New Balance: my next running shoe?

New Balance 1500v3, New Balance Fresh Foam Zante, New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay
In my previous post, I have listed down seven things I look for in my next running shoe with reasons why.

I also went for my next running shoe hunt at ASICS

After ASICS, my next stop was the newly opened, the largest New Balance concept store in Southeast Asia at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. It's so beautiful, warm, trendy and cozy served by very friendly, smiling, helpful personnel! I love it! 👍


New Balance concept store at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur - the largest in Southeast Asia
Before I share about my take on New Balance running shoes, here is the summary recap of what I'm looking for:
  1. Running shoe that promotes forefoot running
  2. Running shoe that has wider toe box
  3. Running shoe that is half-size bigger (U.S. shoe size 9.5)
  4. Running shoe that is neutral, less cushioned and with 4 mm heel drop for road running
  5. Running shoe that is fast, light and durable.
  6. Running shoe that looks great, even for casual wear
  7. Running shoe that doesn't cost a bomb (Not more than RM400 preferably)
Let part 2 of my arduous but exciting search of my next running shoe begin... 😋

1. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3

The desire to feel fast never goes away. Built for high speeds, the Fresh Foam Zante v3 men's lightweight running shoe features an aggressive top spring and a comfortable no-sew material application for a sleek fit. Taking inspiration from iconic '70s and '80s models, the sleek profile on this render lends a modern look that leads the style pack.
  • Soft and cushioned
  • Type: cushioning
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
  • 6 mm drop
  • Blown rubber outsole
  • Bootie construction
  • Engineered mesh
  • No-sew material application
  • Synthetic/mesh upper
  • Fresh foam: innovative midsole created from a single piece of foam that provides a plush, more natural ride.
Trying out few models of New Balance running shoes. Black color is the popNew Balance Fresh Foam Zante.

What I love about New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3:

Honestly speaking, I have tried on New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 at New Balance outlet in Mid Valley recently. The shoe try at the beautiful New Balance concept store at Pavilion KL was my 2nd time putting on Zante! Both times - I love it! 😍It's soft, cushioned, trendy, flexible, comfortable, lightweight with wide toe box! As a comparison to what I've worn, the fit and wear feeling is rather similar to my old Skechers GoRun 3, but much more comfortable. I have a smile on my face whenever I put it on my feet. Lovely!


What I love to see in 
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3:

It's a pity that half-size larger shoe size that I normally wear, U.S. shoe size 9.5, seems to be slightly too loose for me. Initially I couldn't figure out why. It should have fitted my feet very nicely with some space at toe box for foot expansion after running long distance. Then I realized that the upper mesh is extremely soft and nice. It also moves and stretches along with my toe movement. May be it's due to this reason that it seems a bit too loose for me with its very stretchable upper mesh. Then I tried half size smaller - U.S. shoe size 9.0. Deep in my heart, I was hoping it'd give me a wow feeling! It fit fine but as I tried to run on it, I could feel my toes were knocking against the front of toe box. Hence, how I wish New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3's would have fitted me perfectly. Now I feel it's either too loose or too tight. Sigh!

Ratings:

8 out of 10

2. New Balance 1500 v3

Run to win with the updated men's New Balance 1500v3. Featuring subtle improvements to breathability and fit, the shoe gives you more edge on the competition than ever before. It was made to race. TBeam technology adds torsional stability in the midfoot of the shoe while a REVlite midsole gives you lightweight, responsive cushioning so you feel fast and you can finish your strongest.
  • Racing flat
  • Type: stability
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • 6 mm drop
  • No-sew material application
  • Synthetic/mesh upper
New Balance 1500 v3

What I love about New Balance 1500 v3:


The moment I put on New Balance 1500 v3 and test ran on it, I fell in love with this awesome model! Again, as comparison, it gave me a feeling like wearing Skechers GoMeb Speed 3. For your information, Skechers GoMeb Speed 3 helped me to achieve my first ever sub4-hour full marathons, and subsequently two more sub-4 hour marathons before I made a switch to Saucony Kinvara. Therefore, the feeling's awesome with New Balance 1500 v3. I feel fast. As I move my feet, there is an inner grip area at toe box that helps me to propel forward. It does give me the forefoot running feel. Again, this is like Skechers GoMeb Speed 3. Fantastic feeling indeed!


What I love to see in 
New Balance 1500 v3:

Toe box! Toe box! Toe box! How I wish it came with wider toe box. I had blisters running in my Skechers GoMeb Speed 3. I am worried I might end up having blisters too if I run full marathons in New Balance 1500 v3. But I would love to have a pair though - blister or not! haha! The show stopper: price is on the high side. The most expensive of the three. It's beyond my budget. Sigh! 

Ratings:

9 out of 10

3. New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3 offers the cushioning technology and supportive fit you need to sustain miles of pounding pavement. Fresh Foam cushioning in the midsole and a newly designed upper hug your foot for a lightweight ride that feels unbelieavably plush. Plus, a cool geometri motif on the overlay and pixelated N logo give it modern style that stands out on the city streets.
  • Soft and cushioned
  • Type: cushioning
  • Weight: 9.6 oz
  • 3D screen printed synthetic upper
  • 4 mm drop
  • Blown rubber outside
  • No-sew material application
  • No-sew overlays
  • Synthetic/mesh upper


What I love about New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3:

Saucony Kinvara feel! Lightweight, light cushioning, bouncy and spacious toe box. It feels great wearing it. I know I can count on it to run many full marathons. It's also on sale - cheapest of the three! 


What I love to see in 
New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3:

Design is not the nicest of the three. It looks the bulkiest of  the three in actual fact. But it's still trendier than many running shoes in the market. I know definitely I still can wear it as casual wear. Nothing I can pick on New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3. It's just that I wish I could feel the slight more advantage or difference versus my current Saucony Kinvara.

Ratings:

7 out of 10

What's the verdict?


New Balance Zante, 1500 and Boracay are all super nice!! If I were to choose, my first choice will definitely be New Balance 1500 v3 if not for its toe box and price tag. 

May be I can wait for sale and buy an older version of New Balance 1500? To solve the potential blister problem due to the toe box design, I can probably buy a pair of Steigen socks which is blister-free. Problem solved!! :) But I need to wait for a sale... 

Next choice? New Balance Boracay for its perfect fitting. It's just that I don't feel much difference with my current Saucony Kinvara. I am looking for that wow factor that might potentially help me in my time improvement. But I couldn't find that wow factor here!

Zante? I know this is very popular. Unfortunately it is too loose or too tight for me. May be I shall try to test wear it another time. 





See - now you know why it's such a headache to find a pair of running shoes that you like? Ha! ha!

I might still continue to search for my next running shoe.... 




Written by Vincent Khor on September 4, 2017

vincent

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