Coming back from an injury is never fun. As I started to be able to run more miles, I was struggling with what shoe felt the best. Each run, I would put on a different pair and hope for the best, and each run I came home feeling as if something wasn’t quite right. Then, after speaking to a few friends that had the Zante, and reading one of the reviews on this site, I decided to order a pair. And I am so glad I did. My first run in them was the Holiday Half Marathon, an event I was using more as a training run then a race. Instantly, I felt the support in the Zante, and noticed that I finally felt like my old self. This is a great lightweight shoe, with some good arch support. I think it is a great companion to the 1400. I can’t wait for the official launch of this shoe so I can order another pair!
When I first bought the Zantes I thought they were too cute to run in. So I wore them around and they were so comfy. When I went on a trip and realized I didn’t want to pack sneakers and running shoes I just took the Zantes. I ran a few miles on the roads in Palm Springs in them and couldn’t believe that I liked them. Wore them a few more times and thought, hey these are comfy, minimal feeling, I think these are a friend of new balances 1400s, my favorite shoe ever.
I continued to do easy training runs in them and was so happy I’d found another every day trainer where I didn’t feel the shoe! That’s my ideal shoe: when you feel nothing. Not them I’m into super minimal shoes at all. Just a good solid stable shoe without fluff.
Tried them out on trails and whoops! I almost went down, no traction for muddy trails so watch out.
Loving these for daily miles on the roads.
The Fresh Foam Zante have been the answer to my second pair of shoes to train in outside of my beloved 1400s, especially for those days I need a little more cush without sacrificing weight or flexibility.
The upper gets a 5+ score. Simple, sock line, amazing. I wish more shoes had an upper this great!
The last also gets a 5. The shoe is on a brand new VL-6 last which has a 6mm offset and slightly curved, which gives my toes plenty of room to spread out and be healthy and strong!
The shoe is more flexible than you would think, which is good and bad. Compared to the Fresh Foam Boracay, the flexibility was a welcome addition, but it also makes for not so good of a hilly trail shoe. My feet felt like they were working really hard on some of those runs. But if flexibility is for you, than maybe this is a good thing!
The simple one piece outsole & midsole is awesome and makes for a perfect road running shoe. On the other hand, it can make for a slippery trail shoe if the trails are muddy and wet.
Although I’ve seen some New Balance athletes love this shoe for tempos and faster days, I’ve preferred my 1400s with a stiffer shank while lending to a still flexible forefoot.
So although this shoe is perfect in most situations, the fact that it’s not an overall go-to shoe for every day (ie fast and hilly/muddy trail days) gives it a 4.5. Because I guess not every shoe I really like should get a 5
When it comes to shoes, I’m kind of like the Princess and the Pea. I’m pretty sensitive to change. My form changes slightly in each shoe, so it takes me several runs to determine what I think. After 11 runs in the Zantes, I think I’m ready to share my opinion.
I was really excited when I heard New Balance was pre-releasing their new running shoe, the Zante, for the NYC Marathon. I ordered it as soon as it was available. It’s a light-weight (6.5 oz for women), low-profile shoe (6mm drop) with more cushioning than just a racing flat. Most of my runs in the Zantes have been recovery/training runs on road, although I did wear them for a couple of mile-repeats on the track a few weeks ago. After a couple of repeats, I switched to the New Balance 1400, preferring them for track speed work over the Zante because I can “feel” the track better in the 1400. The extra cushioning in the Zante seemed to get in the way a bit for speed.
When I first put on the Zantes, I felt a band of prominent cushioning in the forefoot, just ahead of where my arch sits. I wondered if it would bother me, but I’ve gotten used to it and don’t really notice it when I run. (Other friends haven’t experienced the same prominent forefoot cushioning feel. It may just have to do with the shape of my foot.)
I love how light-weight the shoe is while still retaining enough cushioning to feel comfortable on a recovery run. I love the 6mm drop because it promotes a slightly more forefoot foot strike that helps me feel more smooth and symmetrical when I run. The toe box is slightly wider than some other New Balance shoes I’ve worn which is great! The tongue is sewn into the upper so it stays put. The upper is soft and flexible making the shoe feel almost cozy. I LOVE the laces – super soft to touch and the perfect width, so they stay tied securely. The style of the shoe is also super-cute, a fun bonus.
I’m giving the Zantes 4 stars instead of 5 because some days I still come home from a run going “hmmm, what do I think of this shoe?”. Some days they feel amazing, other days just okay. That’s why I love rotating them with a couple other shoes. However, I do notice myself reaching for them more and more, which means I must be liking them and adjusting to them. They’re definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a lightweight, neutral running shoe with a decent amount of cushioning. I love having them in my running shoe rotation.
Update – 5/18/15
In December, I severely injured my right heel while running a marathon. Coming back to running, my foot has been very sensitive to shoes, some making my foot feel really good, and my foot feeling really sore in others (limiting my running distances). Thanks to the review from bcforster, I had the courage to give the Zantes a try while I was still in the major healing phase. I was amazed that my foot felt so much better in the Zantes than in many of my other shoes. I think they encourage a good neutral foot motion and really allow my toes to spread. I still rotate them with other shoes, but the New Balance Fresh Foam Zantes have been great to keep me running as I recover from a foot injury, so I’m increasing my rating to 4.5 stars. Also, I think the reason I used to feel off in them some days is because I’ve discovered my right calf is tight and weak (and these shoes do have a lower drop, 6mm). When I do a good job of stretching my calves, I feel much smoother running in these shoes (and just running in general). Couldn’t live without my Zantes.