Summary

We spent 6.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

8 reasons to buy

  • Many users admired the lightweight construction of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit.
  • Several runners lauded the shoe’s breathable coverage.
  • According to many user reviews, the shoe is very comfortable, especially for those with plantar fasciitis.
  • The running shoe has a roomier and softer toe box, as mentioned by most buyers.
  • Majority of the purchasers said that it is true to size.
  • The Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit has a great, eye-catching design, said a few comments.
  • A few reviews mentioned that the shoe is very responsive.
  • The shoe has a durable design, said a couple of buyers.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A few users mentioned that the sole of the Zante Pursuit is not flexible.
  • A couple of runners were disappointed by the shoe’s loose heel fit.

Bottom line

The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit is a lightweight road running shoe that made most users happy and satisfied. Runners admired the shoe’s design, responsiveness, and durability. Though it had minor issues on heel fit and the sole being too stiff, most users would still recommend the shoe because it is comfortable and breathable.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
Top 8% most popular running shoes

Expert Reviews

87 / 100 based on 18 expert reviews

  • 80 / 100 |

    New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit - A sleeping giant awakens

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    Over the past seven years, I have had 2 major shoe regrets. The first was not buying the Hoka Clifton 1, and second, was not buying the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 1.

    Legend has it that the original Zante was the perfect combination of soft, bouncy and responsive. It was a shoe that was way ahead of its time. 

    The following year, I bought the second version, but by that time, the shoe was a completely different animal. It was firm, flat, and lifeless.

    I tried to find the original version but couldn't find it in my size. To this day, I get jealous on the rare occasions that I see somebody wearing a pair.

     

     

    The next 2 versions of the shoe didn't come close to the first version. And then New Balance released the Zante Pursuit.

    The Zante Pursuit is a complete rework of one of their most popular running shoes. The mesh upper is replaced with a single piece knit upper.

    The blown rubber outsole replaced with crystal rubber and the midsole is a softer and more lively version of Fresh Foam. The Zante Pursuit breathes new life into a stale, boring Zante line.

     

     

    PRICE   $110
    WEIGHT   208g
    DROP   6mm
    TECHNOLOGY   Hypoknit, Fresh Foam

    Upper 

    The uber comfortable knitted upper is something that you would see on a casual shoe. Its simplistic and relaxed design puts even casual shoes like the Adidas  Ultra Boost to shame.

     

     

    The New Balance logo is printed onto the upper, so there are no seems. You get a reflective NB logo at the back for nighttime visibility.

     

     

    It not only looks but feels casual on runs. The knit is very soft and stretchy: a little too stretchy.

    My feet never felt locked down or secure on runs, and I had to do heel lock lacing to ensure that my heel didn't slip out. 

     

     

    The fit is true to size. The toe box is wide, and the knit will stretch if you have extra wide feet. The tongue is gusseted so you won't get any tongue slide.

     

    Midsole & ride

    This new version of Fresh Foam feels softer and more responsive than the Fresh Foams of the previous Zantes.

     

     

    It has a firm undertone to it which feels best on paces of 6 minutes per kilometre or less, on distances no longer than 10km.

    By the 8th kilometre of a run in the Zante Pursuits, I wish that there was a tad more cushioning, so I wouldn't want to take it on a far, two-hour weekend run.

     

     

    It provides a nice firm toe off, which results in a snappy ride. Transitions are buttery smooth because of the one-piece midsole and the full contact outsole.

    The firm midsole being so thin results in fantastic ground feel. It reminds me of a low to the ground sports car with lowered suspension.

     

    Outsole & durability 

    The crystal rubber outsole used on the Zante Pursuit is leading the durability race along with Continental and Asics High Abrasion Rubber outsoles.

     

     

    I would love it if more brands started using crystal rubber outsoles because it is super tough.

    On my pair, wear is barely noticeable. There is a little smoothing on the outer heel area where I normally see the most wear on my shoes.

     

     

    I expect these shoes to last me well over 1000 km. 

    The grip is great on dry surfaces but lacks a bit on wet surfaces: a common trait of crystal rubber.

    Insole 

    The smooth insole is thin and provides no cushioning. The lack of cushioning ensures that all the cushioning is contained in the midsole.

    This also makes the Zante Pursuit best suited to tempo workouts and not long distances.

     

    Flexibility 

    The Zante Pursuits are quite stiff. However, when you do force them to flex, they do a weird thing where the left shoe flexes in a different part of the shoe to the right shoe.

    The left shoe flexes in the middle of the shoe, the right shoe in the front. This is the first time I've ever seen anything like this.

    It doesn't make a difference in the ride, but I thought it was really interesting.

     

     

    The absence of flex grooves combined with the thick crystal rubber outsole makes the Zante Pursuits a stiff shoe.

     

    Verdict 

    The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit is a perfect shoe for tempo or fartlek workouts of less than 10 km. The comfortable upper and thin midsole make the shoe a pleasure to run in. 

