New Balance has a vast number of shoes with Fresh Foam on the label. The choices are mind-numbing.
I settled on one that seemed to fit my sweet spot - the New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo. I am currently on my second pair after what I hoped was an anomaly in the first - turns out a feature, not a bug.
There is a sense of plush around the heel and ankles though the upper is plenty thin enough to allow for heat transfer. It is not so light that the sense of support is overlooked, they hit the sweet spot of a little of both.
This took the place of my Kinvara’s for the workhorse among my collection. It was a very similar feel and fit. There was no noticeable need for break-in though after the first couple of miles some of the stiffness did subside.
The mid-range stack height will be a pleasant bonus for those landing on the heels but for those working on the forefoot, a heel drag will occur now and then if you are accustomed to slightly lower heights. This was minimal and I adjusted quickly.
There is no noticeable forward propelling as some strive for as the transition is just smooth and steady. You actually have to focus intently to notice that the shoes exist!
I fell in love with this shoe. I have gone through so many bad experiences compared to great ones. This was among my first New Balance products and the first from the Fresh Foam line-up.
These just fit and performed with nothing calling special attention one way or the other. Speed /tempo / long runs - all found favor with no seeming issues - until… until . . . .
After a handful of runs, I gave a closer inspection of the shoe to try to understand the push of the foam and get a better sense of the build (again my first NB).
After 100 or so miles the uppers show no breakdown whatsoever. I had not been through much dirt or rain so they looked practically new. When flipping the over I was shocked at the wear.
For two pairs of shoes, they have what I consider tremendous wear at 120-130 miles.
These pictured are at 131 miles. I typically get 300-350 before replacing and have honestly never replaced shoes because of wearing through.
These won’t make it close to that. I have read minimal comments on the wear but honestly don’t know what I could be doing to cause this high wear down. I am hoping it is just me somehow and that everyone else has better experiences.
This is a great shoe. And for many, it might be the ideal go-to for most every run.
But for me, I can’t get attached to something that is only going to leave me on the curb just when we are getting to know one another. Due to the wear, and even in light of the great features everywhere else, I am putting them at a 65 out of 100.
Good to know
The Fresh Foam Tempo is a product that is meant to become the successor of the highly revered Fresh Foam Zante line, aiming for a streamlined design that adapts the vibrant color trends of today. The silhouette blends printed overlays with ones that are embroidered, potentially improving the perception of security and prevention of hot spots.
Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of the Fresh Foam X, a reiteration of the regular Fresh Foam technology that has made waves across the running shoe industry because of its lightweight and responsive construction. This new one uses geometrical patterns to improve flexibility and performance while also retaining the tried-and-true features of its progenitor.
The outsole unit of the New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo is made of blown rubber. The job of this compound is to shield the contact points of the forefoot and heel from the abrasive nature of the asphalt. It is also the source of traction, a trait that any shoe needs to perform well and not cause any slippage.
Fresh Foam X is a full-length midsole foam that is tasked with carrying the foot throughout the gait cycle. It is configured to be lighter and more responsive than its older counterpart, the Fresh Foam. Voronoi patterns or geometrical tessellations on the sidewalls work with small holes to further heighten the cushioning and energizing power of the whole material.
The upper unit of the Fresh Foam Tempo is made of HypoKnit. This textile resembles woven cloth, yet it has an open-weave configuration to permit the flow of air into the foot-chamber. Also, it has a multilayered design that bolsters its durability without sacrificing form-welcoming comfort.
This New Balance running shoe has printed overlays on the sides, the eyestays, and the front of the upper unit. These synthetic prints help the fabrics when it comes to locking the foot in place and averting in-shoe wobbling.
Embroidered sections further reinforce the upper unit, helping the fit-adjusting accoutrements like the traditional lacing system and synthetic prints in delivering security that lasts throughout the run.
A stitched-on heel counter with a pull tab at its tip helps the inner compartment in staving off accidental shoe removals.