Monday, March 28, 2016

Review New Balance RC 1400 v4: V 4 Victory!

New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
The New Balance RC 1400 v4 is the 4th iteration of the lightweight neutral racer from New Balance. It weighs in at 7.7 oz/218 g for a men’s 9, 6.5 oz/184g women's 9.  The forefoot is 15mm and the heel is 25mm. $100.
This version follows in the tradition of the previous versions with some changes that make a significant difference. I’ve run marathons in all versions of the shoe and have liked some more than others. Is the V4 an improvement? Read on to find out.
Upper and Fit:
New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
The upper on in the RC 1400 series made a big leap forward in version 3. Version 2 had a rough interior and a tongue that had a seam with a bad habit of digging into the top of my foot. Version 3 felt better put together and the tongue was no longer a problem. For the most part, V4 continues in the direction of the V3.
New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart

New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
The No-Sew upper is very comfortable and has some overlays that hold the foot in place nicely. It’s a good looking shoe, is pretty simple and feels really good on the foot. V3 and V4 both really disappear once you put them on.
New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
In terms of fit, they’re definitely race shoes. There’s not a ton of room in them, but I didn’t size up and I’ve had no problems with hot spots or blisters. They fit my feet really well, the laces are simple and effective and the tongue is a nice complement. There’s a tiny seam on the underside of the tongue—it doesn’t seem as bad as on V2 of the shoe, but seems a little more prominent than V3. It hasn’t caused any trouble yet, but I do have to make sure the tongue is totally flat before I go out for a run.
New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
Midsole and Outsole:
New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
The midsole is still trusty Revlite® which has a nice mix of cushion and bounce— and the outsole is blown rubber. The outsole pattern is very similar to V3, with some minor tweaks. There’s still a plastic plate in the middle of the shoe to give it a little stiffness.

New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
The big story here is the additional 2mm of cushion in both the forefoot and the heel. My biggest beef with the NB 1400 has been that the forefoot gets a little thin feeling in the last miles of a marathon. The extra 2mm makes a HUGE difference. I went out for 19 miles with speed and hills in these and they felt terrific the whole way. They’re by no means a max cushioned shoe, but the extra 2mm under the forefoot makes them a more viable marathon shoe in my opinion.
New Balance RC 1400 v4  Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
I can’t say enough good things about the ride of the RC 1400 V4. They are one of the smoothest, sleekest, fastest and most comfortable running shoes I own. With the extra padding up front they are now more viable as a lightweight trainer  and they are a terrific shoe on race day. They feel good at any speed and have a perfect balance of cushion and stiffness.

Conclusions and comparisons:
The 1400 line has steadily evolved into a more fully refined racing shoe. I’ve run in a lot of shoes lately and there seems to be a great effort to reinvent the proverbial wheel. Some shoes have complicated lacing systems, others have pods, others just seem to be trying to fix things that aren’t really problems. The 1400 is a straight up, simple running shoe. It feels great on the foot and is really fun to run in.

Score 4.9 out of 5

The NB 1400 v4 was a personal purchase at retail

Peter Stuart's Running Bio

My running career got off to a slow start…in high school I was told I ran like a race walker and was thus relegated to race walking on the track team. I got back into running about 15 years ago and then into triathlon. Triathlon really rekindled my love for running, so about two years ago I hired a coach and really focused on the half and full marathons.  I broke a bad habit of putting in tons of moderately hard miles (and no easy or hard ones) and after plateauing at 3:25 (with some disastrous marathons in there), this past year I brought my marathon under 3:00 and my half under 1:25. Along the way I’ve developed a bit of a shoe problem.

Interested in other 2016 shoes? Road Trail Run has reviewed 30 different models in the last 6 months! Click here for our summary page with links to all the reviews.

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The RC 1400 v4 is available from Running Warehouse
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Men's here Women's here


kenneth said...

thank you, i'd like to ask for a quick comparison to the hyperspeed, any differences to speak of?

