New Balance’s marketing pitch: Designed for a movement that feels fast and free.
Upper: Engineered mesh, fused layers.
Midsole: Single density Revlite EVA foam. 10 mm heel drop.
Outsole: Hard carbon rubber under the heel, softer blown rubber under the forefoot.
Weight: 207 gms/ 7.2 Oz for a half pair of Men’s US 9/UK 8.5/EUR 42.5/CM 27
Widths available: D – regular (reviewed)
Review – New Balance 1400V6 Plus Comparison to the 1400V4 and 1400V5
New Balance has quite a few models in its Racing-Competitive category, also called ‘RC’ for short. This assortment has a slew of lightweight racers and spikes which stick to the brand’s legacy numbering system instead of proper names.
We don’t cover ends at this time, but we’ll spend a little time discussing the RC construct’s non-spiked lightweight trainers.
At the time of writing this review, three models fit the description. The first is 1500, a model that we’ve often reviewed on the site. 1500 is a lightweight trainer with a twist; it has a small (but unobtrusive) medial wedge embedded in its midsole. 1500 has a decent amount of midsole stack, so it isn’t a pure racing flat.
New Balance 1400 v5 – Shoe Reviews
The second shoe is the newly released Hanzo. This is a purist’s racing shoe that features a thin, 4 mm drop midsole and a super-grippy DSP (Dual Stencil Process) outsole, all packaged in a hyper-light 6.5 ounces.
There’s a product gap between the Hanzo and 1500, and that’s where the RC 1400 V5 comes in. It’s a slightly trimmed down version of 1500 in a neutral guise, and its 10 mm drop midsole packs enough cushioning for fast training runs, but firm and light enough for 5K, 10K races, and all the way to a half-marathon if your feet and mind are willing.
1400 isn’t a thoroughbred racing flat considering that a lot of midsole separates your foot from the ground. But not everyone wants to run in racing flats, so that’s where the 1400 and 1500 come in.
Before the Hanzo came along, New Balance used to have the RC 1600, which is now apparently discontinued. But if 1600 were to exist today, it would be the shoe bridging the narrow gap between the Hanzo and 1400.
Most running shoes, like people, change over time, and 1400 is no exception. Now in its fifth year, the model has gone through numerous design iterations, losing some followers and gaining new ones in the process.
The 2017 New Balance 1400V5 bears little resemblance to the first few designs. The V2, for example, had a uber-breathable upper with lock-down provided by a network of synthetic overlays. The V3 took the V2’s fit but replaced the cheese-hole mesh with a regular spacer one, which had many stitch-less overlays.
Last year, the 1400 V4 gained a bit of weight, adding more structure to its upper and aligning the overall design with 1500. All said and done. The ride quality has stayed more or less the same over the years. All 1400 versions have had a single density midsole made of New Balance ‘Revlite’ EVA, a material also used on 1500.
And what’s new on the 1400 V5? A lot, we’d say. There’s a new upper, which cuts down on all the layering and delegates the fit and support duties to a combination of engineered mesh and a minimal set of thin overlays. While the midsole is still a single sheet of Revlite, the outsole update results in the grippiest 1400 ever.
DESIGN AND MATERIALS
Unlike the past 1400 versions, which relied on many fused overlays to provide structural support, the new 1400 is all about keeping things minimal. The contrast is evident when compared to the V4.
However, we’d admit that the V4 had an unusually high level of external layering for 1400. The V4’s heel, for example, had a thick, stitched-on overlay, accompanied by lots of fused synthetic over the midfoot and forefoot.
New Balance 1400V5 Review gets rid of all that. It changes the upper material from the spacer mesh of the older 1400’s to an engineered mesh.
This design approach allows the mesh to have vented and close-knitted surfaces on a single component without relying on external overlays. Only the heel center retains a vertical strip of stitched synthetic. This also means the most of the reflectivity of the V4 is gone, replaced by the somewhat shiny ‘New Balance’ font printed over the heel.
The toe-box and forefoot have larger vents for letting air flow better, while the rest has a close-knit design. The new mesh has a bit of squeeze compared to the previous spacer one, so the upper feels better over the foot.
The only downside is that the shoe looks droopy when not worn. With most of the external overlays gone, the upper tends to sag under its weight. The only areas where the fused synthetic has been applied are the toe-bumper and the lacing eyestay.
Recommendable: New Balance 1400v5 Reviewed – To Buy or Not in Nov 2019?
The midfoot and heel sides have high-density printing, including the ’N’ logo and speed-streak graphics. (New Balance calls this the ‘wind-swept’ motif; lovely.)
The toe-bumper is now a shorter version of the V4’s design and extends over the forefoot on the big toe side. It’s a wise design choice to keep the lacing area reinforced with synthetic, as it prevents the eyelets from tearing.
