Normally we feature performance-oriented shoes in our Shoe of the Week post, but this week we take a look at a shoe that passes the “looks good with jeans” test and also runs pretty darn well too. Although it’s a special make-up of New Balance’s award-winning Fresh Foam Zante shoe and can still run fast for 800m to the half marathon, this version definitely has an urban/hipster/lifestyle look about it. New Balance calls it “a mash up of performance running technology and street-inspired materials made for everyday wear.” It’s ever-so-slightly heavier than the original performance model that came out last spring (partially because it has some premium lifestyle upgrades, including leather accents on the tongue and heel and a gum rubber outsole) but it’s still light enough to have a footloose and fancy-free demeanor about it. We love this shoe, which is why we included it in the men’s lifestyle section of our 2015 Holiday Gear Guide. New Balance is on to something here—namely that running shoes are comfortable enough to wear all the time but we don’t want to wear the shoes we run all the time because they’re typically dirty, worn and smelly—so it created a version you can wear with casual clothes. (It’s also making a leather version of the Zante!) Do you have other running shoes you like wearing with casual clothes? We definitely do.
Like the original performance-oriented Zante, this shoe has a comfortably snug, low-volume interior complemented by a foot-wrapping bootie that provides incredible foot-to-ground proprioception and agility, making up-tempo running, mall walking and bar hopping a breeze. The comfy interior—enhanced by a premium footbed—and lightweight materials give this shoe an energetic demeanor from the moment you lace it up. The combination of the resilient Fresh Foam midsole and considerable toe-spring design encourage a quick cadence, which can put a spring in your step no matter what you’re doing.
This is the shoe for you if: … You’re looking for a lightweight, versatile casual shoe for a wide range of training or everyday activities.
Approximate Weights: 8.0 oz. (men’s), 6.7 oz. (women’s)
Offset: 6mm; 16mm (heel), 10mm (forefoot)