There was some chatter about how the Vazee Pace was the successor to the 890 V5. Having reviewed the 890 V5 a few months ago, and with initial mileage on the Pace, we can assure you that there is absolutely nothing in common between the two. Unless you’re comparing the Vazee to prior versions of the 890, an area where we have no wear-test experience.
The 890’s fit and the ride couldn’t have felt more different. The 890 felt like a cushioned trainer with a snug forefoot, a closer relative of the 1080 than the Pace. Add to that greater weight too, at 272 grams/9.6 oz vs. 255 gms/9.0 oz of the Vazee. So if you were expecting the Pace to be an incarnated 890, then you’ll likely be disappointed.
A better way to look at the Vazee Pace is to do so from a 1500 V1/Zante/Pace viewpoint. All three shoes are excellent choices in the category of low-profile-low-weight low heel drop pacers.
These models are sufficiently differentiated, which is quite a feat. We won’t bring the Boracay into this discussion, because of its higher stack heights and weight class.
The Vazee Pace differs from the 1500 and Zante in a couple of distinct ways. Imagine a scale of 1-10 defining two attributes: an upper fit quality on a scale of roomy to narrow, and a ride type which scaled from firm to soft. On this scale, the Pace would occupy the left slider, meaning that it has the most spacious upper and the firmest ride out of the three.
Like every other shoe, New Balance markets the Vazee Pace helped by a lot of superfluous adjectives. Yet in Vazee Pace’s case, one thing you can’t accuse New Balance of is false advertising. The Vazee Pace is a performance thoroughbred with a very specific purpose. It shines only under the ideal set of circumstances, which happens to be running in them at a 5.00 min per km / 7 min per mile or faster.
If you go slower, then perhaps the Vazee isn’t the best shoe for you, and you’ll be better off in the Zante. Think of the Vazee Pace as a fast road bike meant for carving speedy miles, versus a general purpose bike with features to match.
With its firmer midsole foam and Hoka Clifton 1 type flat insole, there isn’t any soft sensation to be had while walking around or trying them on the store floor. The impression of your first in-store wearing and actual running will differ greatly.
The very firm midsole helps produce an excellent quality of transition, a kind which feels quick and efficient. There are absolutely no wasteful soft spots, and the Pace feels distraction free throughout except for the under-arch area.
You know what they say about the ideal running shoe; the one which you don’t think much about during runs – and the Vazee Pace comes pretty close.
There are a few design elements worth of note. The outsole has a wide groove running from the split heel to the midfoot, which helps keep the weight loaded in the center.
And the Pace is a good example of a firm midsole not necessarily translating into a jarring ride. A few design factors help achieve this outcome.