New Balance 1500v5 Review

The New Balance 1500, now on version 5, has been a stable stability racing shoe for many years now.  Having run in the original, little has changed in the concept of this shoe.  The 1500v5 retains a similar midsole with a medial post, T-Beam and RevLite foam.  The upper has evolved over the years to the now sleek and awesome looking mesh.  As one of the few stability racing/lightweight training shoes still on the market, let's discuss whether you should give this one a try.



Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 8.1 oz
Stack Height: 23mm / 17mm
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Stability Racing Shoe


FIT/UPPER

As with my experience with version one of the 1500 series, I am between sizes.  I generally wear a size 10 in most shoes (including New Balance) and I sized down to a 9.5 in this edition as well.  For racing and workouts, the tighter fit does better to create security (and I prefer a snugger fit in racing shoes).  If I was going to use this as a lightweight trainer, I would stick with a size 10 for a little extra room.  In the size 9.5, my toes hit the end just a hair, but the mesh has enough give that I do not notice it.  Thanks to the no-sew mesh and the phantom fit upper, the upper disappears once the run starts and I do not notice the slightly shorter fit.


The fit is very secure and I have not had any issues with slippage.  For those that need a slightly wider fit, the 1500v5 is offered in a wide (although I have not tried it).  The Meta-Lock in the midfoot contributes to the secure fit in the midfoot that holds the foot well even on quick turns.  The fit in the heel is snug but comfortable.  There is a mild heel counter that is cushioned by the rest of the upper and is not noticeable even against bar skin.  The forefoot has enough room for a racing flat but fits on the secure and but not too snug side.  Those wanting extra room should again consider the wide (2E) version.


RIDE/MIDSOLE

As with previous versions of the 1500, the sole continues to be full length RevLite with a medial post.  The RevLite midsole responds well to uptempo and distance runs alike.  The firmer ride does well for uptempo runs, providing decent responsiveness throughout the shoe.  The additional midsole material provides a little more protection than typical racing shoes, allowing for the 1500v5 to used for longer miles and training as well.


The forefoot is fairly flexible thanks to the flex grooves but still remains a little stiffer due to the additional midsole material.  There is no plate in the midsole outside of a small T-Beam that adds a little extra torsional rigidity and stability in the midfoot.  The ride remains smooth thanks to the medial placement of the T-Beam (no stiff and rigid midfoot torsion system).  The heel has a mild bevel, but thanks to the give from the midsole transitions very well.


The 1500v5 is listed as having a 6mm drop and it feels as such.  This amount of drop feels like it hits the sweet spot.  Not too low where my achilles takes a beating but not so high that the heel gets in the way.  Over long workouts and races, the only thing I have noticed about the drop is how little I pay attention to it.


STABILITY

The medial post is located in the heel and midfoot located in heel into midfoot.  The support is mild and is unobtrusive.  However there is enough there to keep the legs fresh as the miles pile on.  The forefoot last is somewhat wider with a longitudinal flex groove that provides a guided and stable toe-off.  Overall the 1500v5 is a shoe that will provide light guidance and not heavy support.  For those used to neutral or light stability, the 1500v5 will work for a variety of runs.  For those used to higher levels of stability, this is a shoe that should be slowly integrated into your running regime.


SPEED

The New Balance 1500v5 is a multi purpose shoe.  It can be used for racing, workouts, and training.  I personally have used this shoe for longer, more difficult races and workouts where I need a bit more underfoot.  The sole holds up well over long miles and responds to tempo training, 10k races and up.  For high speed workouts and 5ks the RevLite sole does not respond as quickly as I would like.  Thus it works better as a longer workout and racing shoe, particularly for the half to full marathon.


DURABILITY

Despite the nubs on the outsole, the durability of the 1500v5 is high for a racing flat.  The cushioning has remained consistent and there is little to no wear on the outsole despite being used for hard and fast days.  My previous experience with version one of the 1500 series demonstrated that the cushioning tended to relax a little after 80-100 miles.  Currently though I expect the 1500v5 to last as long as most lightweight trainers (300-500 miles depending on your body and mileage) thanks to the decent outsole coverage of blown rubber and additional RevLite material.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

Stability racing flats are becoming increasingly rare.  Currently the only three in the US market are the Saucony Fastwitch, New Balance 1500 and the Brooks Asteria (previously known as the Racer ST series).  Gone is the Asics DS Racer (although a replacement is rumored), Adidas Mana (non-bounce) and a few others.  Not too long ago there were more, but as the market has shifted to more cushioned shoes, the racing shoe category has been more difficult to sell.  In Japan, where racing is taken more seriously, there are many more stability racers in Japan (New Balance Hanzo U and T, Asics Tartherzeal TS and more).  Although to be fair there is a greater selection of racing flats in general in the Asian market.


As the market shifts to different forms of stability outside of posting, we may continue to see this category stagnate.  The shoes available now are great, but not in the same variety as before.  A little guidance over long races and workouts is not a bad thing.   Particularly in later stages of race when fatigue sets in.  Not everyone will need this, but some may find it more comfortable over the distance.  People are different and deserve to have a variety of shoes to pick from to match their needs.


This is the type of shoe I suggest to patients who are interested in lighter footwear for workouts but are afraid of super light racers.  Particularly those who have been training in stability shoes for some time.  The 1500v5 is great because it has decent cushion for a lightweight shoe and the mild stability provides a new stimulus for these individuals without being as dramatic of a shift compared to moving to 5k-10k racers or spikes.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The New Balance 1500v5 is for the runner looking for a stable lightweight trainer/racer for longer races and workouts.  For those that need a hint of stability in a lightweight and fast ride, this is a great shoe.  There is enough in the midsole for both racing and daily training and the upper provides a great fit while letting you focus on the run.  For those that need extra room, this is the only stability racing flat available in wides as well.  Definitely worth a look for those that need a little extra stability.

GRADING

Fit/Upper          8/10
Ride/Midsole    7/10
Stability            8/10
Speed                8/10
Durability          9/10

Total Score: 80%

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow Graduate

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for their full US retail price.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 38 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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