Thursday, September 3, 2015

Shoe Review - The New Balance 1400v3

Ah, a new shoe for me. Like many other runners and triathletes, I am always looking for that perfect shoe for the right situation. Earlier this year I found a great shoe for training and distance running. But it just didn't seem zippy enough for the shorter races where cushioning isn't the be all.

For the past 2 years I had found such a shoe, sort of. It was the New Balance 1400v2, described by New Balance as a racing flat. It was a great shoe for me at mid distances, from 5K to Half marathon I set some fast times in that shoe. But it lacked a certain fit and finish. The interior of the shoe was quite rough and I couldn't wear it sockless, which was a big reason I bought it in the first place, to be able to use it in triathlons and duathlons. My first and last attempt to do so lead to many abrasions and cuts on my feet.

Then NB came out with the 1400v3. Even though the local running shop, Aerobics First, didn't have them in stock, I knew I had to try them out. The store was great and brought in a pair for me to try out (and I'll be up front, I paid for these shoes).

The first thing I did was stick my hand in the shoe and feel around. Wow, it was smooth inside, not rough at all. And the new laces were great as well, slightly elasticy (of course I never ran in those laces as I swapped them out for Xtenex speed laces for triathlons).

A quick tempo run in super humid conditions and sockless was my first test (go big or go home). 11km of heaven and speed. No blisters, so scratching, no cuts.

I then took them to the big test, a duathlon. The warm up run went great. The first run went superb and when I slipped them back on (in the rain no less) for the final run of the day, they went on smooth and easily and gave no issues in the wet.

I assumed that the added comfort would likely come from a slight increase in the weight of the shoe, though they were still quite light.  But wow, I weighed them both (without any laces) and the brand new 1400v3 weighed 1 gram less than the 2 year old worn, v2. Great stuff.

So I found my new go to shoe. Here's a quick break down:

10 mm ramp: That seems like quite the drop, but the shoe has a very thin amount of cushion and as a forefoot runner it gives me no issues at all.

Firm - Good Ground Feel: As I mentioned this shoe lacks a thick cushioning on the base. What is there seems perfectly fine for my running style - forefoot, high cadence. I wouldn't use this shoe with a slow turn over, though with the higher ramp, a heel striker would be fine.  This shoe gives great feed back.

Smooth Inner Liner: Wow, it was probably the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn sockless. So far I have not run in it over 11km, but had no problems up to that distance. I will probably wear a thin sock for stand alone running races anyway, as I like that.  

Weight: Super lightweight, listed as 185grams. Which for a shoe that will last you many races, is great. Lighter shoes exists for sure, but this one will survive.

Toe Box: As with many racing flats, the toe box isn't large. For some reason this doesn't bother me as much as in other shoes. As the shape is the same as the v2, I do know that a little bodyglide or similar lube on my toes will prevent any issues for longer races.

I can't say much for wear, but my v2's are still going strong after quite a few races and a few training runs. I don't see enough differences in this shoe to think it won't give that same level of longevity.

All in all, way to go New Balance. Home Run.

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