New Balance has not-so-subtly changed its image in recent years with the advent of more agile and energetic running shoes. Continuing with some of the detail put into the award-winning Fresh Foam Zante, the Vazee Pace is a lightweight, low-to-the-ground training shoe that will also work well for some runners as a racing flat for longer distances. Although it’s a close complement to Zante, a similarly positioned neutral trainer with almost identical weights and dimensions, the difference is in midsole materials. The speed-oriented Vazee (the name is a play on a French word that means “let’s go”) offers considerably more spring than the shock-absorbent Zante, making it ideal for everything from tempo runs to track workouts. The upper conforms gently for a near-custom fit and flexes dynamically with the natural movements of the foot. A shining example of the post-minimalist revolution, the Pace offers just enough cushion and structure without inhibiting a runner’s stride. “They are very responsive, and put loads of energy in your stride, making them very fun to run in,” says Competitor wear-tester Casey Blaine. “I noticed that these definitely felt a little firmer than their cousin the Zante. Not rigid by any means though; there is still nice give. This firmness is actually probably ‘just right’ for performance.” Added wear-tester John Tolbert: “This is definitely a shoe for a specific runner, one who is strong and agile to run with a performance-oriented gait most of the time.”
This is the shoe for you if … You’re looking for a lightweight, low-to-the-ground trainer that’s energetic and sleek enough to double as a racing flat.
Plus: This shoe has a slightly wider forefoot profile, allowing for natural toe splay.
Minus: This shoe rolls nicely, but it isn’t enough for those who need support or guidance.
Weights: 7.5 oz. (men’s 9.0); 6.5 oz. (women’s 7.0)
Heel-Toe Offset: 6mm; 17mm (heel); 11mm (forefoot)
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