Studying hard for school exams did not enable the luxury of an evening training at the local track, but for added motivation a fresh pair of adidas Concerto racing flats stood on the desk right in front of me. A pristinely white mesh upper combined with feather light compression moulded EVA sole, they appeared almost ahead of their time or at least of anything that I had seen. I could not wait to try them out, see how they felt and how fast they could carry me. Who knows, the shoe may even have contributed to my subsequent decision to study engineering as well as industrial and product design.
Fast-forward over a decade and it really is the first time that I have experienced similar thrill and pang of excitement concerning a racing trainer since; this time being the New Balance 1500v1!
It is by no means easy to achieve the perfect balance between weight, cushioning, response and support in a racing flat. Many design attempts have fallen short and resulted in sore feet, niggles and even injury, myself included. The New Balance (NB) 1500v1 is a breath of fresh air and I believe it is first in its class.
The ultralight mesh upper has TPU support material fused into the design resulting in a seamless, glove-like feel and thereby reducing friction, ever important when racing over longer distances and in the heat. The lacing has some elastic ‘give’, which really helps the foot to feel secure even as the conditions and terrain change within a run; the time I take tying and retying my laces before a race has also halved!
The REVlite midsole includes a higher density post for mild stability. I overpronate, as many runners do, but generally prefer to support this running motion through an insert rather than via the structure of a shoe. However, the mild stability in the NB 1500v1 is spot on, helping to support motion whilst not seeking to control it. The carbon rubber outsole has two different patterns, providing durability in areas of most wear as well as effective grip on a variety of terrains and conditions, including the wet. My pair has performed perfectly on the road and on dirt tracks, but has also carried me up to 2700m elevation, hopping from rock to rock on mountainous trail and crossing snow fields!
Last but by no means least the shoe looks great; simple, effective and tasteful design, no over-engineering here. When we enjoy and have confidence in our equipment we can really perform.