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New Balance Fresh Foam X Tempo V2: A Versatile Lightweight Trainer
Written by Bach Pham, Content Manager and Megan Flynn, Contributor

When the first version of the New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo arrived, it replaced the popular Zante series with a new trainer meant for uptempo work. Ultimately, the shoe had some niche love among runners, but never quite found its footing. The Tempo v2 comes with a much more defined personality, offering a lower stack, lightweight trainer sibling to the regular 880 series. Replacing the Beacon altogether, the Fresh Foam Tempo v2 offers a sleek package for anyone wanting the feeling of both old school ground feel and new school cushioning.

Price: $119.95 at New Balance
Weight: 9.1 oz, 258 g (men's size 9)
Stack Height: Unavailable
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Lightweight daily trainer


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Bach: The New Balance Tempo v2 brings a total redesign to the original, providing a low stack, flexible daily trainer. Kinvara fans will find a lot of similarities here with a stripped back, Hypoknit upper that secures the foot well and a cushioned midsole that still has plenty of ground contact feel underneath that provides a great amount of versatility on the run. For folks who particularly enjoyed the Beacon that this somewhat replaces, the Tempo v2 is a do-it-all, lightweight neutral trainer for everyday miles and workouts.

Megan:
The New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo V2 is a neutral, low-stack daily trainer that has the potential to double as a tempo shoe or racing flat. The Hypoknit upper provides a comfortable, sock-like feel around the foot with flexibility to adapt to your foot throughout a run. The midsole is composed of New Balance’s Fresh FoamX foam which provides adequate cushioning upon landing and excellent ground feel throughout your stride (thanks to the low stack height). The rubber outsole provides adequate traction in all conditions and showed relatively little breakdown after testing for ~80 miles. This shoe is a great option for those runners out there looking for a non-plated training shoe, workout shoe, or even racing shoe given its lightweight, cushioned, and responsive qualities.




FIT

Bach: The Tempo v2 has a standard fit that I found to be true to size. The hypoknit upper wraps around the foot like a glove and feels snug at first and becomes more fitted and accommodating over time. The last of the shoe is fairly standard and straight, which may be a problem for runners with a wide foot. Fortunately, it does come in wide per New Balance standard. I did have a bruise on the top of my left foot for some of the testing period (unrelated to the shoe), and occasionally felt the glove-fit to be a little constricting, but it never truly irritated me during the run as the upper is a very soft material. The shoe has a lightly padded, flexible heel counter. I found the shoe to lock down and keep the foot locked in extremely well while providing a minimal feel. Though the shoe runs over 9 oz for a men's size 9, due to the fit it really feels an ounce lighter on foot due to how well the upper connects you to the shoe. For insole folks, the insole here is removable, but the volume is a touch shallow if you have a high volume insole.

The one issue I did have with the slightly thicker hypoknit upper is that it ran a touch on the warm side, especially as I wore thicker socks during some of my earlier, cooler day runs. I did not have hotspots, but as the weather cranks into summer I would be a little worried that the heat and humidity would feel just a little closeted in the warm upper.

Megan: The Tempo V2s fit true to size in terms of length, maybe slightly on the narrow side was not noticeable thanks to the flexibility of the Hypoknit upper. I’m normally a women’s size 6.5 regular width, and initially looking at the shoes on my feet it seemed as if the last may be too narrow for my foot. However, running in them I did not notice any discomfort whatsoever regarding the width. The Hypoknit upper is flexible and feels almost sock-like around the foot adapting throughout the stride and allowing for natural movement throughout initial contact through push-off. I was able to test the shoes in some colder weather and early summer temperatures and found the upper to be breathable and well-ventilated. The upper and lacing system help to provide adequate lockdown of the midfoot, while the flexible heel counter provides stability in the rearfoot. The heel counter is lightly padded and curves outward as it travels up the back of the heel, which avoids any rubbing or discomfort.     

The tongue is gusseted and has a mesh-design, further improving the breathability and comfort of the shoe. The tongue is lightly padded throughout, with a bit more padding at the top where it contacts the top of the foot/ankle – yet another box checked in terms of comfort. Although I did not try running sockless in them, the gusseted tongue and light padding throughout the internal portion of the shoe makes me believe they would be comfortable to run in sockless. All-in-all, New Balance nailed it with the sizing and comfort of the shoe.



