If you intend to keep up your jogging routine on an upcoming overseas trip, especially to a wintry location, you might want to pack the New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Protect Pack with you.
Available in beige and black (the version tested), they look like a pair of trendy sneakers. Thus, you do not need to pack an extra pair of running or casual shoes in your luggage.
As its name implies, New Balance's Protect Pack series is designed to protect your feet from any weather. Unlike the normal Fresh Foam Cruz version, this Protect Pack version features a protective water-resistant mesh designed to endure the winter elements. This mesh also provides an added layer of comfort.
A synthetic mid-foot saddle over the mesh upper helps to keep your foot secure, while a slip-on bootie construction with a pull-on tab at the rear makes wearing and removing the shoes a breeze.
With New Balance's Fresh Foam cushioning technology for its midsole, this pair of neutral running shoes is said to deliver a well-cushioned and stable ride during runs.
MATERIAL: New Balance's Fresh Foam cushioning with synthetic and mesh upper
HEEL DROP: 8mm
WEIGHT: 261g (Men's US 9)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
I like the the pull-on tab, as it allows you to easily slip your feet into the shoes. The shoes fit my feet snugly and gave my toes enough room to wiggle. The molded-foam heel counters gave my injury-prone ankles plenty of support.
The shoes requires some break-in time. It took me two 5km jogs plus a week of daily wear before they felt comfortable.
During runs, I like the amount of energy return with each stride, as well as the ample cushioning they provide. I also like that despite the ample cushioning, the shoes are still quite flexible and lightweight compared to other neutral running shoes I've tried.
On the downside, my feet felt rather warm in our tropical climate. It might be fine when you wear them in an air-conditioned office or a shopping mall, but they felt really hot after a 5km run around midnight.
However, I was thinking they would have been ideal in windy and chilly New York City when I was there last month. Not to mention, my feet hardly got wet when I was wearing them during these past few weeks of torrential rain here in Singapore.
Verdict: The New Balance Foam Cruz Protect Pack is a great pair of running shoes and trendy sneakers rolled into one, especially so when you are visiting countries in winter.