New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3 and Savannah Women’s Half Expo Review

I mentioned in Monday’s Weekly Rundown post that my next race is the Publix Savannah Women’s 5K. Last year, I was selected as a race ambassador, and I’m excited to run and spend the weekend in Savannah.

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Recently, the race’s apparel partner, New Balance, sent a pair of the Fresh Foam Zante 3 shoes and some gear for me to review. These are my typical racing shoes, so I’ll be wearing them in Saturday’s 5K. Since the shoes are black, and this is my first 5K race “back”, I immediately thought of the song “Back in Black” by AC/DC.

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The Fresh Foam Zante 3 are a performance neutral shoe and my favorite shoe for track workouts and 5K-half marathon races. I bought the first edition of the Zante almost two years ago, and this is the fourth pair of Zante’s I’ve owned.

Version 1 of the Zante’s truly felt amazing right out of the box. I got them two years ago before my first Cooper River Bridge Run. I ran an easy 4 miles in them two days before the race, and it was all I could do to NOT wear them for the race- they were that comfortable.

The sizing of the Zante 3’s seems to be consistent with the other editions and what I usually wear in running shoes (Size 6 Medium). The shoes have a 6 mm drop. I rotate multiple pairs of shoes across different brands and wear anything from a 4mm to 10mm drop, so these fit well in my rotation. If you’re used to a 12-13mm drop shoe, you may need to break these in slowly.

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For reference, I’m a small, efficient runner who mostly runs on roads, treadmills, and tracks. I race 5K-half marathons and run 40-50 mpw when training. I underpronate, more so in my left foot, where I have the peroneal tendon issues and wear neutral shoes. I’ve been fitted for running shoes several times and encourage you to visit your local running store for a fitting if you haven’t already. As much as I love the Zante, they may not be the shoes for you, and I’d hate to see anyone else join the injured list because they bought a pair of shoes solely based on someone else’s personal preference. 

Here’s why I keep running in the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante:

  • Cushioned but responsive – The Fresh Foam Zante are more cushioned than a racing flat but responsive enough for fast runs. Before I purchased the Zante’s, I was wearing a firmer racing flat and having niggles and aches after runs on bridges and connectors. I’ve worn the Zante’s for everything from flat and fast 5Ks to races involving bridges and connectors. Running on the Cooper River Bridge is brutal, but the Zante cushions the blow well.
  • Lightweight – I don’t run in minimalist shoes, I don’t like bulky running shoes. The Zante’s are cushioned but don’t feel like marshmallows on my feet.
  • Long lasting – Everyone wears through shoes at a different rate, so your mileage may vary (literally) on this, but I got over 400 miles out of my first and second pairs of Fresh Foam Zante’s. Most running shoes last for 300-500 miles, and I was surprised that a lightweight shoe like the Zante lasted 400 miles. Obviously, I can’t say how many miles I’ll get out of the Zante 3 since I just got them a few weeks ago.
  • Work with MY orthotics – Since my peroneal tendonitis injury, I have a small heel wedge I wear in my left shoe to keep the pressure off the tendon. I switch the wedge out between shoes, including these. All orthotics are different, so if you wear custom orthotics you’ll want to test those out when you purchase shoes.
  • Value – Although I received these shoes at no cost from the race, I purchased three pairs of New Balance Zante with my own money before this review. The shoes retail for about $100 and are a great shoe for that price point. It’s hard to find running shoes for $100 these days.

I noticed one main difference in Version 3 compared to Version 1. The 3’s ride seems a bit stiffer, which I’m hoping is just a break in period. Since I’ve been injured, I haven’t been able to log as many miles as I’d like in general, much less on these shoes.

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While the Zante’s are my go-to for short races, I probably wouldn’t run a marathon in these shoes. I know runners who wear the Zante for marathons, but I would prefer a bit more shoe for a long distance. I did wear the Zante 1’s in several half marathons (Historic Georgetown Bridge 2 Bridge, Charleston Half, and Hilton Head Island). Just personal preference, I guess.

Along with the shoes, New Balance also sent a cute running shirt and capri pants. The heathered short sleeve shirt is lightweight and cool, and the purple color is perfect for Spring running. The color even matches the race’s purple logo and theme. The accelerate pants are moisture wicking and will be great for lifting weights, yoga, pilates, or for those who run in pants. Since Charleston has nine months of summer temps, I run in shorts year-round but wear pants to the gym.

