Published on March 18, 2016
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2
The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V2 picks up, as you might guess, where the original Zante left off. The Zante quickly established itself as one of the most popular neutral cushioning road shoes of 2015, picking up a clutch of ‘Best of’ nods along the way and proving that lightweight didn’t mean ‘fall-apart’.
The Zante was noted for being a handsome shoe (though god forbid any of us choose our shoes on aesthetic grounds, right?) and the Zante V2 is no slouch here either. Changes to the welded overlay – particularly the reinforced area around the heel – mean that the Zante 2 has a revised look and there are improvements to the mesh too that give it a much updated appearance. Add to this additional reflectives (never a bad thing) and the Zante V2 is already looking like much more than a rushed 2016 iteration.
The tongue on the Zante V2 is marginally more padded – personally we think there’s still room for improvement – and there’s no longer a lace collar incorporated. No great loss.
The only other aesthetic change is to the (largely) non-functional pattern to the mid- and outsole.
How do they stack up on the run? Perfectly, as we had hoped. The Zante V2 weighs in at just 235g (470g pair, UK8) marginally heavier than the original Zante. The lack of weight is both noticeable and much appreciated, particularly on longer runs and certainly making the Zante worth considering for marathon+ distances.
There’s something of a ‘firmness’ to the ride in the V2, don’t expect massive flex from the sole, which is relatively flat and may take some getting used to if you’re new to the range. That said, they are far from non-responsive and the transition from strike to toe-off is surprisingly smooth given the sole’s profile. The shoe has a minimalistic (though not strictly ‘minimal’) 6mm drop.
The sole, as previously noted, is somewhat retooled with a new grip pattern, extending slightly further towards the toe; but the grip is otherwise fundamentally unchanged from the Zante 1. Don’t let the rather unsubstantial look fool you, the traction is well judged and deals with wet weather more than adequately. The grooves certainly aren’t deep enough to tackle anything really muddy (what are you doing off-piste in road shoes?) and are just as unlikely to handle icy surfaces particularly well.
Pros and cons
If you loved the Zante you’re likely to really love the Zante V2 despite the slight increase in weight. Aesthetically they really hit the mark and the overall tech delivers just as we had expected (or at least hoped) that it would. One slight niggle we couldn’t let go unmentioned: the footbed seems a little flimsier than the previous iteration – personally RunningMonkey would opt to swap this out if we were taking the Zante 2 out to play at a marathon.
Light and bright in the stride, the Zante V2 encourages a quick cadence and properly smooth ride.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V2 is available in both men’s and women’s, each in a range of four colour options. retailing at £95 with further details at newbalance.co.uk