by Jamie Norton, Marathon Sports staff member

IMG_2255I have struggled over the last few years to find a lightweight training shoe that will accommodate my wide foot. Finally, New Balance has bucked the trend of cutting width to cut weight, and brought a shoe to the table that combines a light and responsive midsole – 7.5oz for men and 6.5oz for women – with a spacious toebox. The Vazee Pace, priced at $109.95, offers performance and function – a lightweight trainer that will power you through any distance.

Fans of the early versions of the 890 will love the return to a wider fit, while 890 v4 and v5 wearers will appreciate the lightweight REVlite midsole material. While it is a wider-fitting shoe, the upper is stitched in the midfoot portion of the shoe for a secure fit, so you won’t find yourself sliding around in the shoe while running downhill. With a 6mm heel-to-toe offset and an 18mm/12mm stack height, the shoe falls nicely between more minimal options like the Saucony Kinvara and Brooks Pureflow, and slightly more substantial shoes like the Adidas Boston Boost and Mizuno Wave SayonIMG_2258ara.

As every brand tries to get in on the increasingly crowded lightweight trainer category, New Balance has jumped in with three nimble neutral shoes – the Boracay, Zante, and this shoe, the Vazee Pace. To explain where the Pace fits into this triumvirate, it’s best to first distinguish between the two Fresh Foam shoes (Boracay and Zante). The Boracay maintains the original Fresh Foam feel of substantial cushion and responsiveness with a 4mm offset. Its sister shoe, the Zante, is lighter, sleeker, thinner, and has more of a racing shoe feel to it (with a slightly higher 6mm offset).

The Pace distinguishes itself from these two options first by construction – using the more traditional REVlite EVA foam instead of the Fresh Foam. Regarding its true feel during a run, it feels like a nice combination between Boracay and Zante. Its specs (weight, offset, stack height) are almost identical to the Zante, but in practice the shoe gives much more of an everyday trainer feel.

IMG_2252This shoe matches up nicely to the Brooks Launch and Nike Lunartempo [available in stores] as a lightweight but solidly cushioned shoe, and leaves plenty of room for those toes to spread!

The New Balance Vazee Pace is available in men’s size 8-13 and women’s size 6-11 in all Marathon Sports stores [CLICK TO FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU].