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.
MATERIAL: Fresh Foam Lazr midsole with rubber outsole and HypoSkin upper
HEEL DROP: 6mm
WEIGHT: 274g (US 9, Men's)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
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.