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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New New Balance

Faced with two super clearance sales and indecision, I bought two pairs of New Balance last week.

The first pair, in orange, were the Vazee pace. I was excited to see that they were shaped on a curved last and offered a wide, so fit should be fine for my wide feet and bunions!
But actually, they were too large. It was odd - they were significantly longer than the other pair of New Balance I'd bought, and it wasn't just toe length - the arch, heel, etc were all longer. I'd say they were at least a half size too big (despite what Shoefitr, which by the way Amazon bought, said).
However. I did not return these for a smaller size, because when I stood in them, they were obviously too firm for my tastes. I like cushioned shoes. So I sent them back.
The other pair I bought were the bright yellow Zante Fresh Foam. They felt a lot softer, but with most of the cushion in the heel. They also have a 6mm drop rather than the Kinvara's 4mm - not a big difference, but you can tell the heel is bulked up. Compared to the Vazee Pace, these felt much smaller and tighter, and I figured out why when I read the tag. They were not wides. I ordered wides, but these were mediums. I exchanged them for the correct size, but the ones they sent are gray, not yellow.
When comparing to the Kinvara, the Zante is firmer and less flexible with a lower-to-the-ground feel. The toe box is roomy and the arch is narrow, but the low ankle collar might seem loose to some (not me. My whole foot is pretty wide). They're comfortable and, while you feel the foam under your foot, you don't feel it squish under foot like you do in the Kinvara. I wasn't sure about that - I did want a shoe that lasted longer, and firmer foam should last longer, but I also like my squishy cushion. Still, the shoe is as similar to the Kinvara as any other I'd tried, so  I got a pair in the correct width (and by the way, sizing for the Zante was accurate, unlike the Vazee Pace, so I got my usual men's 8.5) and decided to give them a try. More on that later.
For now - a bit about price. Both shoes were the old model and were on clearance. The Vazee Pace was $59 from The Zante was initially $54, but when I returned it for the wrong width, I found a coupon code and got the second pair for $42 (why I did a return and re-purchase instead of an exchange!). Current pricing is $100 for the new model of the Zante - still cheaper than the Kinvara - and the Vazee Pace, which must be being redesigned, is between $89 and $109 on the New Balance site. I also noticed that the Vazee Rush, advertised as a cushioning shoe, is just $79 right now (but I passed because the upper overlay would constrict my bunion). Conclusion? New Balance makes cheaper shoes than most brands. If these New Balance shoes work out, that will be a nice perk - especially if they last longer than the Kinvaras!


  1. Cheaper shoes that are just as good WIN!

  2. I've worn the same shoes for forever because I'm scared to mix it up - especially if they're $$. I've never worn New Balance, which is a little odd since I've worn almost every other major brand at some point.