New Balance 1500 ReviewMarch 31, 2015
- Super lightweight
- Low stack heights in heel and forefoot
- Smooth and responsive midsole
- Excellent outsole grip
- Midsole rigidity bar prevents natural movement through midfoot stance
- Toe box may feel narrow in front for some users
If you can’t run fast in the New Balance 1500, you can’t run fast. This shoe is built for speed, and is an outstanding choice for race day, speed training, or just enjoying some lightweight agility in your regular training.
New Balance is applying a high-tech approach to its latest midsole technologies. REVlite is a lighter weight version of the company’s earlier Fresh Foam midsole, which uses computer-generated impact analysis to create constant impact cushioning throughout the gait cycle. Along with the REVlite is a targeted hexagonal configuration that transfers energy from rearfoot to forefoot. The 1500 is built on the same VL-6 last that debuted with the Fresh Foam models. A high-density medial post provides light stability in the instep, along with a plastic T-BEAM under the arch to maintain torsional stability at mid-stance.
The upper on the 1500 fits snug around the midfoot, with moderate thin overlays anchoring it to the midsole. The toe box tapers into a point somewhat early for runners looking for full toe splay. A traditional lacing system holds lace tension very well, and the fit remains secure even at high speeds and with frequent cornering.
Breathable air mesh uppers cool and dry effectively. The interior surface is seamless in the rearfoot, and is attached to the midfoot via thin vertical stitching that could potentially cause irritation (but did not in our testing). Underfoot comfort is quite impressive considering the relatively low stack heights of the 1500.
The 1500 transitions from midfoot to front as well as any shoe we’ve tested. Heel strikers may have some initial difficulty reconciling a rigid medial post with a lightweight race shoe, but midfoot strikers will feel a very smooth ride with a good amount of energy return prior to swing phase. Shallow forefoot lugs on the outsole easily grab the road or track to help propel you forward as well.
Heeluxe, our shoe testing laboratory partner, tests the responsiveness of a shoe by measuring how thick a running shoe is and multiplying it by how much pressure the forefoot foot feels while running. The softer or thicker the midsole, the less responsive a shoe will feel, but the more comfortable the shoe will generally feel. The thinner or firmer a midsole is, the more power you’ll feel at toe-off.
Speed and agility
There are a number of ways the 1500 dominates in this area: super lightweight construction, comfortable, secure fit and low platform, just enough cushioning to go full-tilt, strong and secure traction at footstrike, and a highly responsive midsole. As previously mentioned, any lack of speed while wearing the 1500 isn’t the shoe’s fault—it’s all on you.