New Balance Fresh Foam Zante


I had a great opportunity to try out the new Zante’s from New Balance after I won a competition to go to the launch at Chill Factore Sweatshop in Manchester.  It was a great afternoon meeting some of the New Balance team including Nick McCormick, an Olympian nonetheless, but this review is purely based on my opinion.  I am a keen wearer of NB shoes since 2013 when I tried my 1st pair of NB Leadville’s (see my review here) for my multi stage desert adventures, and also love my NB minimus for my Crossfit training, so you can see the brand does good for me.

Getting kitted out

Getting kitted out

Chill Factore Sweatshop Manchester

Chill Factore Sweatshop Manchester

I love how they look!  I am a girly girl true enough so the bright pink colour of the female Zante is after my own heart.  NB describes them as ‘Fit to be fast, Fresh Foam Zante features a supportive sock-like design and a plush Fresh Foam midsole. The bootie construction and no sew overlays keep your foot snug, while the foam helps deliver a smooth ride.’ They certainly do feel sock like and very snug. Being very used to the Leadville’s which are very wide & roomy, so much so they feel like slippers, my initial reaction was that they were too snug for me. My first run in them was about 5 miles on the flat around the Manchester canals in which they felt fine, but difficult to get into groove as we had to keep stopping for photos, the joys of the paparazzi 😉 but I could definitely feel the cushioning pushing me onto my toes which felt good. I had to take them off on my 4 hour drive back to Edinburgh as they were too snug, which was concerning me.

In action on Manchester Canals

In action on Manchester Canals

Not to be put off though I took them out for another 5 miler, a tempo run this time around the beautiful Arthur’s Seat (on the road) and they felt absolutely amazing, I truly felt I had found speed, or speed had found me. Light on my feet and the feeling of coming onto my toes came very naturally, the shoes felt comfortable and definitely not too tight this time. Weighing in at only 182g with a 6mm heel drop (compared to my Leadville’s at 248g, 8mm drop) it was a noticeable difference on my feet with them being much easier to pick up and get moving, and I definitely felt faster. Upon checking my Garmin stats, I was faster! Maybe it was all in my head with a new pair of shoes but they seem to be delivering.

The ultimate test was to try them on a longer run to make sure they were still comfortable and after 15 miles on my feet I can happily say they are. Gone are the days of breaking shoes in, I do think this is a bit of an old wives tale as since I have started wearing the right trainers in the right size I don’t have any issues with blisters or sore feet, and the Zante was no different. They are starting to get some mud on them now but that just adds to the style of course, otherwise if they stay looking too new I can’t really be a ‘real runner’ can I!

I’m sold! Comfort, colour, technology and style – it’s an all out winner for me. You’ll no doubt see me using them as my new racing flats for any road races, Edinburgh Marathon here I come!

Find them now at New Balance RRP £95 or Sweatshop who have them exclusively for a while until they will no doubt be available at all your favourite running shops. For the ladies they come in my glorious pink, or a fantastic purple; and the men’s are in a hot vibrant green or a blue. Get in quick!

Colour flash

Colour flash


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