We spent 7.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • A generous amount of padding is noticeable around the heel for added comfort, according to some runners.
  • Nice and plush insole is great and comfortable, as noted in most reviews.
  • The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2 offers a great barefoot-like running, but maintains a nice underfoot cushioning as observed by some testers.
  • There is a seamless and irritation-free upper that enhances the comfortable feel.
  • The changes in the forefoot and toe box area, and in the geometry design, are quite impressive according to several users.
  • Plenty of colors to choose from.

4 reasons not to buy

  • It is not technically made for racing.
  • The tightness in the mid-foot wrap is felt and caused some blisters.
  • It is not as fast and snappy as the first version as complained by some testers.
  • Too narrow for some runners.

Bottom line

The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2 is a great shoe with efficient design and performance. It is a reliable running shoe for training, tempo runs, and for long miles as well. It can handle different work outs and running routines as well. The shoe delivers a fresh running experience in the comfort, arch support, and protection that it offers.

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  • The Fresh Foam Zante v2 is Reebok’s answer to the fit issues that plagued the performance of the original model. What is most significant in the updated version is the removal of the arch bump that made the run a bit jarring and the fit slightly constrictive. New Balance also moved the midfoot straddle further ahead and loosened by just a hair this area. The result is a snug but comfortable fit that still delivers adequate support for runners doing short or long-distance training sessions.
  • New Balance also improves the cushioning and flexibility in this shoe. The forefoot in particular is more cushioned than before. The flexibility is introduced by adding numerous cuts in the outsole, especially near the heel where New Balance now uses a slightly thicker rubber.
  • The geometry of the outsole treads is significantly changed as well. This new hexagonal pattern makes the transition a bit faster and helps ease off the fatigue for long-distance runs.
  • The midsole uses convex hexagons instead of concave. Since the new convex hexagons are generously spaced out, they provide more pop and energy return.

The fit of the 2nd version of the Zante still hugs the foot with enough breathing space, particularly in the midfoot. This is basically the difference between the original version and the new model. Runners with average measurements will find the fit superb while those who want more room in the toe box could also go half a size up. Available widths are medium and wide while standard sizes are from 7-16 for the men’s and 5 to 12 for the women’s.

The outsole features new hexagonal patterns covered in blown rubber. This gives the shoe superior traction. A crash pad in the heel is designed to isolate shock.

The midsole offers a really nice blend of shock-absorbing features and responsiveness. New Balance made a few tweaks in the midsole by changing the hexagonal patterns from concave to convex. With this new configuration, the larger hexagons in the heel absorb shock while the elongated hexagons going to the forefoot deliver a nice and firm propulsion. The Fresh Foam layer, which is also used in the Zante v4 running shoe, makes every stride feel cushioned particularly in the heel.

To provide excellent fit and support, the upper has different expansion points. The front half has more flexibility to allow the upper to move together with the foot. It also gives the feel of a roomy forefoot area than the previous version of the shoe. The back end of the upper carries more structure. This is designed to give some support both for the shoe and the runner. Light and welded overlays also contribute to overall shoe support and fit. Heel support is made possible by a relatively flexible heel counter. Cleatie-like construction in the inner portion of the shoe allows for superb comfort and snug fit. An open mesh gives incredible breathability.

As mentioned, the bump in the arch has been removed and the midfoot straddle stretched a bit for a more relaxed midfoot fit without taking away the snug comfort.

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.