Peter S. said...

Ahh, the hyperspeed, one of my favorite shoes of all time. I will have to run in them side by side to give you an accurate and full response, but this is right up there with the hyperspeed for me. My gut is that the 1400 is just slightly more stable and a tiny bit firmer under the arch than the HyperSpeed is. I will try to report back with more info.


kenneth said...

alright thanks again! never tried the hyperspeed so maybe i "have to" get them both:)

Jeremy said...

thanks for the review. It seems de 1400 has always been a shoe with raving reviews...and it gets even better!
How would you compare those to the Adios Boost 2? Are they comparable, or is one of those shoe a lot firmer?
How would you compare the fit of each?

Peter S. said...

They are definitely comparable. I found the Adios Boost 2 a little too narrow to wear comfortably, but I've been logging some miles in the Adios Boost 3. They are in a similar category, but I find the 1400 to be a little less firm, a bit more cushioned and to be a more comfortable upper overall. They are a little more slipper-like in their fit and totally disappear on my foot.

Hope that helps,


Anonymous said...

The weight increase is huge and seems to move the 1400 much closer to the Vazee Pace. How do they compare in terms of ride?

Unknown said...

Peter can obviously speak with more authority than I do as my only experience was based on a few minutes with each shoes in a local NB store, but here's my take.

The ride of Vazee Pace felt pretty familiar to my current shoe of choice, Zante V2, in terms of how my feet land and toe off. I've also tried Vazee Rush, which felt even firmer and had more toe spring than both the Zante and the Pace, but felt slightly heavier and less cushioned. I would image that, after I am fully adopted to mid/forefoot strike, I can take full advantage of those toe springs and really enjoy the ride of Pace/Rush.

1400v4 was unlike the Zante nor Pace in terms of ride. First of all I have to size up by 1/2 size. Secondly the heel is thicker and so well cushioned, I went back to heel strike almost immediately, as I did when I first tried daily trainers like Pegasus 30 or Glide Boost 6 two years ago... but how NB managed to pack so much cushioning into a shoe this light was unbelievable. The slightly deeper drop (10mm) and less aggressive toe spring can be felt after I tried on 1400v4 and Pace back to back. Not a bad thing, just different.

This is not to say 1400v4 was any less fun to run in. They were the shoes I bought that day as I was impressed with lightness and responsiveness, traction, the level of comfort and fit form its upper. It even reminded me of the beloved Kinvara 3.

Daniel said...

Thanks for this review. I think I'll buy one more pair of v3s at the discounted "last year's model" before moving up as my training miles increase. I run sockless (triathlete, here) and had the same complaints about the v2, so instantly fell in love with the feel of the v3. If they could somehow make the newer versions as breathable as that v2 (its only redeeming quality) I'd be in heaven. I was disappointed to see the drastic weight increase in a race shoe like this, but at least I know it's probably mostly from the cushion, and not added material in the uppers (a long time ago I used heavier NB and felt like NB LOVED having ten pounds of cushioning around the ankles). Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

COMPLETELY AGREE! The 1400 has been my go to racer since v2. Holy smokes! v4 is heavier, but it's a welcome change. In love.

Wearing them in Boston. Very much looking forward to the extra forefoot cushion late in the race!

Peter S. said...


Thanks. Yeah, I'm wearing them in Boston too. Should be great to have that little bit extra at the end. Have a great race!

Yannick Balk said...

Hi Peter, thanks for your review. Very helpful! Now that you have reviewed both, I was wondering how you would stack these new v4's against the Vazee Pace? The weight of the 1400 v4's increased, bringing them closer to the Vazee Pace but obviously there is a difference in drop (6mm vs 10mm). Would it be an idea to rotate the v4's and the Vazees?

Peter S. said...

