There’s actually plenty of midsole available on the Vazee Pace, notwithstanding the lack of a soft feel. Compared to the NB 1500 V1 and Zante, the Vazee has similar stack heights, so there’s ample foam volume to pad your landings and transitions.
Additionally, the central groove tends to splay out under weight, doubling up as a cushioning agent. The discussion won’t be complete without mention of the Vazee Pace’s outsole.
Except for the lateral heel and midfoot, which is overlaid with harder carbon rubber, the rest of the outsole is made with soft blown rubber. This is very similar to how the 1500 V1 is designed. That said, the variation in design like larger exposed grooves and flat textured pod-like lugs reduces the efficacy of outsole grip. The Vazee Pace’s forefoot has wide, exposed flex grooves compared to the 1500 or Zante, so the padding isn’t as seamless as the other two.
The soft rubber spread includes the entirety of medial heel and 100% of the forefoot. If you’re a rearfoot striker, you will likely land on the harder outside edge, then quickly transition to the softer side, all the way to toe-off.
The Vazee Pace lives up to its name, delivering a fast, snappy ride. It is also very supportive, with a broad midsole base flare and sidewall design. The medial sidewall even has the equivalent of a ‘neutral medial post’.
The heel vantage point will reveal the medial midsole molding which extends outwards, in contrast to the recessed design of the lateral side.
The shoe’s obvious areas of competence aside, can it go long, say more than 10 miles? It depends on how sensitive you are to the midsole edge pressing into your under-arch side. The Vazee has a slim mid-foot waist, which means that the midsole curves sharply inwards.
Most of us will tend to weight-load over the curve. Over longer runs one experiences a sensation which can be best described as a dull under-arch soreness. Since this is temporary, many of us will confuse this with plantar (sole) fatigue. But know that this is the Vazee Pace’s midsole edge working its way into the foot.
And why wasn’t this felt on the Zante or 1500? The Zante had a softer midsole, and its rims did not rise high on the sides. That took care of any pressure spots, and the Zante had a thicker insole. The 1500 V1 had firmer raised midsole rims, and yet the foot was relatively insulated by the thicker Zante insole.
The Vazee Pace has a much thinner insole, and that causes the midsole edge to be felt under-foot. Here’s a picture of compression creases developing under the arch area after a few runs – proof that the foot does weigh heavily on that spot.
Another thing which could be improved on the Vazee Pace is its strobel material. Unlike the Zante and 1500 which use a foam strobel, the Vazee uses a woven fabric with a smooth surface. Considering the fact that the Vazee’s insole has a smooth back – unlike the honeycomb ribbing on the other two models. On a related note, the insole and strobel combination is one of the factors gives the Vazee Pace a very firm ride quality.
The smooth materials leads to lower frictional resistance, and the insole tends to move around a bit – mostly in the heel and midfoot area with the forefoot being constant. Because of the cupped midsole design, the insole has less contact area with the strobel in the heel/midfoot as compared to the forefoot.
The bottom-line is that we’ll not recommend running in the Vazee Pace longer than 10 miles in its stock form if you find the under-arch area noticeable. To make it mileage friendly, swap the default insole with Zante’s or 1500’s. It would also help to apply some Gorilla glue between the Vazee Pace insole and the strobel to prevent slippage.