Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Balance RC1400 v5 Review: Zoom!

Article by Peter Stuart with Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

The New Balance  RC 1400 V5 ($99.95)  is a 7.4  oz/210 gram race day shoe with a 25 mm heel and a 15mm forefoot. It actually loses 0.3 oz/8.5 g from v4 according to Running Warehouse's stats. It’s a light, fast, flexible racer with enough cushion to use for uptempo and daily workouts. I think I’ve run in every version of this shoe and was able to go out for side-by side comparisons with V3, V4 and V5.

Upper and Fit:

The upper is now engineered mesh. The v4 had a more conventional mesh upper with overlays, in v5 the density of the mesh replacing overlays in the front of the shoe to provide structure and support. It’s light, breathable, no-sew and has some very minimal overlays mid foot to hold the foot in place.
The lacing system is simple, with 6 eyelets. The fit, while a bit narrow, is comfortable. When I first put them on I was worried that they’re too narrow in the mid-foot, but within a couple of steps that sensation disappeared. They do run a tiny bit short. I’ve alternated between true-to-size and a half-size up in the 1400. If I were going to do longer distances in these I might size up. There was no mashing of toes, but they are a hair short.   

Midsole and Outsole:

The Midsole on the 1400 is still good, old reliable RevLite. As with previous versions of this shoe it lives up to the claims of “lightweight and responsive”. I find them to have a nice bounce, particularly at speed. For a shoe as low to the ground as this, there’s a decent amount of protection. I’ve run a couple of marathons in the 1400’s over the years, and I’ve always wished I had just a hair more forefoot protection by the end of the race. I think I’d probably keep these to races of 13.1 and under.
The outsole is a mix of various shapes and sizes of blown rubber sections. There are some great little lug-like breaks in the forefoot rubber that allow the shoe to really grip and rip.

New Balance 1400 v4 PC: Running Warehouse
Sam: the outsole sees considerable changes from v4 with not only the more prominent angled lugs but more significantly a fairly deep longitudinal groove is added which improves the flex. I agree with Peter the outsole is grippy and confidence inspiring at speed.

It appears there’s still a plastic plate in the shoe, but it’s not mentioned anywhere on the site.

The ride of the 1400 V5 is pretty sublime. It’s a fast, fluid, responsive ride. It’s not the most cushioned race shoe I have, but it holds up nicely as the miles rack up. I took it out side-by-side with both the 1400 V3 and the 1400 V4. It feels as if New Balance has really fine-tuned the ride over each version of the shoe. The V3 is REALLY firm, the v4 feels a bit more forgiving and more similar to the V5, but the V5 adds a fluidity through the transition and makes the ride feel really dialed in. The V5 feels good at any speed, but great when you pick up the speed.  

Sam: I really liked the great fit, working with the rest of the shoe in concert. It is firm but not a "stiff", a comfortable light fast shoe . My last 1400 was the v2, considerably firmer and with a very airy and also not particularly comfortable upper made of huge thick mesh "chain mail" with basically only a thin completely open mesh in the gaps.
The v2 came in at 6.4 oz with the v5 coming in at 7.4 oz.  I see we have gained some weight over the years! Not an issue for me given the more comfortable upper and more fluid, slightly softer ride of the v5. I almost dreaded running anything but speed work in v2 and did not run them much.  Not the case with the v5. Even though it is a race day type shoe it is flexible, comfortable and certainly still snappy responsive. 
I would like to see a less substantial mid foot plate or an approach which uses such a plate between outsole and midsole such as in the adios Boost or Salming instead of embedded as in 1400, Men Speed, or Zoom Streak 6. I always seem to feel something harsh, basically a plate,  from those shoes... and the v5 from mid foot to heel.
Conclusions and comparisons:

Peter: The New Balance RC 1400 V5 continues the long-line of the 1400 series being a simple and effective training and racing weapon. This is the most refined (in upper and in ride) version and at a sub $100 price point it’s hard not to recommend this little race demon.  

Sam: The 1400 V5 has what a good race shoe should have: a snug and thankfully also very comfortable upper, light weight, and a snappy responsive ride from a relatively firm midsole.

To help readers decide if and for what purposes the 1400 v5 might be appropriate we have abitrarily assigned it to races and paces and also compared it to other similar shoes.

The 1400 v5 would a good choice for:
  • sub 3 hour marathoners with a light build
  • half marathoners running 1:35 or faster
  • 10K racers running 43 minutes or faster
  • speed work and tempo for all paces.
  • any runner seeking a firm, light, responsive ride

1400 V5 vs.1400 V3 and V4
Version 5 is a little more forgiving than V3 and a little more elegant in the upper than V4 while retaining all of the great things about the 1400 series.    

1400 V5 vs. Nike Zoom Elite 9 (RTR review)
These are both excellent shoes. The Zoom Elite 9 has a more forgiving forefoot (due to air pod), but both are good at slow speeds and tempo.

1400 V5 vs. Nike Zoom Streak 6 (RTR review)
Both of these are speedy little rockets. The Streak is lighter and the feel of the plate is a little more pronounced—perhaps just a hair snappier.   

 Peter and Sam's Score: 9.0 out of 10
- 1.0 We could use just a hair more protection under forefoot.

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.

The 1400 was provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the authors.

Purchases through the links below help support Road Trail Run. Thanks!
Shop for the 1400 at Running Warehouse 
Men's here
Women's here

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