    If I were to change anything about the Zante Pursuits, I would make the upper less stretchy so that the foot lockdown is better.

    I would also make the midsole a touch softer so that they can be used for distances up to 21 km. Those changes would make it more versatile and improve on an already excellent shoe.

    Welcome back, Zante!

  • 72 / 100 |

    New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit - More to offer than the longest shoe name in history?

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    These road runners from New Balance might not just be a great big mouthful of a name.

     

     

    New Balance says: "Our Fresh Foam midsole technology delivers a driven responsiveness and a lightweight ride."

    Now, I'm not entirely sure what 'driven responsiveness' means, but I think they're saying that the Zante Pursuit is going to be a reactive road shoe.

    Shall we find out if they are?

    Tech specs

    • A 6 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 6 mm drop are approximate
    • Bootie construction for a custom-like fit
    • Fresh Foam innovative midsole created from a single piece of foam that provides a plush, more natural ride
    • No-sew material application
    • Synthetic/mesh upper
    • Hypoknit (not sure what this is, but I'm pretty sure it's just New Balance trying to give a cool name to their knit upper technology)
    • Translucent rubber sole
    • Weight 239 g (UK11, EU46)

     

    Design overview

    My first impressions of the Zante Pursuit out of the box were very positive. The colour and style work really well together, and they feel very well made. Which is to be expected from a New Balance runner.

    I have to say that I am a bit confused by New Balance's description of the upper being a bootie construction because this is definitely not the case here. I have to wonder whether or not the tech specs section is to be trusted at all!

    Other than this slip-up, I have to say I definitely like the overall look and feel of the Zante Pursuit. I was excited to get them on and get out on the road with them.

    Upper

    I was a fan of the upper on the Hovr Phantom and wasn't sure if anything else could come close, but these are definitely up there as competitors.

     

     

    The Zante Pursuit upper looks and feels quite simplistic on the face of it, but I think there's a bit more going on than it may seem.

    Beneath the soft and stretchy "knit" outer, there's what seems to be an elasticated inner layer. Both of these together provide a snug, comfortable and very flexible upper, which I like.

     

    Laces

    Simple yet effective. Nothing much to get excited about here. They're flat and soft, which is ideal. I have no complaints.

     

    Heel counter

    There is a bit of one on the Zante Pursuit, but it's not overly excessive. I prefer the heel to be completely soft and unsupported, but you can't always get everything you want.

     

    Collar

    This is a bit of a negative for me. It's a little over-padded—not tons but more than I usually like. It's not uncomfortable and does hug my ankle quite nicely but definitely could be better.

     

     

    If I compare the Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit to the Under Armour HOVR Phantom or Nike Epic React Flyknit (shoe name torture), I prefer the sock-like design of the other two shoes.

    Tongue

    Despite claiming to be a bootie style shoe, the Zante Pursuit do unfortunately actually have a tongue, and I wish they didn't. It's connected to the upper with stretchy gussets, but honestly, if it were just seamlessly connected, it would be so much better.

     

     

    It's not overly thick or too thin, however, so it does the job of protecting the top of your feet from pinchy laces. So, it's not all bad.

     

    Safety

    Nothing to see here—nothing at all. Thank goodness!!

    Sole

    The 6 mm heel to toe drop on these transparent soled road shoes is a refreshing change to the typical 10 mm drop that so many running shoes have.

    The fresh foam midsole is pretty decent. It's not overly absorbent or reactive. I'd say that it's a good day to day training shoe as well as it making quite a 'nice' casual shoe.

     

     

    I was pretty comfortable over short and long runs but missed the zippiness of the more reactive shoes like the Epic React Flyknit.

    That being said, I didn't dislike running in the Zante Pursuit. In fact, I found the overall design made for a really comfortable slow run shoe.

    It is ideal for those long, hilly, road runs when you want to take the world in a little bit and aren't too focused on training pace.

    The midsole foam did start to distort quite quickly in the heel area, which is strange as that was only from walking. I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or not but I’m not sure how long the shoes will hold up for based on this.

     

    Support

    There's not enough support in the arch area to cause any issues for me (I like a nice flat sole with minimal support), so no real complaints here.

    I'm not sure if there will be enough support for anyone looking for something more substantial, however.

    Flexibility

    How can I put this… Flexibility is lacking with the Zante Pursuit without a doubt. It's a little strange because although on foot the sole feels soft and squishy, it's nowhere near as flexible as it feels like it should be. It is a bit of a disappointment here.

    Tread

    I'm not sure what you'd call this tread. It's something like an inverted waffle of sorts. The lugs don't have huge gaps between them, and they're not very deep, which is perfect for road running.

     

     

    Oh, and it's a transparent rubber, though I'm not sure why.

    Grip

    It's adequate but not as good as I'd hoped for. Fresh on they were very slippery and to be honest they haven't got much better after bedding them in.

    Fit & comfort

    For me, this is where things really start looking up. The soft supple upper is very comfortable, and the fit is spot on. I'm usually a UK 11, EU 46, and in my size the Zante Pursuit are perfect.

