Product review

04 Jun, 2020

New Balance Zante v3

Tested by: Russ

Cost:

GBP

Weight:

g/pair

Miles used:

Miles

Times replaced:

Replacements

Watch video review

Review

My first light-weight running shoe, the New Balance Zante v3 offered something completely different to the Merrell Moab. Fast-drying, feather-light, softer cushioning and a breathable upper, they completely changed my idea of which shoes are suitable for long-distance hiking. I completed my first ever thru-hike of the South Downs Way in the Zante v3s and I was very pleased, but why since then have I upgraded to a number of shoes?

 

Feel the trail

Even though the Zante v3 are classed as running shoes, I decided to test them on the South Downs Way because of their good price in the New Balance Outlet, and because I was looking for a cheap upgrade to a lightweight, breathable shoe from the Merrell Moab. Walking 100 miles on the South Downs Way, I quickly found that the sole wasn’t robust enough to take on stony sections of trail. I quickly began avoiding rough sections of trail as best I could to save the soles of my feet getting crunched to death. But the breathability and lighter weight really provoked a search for shoes more suited to rougher terrain in the future.

 

During the trail

More than halfway on the South Downs, I smashed my first ever 30-mile day in the Zantes, something I would’ve found impossible in a heavier shoe or boot. It was a great feeling knowing I’d made a choice in footwear which I believe enabled me to crush some miles. That said, blisters on my supple feet on their first thru appeared after about 85 miles. The cushion on the heel also began getting squashed to the inside of my step, causing my feet to fall unevenly.

 

Get a grip!

The grip on the sole is also very questionable for use on rough, wet or slippery terrain. With almost no tread or lugs to grip into the ground, it’s easy to slip on wet grass or mud. After the South Downs, the tread had all but disappeared.

 

Who are they for?

The New Balance Zante v3 are a very cheap solution for a light-weight, breathable trail shoe, but the lack of tread, gaiter traps and durability make them much more suited for suited for runners.

 

My verdict

For me, the best part was the discovery of the benefits of wearing lighter, more breathable footwear on trail. This sparked my curiosity to keep trying more footwear until I found something I was happy to buy over and over again, eventually landing on the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 about a year later which solved the issues above with the good grip and comfort on rough trail sections.

Gallery

I made Thrunotes

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Overview

  • Durability 20% 20%
  • Comfort 40% 40%
  • Value for money 80% 80%

BPros

  • Light-weight
  • Fast dry time
  • Comfortable
  • Cheap
  • Breathable

CCons

  • Very little grip
  • Grip wears off quickly
  • Had to size up
  • No longer in the New Balance outlet
  • No gaiter traps

Specs

Price

£60 / From £156 on Amazon

Weight

454g (16oz)

Drop height

6mm

Upper

Mesh

Sole

Rubber

Features

  • Standard lace enclosure
  • Fresh Foam mid-sole

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