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Shoe of the Week: New Balance 1500v1

A lightweight race-ready trainer with a twinge of stability.

The new 1500 v1 is a lightweight race-ready trainer with a twinge of stability.

When New Balance created its 1400 lightweight trainer/racer a few years ago, it got smashing reviews. It was light, fast and had just enough cushioning for some longer training efforts. The only thing it didn’t have was any stability whatsoever, and that meant you had to be a strong-legged, agile and efficient runner to get the most out of it. Enter the 1500, a shoe with a similar light-and-fast demeanor, only with a reliable amount of medial-side support for mild to moderate overpronators. The 1500 is agile, flexible and energetic with a lithe construction that will inspire you to run faster, no matter if you’re doing a speed workout, a long interval session or some long run variation. The medial post is noticeable in the support it provides, but it’s not overbearing or stride-inhibiting in any way.

The 1500 v1 has a narrow, low-volume profile with a low-to-the-ground feel and a lively aura that makes it similar to the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante. (They have similar heights and offsets, even though they have considerably different foam midsole characteristics. The 1500 is slightly firmer and a tad more responsive, whereas the Zante is slightly softer and more dynamically cushioned.) While the Zante’s strength is its slightly more broad-based versatility (for almost any distance, speed or workout), the 1500 excels as a stability-enhanced speed shoe geared for racing and fast workouts from short repeats to longer race-paced efforts. Most of our wear-testers suggested the sweet spot for this shoe would be from 5K to 13.1 miles, but a few thought it could be a good marathon shoe for faster and more efficient runners. (Germany’s Sebastian Kienle wore them for 26.2 miles en route to winning the 2014 Ironman World Championship last October.) “It’s a pretty agile shoe that’s low to the ground and really forces your feet to pay attention to what’s going on,” says Competitor wear-tester and senior editor Mario Fraioli. Like the 1400, the 1500 has a bit of a bare-bones feeling to it—there’s not much between the foot and the ground and it’s not a plush ride. But that’s OK because racing is supposed to get you out of your comfort zone and eliminate the cushy fluff. In other words, although you can use it for longer runs, it’s not a shoe meant for slow jogging or recovery runs. “What you see is what you get,” says wear-tester John Tolbert. “It puts your feet on the ground and screams, ‘Let’s go, baby!'”

This is the shoe for your if: … You’re looking for a very lightweight, moderately cushioned stability shoe capable of quick-cadence, fast-turnover running from track intervals all the way to long runs.

Price: $110
Weights: 7.2 oz. (men’s), 6.4 oz. (women’s)
Offset: 6mm; 22mm (heel), 16mm (forefoot)
Info: NewBalance.com

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