The Zante V3 was missing the mark against some of the excellent shoes in the lightweight market, and all my issues with that shoe have been refined and improved for the Zante V4. Most of the work has been done with great impovements to the midsole and the ride that it delivers. The heel to toe transition has always been silky smooth the the Zante, but the previous models were firm and dull compared to the competition. The upper as been refined also but its a step back in comfort is you as me, but that is not a reason to beat this shoe up. It works fine as an upper, but I feel NB went too far on the support elements here. On the run, it is an absolute winner, and a racing shoe in training shoe clothing. I felt myself wanting to get on my toes, be light on my feet with a spring in my step every time I ran in the shoe, and that included my shattered days. It is too light to be your everyday trainer, but its a shot in the arm of EPO equivalent (or wherever you inject such stimulants) when your feeling down and need a lift, if that makes sense!
Easily the biggest and best impovement to the previous models is the midsole. I can see or feel no real difference to the overal shape of the shoe, but NB have refinded the sidewall design in the heel and forefoot to allow the single piece of Fresh Foam to compress on impact easier. This sidewall redesign has make the shoe a much smoother, and softer feeling product than before, and now it competes head to head with the best racer trainers on the marker such as the Mizuno Wave Rider, Brooks Launch and the Nike Zoom Elite. I just really like the smooth heel to toe transition on the Zante, and its simplicity to combine cushioning and speed effortlessly.
The clean vamp of engineered mesh remains from the V3 which is really comfortable, and gives your toes lots of wiggle room, but NB have beefed up the quarter panels with a material called Hyposkin that has some laser perfs cut in for breathability. Unfortunatly, they moved the support overlays forward a little and it does cut into your arch slightly when you tie up the shoe, and while I can feel it, there has been no blister issues, but its a shame it is there in the first place. It seems like NB have gone just a little too far on the quarter panel, lacing combination and a more supple upper would make this shoe an absolute winner. The internal bootie is snug and well fitting and the tongue is well padded, so all round its a decent upper, just not great.
A staple full length Hexagon lug outsole from NB combining a mix of carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot. It works great on all surfaces but becasue of its quest for lightness, the compounds will not hold up as well to heavy mileage and constant use as some high end cushion shoes. But it is smooth, quiet and grips great which is all you can really ask for in a shoe surely!
A credible racer trainer than loves to be taken out fast. There is enought in the shoe for lighter runners to use this shoe daily or as a racer trainer for the heavier runner. As a marathon racing shoe, its absolutely perfect, with its balance of lightweight, smooth style, and good underfoot protection. I am using this shoe for all sorts of training days right now, from easy runs where I want to feel lighter, to tempo runs and rep sessions, so it has proved a great shoe in my collection and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Just try it on, and make sure that upper is fine for your foot, if it is, your getting a great shoe for the money!
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