I’ve stepped out of my running shoe comfort zone lately. This can be a SCARY thing for runners, you know??? I was presented with some opportunities to try out some new-to-me brands and get involved in things that really interested me so I thought WHY NOT?? Variety is the spice of life. AMIRIGHT?
With that being said, I recently gave the New Balance Zantes a try. At first glance I thought they were pretty. Yes, pretty. I liked the colours and how CLEAN the shoes looked. Sleek, simple, and bold. I didn’t know much about them so my first impressions were completely based on physical appearance (this sounds like a dating story).
ANYWAY, once I actually saw/felt them in person at Sport Chek, my initial reaction was “WHOA. These are so light and I probably won’t be able to run in them without breaking my ankles.” Let me tell you a quick story. Once upon a time I ran the NYC Men’s Health Urbanathlon in a pair of super light and not-so-supportive shoes (I won’t name the brand). The course was 10 miles + obstacles and although I completed it pain-free, I couldn’t walk without ankle pain for WEEKS. I’ve had a fear of light and less supportive shoes since then. So what did I do?? I bought the New Balance Zantes anyway. I figured I’d try them out on a really short run and if they felt horrible, I’d use them for cross training.
From the New Balance Website:
Designed from data gathered from fast runners, Fresh Foam Zante has an aggressive toe spring that delivers a quick, incredibly smooth heel to toe transition. Nothing is on the shoe that doesn’t need to be, making it feel like an extension of your foot.
- 6 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 6 mm drop are approximate
- Molded sockliner
- No-sew material application
- Weight: 6.4oz (women), 7.6oz (men)
- Midsole is made of Fresh Foam, providing continual cushioning no matter where you come down on the shoe
- Toe spring assists with the quick transition of the foot from heel to toe
- Rubber outsole is lightweight, yet stabilizes and protects foot upon impact
- Breathable mesh upper provides a secure, yet flexible and soft fit
So, how did they feel?!
I’ll be honest, when I first put them on I was a bit nervous. They almost felt too comfortable, like a sock. I went out for the first time in them aiming to do no more than 3 miles and to my surprise, ended up doing 6.2 instead. The toe spring made it feel like I had rockets under my feet. I think that’s the best way to explain it! I feel super light and fast when I run in these shoes…probably because the Zantes are light and fast. They’ve got a bootie-like design which makes them snug and cozy and comfortable in all the right places (hence the sock-like feel). At the same time, they have a spacious (but not too spacious) toe box which is key in preventing those lovely blisters and black toenails that us runners tend to get. Yes, they are less supportive than some of the other runners I wear but they seem to work for me when I run shorter distances. I haven’t tried them for anything longer than 6.2 miles and I probably wouldn’t go that much further in them based on my own experience. I know my feet and legs are super finicky when it comes to choosing the right shoes, especially for long runs, so I’ll be sticking to shoes with a little more support for my distance training for now. I do know that they were Jess’s shoe choice for BOSTON so you definitely can run long distances in them but I just know that for me, it will take a little bit of time to build up to that (Jess has perfect form/stride/gait and runs like a gazelle #superhuman).
My running has changed a lot over the last few years. I used to be a severe pronator and I literally just found out this week that is no longer the case. I had a real gait analysis done…but more on that soon. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m probably having an easier time running in more neutral/lighter shoes these days because I don’t need as much “help” from my shoes as I used to. You know what I’m saying??
One more thing – SIZING. I take an 8 in regular shoes and an 8.5 in most running shoes. The Zantes were no exception. The 8.5 fit perfect.
I’ll be keeping the Zantes in my rotation for short/easy runs and some speed work FOR. SURE.
P.S. I posted a MEGA VEGA giveaway on Tuesday if you haven’t entered yet!!
Have a great day!