His and Her’s Shoe Review: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3
We are back today with another New Balance shoe, this time it’s the Fresh Foam Zante v3. After recently looking at the Fresh Foam 1080v7, its hard not to compare it to the Zante v3. Where the 1080v7 was packed with cushion, structure, material, and was even a little weighty, the Zante v3 is the total opposite. Instead, this shoe is designed for speed and responsiveness, but we put it to the test to see how much faster it actually is. This review is also a his and hers, so we get a look at both sides and as you will see in the run test portion this shoe might not be for everyone.
The Zante v3 features and internal bootie style construction which provides a snugger fit and cuts down on any seam rubbing, so no hot spots to speak. The entire upper is composed of an engineered mesh with minimal overlays and is entirely no sew. There is strange hinge point in the upper where the toe box meets the lacing area, but its more of a visual oddity. The goal is to allow for additional flex in the forefoot.
The mid is all EVA and provides a decent amount of cushion, with 23mm stack height in the heel. It’s definitely not a comfort class shoe, but the Fresh Foam cell based designed does provide more than others at this level.
The Zante v3 features a full blown rubber outsole, so unlike other shoes that have targeted rubber contact areas, the Zante’s rubber contact points extend the full length of the sole.This provides a reliable control and overall better traction, but you pay for it with a little more weight.
Style & Aesthetics
The Zante v3 comes in four colorways for men (back, blue, teal, orange) and four for women. On top of that, there are numerous derivative versions of the Zante featuring alternatives materials and special editions as well. The bottom line is there is really something for everyone depending on your color preference. The design of the shoe feels very prototypically New Balance, but there is some strangeness to the shoe structure, at least visually, where the toe box meets the lateral mid. It does not affect running, but visually is a little irregular.
My immediate visceral reaction to the Zante v3 was definitely not positive, I just didn’t love the upper design. However, on the foot, the bootie fit upper was a dream, the shoe felt light, and both the 6mm offset and the stack height of the mid really felt solid. I could tell right away that this was not your comfort shoe, especially when I put it side by side to the 1080.
In run, the Zante was quick, but I did quickly go from using it for distance to pulling it into the speed day lineup. It’s a bit unforgiving on the legs and the toe box is note made for distance. I preferred the larger paddle toe box design on the 1080 as you can tend to get a little sloppier and the shoe stays with you. With the Zante, you need to be careful and pay more attention to the your foot fall. I did think as a performance shoe it was strong. It’s a bit no-nonsense in all honesty, but the shoe does shine when you dial it up.
I actually loved the initial look of the Zante v3 stylistically, but I had a very big challenge with the fit of the shoe. While the 1080 was a perfect fit, I felt the Zante was sized improperly. Not only does it run incredibly narrow, but it also runs about a half-size too small. It is very much a person by person thing I am sure, but people should be aware of this.
My in run experience is very different because my speed days are still relatively slow and I still like additional comfort, especially as a heel striker. The Zante was light, but I felt sloppy in it given how narrow it runs. I continually would gravitate to the 1080 on every occasion and while the Zante was lighter, I would gladly take the additional weight for the comfort factor.
As we have seen, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 isn’t for everyone. If you are a faster runner who prefers higher cadence and has stronger legs, then you will be more apt to enjoy the Zante. It’s also a great shoe for speed days for average runners if you are looking to mix it up. Slower pace and heavier (Clydesdale class) runners might find it a little less forgiving might instead lean toward something like the 1080v7 where you get a little more cushion and a larger contact point in the forefoot.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 8.8oz (size 9)
- Drop: 6mm heel/toe
- Stack Height: 23mm
- MSRP: $99.99
- Available: Now