Functional yet trendy enough for everyday wear

It seems like every running shoe company is launching some kind of new shoe technology these days. New Balance's latest is its first laser-engraved midsole, called Fresh Foam Lazr.

The Fresh Foam Lazr HypoSkin uses this midsole, coupled with an upper made of a synthetic material - dubbed HypoSkin - that is said to adapt to the shape of the foot for flexible and natural movement. The toe box and lateral areas are made of HypoSkin, with the mid-foot and medial areas made of a mesh fabric.

New Balance's Fresh Foam midsole has always been about impact cushioning. The Fresh Foam Lazr midsole builds on that by having laser-engraved hexagonal flex grooves added throughout, to further improve comfort, energy return and flexibility.

The shoes have a bootie construction, which means the tongue, heel tab, heel counter and toe box all come in one piece for a sock-like feel.

I find it easy to slot my feet in and out of this pair of shoes, which feel very comfortable from the get-go. No hot spots or need to "season" the shoes.

They are comfortable worn on a weekend out as well as on my 5km jogs. The cushioning and responsiveness are great during running. And the substantial heel counter provided great support for my injury-prone ankles.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $159

    MATERIAL: Fresh Foam Lazr midsole with rubber outsole and HypoSkin upper

    HEEL DROP: 6mm

    WEIGHT: 274g (US 9, Men's)

  • RATING

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Perhaps, the only downer is that the Fresh Foam Lazr midsole does not have the kind of high-level energy return found in the likes of Adidas' Ultra Boost midsole or Under Armour's Hovr midsole. But these shoes are also not as expensive.

Looks-wise, I love the subtle design. In fact, I thought there was no New Balance logo until I realised it has been embossed on the heel counter. Classy.

It makes for a great pair of trendy-looking sneakers that you can wear anywhere.

• Verdict: The New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr HypoSkin provides the best balance in terms of looks, comfort and performance at an affordable price.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Functional yet trendy enough for everyday wear'. Print Edition | Subscribe