Verdict from 11 experts and +100 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • Several people have noted that the aesthetics and vibrant color schemes of the New Balance Fresh Foam Tempoheighten its overall visual aspect.
  • Some users have mentioned that this neutral running shoe has a lightweight build that encourages all-day use.
  • Breathability is a trait that is appreciated by most consumers.
  • Based on a handful of reviews, the gripping capability of the outsole unit is precise and agreeable.
  • The underfoot cushioning system of this road running shoe is welcomed because it has a slightly firm yet springy ride.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some testers are claiming that the in-shoe experience is restrictive.
  • The multilayered external counter is criticized for putting pressure against the skin of the heel.

Bottom line

The overall reaction of people towards the New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo has been positive. This running shoe is welcomed because of its cool-looking silhouette, as well as its relatively light construction that permits extended running sessions. Conversely, the in-shoe experience is thought to be a bit restrictive and irritating to the skin of the heel.

Fans of versatile apparel for those road adventures can enjoy the Fresh Foam Tempo.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Our reviews

65
/100 by , posted on .

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.

 

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Overview

The tempo has the build of a trainer but the weight of a lightweight or even a racer to some extent. The fit is firm and the Fresh Foam does give some noticeable bounce and rebound.

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.

 

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Road work

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.

 

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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 . . . .

Wear

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).

 

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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.

Feature

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.

 

New-Balance-Fresh-Foam-Tempo-wear.jpg

 

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.

Conclusion

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.

| Level 3 expert Verified
Hi there! I am an old coot putting running shoes on for the first time about seven years go. It was the first time I had run in 30 years. I started with a 5K or two and worked myself into a frenzy setting a goal of running a marathon before I turned 50. I ran my first marathon nine months after that initial lace-up. To date, I have completed 80 or so races including 36 half marathons and 14 fulls. I have placed in the top three in my age-group about half of those races.

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.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com