The laces are the standard flat ones with a bit of stretch in them. These spread top-down pressure evenly and stayed tied during runs, so it’s good to see them unchanged. The tongue has minimal padding and has no sleeve. But there’s no tongue slide.
This is due to the 1400’s narrow lacing, a set-up where the opposing eyelets come very close together when laced-up. This allows the tongue to be locked in its position by the extensive center lace-loop.
Keep reading: Brooks Ghost 10 Review.
The interiors are by far the smoothest in the 1400’s history. The complete lack of thick overlays allows the insides to be seamless, making 1400 suitable for sock-free runs too. An internal stiff counter wraps around the heel, and the collar has minimal padding. There’re a couple of updates over the V4 in that area.
The collar gets a new fabric lining, soft but different from the cottony melange type used on the V4. The Achilles dip is also slightly lower, though this does not affect the fit negatively.
Save for the cosmetic details. Not a lot has changed on the 1400s 10 mm drop midsole. It’s got a single-density block of EVA, which New Balance calls Revlite.
The foam volume is similar to the one used on the 1400 V4, and the sidewalls get updated details.
Instead of the angular grooves and cuts of the V4, New Balance 1400V5 Review’s midsole has small rib-like details that match up with the graphic on the upper. This compression molded foam is neither too soft nor too firm, which fits the 1400’s fast-shoe positioning.
There’s a perforated (and removable) insole inside, which adds an extra layer of cushioning. This is the same insole use on the V4 and also on the 1500 series.
The basic outsole design hasn’t changed in a few years. Thin slabs of rubber are placed flat over the Revlite midsole to result in a near-full contact surface. Some exposed foam areas are under the heel and midfoot, but the rest of the cover is rubber.
The rearfoot gets a two-piece set up of hard rubber, whereas the front is covered with softer blown rubber. That’s where the similarity with the V4 ends, however. The forefoot outsole geometry gets a radical design update.
A new groove splits the forefoot outsole into two side-by-side halves. This wasn’t the case on the earlier versions of 1400, and it seems that the V5 has taken inspiration from the medially-posted 1500. Not only is the split forefoot similar looking to 1500, but the lug design also shares a standard template.
This year 1400 gets a colony of tiny lugs on the forefoot slabs. This wasn’t so on the V4, which featured wide rubber slabs without a groove dissecting them. As a result, the 1400V5’s road manners have a lot more grip on road and track than the V4, or for that matter, any of the past 1400s.
What New Balance doesn’t mention is the presence of a small midfoot TPU piece. This is places above the midsole and contributes to the torsional rigidity of 1400.
For all its lightweight appearance, 1400 isn’t as fragile as it looks. You should be able to squeeze 300 miles out of the shoe easily, probably more. The smaller lugs tend to wear faster than the more giant slabs of the previous 1400s, though the wear rate will gradually taper.
Revlite and the insole are still EVA foam no matter what New Balance claims, so expect the foam to go all wrinkly and flat after a couple of hundred kilometers. In other words, New Balance 1400V5 Review will get closer to a racing ‘flat’ feel at mile 200 than mile 10, so not sure whether the midsole flattening is a bad thing.
The toe-box is shallow, so get a half size larger if you want to preserve the toe-box mesh. Else, friction with the foot might lead to a premature failure of the mesh material.
Read Next – Asics Gel Kayano 24 Review
UPPER FIT AND FEEL
There’s a good reason why New Balance 1400V5 is in New Balance’s ‘RC’ category. Apart from its lightweight, the upper is form-fitting – a characteristic of road racing shoes. A narrow fit keeps the foot locked down and minimizes distraction.
On the other hand, if a shoe such as 1400 is one of your first, then know that the fit is different from daily training (like the New Balance 1080 or the Nike Pegasus).
Compared to traditional trainers, the 1400’s toe-box is shallow, the front end is pointy, and the forefoot is narrow. But on a scale relative to the 1400V4, the new V5 has a slightly more accommodating fit.
We mentioned that the forefoot and midfoot go through numerous changes, such as a smaller toe-bumper, the reduction of side overlays, and the softer mesh. One can’t have all these tweaks and not expect a change in the upper fit at the same time.
It is no surprise that the foot doesn’t feel hemmed in as it did inside the V4. The engineered mesh is softer and will expand slightly over time. The new toe-bumper is shorter on both sides, so the front isn’t as pointy. The insides feel way smoother than before, too; overall, the V5 feels more spacious inside than the V4.
This doesn’t mean that the upper lacks support. 1400 has a thin waist, which means the upper hugs the foot securely and prevents it from sliding forward. The internal heel counter grips well, and the flat laces do a great job of keeping the tongue in place. The narrow lacing and the ultra-wide center loop keep the unsleeved language from moving around, as called out earlier.
