Based on the shoe we’ve reviewed so far, New Balance has been very consistent in producing products with excellent upper fit. The Vazee Pace does well here too. The heel and midfoot fit is modelled on the Fresh Foam Zante, with many materials and fit aspects feeling familiar.
The heel lining and foam padding level is identical to the Zante, and so is the semi-collapsible heel design approach. The Vazee Pace has a very low internal counter, which leaves the top half completely free to flex.
The lower base has internal reinforcement, topped with a fabric accordion which looks similar to last year’s Nike Lunarglide 6. But as you can see in the picture above, you can make the heel collapse with minimal effort.
Midfoot sleeving design takes on the Zante. It is a full sleeve, meaning that the wrapping continues uninterrupted till the toe-box.
Which is no surprise; the midfoot lining is nothing but the reverse side of the forefoot mesh.
So, much like the Zante, the interiors feel seamlessly smooth and well fitting. The laces are semi-elastic, and the lacing width runs narrow. This leaves a lot of unused lace ends (unless you’re using the last eyelet row), so you need to tie larger loops.
Reflectivity is pretty solid on the Vazee Pace. The tongue label is hyper-reflective, and so is the heel half-strap. And there’s two slivers on the toe-bumper.
The upper forefoot feels more relaxed when compared to the Zante and 1500. There is enough space ahead of the toes and around the sides; and the forefoot has ample splay room.
While the upper doesn’t match the brilliant fit of the 1500, it still does a better job than the Zante. Due to its independent first row of lacing, the Zante was tighter fitting in the forefoot. The semi-elastic laces could be shorter though; the leftover lengths tend to slap around the upper.
All of the lacing is integrated into the single piece eye-stay, so the pressure is spread evenly on the Vazee.
The forefoot sides have widely spaced TPU webbing overlays which are non-invasive, yet functional. There’s plenty of vertical toe-box room as well.
Recent slew of New Balance releases are proof that form can exist with function. Not only is the Vazee Pace superb fitting, but manages to look nice too. Matching lime-green highlights on the midsole, toe, laces and heel add a dash of color.
There’s a coherent flow of upper patterns, right from the toe bumper to the webbing and eye-stay.
Honeycomb textured mesh on the heel and molded New Balance logos helps produce visual depth – which is saying something on all-over grey running shoe. Even the forefoot spacer mesh has a nice texture, and is fairly breathable regardless of the seemingly closed structure.
Barring a couple of minor issues, the Vazee Pace does exactly what it claims to do. It is a good tool for going fast, and adequately differentiated from other NB lightweights we’ve reviewed so far. So out of three NB pacers, which one should you get?
(Disclaimer: For this review, Solereview bought the shoe at full US retail price.)