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Well fitting but potentially overly firm shoe from New Balance
A good quality, firm riding package.
The shoe that New Balance claim to have crammed more in to – more fresh foam cushioning and more support. This neutral cushioned shoe has been designed to offer a bootie-like fit, a blown rubber outsole for a smooth cushioned ride.
New Balance have designed the Fresh Foam ‘using data gathered from athletes who run at an average pace’, whatever an average pace is. They say it is made for performance, so what did we think about it?
They’re definitely for the runner who likes a firm shoe. That’s no bad thing but it’ll probably limit their appeal. The one-piece midsole felt stable for a neutral shoe and an 8mm drop between heel and forefoot feels right and means that your lower legs don’t work too hard.
Transition from heel to toe was very good and actually, the shoe feels pretty good on foot due to the snug fit.
The issue I guess is that there is no wow factor at all. They were functional enough and I like a firm shoe so I can imagine people wanting a ‘plusher’ ride will be disappointed. The hexagon embossed midsole looks good and I had the impression before we ran in it that it would be much softer – maybe the ‘Fresh Foam’ in the name led me to believe I was in for a pillowy ride.
New Balance pride themselves in the quality of their products and this is no exception. The shoe looks good from the off – colourway treatments, engineered breathable synthetic mesh in the forefoot and some form of hexagon embossed material wrapping around the rear of the shoe, heel counter arching over the rear of the heel, midfoot support band, toe bumper etc. They all come together to make for an attractive package.
Slide the shoes on and they have a bootie-like fit. The shoes hug the feet well and there’s something reassuring about that. The upper material has an elastic quality to it but there’s enough room in the toe box so there’s no pinching around the forefoot area.
A soft collar around the ankle ensures that there will be no rubbing and they felt comfortable around the heel area.
Inside the shoe, you’ll find the comfort continues with an Ortholite® sockliner which will mould to your foot over time. They breath and have an anti-microbial function to fight odor.
Again, NB state that along with the midsole, the outsole has been designed by the data gathered by their research group of ‘averaged paced runners’. The flex grooves and midsole pattern ‘work together to help you move freely’.
Well, we can say that they are flexible so the grooves work well and blown rubber hexagon-themed outsole felt good underfoot and offered us no issues in terms of feel and grip on roads and trails.
I good package from New Balance but it isn’t in any way class-leading. It felt good on; the fit is excellent and it was stable enough but that Fresh Foam needs to be a little softer if it is to appeal to the masses. Worth considering if you like a firm shoe and you can get it at the right price.
Fresh Foam delivers plush cushioning for those who want a soft underfoot feel.
Blown rubber in the forefoot increases cushioning and responsiveness.
Ndurance is a highly durable carbon rubber located in the heel and the lateral side of the outsole.
Flex Grooves allow for more flexibility in the forefoot.
Engineered mesh comprises the upper, now extending all the way to the back of the shoe for improved flexibility while still providing lightweight breathability.
Fantom Fit are two materials combined with a No-Sew processes that provide an ultralight supportive fit.
Asymmetrical Heel Counter secures the heel and works to correct overpronation.
Bootie Construction delivers a soft, irritant free wrap.
PL-8 is a running-specific last with a standard heel width, toe-box height, and forefoot width.
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