It’s been a long time since I’ve put over 100 miles on a pair of shoes. I’m not entirely sure that I exceeded that with the New Balance Zante 2 (I don’t track miles on shoes anymore), but since I’ve run most of my miles for the past several months in them, I’d have to guess that I’m easily in triple digits for mileage. Over the course of those miles, my experience with the Z2 has been very positive.
The original Zante was one of my favorite shoes – soft sole, comfortable fit, and a smooth ride that offered plenty of cushion for longer runs. To be honest, not much has changed in v2 – the Zante remains a personal favorite, and it’s a shoe that I highly recommend. It retains a soft, 6mm drop sole (though lately as it has broken in I’m almost feeling it’s too soft), and the bump I felt under the midfoot of v1 seems toned down a bit in v2. New Balance did change the pattern on the sidewalls of the midsole, but I can detect no noticeable effect of this.
The upper of the Zante 2 is minimalistic – it’s composed of a stretchy, double-layered mesh with welded overlays, and the heel counter is very flexible. Fit is reasonably roomy on my foot (though not overly spacious – I did go up a half size). Put simply, it’s a no frills upper that just works.
The outsole of the Zante 2 is also relatively unchanged. It is a smoothish, full length outsole composed of flat rubber hexagons (see picture down below). Great for the road, but not great on trails, and very little traction (would not use it in winter!). Durability for me has been excellent.
To be honest, my only real complaint about the Zante 2 is the fact that it can at times feel overly soft. It almost feels like the sole may bottom out. I’ve only noticed this recently, so it could either be an effect of running on hot summer asphalt, or breakdown of the midsole cushion with use. In either case, I would not recommend the Zante 2 if you like a firmer shoe.
All in all, the New Balance Zante 2 is a great shoe for those who like a smooth, soft ride. It offers a lot of cushion in a lightweight package (8.7 oz in men’s size 9), and could easily serve as a marathon shoe for me. And an even bigger plus is the price – at $100 MSRP it’s quite affordable in the current market. I highly recommend giving the Zante 2 a try!