Who should buy New Balance Fresh Foam Roav v2

Get this shoe if you are an entry-level in the world of running, better yet if a heel-striker, and/or you want something reliable, light, and comfortable to bring to the gym or for everyday life.


Who should not buy it

Don’t buy this shoe if you:

There are of course better running shoes out there, but if your priority is saving some money, it is hard to beat.


Breathability: not there yet

Based on our measurements, the upper is not airy and therefore this shoe is not ideal for warm days.

New Balance Fresh Foam Roav v2 (left): breathability is very limited; Altra Torin 6 (right): very breathable.

Fact check

In our tests, breathability scored just 1 out of 5. As the video above shows, very little smoke comes out. The poor breathability was confirmed in the transparency test seen below: the light from the lamp does not pass through the mesh.

The midsole is THE reason to buy it

Reviewers agreed when it comes to the midsole. They described it as soft, bouncy, comfortable, and responsive. As they put it:

  • “a responsive ride that won’t turn your gait cycle into mush”
  • “a lot of bounce in a light package”
  • “feels like you are running on a cloud.”
Fact check

In our lab we found the midsole to be only 2.7% firmer than the average for running shoes. This means it's neither soft nor too firm, it's a balanced midsole.

new-balance-fresh-foam-roav-v2-midsole test.JPG

Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement five times to ensure accuracy. The photo above shows the final measurement.

Fact check

Midsoles tend to get firmer in colder temperatures. In order to simulate cold-weather conditions, we put the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes. The Roav v2 got only 24.5% firmer, which is good when compared to the average for running shoes (27.1%).


Comfy feel in the New Balance Roav v2

According to the reviewers who tried it on, wearing this shoe is very enjoyable. As a runner said, the heel area is well padded and has great lockdown, “it does feel very comfortable on the foot.”

Fact check

The heel stiffness was tested by our tester and scored 2 out of 5, which means it's flexible.

Another experienced runner said she loved “the sock-like foot insert that cradles your foot,“ while another tester added that you can “wear them all day, take them off and you don’t even realize.”

Not ideal for wide feet

According to most users, there's not much room in the toe box, which is why the shoe is recommended for medium to narrow feet only.


Fact check

When we measured the toe box in our lab we found out that the users' comments are correct: the shoe has a width of 97 mm, which is very close to the average (97.7 mm).


Fresh Foam Roav v2 is for dry days only

In this shoe, we don’t have a full-length rubber outsole, but just two small areas placed where it is most needed. The rest of the surface is just foam from the midsole, and although this helps keep the weight at bay and improves agility, in this case, runners found out that it compromised traction in wet conditions.


As for other situations, it delivers a decent amount of grip.


Perfect if you land on your heels

Testers said that this shoe is best for those who are heel-strikers. That’s because they can really get the most out of the 8 mm drop and the midsole, which is described as being more protective right at the rearfoot.


We always measure stack height including the insole.

Fact check

New Balance claims that the shoe's drop is 8 mm. However, we found out that the stack height at the rearfoot is 32.2 mm, and the height at the forefoot is 25 mm, which means the drop is just a little lower: 7.2 mm. This is not a huge variance from the official statement, and given that in other running shoes we sometimes find much greater differences, it's certainly acceptable.


Fact check

Our test showed that the insole measured 4.6 mm, very close to the average of 4.5 mm.


Fresh Foam Roav v2 is not just for running

When it comes to running, reviewers suggest using these shoes for short efforts. As a runner said, they “worked very well during runs of 5-10k.” 


A gym goer enjoyed them as well: “I loved using them for plyo-box jumping, and lifting,” and another user added that they are “perfect for snappy sets, as well as HIIT and cross-training.”


Fact check

The Roav v2's platform is 115 mm large at the forefoot, 2.2% larger than the average for running shoes. This, together with the slightly firm midsole, enhances overall stability, which is important for gym workouts.

Feels even lighter than what it is

Weighing 9.10oz (258g), it is rather light compared to the average for a running shoe (9.6oz or 272g). Reviewers pointed out that at this price point, it’s a significant plus. One of them said that it’s “an incredible weight,” while another runner didn’t even notice the shoe when wearing it and said it’s “a dream to have on your feet.”


A flexible New Balance shoe

The shoe is pretty flexible. On a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the stiffest) we judged it to be 2.

Even after putting the shoe in the freezer, it remained 22.4% more flexible than the average.

The outsole is the weak part

A tester pointed out that, although “the materials are of good quality, and the build is top-notch,” there's a part of the shoe that doesn’t seem to be as good as the rest. He noticed that the exposed foam in the outsole wore out pretty quickly, and therefore cannot stand as many miles as other shoes do.

Fact check

The outsole is softer than the average: in our durometer test it scored 77.4 vs. the average 79.7, hence the not-so-great durability. However, its rubber is 20.5% thicker than most running shoes.


Easy to achieve a good lockdown

Runners appreciated that the laces, unlike with many other running shoes, are flat instead of rounded. This makes it easier to fix them and while running there’s no need to adjust anything, they remain in place.new-balance-fresh-foam-roav-v2-laces.JPG

Plenty of colors for the New Balance Roav v2

A tester was “impressed by the look” and even more by the fact that there are more than a dozen colors available for this shoe. That’s indeed impressive and not something you see very often.

A win for the budget-minded

A tester said that the shoe is not on the top of his list, but thanks to its price, “it gets a boost in ratings,” and added that “for this money, it’s really, really good.” It costs $85, which is very well below the average for a running shoe ($123). Another runner confirmed this when he said that “that’s an incredible price.”

Complete lab-specs overviewnew-balance-fresh-foam-roav-v2-pieces.JPG

  New Balance Fresh Foam Roav v2 Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 224 264
Drop (mm) 7.2 8.7
Overall Internal Length (mm) 256.3 (men's US 8) 262.3
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 29.6 34.0
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 38.4 47.1
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 29.7% 44.7%
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 2 3.0
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 2 3.2
Breathability - smoke test (1-5 scale, 5 being the most breathable) 1 3.8
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 5.9 5.6
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 97.0 97.7
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 88.6 89.6
Heel counter stiffness (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 2 2.6
Tongue: gusset type both sides (semi)  
Heel: pull tab no no
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 115.0 112.5
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 88.6 89.6
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 25.0 24.5
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 32.2 33.2
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 26.5 25.8
Durometer Midsole - Heel (Freezer 20 minutes) 33.0 32.9
Durometer Midsole - Heel (% of change) (TEST) 24.5% 27.1%
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 4.1 3.4
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 77.4 79.6
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 4.6 4.5
Insole: removable yes yes

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 9.1oz /
Drop: Men 8mm /
Arch support: Neutral
Collection: New Balance Fresh Foam, New Balance Fresh Foam Roav

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Gabriele Zampieri
Gabriele Zampieri

Gabriele lives and runs in Italy and he knows the Alps inside out. No wonder given that he has 30+ via ferratas, 20+ trail races and 100+ hiking routes under his belt. And he willingly bivouacked more than 30 times in the middle of nowhere. He logs 25-45 miles per week with 1k-3k elevation gain and is now training for his first 100k race. Trails run through his veins but so does the Italian talkative side.