Thomas: aaaaahhhh yeah, love me some Zante. In theory, the Fresh Foam Zante 4 is a simple design. The one-piece Fresh Foam midsole, full coverage blown rubber outsole, attached to “Hyposkin” upper all work together to deliver a snappy ride with a quick turnover feel.
While not the lightest speed shoe at around 9 oz. for a size 10.5, the Zante 4 is light for a fast shoe that you can use as a daily trainer. Some runners complained about the Zante 3 feeling stiffer than the previous models; I did an unscientific test by putting the Z4 on one foot and the Z3 on the other. The Zante 4 felt a smidge softer. What stands out between the 3 and the 4 is the Zante for has a smoother underfoot feel. Less lumpy.
The upper has gone from pretty basic in the original model to relatively high tech in the Z4. We are talking engineered mesh, no-sew material application, and some sort of molded perforated “Hyposkin” saddle over the arch that extends to the heel counter. The good thing is it provides a secure fitting upper.
The light, snappy feel on the foot with the effortless turnover is the outstanding characteristic of the Zante 4.
Meaghan: I ran in the original Zante. Haven’t stepped foot in an updated version since. Well, until now. The Zante V4 is a good looking shoe. It’s sleek, simple. I was happy with the stretch and comfort of the upper, despite the generally narrow build. The step in feel of this shoe is great. The engineered mesh is especially soft and stretchy, without any interior seams. The foot is secured down with what New Balance is calling a Hyposkin. Basically, there’s another layer of material around the midfoot to add structure. They even added some tiny holes for breathability. It works just fine.
Underneath the foot is your standard Fresh Foam. However, New Balance added some fancy laser engravings on the sides to assist with flexibility. This shoe is super bendy. A layer of blow rubber makes up the outsole, but it doesn’t add much weight or take away from the flexibility of the shoe. My W7.5 came in just over 7 oz. While it’s nearly an oz heavier than the original model, I would still put this into a super light daily trainer category.
Thomas: On my right foot, the lateral edge over the toes rubs a bit. I tried different socks with varied thicknesses. Nothing eliminated the rubbing. I put 45 miles in on the Zante 4, and the rubbing never left a mark. I recommend trying on a half size up from your regular running shoe size and see which fit you like better.
I was not expecting as much wear on the lateral edge of the outsole. The harsh conditions of cold temps and salted running surfaces may have played a role in the amount damage. Regardless, the wear would not get in the way of getting 300 miles out of the Zante 4.
Meaghan: On paper, I should love this shoe. In real life, I just don’t. Maybe it’s the slightly narrow build, maybe it’s the lack of support through the forefoot. Either way, I was never eager to take this shoe out for miles, of any kind.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 4 Conclusion
Thomas: The Zante 4 remains a favorite. It is one of those trainers you look forward to throwing on in the morning to get your miles in. I don’t know if it is 4% more efficient than Nike Streak 6, but it is tons more efficient than the New Balance 1080 v8. After running in the 1080, the Zante feel lightning quick and feather-light (plus you could buy almost three pairs for the price of one pair of VaporFly 4%). If you are purchasing the Zante 4 online ($89.95) order two pairs, your regular size and a half size up. Obviously, if you are at your local running store, give both sizes a try. $89.95! Damn! That ain’t bad. Care about the drop? The Zante 4 has a 6mm differential 23 mm/17mm. More stats: Heel Width: Medium, Midfoot Volume: Medium, Toe Box Width: Medium, Toe Box Height: Medium to low, Arch Height: Medium to high
Meaghan: I didn’t love the original Zante. I don’t love V4. But, it’s not all bad. As I noted earlier, it’s a great looking shoe, it’s comfortable and it’s light. Where the shoes fell short for me was out on the road. I didn’t feel there was enough structure, particularly through the forefoot. I (shockingly) would take the 1080 v8 over Zante 4 for easy miles or long runs. If you are a Zante fan, you won’t be disappointed with the updates.