The New Balance Lerato was unexpected in so many ways. First, it represents a whole new model in the New Balance lineup, it has a lot of overlays, a slightly higher upper, it’s definitely heavier, and it has a carbon plate? Now the shoe has a lot of great technology going for it and a solid amount of cushion, but after running in this we just can’t help but feel like New Balance may have missed the mark a bit on this one. Lots of good opportunities for a V2, but for now it’s a better walker and needs some work to be a better runner.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- A carbon-plated runner designed for the more consumer recreational market.
- It is very heavy and probably better reserved for walkers or very slow runners.
- Weighs in at 11.78oz or 334g for a US Men’s 9, 9.98oz, or 283g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 37mm of cushion and has a 10mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $225.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women.
The New Balance Lerato came in a bit under the covers for most of us. It was treated very cautiously because it was definitely a behind-the-scenes-style project where New Balance wanted to really launch something new. And once we receive the shoe there is no question that this is clearly hitting a new area that a number of brands will be trying to touch on. Who will be the first to make a carbon plated, high cushioned, stable road shoe, that normal people can use instead of elite athletes or performance enthusiasts.
Out of the box, the first thing that will strike you is the varying mixes of materials used to construct the upper. New Balance used multiple knits and welded overlays to construct a highly supportive and structured envelope for your foot. The tongue and color are well-padded, but the other thing you will notice is that it feels like it extends just a touch higher than you are used to. For us, that extension went just a touch too high because it starts to aggravate a bit during the run as you get a little bite in there. Aside from that, we honestly loved d security of the shoe and the inherent stability provided by all the material used.
The midsole uses New Balance’s highest rebounding foam and you get 37mm of cushion in the shoe along with an aggressive 10mm drop. You also get a carbon plate in the forefoot to help with toe-off and responsiveness making the midsole highly performant, but also nice and stiff. The outsole features a mix of blown-in solid rubber but there is a ton of it down there and that has to be where a significant portion of this weight is coming from.
As for how it runs, the answer is truly not that pleasant. Don’t get us wrong, the midsole actually turns over really well. It’s the heavily structured upper along with the amount of weight the shoe carries with it that makes it less than optimal. They are really just too heavy, outweighing most trail shoes by a lot. if you are a walker, then this could be a really compelling choice as that experience is totally fine but for runners, we think they could do better.
To improve this, we would bring that upper height down just a bit to that normal range and maybe reduce the material as it probably doesn’t require this many different overlays. We would leave the midsole alone for now and then really strip down that outsole. It simply doesn’t need to be as thick as it is and many other New Balance shoes do quite well with only a millimeter or two of rubber usage.
The upper makes use of multiple knit technologies and woven overlays to provide for a highly secure upper experience. The upper does extend a touch higher than most will be used to so something to keep in mind. New Balance has also included a TPU heel clip to keep you locked in place. The tongue is well padded leading to a secure and comfortable overall fit.
The midsole on the Lerato uses New Balance’s highest rebounding foam paired with a carbon plate in the forefoot. This shoe is a designed as an everyday cruiser featuring over 37mm of cushion, a responsive profile, and a decent rocker.
The outsole on here is combination of blown and solid rubber giving it maximum durability and traction. Note, this does increase the weight a bit and we did experiences some degradation on the outsole sooner than we would have expected. Literally had rubber pieces separating after less than 50 miles.
Style and Aesthetics
The shoe comes in 2 colors for men and women and it definitely evokes some varying levels of response. Some folks thought it felt very old and overdone, while others saw it as more upscale, but not many felt it was sporty. More like something to wear with jeans than something to run in.
If it wasn’t clear, we weren’t super happy with the performance of the New Balance Lerato. It is a first of its kind from New Balance so we definitely give them some leeway. The shoe has a lot of cool things going for it, but in the end, it’s hampered by being too heavy and almost over-engineered. We would love to see a more consumer-friendly heavily cushioned carbon plated shoe that everyone can use, but this is just too bulky and makes for a better walker than a runner.
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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.