    I've worn these shoes as a daily shoe for the last few weeks as well as for runs because they are so pleasing to wear—almost slipper-like!

    Toe box

    On the face of it, you'd think that there wouldn't be a ton of space for your toes in these, but because the upper is so stretchy, I found it to be adequate enough.

     

     

    No, there isn't as much room as you'd get with a pair of minimal shoes or Altras, for example. But, my feet didn't feel cramped or squashed at all.

    Heel

    The heel is soft and cups the back of my foot nicely. It does a reasonable job of securing my foot in place whilst offering good comfort.

    Saying that, it's not the best of all the shoes I've worn and reviewed and doesn't do as good a job on runs as I'd hoped for. The heel cup on the HOVR Phantom was much more secure and more comfortable.

    Performance

    Overall, the Zante Pursuit performed reasonably well. They're a decent training shoe, and I thoroughly enjoyed my slower long runs in them.

     

     

    They are a good balance of reactiveness and shock absorption though not the best in this area. The Nike Epic React Flyknit performed far better.

    On-road

    Good but not great. They grip adequately but aren't perfect, and I certainly didn't enjoy wet runs in them so much.

    Off-road

    Just don't even go there!

    For speed

    The Pursuit isn't built for speed, in my opinion. I much prefer to run in either my Vibram KSO EVOs or even my Nike Zoom Streak LT 4's.

    I definitely wouldn't advise trying to break any records in these shoes.

    For distance

    This is where these road runners from New Balance shine. They're great over slow long runs. I didn't find them laboursome to wear, and they didn't cause me any pain either.

    The good

    • Very comfortable stretchy upper
    • Decent toe space for a standard shaped shoe
    • Cushioned sole, good for long runs

    The bad

    • Not very reactive
    • No all in one upper
    • Outsole lacking and grip isn't the best

    Dear New Balance

    With a more reactive and flexible midsole foam and better grip, this shoe could be something really special. It's so close, yet so far.

     

    Ratings

    Appearance: 7/10
    Build Quality: 9/10
    Comfort: 8/10
    Sole: 6/10
    Run Score: 6/10
    Overall Score: 7.2/10

    Bottom line

    The Zante Pursuit is a decent long-distance shoe that's both comfortable and good looking. Wear it for day to day training or even casual wear.

     

     

    But, there are better ways to spend your money if you're a more serious runner.

  • 88 / 100 | kofuzi | Level 4 expert

    Overall, I think that this is a bit more of a responsive shoe you're not as much as cushioning but you're getting a lot more road feel. You're feeling a lot more bang for your buck in the push-off.

  • 91 / 100 | Road Trail Run | | Level 4 expert

    It’s not a perfect shoe (and it’s perhaps a bit of a zig from the usual Zante zag) but it’s one I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy, running in.

Become an expert
  • The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit is the new running shoes under the Zante line. The shoe features a design similar to the Zante 4, but it has a much lighter and faster feel. It is packed with technologies that are made based on data from real runners.
  • In the upper of the Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit road running shoe is the HypoKnit material. It gives the foot a very light and breathable coverage. Its cleatie construction and no-sew design give the foot an irritation-free environment.
  • Just like the New Balance 1080 v9, this lightweight running shoe uses the notable Fresh Foam midsole material. It has been modified with laser engravings for a smoother landing.
  • In the outsole of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit is the full-length translucent rubber material.  It is thin and lightweight but durable enough to protect the outer sole from abrasion. It also gives a reasonable amount of grip for road running.

The New Balance Zante Pursuit runs true to size. It is available in standard medium and wide sizing for both men’s and women’s versions. It also has a roomy toe-box that allows the toes to splay whenever necessary.

The HypoKnit upper wraps the foot comfortably, and the overall fit, from the heel to the forefoot, is snug as well.

Designed for the roads, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit uses a rubber material in its outer sole. The lightweight, translucent rubber covers the entire outsole to provide durability. It also gives grip and additional cushioning to the foot.

In the midsole of the Zante Pursuit is the innovate Fresh Foam technology. The Fresh Foam is a midsole compound formulated by New Balance to give runners a more comfortable and durable underfoot cushioning. This lightweight, single-piece midsole foam is designed for a fluid, smooth, and more natural ride.

The running shoe also has a removable molded sockliner which provides additional underfoot cushioning and enhances overall fit.

The HypoKnit is one of the highlights of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit. It is a lightweight and breathable upper material that keeps the foot well-ventilated through the run. There are enough perforations in the upper that allows the air to efficiently pass-through the shoe.

The cleatie construction of the shoe provides a custom-like fit, and the seamless, no-sew upper construction offers a smooth, irritation-free coverage.

This New Balance running shoe has a lace-up closure and it uses semi-elastic, flat lace to secure the foot while running. To further secure the heel and ankle, extra eyelets are also available.

Lastly, the Zante Pursuit has a padded tongue and collar which enhances comfort, fit and overall foot lockdown.

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