New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 ReviewFebruary 3, 2017
- Excellent responsiveness & ride quality
- Great comfort & ventilation in forefoot upper
- Performance benefits for midfoot and heel strikers
- Narrow toe box may for wide feet
- Full coverage outsole sheet adds unnecessary weight
The Zante V3 is one of the best options for a fast, efficient and comfortable ride. The modified geometry of the midsole and outsole further improve what was already an impressive degree of smoothness and responsiveness. The 6mm platform is a true sweet spot that provides great cushioning and energy transfer for both midfoot strikers heel strikers. This shoe is a favorite of our testers and earns the highest marks in our review category.
The Zante v3 has a streamlined fit through the midsole and forefoot, giving a precise fit that might be uncomfortable for wide feet. Although the spec measurements of the v3 are the same across the forefoot as the v2, the new version feels a bit more roomy than its predecessor. The lateral and medial side of the midfoot has a stiff, thicker wrap that runs from the midsole to the lace holes and serves as a solid panel overlay; it integrates with the heel cup and holds the rearfoot area very securely.
New Balance keeps the padding on the Zante v3 to a minimum, but the fit remains comfortable around the ankle collar and underneath the tongue. The new mesh upper has small perforations on the sides, with much larger ventilation holes above the toes and on the tongue. Breathability is excellent on hot days, and the upper is soft and comfortable to flex easily with your foot. The Fresh Foam midsole maintains the great cushioning and excellent underfoot feel of previous versions.
The reconfigured midsole hexagons are more prominent in the heel, and larger in the midfoot and forefoot areas; additionally, they are all convex now rather than a mixture of convex and concave. Our testers found this new layout results in a firm and extremely responsive impact transition, providing a strong push off with every step. Energy return felt enhanced when we picked up the pace, but on long, easy runs they feel a little bit stiff.
The full coverage outsole grips the pavement extremely well, and its new geometric arrangement places larger hexagons under the metatarsal heads to provide a more stable push-off. The midsole configuration transfers energy very smoothly from heel to toe, and this effect appears equally prevalent among heel strikers and midfoot strikers.
The New Balance Zante v3 is on the lighter end of our test group, and everything about its construction is built for speed. With outstanding comfort, energy return and ride quality, our testers found this to be a great shoe for training and road racing.
Donald Buraglio- Minimalist Running shoes
Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports.