. They look incredible, and there are many colorways to choose from that look great.
However, once they are on the foot, there is nothing that truly sets them apart from any other street-wear runner.
The knit upper fits true to size in length, but has some issues in widths: the heel is tight, which I like, and secure; the midfoot is tight, but the knit flexes as you move; the toe box is where I get lost a little, as it is somewhat tight, but worse it lacks structure.
This issue of lacking structure becomes an issue when you use the shoe for lateral movement, as your toes can push off the edge of the footbed and the upper won’t hold them in place. This was most uncomfortable when I did sprints on a tennis court and had to plant and turn.
The highlight of the upper was the heel area, which is well cushioned and designed in a way that locks the heel in while supporting the Achilles. This heel cup is also designed with an Achilles tab that is great for anyone who suffers from Achilles problems.
On the sole unit of this shoe, New Balance used a Ground Contact Fresh Foam midsole material that offers a lot of bounce in a light package.
The midsole wraps under the foot, and is 90% of your ground contact area, with two strategic rubber outsole areas on the toe and also on the heel. This adds a little traction to the shoe, but not much.
The sole unit has an 8mm drop from heel to toe, which is standard for most trainers. With the materials and construction of the shoe, I felt that they produced a snappy ride on short runs.
The lightweight and bounce from the Fresh Foam worked very well during runs of 5-10k, especially if there was not a lot of turning.
However, the Ground Contact Fresh Foam was a little slick when on wet cement.
The Roav 2 is a huge update that makes the line a much better runner. However, you’re getting what you’re paying for in this shoe. It’s good at everything for which they wanted you to use them, however they are not great at any one thing.
When I ran in them, I thought they were adequate and gave a snappy ride, but not one that made me want to come back to it over and over again. They were good for anything 10k or less, especially while running mostly straight.
During trips to the gym, I thought they mostly were great. I loved using them for plyo-box jumping, and lifting. However, when I did lateral jumps or sprints with lateral movements, I would frequently have my toes fall off the footbed. This was annoying, and even once resulted in my losing my footing and falling.
The materials are of good quality, and the build is top notch. However, as I’ve seen on almost every ground contact foam, it struggles on wet cement.
In the end, this is a solid shoe, but nothing amazing. However, with a price tag like $85, it gets a boost in ratings.
It is far from perfect, but for the price it’s definitely worth a look as an extra pair of shoes that you can keep at the ready for any short run.