I was looking for an alternative to the more traditional running shoes I typically wear, with a streamlined and more fashionable design that could work as a casual shoe as well as a light trainer.
I typically run trails in the ASICS Venture 6, road-run in the Brooks Launch or Revel, and lift weights in the New Balance 517. The New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport (in the Heathered version) shoes appealed to me because of their minimal design and light construction as compared to my more traditional athletic shoes.
Unfortunately, while these shoes are indeed heavy on style, they have turned out to be light on functionality.
Who are these shoes for?
These are a lightweight neutral running shoe designed for people with medium-to-high arches. They contain no stability features, and the upper is very soft and stretchy.
I would describe the New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport as primarily a fashion shoe which is best for casual wear and light walking rather than a real trainer for use during any sort of physical activity.
I would give this shoe its highest marks on its clean, modern aesthetic. With a minimal white sole and a glove-like textured upper, this shoe is subtle yet stylish.
It looks light and lean. It is also very versatile and can be worn with shorts or jeans. If fashion is your main concern, these shoes might be a good purchase.
The length and width are both what I would expect for a 9.5D (average width) shoe. The New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr boasts a glove-like fit with its soft, stretchy upper.
Unfortunately, the stretchy material does loosen up with wear, meaning that the laces have to be tied tighter to achieve a snug fit. However, the lacing system is pretty minimal and doesn’t really secure my feet.
This leads to the shoes having a loose feel. This is ok for just walking short distances, but not for much else. Add in the issues with the heel cup which I will discuss in the next section, and you have a possible recipe for blisters.
The upper is made from a stretchy material that reminds me of a tech t-shirt. It is textured over the toe box to give it the “heathered” look.
As described above, the material stretches out over time, which could prevent the wearer from achieving a snug fit.
The rearfoot area is designed around a rigid plastic cup which will hold the heel in place during motion. This heel cup is not at all padded, giving it an uncomfortable feel against the foot.
Combined with the shoe’s loose fit, I believe that this is a recipe for blisters. When I walk in this shoe any more than a short distance, I can feel my heel rubbing against the hard plastic.
I find that a synthetic sock helps, but the uppers of these shoes are not comfortable and wouldn’t be what I would want to use for any serious activity.
The midsole is constructed from Fresh Foam, a material that New Balance uses in some of its higher-end running shoes. I like the feel of the foam underfoot. It is cushy but also firm enough to be supportive.
I think that I would really enjoy wearing these shoes if the upper were more comfortable because the Fresh Foam really works for me.
The shoe comes with a contoured stock insole that is easily removable. The stock insole is thin and provides a little cushion. The contoured design adds a slight feeling of support under the arch area.
I typically use a replacement insole prescribed by my doctor in my running shoes. The design of the New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr seems too narrow to accommodate my replacement insoles comfortably.
I found that I have been able to wear them a bit with the stock insole, but they aren’t supportive enough for me without my doctor-prescribed inserts. Typically, I have no problem using my inserts with New Balance shoes. I’m surprised that they didn’t work with this model.
The shoe’s outsole is made from hard rubber. The design is definitely closer to a cross-trainer or casual shoe than a running shoe due to the absence of any traction.
I find the outsoles of these to be shoes adequate for walking on paved surfaces, but they would definitely not work off-road or anywhere slippery.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport possesses some positive qualities:
- A modern aesthetic which will look good with shorts or jeans and may earn you a few style points if that’s what you’re going for
- Fresh Foam in the midsole which feels great underfoot
- A feather-light design
- A budget-friendly price tag
The shoe has some pretty substantial drawbacks depending upon your intended use:
- The upper does not allow for a snug fit in the midfoot area, and the hard plastic heel cup causes irritation
- The outsole has no traction and could lead to slipping on a wet surface
- The design of the shoe as a whole does not work well with some types of replacement insoles
For me, the cons outweigh the pros of this model. Comfort is my #1 priority with any footwear, and for me, these shoes do not have it. A softer heel area and the more secure midfoot lock would make these shoes much more wearable.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport is a fashionable and wallet-friendly trainer that could work well for you if the intended use is a casual wear. It boasts a clean and modern look that manages to be both futuristic and classic.
The Fresh Foam midsole provides decent support and cushioning. However, poor design on the upper makes the shoe less comfortable than I would have liked, and could lead to blisters if worn for exercise activities.
I recommend this shoe for a picnic at the park, but not for a long walk or a jog.
Good to know
- The New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport is a running shoe that’s created for the neutral pronator. It features a set of components that were optimized using data gotten from runners. Fundamentally, this product was born from research and user feedback.
- The front section of the upper unit features suede while the rest is made of a stretchy mesh that forms a one-piece opening. A ghillie-type lacing system adjusts the fit, and it has discrete eyelets to stave off tension on the fabrics.
- A laser-engraved platform offers responsive cushioning and flexibility. The visible hexagonal cuts on the sides aim to improve bounce-back and shock attenuation. A rubber exterior protects against wear and tear.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport was designed using the standard measurements, so it’s able to accommodate the regular sizing preferences of consumers. The width options for the women’s version are B – Medium and D – Wide; for men, the choices are D – Medium and 2E – Wide.
The silhouette and the last were designed to mimic the natural shape of the foot and to give a form-fitting coverage.
A rubber compound makes up the outsole unit of the New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport. It covers the entire length of the midsole, acting as a barrier against abrasive surfaces. This durable rubber material is also placed in the outsole of the New Balance 990 v4.
Hexagonal patterns form multangular grooves that heighten platform flexibility and the natural bending capacity of the wearer’s foot.
Fresh Foam is a full-length compound that’s meant to provide cushioning for the underside of the foot. It’s also responsible for mitigating the impact forces generated by the foot-strike. The sides have been laser-engraved. The purpose of such a design is to make the material more flexible and more capable of cushioning the foot as it lands on the ground.
The medial and lateral sections of the midsole slightly extend upward. These ‘walls’ hold the foot in place and prevent in-shoe quavering.
The front section of the New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr Sport’s upper unit makes use of suede. It’s a soft yet sturdy material. It accommodates the natural motion of the foot.
A stretchy mesh fills the rest of the upper. It is configured into a one-piece unit that’s free of seams, thus potentially offering a sock-like fit.
A ghillie lacing system with discrete eyelets brings a relaxed coverage. It doesn’t have the bunched-up feel of the regular crisscross lacing arrangement.
Pull tabs are placed at the back and front of the collar. These loops are there to facilitate a quick and easy on-and-off.