The New Balance Fresh Foam Lav was developed with direct input from Milos Raonic as a comfortable and stable performance tennis shoe. It features New Balance’s running shoe midsole technology - Fresh Foam - which assists in better shock absorption, and relief for your feet. Additionally, the upper is constructed with Kinetic Stitching which is highly versatile, and amplifies support without compromising on flexibility. With these technologies in mind, I was excited to get this shoe on court.
When I first began using the New Balance Lav, I had a bit of discomfort in the forefoot region. It felt like the upper construction was too low and tight. Likewise, the midsole cushioning was soft, but not as soft as I had expected. To fix the first issue, I loosened up the laces in the forefoot to encourage some stretching in the upper, which worked almost right away. As for the Fresh Foam midsole cushioning, it naturally loosened up over a couple of days, and felt extremely comfortable after the break-in period. Even over a month later, the midsole cushioning is performing well. The last thing I noticed in regard to fit is that the higher heel (12mm heel-to-toe drop) sort of pushes you onto your toes a bit. This was different for me, but comfortable after I adjusted.
Cushioning & Breathability
As mentioned in the Fit section, the midsole cushioning took a little bit of time to really shine through. It felt good at first, but quickly changed to great after a short break-in period. The External Heel Counter also was apparent in the midsole providing me with some extra padding under the heel. In terms of breathability, I thought the Lav was pretty average. For a shoe with an outsole warranty, though, that was an added plus.
Durability & Support
The Lav sports a six-month outsole warranty, and has held up quite well for me so far. I was mostly concerned about the cushioning fading, but that has not yet occurred after about a month. The Kinetic Stitch upper is also holding up nicely. This upper material and bootie construction has a surprising level of support. This is likely due to the relatively snug fit, but I found that the materials loosen up and adapt to your foot shape over time.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Lav is by far my favorite New Balance Tennis Shoe to date. The enhanced technologies made the Lav much more comfortable than any New Balance Tennis Shoe I had previously worn, and translated to excellent performance on the court. If you can handle the short break-in period, the shoe loosens up to become extremely comfortable. To me, it represents a great all-around performance tennis shoe. Kudos Milos!