Yannick, I'd have to go back and a/b them. General thought is that pace is a little firmer, stiffer and a little less slipper-like fit. I think they accomplish similar goals with a somewhat different feel. I might rotate a more dissimilar shoe (currently rotating the hoka clayton and adios boost as well as 1400)

Daniel said...

Hello Peter, i love the 1400 v3 and i´m quite undecided on the v4´s. Not a big fan of the weight increase (it must have a slower feeling) and the added forefoot stack. Given my usual preferences the 1400 would have been in theory too soft for my liking, but while running this hasn´t been an issue. It´s actually a soft shoe that i really like. I think in terms of effiency and responsiveness the sub 7 oz weight and the relatively thin forefoot makes the softness a non-issue for me. But now i´m afraid that the added stack of the v4 reaches a tipping point where the 1400 v4 might be too soft and energy sucking for me, at least for HM/Marathon racing. Is the foam durometer in v4 the same as in v3 ? Thanks for any feedback.

a2xm said...

Hi, I'm new to this New Balance shoe. Just wondering what is the different between RC1400, RC1500, and RC1600? I'm looking a minimalist road racing shoe. Thank you.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi a2xm,
In a nutshell the 1400 is a more cushioned version of the 1600. 1600 has a stack of 19/13, 6mm drop vs 25/15mm, 10mm for the 1400 and weighs 5.1 oz. The 1500 sits in between and has a bit of pronation control with 8mm drop and stack of 22/16. The 1400 would ba a good choice for faster marathoners, the others more suitable for shorter races for most. Hope this helps. Sam RTR

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Anonymous said...

Hi Peter
Found this excellent review today through google. I am in race preparation mode for tomorrow's Berlin Marathon and I was about to - once again - use my Saucony Kinvara 7 for the race (since I was unsure if the NB 1400v5 would be provide enough cushion). I have run my last 9 was with Saucony Kinvaras v 2-6.

I have only used the older NB 1400v2 for training up to 25k since 2014 but never for races due to the thin cushioning under the forefoot. The V2 is a light weight shoe (mine 189 g) but I have used the even lighter Asics Hyperspeed (v3-6) app 175g for distances up to half marathons since 2013. The Hyperspeed feels softer in the forefoot than the old 1400v2.

After buying the NB 1400v5 online I was surprised how much heavier they got (jumped from 189g to 225/230 g) and they got into a much more cushioned category that could be suitable for marathons. YOUR REVIEW INCLUDING THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE 2 MM ADDED CUSHION IN V4 WAS VERY HELPFUL! I assume that v5 and V4 is similar when it comes to the sole and the cushioning (based on reading other reviews).

I am now thinking of going with the 1400V5s tomorrow and will try to go for a new PB... will probably return to this page and provide how it felt and how my feet handled the last kilometers.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Best of luck tomorrow in Berlin! V4 is More shoe than v2 that I found to firm. Please let us know how it goes!
Sam, Editor

Daniel H said...

Hi Sam, Peter& co! Race went well. New pb (2:54:33). The 1400v2 felt really well: fit, no blister (despite rain), no blue nails (so far...), nu "burning" feeling in the knees etc.

I did not have the feeling that the cushioning was insufficient in ladt 5k.

Had some non-shoe related problems with stomach pain (I think it is called 'stich' in english).

About me: I am a 43-year-old Swede, 174 cm (5"8), weight 68kg. 11 marathons 2013-17. Final marathon major will be Chicago in 2 weeks. Will use the 1400v5s then too :)

Sam Winebaum said...

Fantastic Daniel H! Congratulations on your PB and best of luck in Chicago!
Sam, Editor

Peter S. said...

Daniel H,

Glad you had a good experience in the 1400 V5! I just ran 17 in them today and PR'd in the 5k in a mid-workout race. They are a fast, versatile and fun shoe!

Have a great Chicago!


Daniel H said...

Thanks Sam!
Peter, yes, had a good experience in the 1400V5 (by mistake I wrote V2 above).

Regards/Daniel H