Sunday, January 28, 2018

First Impressions Review: New Balance LD5000v5 Track Spikes

Article by Derek Li

New Balance LD5000v5
It’s a rare treat for me to review spikes. I’ve owned a few pairs of spikes over the years, but the majority have been targeted at cross-country usage, e.g. the Brooks Mach series, which have a little more foam and cushioning underfoot. The lone true track spike I’ve used recently was the Nike Zoom Rival D, which is a sort of an entry level distance spike from Nike. Therefore, it’s a real treat to be able to test out a premium level distance spike such as the LD5000.

Weight: 142 g/5 oz US M9,   146g / 5.15oz for tested sample US M9.5
4 pin spike configuration with ¼ inch spikes
$120. Available now.


The upper on the LD5000 uses a thin and semi-elastic mesh that molds well to your foot. The overlays are all seamless and do not cause any irritation to the toes or arch when fully laced up. You will notice that the tongue is a continuation of the mesh upper on the medial side. This solves the issue the tongue moving out of position during use, and I suspect also simplifies the manufacturing process somewhat. The bottom line is that the overall step in feel of the mesh upper is very, very good.

However, there are two issues to take note of. Firstly, the shoe runs very snug, and if you have used previous iterations of the LD5000 before, you very likely sized up a half size, as I confirmed with some of the local NB-sponsored athletes in my area. I got a pair at true to size, and while the fit is snug and just about ok, I would probably have been better off going a half size up. The mesh is semi-elastic and does stretch out a little bit after a while, but there is still a bit of tension around the metatarsal heads at the toe box. If you plan to train with socks and race sockless, then you are best off going up a half size for this model.

Secondly, there is a bonded seam right at the back of the shoe, and runs from the midsole all the way along the heel and up the Achilles. This seam caused me a bit of grief during the initial wearing in period. I would have liked for them to place it somewhere off-centre, or put an extra bit of fabric to smooth things over at that segment. This seam does soften up a little after use, but on initial step in, it is quite rigid.


The midsole is NB’s RevLite RC foam, which seems to be a high durometer foam, runs in a single density layer across the bottom of the foot. The firmness of this foam is pretty similar to other track spikes I have worn in the past.
NB LD5000v5
The outsole is where things get interesting. The shoe uses a full length pebax polymer plate for support and to hold the spikes plus what New Balance calls a Dynaride outsole for traction. If you look at the evolution of the LD5000 series over the years, it appears that the plate design has gotten progressively more and more aggressive in design.
NB LD5000v2
photo credit: RunningWarehouse
NB LD5000v3
photo credit:
NB LD5000v4
photo credit:

NB LD5000v5

This appears to be a trend that the NB MD-series shoes did not follow. The NB MD shoes opted instead for a higher spike count up front. My suspicion is NB realizes that people are not going to be pure forefoot strikers over the longer events, and would benefit more from a little more all-round traction underfoot.

The last appears to be semi-curved, and is pretty narrow across the arch and even the toe box, so take that into consideration for sizing, and if you have wider feet.  


While the aggressive outsole feels awkward to walk in off the track, it immediately feels at home on the tartan track. The one big difference I get with spikes vs regular running shoes, is the feeling of integration between your foot and the shoe, and how much more easily you interact with the ground when you run. The LD5000v5 is no different, and perhaps even more so because the upper molds so well to the foot. The sensation is almost like that of running barefoot, with all the attendant benefits of protection a shoe provides.

The pebax plate, in addition to providing excellent traction, also makes for a very snappy and smooth transition for a variety of stride patterns. I tried running purely forefoot, as well as with a more heel-first landing pattern, and both running styles were well-accommodated by the spike. I think the one big difference is that there is no disconnect between the heel and forefoot here. In some other spikes, you feel the spike plate very distinctly, and the underfoot feel is noticeably different when you transition from heel to forefoot.
I did several short speed workouts with the spikes, as well as some longer 800s at 5k effort. I then switched between spikes and trainers a few times. There was a small but tangible difference in split times, with the spikes being on average ~0.5-1s per lap faster.
I think that on the whole, these spikes would be particularly suited for runners who have a tendency to land more rearward towards the end of a race, as the outsole design would be most beneficial for this cohort of runners.

The shoe does run a little small, and the outsole last is pretty narrow across the arch as mentioned above, though not significantly more so than other premium long distance track models. Given the degree of cushioning from the overall package, I would say these spikes are on the firmer side of things, with the softest probably being the Adidas Adizero Avanti spikes with its Boost midsole, so take that into consideration.

I think I would be comfortable using it for a 5000m and intervals, but since I am nowhere near the level needed to take full advantage of such a responsive platform for long races, I would probably go with something else for a 10000m track race. (For reference, I would probably run around 35-36 mins for a 10000m at this stage)

Derek's Score: 9.7/10
-0.2 for tricky heel seam, which can cause heel/Achilles rubbing for some people
-0.1 would have liked a little bit softer heel for a distance spike but this is just personal preference


Nike Zoom D vs LD5000v5
This is the only other recent track spike I have used. The Zoom D has noticeably poorer heel traction, and this becomes most obvious around the corners, where the LD5000v5 really shines. The Zoom D has the wider toe box and higher overall shoe volume, as well as more accommodating midfoot arch, but you don’t get that snug second skin feel that you can achieve with the LD5000v5. I would say from a racing standpoint, the LD5000v5 definitely has the more performance oriented fit and feel.

Reviewer Bio
Derek Li is a family physician who lives in Singapore. He has been running marathons for the past four years with a 2017 marathon PR of 2:41 and a 2018 1:17 half marathon PR. Derek is focusing on  a bid to run all the World Marathon Majors. In his free time, he likes to review running shoes and related products at his blog Running Commentary.

The LD5000 were provided by RunningWarehouse at no cost. The opinions above are my own.
For Derek's full run bio see our Reviewers Bio Page here

Comments Questions Welcome Below!

Visit our 2018 Previews Page here for 2018 run shoe, apparel, and gear previews. 
Watch our YouTube Channel  here for 2018 Run Shoe Previews and Wearable Tech Reviews 
Visit our Index Page here for over 80 in depth 2017 & 2018 shoe and gear reviews

Like & Follow Road Trail Run  Twitter: @roadtrailrun 
Instagram:roadtrailrun   RTR YouTube: RoadTrailRun

RoadTrailRun receives a commission for purchases through the stores below. 
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun's work. Thanks!
Men's HERE
Women's HERE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have no experience with this spike, but the heel seam sounds like a typical shoe-too-small issue. My heel doesn't press tight against the heel enough for almost any seam to matter if the shoe isn't too short.