The New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo is designed to be the successor to the Zante Pursuit which we kind of had a love hate relationship with last year. It is fully redesigned in every way including a new upper material as well as an updated midsole and a tweaked outsole. This shoe comes into a world with a lot of new challengers so let’s take a look to see how it compares.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Replaces the Zante Pursuit and improves on it, kind of
- Weighs in at 7.3oz or 207g for a US Men’s 9
- Has a 6mm heel/toe offset
- Retails at $109.99 USD
- Comes in 5 color options for Men and Women
Our first experience with the Fresh Foam Tempo out of the box was a little mixed. The colors were solid, but compared to some other new balance shoes it feels a little dated. The front is super soft and malleable and then tapers into a very rigid TPU heel counter. On the foot, we actually really liked the feel of the shoe. The heel holds you in place really well and the front of the upper is breathable and flexible. We could also sense a little bit of narrowness from the shoe, but it is more performance oriented so is expected.
In the run, the shoe has its moments. You get a ton of ground feel, but you can turn them over pretty well and get some good times out of them. The problem is, we don’t think it is the shoe tech that allows this, but instead just because it is light and covers your foot. The midsole is a little weird sometimes giving you decent bounce, but because cushion is limited it leaves you wanting a bit more. It does track well and grips the road and if anything just reminds us of old school race shoes and I think we expected a bit more from them.
Bottom line for us, there are so many better shoes out there for your tempo or race days that offer more a lot more cushion and still help performance. Even New Balance has better shoes if we are honest, so maybe take a look around and before committing, make sure you try them on and also look at a few other “Tempo” competitors.
The upper on the Fresh Foam Tempo has a lot going on. It starts with their Hypoknit material which is essentially a soft synthetic mesh that has some mid-foot support materials and then tapers into a very rigid TPU heel cup. They finish with a simple pull tab and the tongue is fairly thin with a slight gusset at the bottom. It is interesting because New Balance says you should size up with them, but we found it fits true to size.
The midsole is made of their Fresh Foam X material with these little teeny holes drilled into it. This helps improve flexibility and reduces overall weight. It does flex quite well and while there isn’t a ton of cushioning, for many performance racers it would be fine. However, in our opinion there are much better options out there with more cushioning… it was lacking greatly in this department.
The outsole is is a mix of rubbers and it firms up as you approach the heel. For heel strikers, this will allow for greater durability and for mid and forefoot strikers you get a bit more softer feel. Like many New Balance shoes, the entire bottom is rubber which ensures a lot of traction and ground control, but also adds a bit to the overall weight.
Style & Aesthetics
First off, the Fresh Foam Tempo gives you a ton of color options which is always nice, but honestly, we found the styling a little lacking… a little dated to some degree. The weird stripe around the toebox was even a little off-putting.
For us, the Fresh Foam Tempo was a bit of a non-starter and a lot of it comes down to that midsole and the weight provided what this is designed for and what else is out there. People loved the Zante Pursuit prior and this just isn’t that shoe in any way. New Balance has a lot of other options as well which are stronger, including even the 1080v10, so you are probably better off checking out some other options in their lineup or waiting on the next version of this.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.