New Balance has been revamping their performance line and making some pretty big changes over the past year. The biggest change is that names have been given to shoes instead of just the number system that has been in place for decades. Also, a new evolution of lightweight trainers has arrived with the Vazee Pace at the heart of it all. For the past 5 years, the go-to lightweight shoe from New Balance has been the 890. This fall, that is going to change. The 890 is actually being discontinued to make way for the Vazee Pace. Overall a similar concept with some neat alterations.
The 890 has been popular for many years among runners looking for a lightweight shoe with a slightly reduced amount of material underfoot. The 8mm drop (heel-to-forefoot differential) encouraged a slightly quicker cadence and faster pace run. In recent years, the upper was built with seamless, welded overlays to prevent irritation on the foot and still hold on snug. Despite the fact that there was never much major criticism to this shoe, New Balance saw an opportunity to improve and seized it.
For this fall season we get our first taste of a new shoe, the Vazee Pace; a name that comes from the French translation for “Let’s go!” To help you do just that, this lightweight trainer shed a full ounce of weight from its predecessor. This shoe was designed with no unnecessary technologies and no material where it isn’t essential to the construction or performance.
Lots of thought on the little details went into making this shoe streamlined. The upper, for example, is nearly seamless. This not only makes the shoe lighter weight but also reduces the chance for irritation on the foot. The tongue is only about 2 inches long and feeds right into a booty construction to make the upper fit like a second sock. This soft wrap on the foot will keep you held in combination with the semi-flexible heel counter. Both will make for an adaptable and lockdown fit. Since the heel and midfoot are secured, a little extra width was provided through the forefoot. If you have a little wider ball of the foot, this could be a great option.
That more spacious forefoot will be beneficial for both wide and narrow feet alike while running in the Vazee Pace. Since it is designed to go fast, chances are you’ll be spending a little extra time of the ball of the foot. This space will provide for a relaxed fit while pushing the speed. To encourage that faster pace and quicker cadence, the Vazee Pace has been lowered to a 6mm drop. New Balance has had a lot of success recently with moving some of their racing flats and lightweight trainers to this midrange offset. Many companies are producing trainers with a 4mm or 8mm offset. However, New Balance is breaking free of those confines and it seems that they have hit the nail on the head. The midsole is low enough to provide a faster racing feel but also provides enough underfoot not to punish the body when form starts to suffer.
Following suit with the wonderful tradition of the 890, the midsole is made from New Balance’s trusty REVLite material. It’s snappy, it’s resilient, it’s fast. This shoe is built to focus on the forefoot and provides a surprisingly smooth accentuated ball of foot padding and aggressive toe-off. The whole point is to get you onto and off your toes faster. Though this may encourage you to push onto your mid- and forefoot, heel strikers will also notice the moderately firm feel and fast turnover.
The Vazee Pace will work great for a neutral runner looking to pick up the pace on any length runs. High schoolers will benefit from the fast feel and versatility for practice every day. Many others will find success using this shoe for their up-tempo runs or even on race day for a variety of distances.
Some comparable shoes would be the Adidas Boston Boost, Brooks PureFlow, Mizuno Sayonara, and Saucony Kinvara.