Thursday, August 07, 2014

Outdoor Retailer Summer 14: New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay(980) and Fresh Foam Zante, 1210 Leadville V2

Last year New Balance launched Fresh Foam a line of shoes where biomechanical data is translated into 3D midsole and outsole design.  Essentially a single material midsole and single material outsole where sculpting of the materials creates the feel and response. No additional plastic or different densities of midsole The promise was  supportive plush cushioning.  I tested and reviewed Fresh Foam 980 Road (here)  and Trail (here) and found them quite different in feel, with the Road quite firm and stiff and the Trail quite plush, nimble, and supportive on both roads and trails.  It turns out that while the materials were the same, the larger hexagons and according to New Balance also the depression of the lugs into the midsole gives the 980 Trail its smooth feel.  The 980 Trail has been my favorite trail shoe in 2014 when the going gets rougher.

For Spring 2015 New Balance is updating the 980 Road, now called Fresh Foam Boracay, and is introducing a light performance trainer, the Fresh Foam Zante.
The theme is "Smooth Just Got Fast". While I have not tried them yet I believe these will be very smooth and the Fresh Foam Zante will be fast shoes for many.  New Balance has rapidly iterated its promising approach and the results should be great. The Fresh Foam Trail remains unchanged. No need to change a great thing at this point!

The Fresh Foam Boracay is 9.31 oz Men's size 9 with a 4mm heel/toe drop. $120 on sale February 2015.
The Fresh Foam Zante is a 7.55 oz, 6mm heel toe drop. $100 on sale March 2015. There will be a limited release of Fresh Foam Zante in November.  This should be a fine light performance trainer and racer for many , including yours truly.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay
With the Fresh Foam Boracay and Fresh Foam Zante,  New Balance has adjusted the hexagons to more closely match the Trail, made them larger which when concave provide cushion and when convex more support . Using biometric data the areas under the footbed are also sculpted although I was not able to actually see this. So while I have not run in them yet,  I believe these will be more cushioned and also more responsive,  similar to adidas Boost and the Hoka Huaka RMAT two types of midsoles I am running in now and really like.

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay
While the last on the Fresh Foam Boracay is the same as last year's 980,  the midsole is a wider platform and should provide a bit more room and less of a pointy feeling up front. The tongue has a neat stretch component near the last eyelets, at the gore, to better adjust and provide more flexibility up front.

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay
The outsole design  of the Boracay has been slightly adjusted to provide more flexibility.

The Fresh Foam Zante has a very soft stretch no stretch bootie construction up front with the tongue integral to the front of the shoe and of the same material. Similar to the adidas Energy Boost but softer material. The bootie wraps the foot very nicely from midfoot to toe.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante
 I also saw the update to the Leadville 1210.  10.9 oz with 8mm drop.  The hard rock stop is replaced by a nitrogen infused TPU plate ( TPU N2) , the yellow showing through the midfoot,  which to the touch is softer and more flexible.   The plate is only over the ball of the foot about 2 inches high. The upper is also updated. Not sure where this model fits as the Fresh Foam Trail is mighty protective and cushioned but one might call this the heavy duty trail and ultra shoe for those who want tons of protection and volume as well as bit more drop.
New Balance 1210 Leadville

New Balance 1210 Leadville

New Balance 1210 Leadville
The 101 Trail returns for one year only as a "relaunch of a cult classic." The 1010 is no longer in the line for Spring 2015. The Zero V2 (NB Minimus) has  2 versions:  a heavily lugged version 8.4 oz fell runner/mud and a very minimal 5.7 oz flat.


Matt said...

Any word on a new 910?

Sam Winebaum said...

910 stays at V1 and is weatherized with GoreTex from what I see.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, Thanks for all the great info! Am I right in thinking that there are going to be two versions of the trail zero V2 from your last comment above? Could you expand on this? Andrew

rms said...

MT00v2 is pretty much my SOTY, more info! Will they change the toe shape

Sam Winebaum said...

One Zweo V2 is a super minimal 5.7oz flat really with thin Vibram sole and FantomFit. The other is a heavy lugged 8.4oz "fell" type runner. Both listed as in NB Minimus category

Sam Winebaum said...

Will try to get info on toe shape of both Zero

Marie said...

Really excited about the Zante. Looks good and love the 'candy' shots on the table too!

BoracayStories said...

Wow! Even New Balance is using Boracay's on their line. Nice! said...

beautiful shoes !

usd buy said...

Thanks for the in depth review. You mentioned a newly designed minimus trail shoe with a rock plate. Do you have any more info about this shoe. My go to ultra shoe was the mens air jordan 11 trail.

Leadville V3 said...

The New Balance Leadville trail running shoes have been extremely reliable, and have traveled many miles with me. I think these shoes are amazing daily runners for covering a variety of surfaces. I would turn to a more technical trail shoe for difficult trails, but I'm happy to take these out for just about any other environment.