This week we crossed paths with a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam ROAV and we could not resist trying them on to review its features. The Fresh Foam technology was introduced in 2014 and it was first used on a pair of 980. It was a natural step in the evolution of the New Balance sneakers, a response of the brand to the Phylon midsole from Nike or the BOOST from Adidas. This new technology allowed the Boston based brand to create more contemporary and performant designs. For the past decade countless models have featured the Fresh Foam, being much appreciated for its comfort, responsiveness and stability. In 2021 the brand introduced the ROAV model, a modern shoe that steps away from the retro designs such as the 574 or the 550

How They Fit

It was a pair in all gray and gum colorway that we were able to get our hands (and feet) on. The first thing to notice with the New Balance Fresh Foam ROAV, aside from its appealing looks is that the tongue is sewn. For those with medium width and normal arches these fit like a glove and they fit true to size. However, if you have a high arch these may not be for you as they’ll be a pain to put them on. Same goes with the wide feet fellows, but in this case going a half size up may fix the issue. Once you get your size right these feel very comfortable and lightweight from the first try. If unsure about your size you can check out our New Balance size chart here.

New Balance Fresh Foam Gray Gum1

New Balance Fresh Foam Gray Gum2


The upper of this model is made of a mesh material in the front with some synthetic overlays in the front and in the midfoot area and a shell shaped heel. The mesh material is very breathable and thin. It is great for those with slightly wider feet and makes the toe box very roomy.Those looking for some shoes to accommodate their bunion problem will surely appreciate these. 

The midfoot of the New Balance Fresh Foam ROAV features a synthetic overlay that is quite common for this type of shoe which has the role of adding stability and lockdown to the shoe. The shoe features an elastic band that serves as a bridge over the sewn in tongue. Again, as mentioned above this setup will work for most people. Those with a narrow foot will have to make the laces tiger which may result in an annoying bulking of the mesh material at the base of the lacing setup. 

The Ultra Heel has a distinctive shape with minimal cushioning that makes your feet slide in and secure nicely. When I ran in these while doing my New Balance Fresh Foam ROAV review I noticed after a while that the high heel started rubbing against my feet, something that I did not have a problem with while just using them for walking. 

New Balance Fresh Foam Gray Gum3

New Balance Fresh Foam ROAV gray 1

Sole Unit 

The sole unit of this model features the Fresh Foam in the midsole and the NDurance rubber technology in the outsole. It has a 8mm heel drop which is pretty standard in the industry. When it comes to running in these, the way it is shaped makes it a great shoe for those with heel landings and less so for the rest. This is because the responsiveness of the Fresh foam tends to fade the more miles you run in them and the thinner layers are in the front. For this reason I cannot recommend these for long runs. They are, however, an excellent shoe to do light exercises in which makes it very versatile. They have enough stability to take them in the gym and surely they offer excellent comfort as an everyday casual shoe. The pattern of the outsole which delivers basic traction gives away the best purpose of these which is as an all around athleisure shoe.  

Bottom Line 

To wrap up my New Balance Fresh Foam ROAV review , this is a great model for those looking for a modern, stylish pair of shoes that they can take anywhere. They are good for short runs but also to run your errands and go to the gym. Once you get your size right they are very comfortable and offer good support for long hours. At $85 retail price they offer an excellent value but if you do a bit of research you may be able to get some colorways on sale. If still not convinced, the Adidas Kaptir 3.0 is surely an alternative worth checking out.