PERFORMANCE

Bach: The Zante Pursuit was my favorite New Balance shoe of all-time, and this is the closest shoe New Balance has released that recreates a lot of what I loved in that shoe. There are differences though. The Fresh Foam X cushion is much softer and plusher feeling here. You can feel the foam compressing nicely into the ground on landing. I love that the shoe has some outsole carried from its 880v12 cousin which allows for good traction and does a great job of digging into the ground and further helping with pushing off. The outsole material is surprisingly soft, making landings feel fairly cushioned while still providing enough firmness to push off which I loved.  There are some well-placed flex grooves that provide great flexibility in the forefoot as well.

While the shoe can handle a variety of paces, I was particularly surprised to find how much I liked it at recovery paces. The bevel is slight, but effective, and the weight and construction light enough that I really enjoyed long run efforts in the shoe at very easy paces. I took the Tempo v2 for three two-hour runs and enjoyed every effort. Despite a lower stack, there is more than enough Fresh Foam X underneath to keep you protected. I would not take this for a marathon personally - my preference leans towards a more cushioned, rockered shoe like the Craft Ultra 2 - but anyone with tough feet that prefers a lower profile, non-plated shoe for long distances, this is definitely an option.

Living up to the, name the Tempo v2 can definitely take off for some harder workouts. You'll definitely want to ease into the shoe if you are used to higher stacked footwear as this is really going to connect you with the ground and also has a good amount of flexibility in the forefoot compared to rigid rockers. Once I got a slower long run out of the shoe, I felt more comfortable taking the Tempo v2 for longer tempo runs and found the shoe to deliver in spades. I particularly loved the shoe for shorter hard efforts, particularly track workouts (800s, 400s). The fitted upper does a fantastic job of locking the foot down almost like a track-spike, allowing for great confidence on sharp turns and fast speeds.

The outsole has some wear in my usual places in the lateral heel after 60 miles. I expect fairly average durability for the shoe with it being fairly light and minimal in construction. The shoe has remained consistent over the miles though, providing a comfortable step-in and landing followed by smooth take-off.

Megan: Let me start off this section by saying the New Balance Fresh Foam X Tempo V2 have quickly become one of my favorite non-plated, performance, daily trainers giving the Kinvara 13s a run for their money. The shoe is extremely comfortable, but that does not always mean optimal performance. However, the Tempo V2’s certainly surpassed my expectations in terms of performance. The low stack 6mm drop Fresh Foam X midsole provides adequate cushioning immediately on contact with the ground allowing for adaptation to the surface. The low-stack with relatively high-cushioning is a combination that not many shoe companies have perfected. So far – in my experience at least – the Saucony Kinvara line is the only other shoe that is close to having this perfected. The low stack provides adequate ground feel on contact which allows for quick adaptations of the foot and ankle to the surface, while the cushioning provides comfort for longer runs (I tested them up to 14 miles so far).    

The heel-toe drop is ~6mm which is a good neutral drop and doesn’t place too much stress on the Achilles, despite the minimal feel of the shoe. The rubber outsole provides excellent traction on any surface I’ve encountered so far – dirt, gravel, pavement, track – and in wet or dry conditions. There is minimal wear on the outsole after ~80 miles and the traction continues to be top-notch. There are flex grooves at the forefoot which allows for extra flexibility at the forefoot, optimizing push-off.    

Now for the responsiveness and ride of the shoe – I’m saving this for last in this section on purpose because it is the best part about the shoe (at least in my opinion). The lightweight quality, flexibility of the midsole, very mild forefoot rocker, and forefoot flex groove come together to create a responsive ride providing just enough of a “pop” forward and smooth transition from landing to push-off without sacrificing the normal mechanics of the foot. I’ve tested these shoes on various runs, mostly long runs, and at paces ranging from easy pace down to marathon-pace efforts. Within one long run, I ended up taking them for an impromptu progression from easy pace down to marathon pace for the last 6 miles. They easily transitioned to the faster pace with comfort and responsiveness making the drop in pace feel almost effortless (in terms of change in stride/foot strike, at least!). The cushioning of the shoe helps to minimize forces on landing by adapting to the surface without adding bulk to the shoe. Overall, the New Balance Fresh Foam X Tempo V2 have met every expectation of mine in terms of performance when it comes to daily trainers – I have yet to have find anything negative about the performance of this shoe.



