Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3

- published February 2017

91

2017

RATINGS

Fit
7
Comfort
8
Responsiveness
9
Ride Quality
9
Speed
8
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
91

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$100.00
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THE GOOD

  • Excellent responsiveness & ride quality
  • Great comfort & ventilation in forefoot upper
  • Performance benefits for midfoot and heel strikers

THE BAD

  • Narrow toe box may for wide feet
  • Full coverage outsole sheet adds unnecessary weight

THE VERDICT

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. 

FULL REVIEW

Fit
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.

Comfort
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. 

Responsiveness
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.

Ride Quality
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. 

Speed
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. 

How We Tested It

The shoes in this test covered approximately 80 miles of running in Monterey County CA, predominantly on asphalt and all-weather track surfaces, in wet and dry conditions, with about 20% of mileage on dirt roads.  Longest single run was 24 miles.  

For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our other lightweight road running shoe tests, road running shoe tests, trail running shoe tests, and other related running gear tests

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Donald Buraglio

Donald Buraglio

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

Shop for the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3

MSRP
LOW PRICE

$100.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$100.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Fit
7
Comfort
8
Responsiveness
9
Ride Quality
9
Speed
8
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
91

Specs

  • Heel Height: 23mm
  • Forefoot Height: 17mm
  • Heel Drop: 6mm

Weight

9.4 oz

Weight

Manufacturer's Stated Weight

8.6

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