Whether you buy a half size up on the 1400 or not depends on the use-case. If you intend to reserve the 1400’s use exclusively for synthetic tracks, we recommend that you stick true to size.
But you intend to run 10k and beyond in 1400, then getting a half size larger is recommended. It must also be noted that 1400 is not offered in additional widths, so what you see is what you get.
Read Next – Skechers GoRun Ride 6 Review
RIDE QUALITY AND BEHAVIOR
1400 is a 10 mm drop shoe, which means that the cushioning is heel loaded. There’s a lot more Revlite in the rear than under the minimally padded forefoot. So your impression of the 1400’s ride will depend a lot on whether you’re a rearfoot or forefoot striker.
In the back, three components work together. The perforated insole placed inside comes with inbuilt cushioning, and this provides the first layer of cushioning.
The primary Revlite midsole does a good job of damping the ride without a loss in speed, and the area of exposed foam cavity (under the heel) splays out on impact, adding to the cushioning experience.
Even so, we’d still categorize the 1400’s cushioning character as a firm with only the slightest responsiveness. The foam doesn’t have a lot of giving and offers excellent ground feedback, stability, and transitions. The forefoot cushioning is bare-bones but not jarring – the soft blown rubber adds a touch of softness when it meets the road.
If you’re familiar with other New Balance models, then a good way to describe the 1400’s cushioning quality as being midway between the Zante V3 and the Vazee Pace V2.
One might ask – can 1400 be used for marathons?
No one stops using 1400 as a long-distance shoe, which involves running longer than a half-marathon, but the forefoot is thin and will beat your foot down. Also, the fit is narrow, and there are no additional widths, so that’s another thing you need to watch from a comfort perspective.
Some use 1400 on a light. Non-technical trails were a snug upper works better, but then that’s an entirely different use-case.
Read Next – Adidas ADIZERO Boston 9 Shoes
PROS AND CONS
This is a New Balance, so the first positive which comes to mind is the upper fit. 1400 might be narrow, but they’re absolutely no pressure hot spots. More so this year than the last, as the all-mesh upper delivers increased breathability and interior smoothness while being supportive.
The ride quality is a great mix of firm and cushioned. The single-density Revlite EVA offers excellent transitions, and the new outsole grips very well on the road and tracks. This lightweight shoe is also a great value at an MSRP of $100.
If we had to nitpick, it would be the lack of optional widths and the decreased reflectivity over the previous model.
SUMMARY AND CHANGES BETWEEN THE 1400V4 AND 1400V5
As far as the ride is concerned, both the versions are very similar. That’s because the V4 and V5 both use a single-density EVA midsole of similar dimensions. That said, New Balance 1400V5 Review’s outsole grip is much better owing to the new forefoot lugs.
What’s changed a lot is the upper. The V5’s upper leaves most of the external layering behind, which also includes a smaller toe-bumper. When combined with the slightly more stretchable engineered mesh, the reduction of overlays frees up more room inside.
If 1400 will be one of the many in your running shoe mix, then there are a couple of rotational approaches to consider. You can either keep the entire collection minimal and speed-focused or go for a more comprehensive ride experience range.
An assortment of the Zante V3, 1400, and the Hanzo will give different lightweight levels. The Hanzo is a pure racing flat for quick 5K, and 10K runs, while the Zante V3 is a cushioned daily trainer. In between these two, you have yours truly.
But we think that the assortment will be more wholesome if you get the Boracay V3, the Zante, and the 1400V5. This way, 1400 can be used for races and high-speed runs, while the Boracay can perform a long-distance hauler role. The Zante works great when you want a lightweight shoe but with a higher cushioning level than 1400.
If you seek brand diversity, then consider the Nike Pegasus 34 and the Adidas Boston 6. Nike will give you all the cushioning you need for longer runs, while Boston is a good in-between shoe for fast-paced daily training.
SIMILAR LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINERS
Regardless of its ‘RC’ tag, New Balance 1400V5 is not a full-blown racing flat; the 10 mm heel drop is a dead giveaway. It is undoubtedly a fast trainer but has adequate padding underneath, much unlike a racing flat. 1400 is a level or two above the racing flat silhouette as far as road manners go.
There are many other shoes within that category. There’s the Asics Hyperspeed 7, the Brooks Hyperion, and the Adidas adios 3.
The Mizuno Hitogami 4, the Nike Zoom Streak 6, and the LT3 are a few other options. Needless to say, each of these comes with their distinct ride and upper fit character.
But if we had to choose just one shoe, which is a closer match with 1400 than the rest, it’d be the Asics Hyperspeed 7. The latter’s upper fit shares some of the 1400’s traits, along with a single-density midsole and a transition groove that splits the forefoot – much like the New Balance 1400V5.
This is all for New Balance 1400V5 Review.