STABILITY

Bach: The New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo v2 overall is a neutral shoe due to the fairly straight and slightly narrow last. The Fresh Foam X midsole is decently soft and compresses into the ground more easily than the firmer Kinvara for example which adds to some of the instability. I did, however, find the design of the Tempo v2 to keep my foot from rolling during my runs. I personally struggle in hyper flexible footwear like the Liberate from Puma. The Tempo's primary flex point is different in that it is just above the midfoot, starting at the rear of the forefoot unlike some other shoes it competes against where the flex point is directly midfoot. As a flat footed runner, any major flexibility around the midfoot often makes I'm more liable to roll my foot as my flat arch has nothing to help really stabilize the flexibility there. Moving the flex point up does a nice job of shifting this issue for me. The Tempo v2's mid to rearfoot has a decent amount of stiffness. The landing is still slightly compressive, but the higher stack of Fresh Foam X in the heel firms things up slightly which helps provide a more stable rearfoot experience. The shoe's lower profile and the glove-like fit also provides a bit more proprioception on the run and through tight turns.

This is still a neutral shoe, but a few design choices help make it bit more stable. Those with moderate to severe medial support needs will not find that in the Tempo v2.

Megan: The New Balance Fresh FoamX Tempo V2 is a true neutral shoe with a narrower last and flexible midsole throughout. It is more on the flexible versus rigid side but still provides some level of stability, specifically in the midfoot and rearfoot. The more firm heel counter and relatively higher stack provides stability at the rearfoot. The forefoot flex grooves mean more flexibility toward the forefoot, allowing for the midfoot and rearfoot to be firmer and add to the stability of the shoe. The adaptability of the Hypoknit upper and sock-like feel improve the security of the shoe throughout the run and around sharp/quicker turns. Due to the narrow last at the midfoot, there is some stability demands placed on the body to control pronation and prevent medial arch collapse in stance.


CULTURE CORNER

Breaking Down the New Balance Line-Up and Where the Tempo v2 Fits In

For beginners and even veterans, it can be difficult to understand what shoe is what in the New Balance line-up. Between numbers a host of names, you really have to have some familiarity or guidance to know what you are doing. The following is a simple breakdown of the line-up to not only help explain the line, but also where the Tempo v2 sits. To learn more about each shoe, click on the title for our full review. (Note: No review of the Propel or Hierro)

Foam Notes: Fresh Foam X is the brand's signature base midsole foam. Their FuelCell midsole is a nitrogen-infused TPU.

Neutral Line-Up
Fresh Foam X Tempo v2
- Lightweight, lower profile daily trainer with a fair amount of ground contact (6mm drop, stack unavailable)
Fresh Foam Beacon v3 - Lightweight daily trainer with minimal outsole and minor ground contact (30mm heel, 24mm forefoot, 6mm drop - note: Beacon is currently set to end)
Fresh Foam X 880v12 - Standard daily trainer  (35mm heel, 25mm forefoot, 10 mm drop)
Fresh Foam X 1080v12 - Rockered daily trainer with higher stacked forefoot (36mm heel, 28mm forefoot, 8 mm drop)
Fresh Foam X More v3 - Maximum cushioned, rockered trainer (38mm heel, 34 mm forefoot, 4 mm drop)
FuelCell Propel v3 - Base daily trainer with FuelCell Midsole (30mm heel, 24 forefoot, 6 mm drop)
FuelCell Rebel v2 - Performance trainer (workouts, may be lightweight daily trainer for some), (30mm heel, 24mm forefoot, 6mm drop)
FuelCell RC Elite v2 - Long run performance trainer/race day shoe with carbon fiber plate (36mm heel, 28mm forefoot, 8 mm drop)

Stability Line-Up
FuelCell Prism v2 - Lightweight, moderate stability trainer (30mm heel, 24mm forefoot, 6mm drop)
Fresh Foam 860v12 -
High stability daily trainer using medial post (34mm heel, 24mm forefoot, 10mm drop)
Fresh Foam X Vongo v5 - Maximum cushioned, high stability trainer with a gradient medial post (34mm heel, 26mm forefoot, 8mm drop)

Trail Line-Up
Fresh Foam Hierro v6 - Base trail running trainer (31mm heel, 23mm forefoot, 8mm drop)
Fresh Foam More Trail v2 - Maximum stack height ultradistance trail shoe (data unavailable)

New Balance within box stores may feature other shoes outside of this line. The listed shoes above are part of what we consider to be New Balance's current primary line-up of running footwear. Any other shoes fall within their budget running range (ROAV, Cruz, 840, Arishi, etc.).



