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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!