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If you’re interested in the Fresh Foam Zante shoes or other New Balance gear, it will be available at the New Balance Fashion Fitness Expo. New Balance representatives will be at the expo, so you can check out these shoes or other New Balance shoes and apparel that may fit your needs.

While most expos cater only to runners and running items, the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon expo features local vendors with products such as bath items, honey, and gourmet popcorn. These are perfect to treat yourself after the race or to take home to family and friends.

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The expo is held on Friday, April 7 from 10 AM to 8 PM at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto. If you’re registered for the race, you can pick up your packet at the same time. The public is also welcome to come to the expo to shop and hang out. I hope to see you there!

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As an ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K, I received the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3 and outfit for review. All opinions are my own.

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12 Responses to New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3 and Savannah Women’s Half Expo Review

  1. Pam says:

    I appreciate when a blogger takes the time to really explain a shoe for a review. Too many say, “I like the color” or something similar that is totally unhelpful. Hopefully those new black shoes will help you have a great 5k race. The purple top is really cute.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Pam! Yeah, it helps that I’ve worn through so many pairs of the Zante already, too. I have one pair that I wore out and are obviously not in this picture for that reason, too.

      New Balance does a great job of providing color options for everyone- from neon to more conservative colors.

  2. You’re “Back in Black” and I love it!! I agree with Pam! Thank you for actually reviewing the shoe, not just how it looks!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      What gets me is that people will buy a shoe based solely on looks. The special editions for races are the worst. Last year, Brooks had a special edition Adrenaline GTS for Boston. I loved it- beautiful shoe because it was plaid looking. But, that shoe has stability and I can only wear neutral shoes due to underpronation. You wouldn’t believe the people who will buy a shoe that isn’t what they need just because of how it looks, though.

  3. Have you ever run in the NB Vazee line? I just got a pair of Vazee Pace, but I’m not sure I like them. I’m curious how the Zantes compare.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I haven’t run in the Vazee Pace, but I have worn the Vazee 2090’s (I just retired them after my last injury). They’re a bit more shoe than the Zante but better for longer runs and I liked running the Bridge wearing them.

    • Tracy says:

      For a few years I SWORE by Newtons, but I got injured this time last year and they just haven’t felt the same since. I didn’t think I could love another shoe as much as I loved my Newtons, but I switched over to NB Zante 2’s last year and have been really impressed! There’s really nothing about them that I don’t like. I just ordered a pair of the Zante 3 – my old ones aren’t dead yet but I got a killer deal – and I’m anxious to eventually try them out! The price point, especially compared to Newtons, is a really nice bonus! I’ve gotten older models on sale for under $50.

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Running Warehouse always has great deals on the older models of the Zantes! I’ve bought a few pair for about $50 and you really can’t beat that.

        A lot of people I know who used to wear Newtons left the brand once they went to 5 lugs. Back in 2012ish I knew a lot of Newton runners but only a handful now. Ironically, the Newton runners I know are triathletes…

    • Tracy says:

      Just throwing in my two cents here…I find that the Vazee Pace feel pretty similar to the Zante, just a bit stiffer. I was worried I wasn’t going to like that, but now I actually prefer them to the Zante sometimes. I haven’t raced in the Zante but I just ran a marathon in the Vazee Pace and they were perfect!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Thanks for the feedback! I may consider the Vazee Pace for longer distances myself. I did find the Zante 3 were a bit stiffer than the 1’s. I never actually had the 2’s…

  4. Elizabeth C. says:

    That’s awesome that you received a free pair of your favorites. I remember that you suggested these to me awhile ago, and I looked into them. The 6mm drop is too low for me, and whenever I have gone below 9 I start to feel an ache in my achilles area. It’s great that you have a shoe that is your go-to for shorter races. It’s awesome that you are “back in black”!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Oddly enough, it seems like it’s getting harder to find the traditional drop shoes that are 9mm and above (at least in lightweight/performance/racing shoes, you can still find trainers with those drops). I think we both used to wear the same Mizuno shoes for a while too until they were discontinued.

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