RECOMMENDATIONS

Bach: I honestly really enjoyed the Tempo v2 and welcomed the rehash of the Zante Pursuit in this model. As a versatile, lower - but still fairly cushioned - profile shoe, it provides a lot of nice things in one package for New Balance and helps fill a void for anyone looking for a non-plated, fast trainer from New Balance. A small change I would suggest is slightly more bevel. I found when I occasionally got tired that the rear foot was sometimes a little clunky. Just a touch more of a bevel would help make the ride even more seamless. Knowing that the original Zante Pursuit was 2 oz lighter, I'd love to see the Tempo continued to be stripped back to separate it a little more from the 880 model in particular. Adding bit more breathability in the upper would be a good first step in helping do that.

Megan: If you read any of the above, you know that I absolutely loved running in this shoe and will continue to use them as my go-to daily trainer – specifically for long runs. It is difficult to find a lightweight, minimal (yet cushioned), and responsive trainer and if it were up to me, I wouldn’t change too much with the Tempo V2s. If I HAD to recommend one change for the next version, I’d say maybe to increase the width of the last at the midfoot. That way, those with decreased control of pronation have a chance to experience this shoe without risking injury or irritation to the midfoot.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

Bach: The Tempo v2 is a highly versatile lightweight trainer that ticks a lot of boxes as far as a do-it-all shoe. Unlike the higher stack height offerings in today's market, the Tempo v2 offers a refreshingly middle of the road platform that balances cushioning with nice ground feel. This could be a great daily trainer to pair with a plated shoe or something like the high stacked 1080v12 for long efforts, or simply a person who has a preference for lower profile shoes for all their runs. I hope to see New Balance maintain this model long-term in their lineup as the lower profile, non-plated workout shoe continues to slowly fade in brand lines. #SaveTheFlats

Megan
: The New Balance Fresh FoamX Tempo V2s are a neutral, lightweight, non-plated performance trainer perfect for someone looking for a go-to shoe for easy paces ranging down to tempo/marathon-paced efforts. Since they are on the more minimal side in terms of stack height and stability, these are ideal for someone used to running in neutral shoes. The heel-toe drop, however, is not aggressive and won’t place extra stress on the posterior chain as a lot of the minimalist shoes tend to do. The Tempo V2 is a great option for those runners out there that still prefer to race/train without a plated shoe as they are responsive, cushioned, and comfortable on the long haul.


GRADING

Bach
Fit: A- (Excellent glove-like fit. Wide options accommodates more runners. Upper runs slightly warm)
Performance:
A- (If you aren't a fan of higher cushioned shoes that the market has greatly leaned towards, this is a valuable option that gets a lot of things done)
Stability: B/B+ [Neutral[ (A neutral shoe overall with it's straight last and flexibility. Excellent fit helps provide some good proprioception and slightly stiffer heel reduces midfoot flexibility which helps)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Hypoknit upper wraps around foot extremely well and connects you to the sole. Design elements help bring versatility)
Personal: A (Being a Zante Pursuit fan, I picked this shoe up for runs time and time again well past my testing miles. It's a tremendously fun shoe that will stay in my rotation)
Overall: A- (Helping provide a really fun alternative to the Kinvara and filling a void that is disappearing day by day with the low profile, lightweight trainer)

Megan
Fit: B+
(They fit true to size, however slightly on the more narrow side at the midfoot)        
Performance:  A
(Responsive, comfortable, flexible – zero complaints in terms of performance) 
Stability: A-
(They’re more on the flexible side with most flexibility toward the forefoot. There is some stability at the midfoot and rearfoot, however stability is not the most prominent feature. The primary stability components of the shoe are at the rearfoot and from the upper) 
Personal: A
(I am a big fan of these shoes. I have virtually nothing negative to say about them after testing them for ~80 miles. They are up there in my rankings with the Kinvara line, which has been my favorite non-plated performance trainer for a long time now.)     
Overall:  A-
(The V2s are a fun trainer that can go for distance and/or speed, but could add a bit more stability at the midfoot by adding to the width of the last.)
   

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Price: $119.95 at New Balance

Men | Women

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FURTHER READING

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Saucony Tempus - Superfoamed stability!?
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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at  New Balance for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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Strength Training for Runners | DOR Podcast #90

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