New Balance has been pushing the innovation envelope with its Fresh Foam; the new Zante falls on the lighter and faster end of the spectrum. The upper is an open minimesh, with welded overlays, stitching kept to a minimum to do the job in the least restrictive way. The saddle is fashioned from a stiffer mesh, with minimal structure in the heel so it’s almost nonexistent.

The lacing eyelets have been decoupled to both better secure and move with the foot, and the tongue is gusseted to keep it in place. The midsole is 6mm geometry, combining cushioning and structure into the midsole where needed. The outersole is full-contact, with low-profile, hexagonal lugs molded for traction in the forefoot and contact in the heel. The blending of performance, cushioning, and economical price earned the Fresh Foam Zante our award for Best Shoe in the Performance category.

Testers: “Fits like a racer, and is light enough to be a race shoe, but cushy enough to be a day-to-day trainer. It has been a great performer, and has a key spot in my shoe lineup.”

Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11,12
Weight: 8.6 oz. (men’s 11); 7.0 oz. (women’s 8)
Shape: semicurved
Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board
Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation

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