Our verdict

With a significant update from the previous iteration, the New Balance Fresh Foam Roav v2 is now a much better daily trainer, in our opinion. It scored very well in the weight department and does even better when it comes to the price, which is really one of the lowest around. We believe that it’s best suited for short runs, yet it’s not limited to that. We found it an excellent choice for gym workouts and even an appealing sneaker for the city.


  • Protective cushioning
  • Very light
  • Snappy ride
  • High-quality materials
  • Versatile for running and gym
  • Wallet-friendly
  • Lots of colors available


  • Lacks traction on wet
  • Not for wide feet
  • Durability is not great

Audience verdict


Who should buy New Balance Fresh Foam Roav v2

Get this shoe if you are an entry-level in the world of running, better yet if a heel-striker, and/or you want something reliable, light, and comfortable to bring to the gym or for everyday life.


Who should not buy it

Don’t buy this shoe if you:

There are of course better running shoes out there, but if your priority is saving some money, it is hard to beat.


Breathability: not there yet

Based on our smoke-pumping machine test, the upper is not very airy and therefore this shoe is not ideal for warm days.

New Balance Fresh Foam Roav v2 (left): breathability is limited; Altra Torin 6 (right): very breathable.

In our tests, breathability scored just 1 out of 5. As the video above shows, very little smoke comes out. The shoe's poor breathability was also confirmed in the transparency test seen below: the light from the lamp does not pass through the mesh.

The midsole is THE reason to buy it

In our opinion, Fresh Foam is the shoe's biggest highlight. It is very bouncy, comfortable, and responsive.

In our lab, we found that the foam is not super soft though. The durometer shows 26.5 HA which is 10% firmer than the average of road running shoes. It doesn't mean that the cushioning is firm though; we found it to be well-balanced.

new-balance-fresh-foam-roav-v2-midsole test.JPG

Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement five times to ensure accuracy. The photo above shows the final measurement.

Midsoles tend to get firmer in colder temperatures. In order to simulate cold-weather conditions, we put the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes and the Roav v2 got 24.5% firmer. For reference, the average is 27.1%.


Comfy feel in the New Balance Roav v2

The shoe creates a very enjoyable experience for the foot with its interiors.

The heel area is well-padded and provides a great lockdown. We tested the heel stiffness and it scored 2 out of 5, which means it's flexible.

We also liked the sock-like foot insert that cradled our feet.

All in all, after wearing this New Balance shoe all day, we didn't even realize when we took them off! That's how natural it felt on the foot.

Not ideal for wide feet

There's not much room in the shoe's toebox but it was just enough for our medium-width feet.


Measuring the toebox width in our lab, we found that the widest part of the forefoot is 97 mm. This is within the average range but nothing extra.


Fresh Foam Roav v2 is for dry days only

In this shoe, we don’t have a full-length rubber outsole, but just two small rubber pods placed on the strategic areas. The rest of the surface is made of exposed midsole foam, and although this helps keep the weight at bay and improves agility, we found that it compromised traction in wet conditions.


But for most road running scenarios, it delivers a decent amount of grip.


Perfect if you land on your heels

In our opinion, this shoe is best for the heel strikers. That’s because they can really get the most out of the 7 mm drop which makes the midsole more protective at the rearfoot.


We always measure stack height including the insole.

New Balance claims that the shoe's drop is 8 mm. However, we found that the stack height at the rearfoot is 32.2 mm, and the height at the forefoot is 25 mm, which means the drop is just a little lower: 7.2 mm.

This is not a huge variance from the official statement, and given that in other running shoes we sometimes find much greater differences, it's certainly acceptable.


Our test showed that the insole measured 4.6 mm, very close to the average of 4.5 mm.


Fresh Foam Roav v2 is not just for running

When it comes to running, we recommend using this shoe for short efforts. It performs excellently at 5-10K distances. 


What's more, we even felt confident enough to take the Roav v2 to the gym. It was stable and responsive enough for agile HIIT and cross-training.


The Roav v2's platform is 115 mm large at the forefoot (2 mm wider than average). This and the slightly firm midsole enhance overall stability, which is important for gym workouts.

Feels even lighter than it is

Weighing 8.4 oz (238g), this New Balance shoe is more than an ounce lighter than the average road running shoe! We didn't even feel like we were wearing shoes!

Given the shoe's affordable price point, it’s a significant plus.


A flexible New Balance shoe

The shoe is pretty flexible. On a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the stiffest) we judged it to be 2.

Even after putting the shoe in the freezer, it remained 22.4% more flexible than the average.

The outsole is the weak part

Having tested the shoe for about 30 miles, we noticed that the exposed foam at the bottom started to wear out pretty quickly. Therefore, we believe that the NB Fresh Foam Roav v2 cannot stand as many miles as other shoes do.

On the bright side, the most high-wear areas of the shoe have a really thick 4-mm rubber protection.


Easy to achieve a good lockdown

Unlike many other running shoes, this shoe uses flat laces instead of rounded ones. This makes it easier to fix them and while running there’s no need to adjust anything, they remain in place.


Plenty of colors for the New Balance Roav v2

There are more than a dozen colors available for this shoe! That’s indeed impressive and not something we see very often.

A win for the budget-minded

The shoe costs $85, which is very well below the average for a running shoe ($130).