New Balance 1400 v2 Review: A Candidate For Shoe Of The Year

IMG_2724 “The 1400 are what running shoes are pretty much supposed to be.  That’s not to say that shoes that aren’t like this are no good. I know they are. And not everyone can wear one model. But running is supposed to be simple. At some point we came to believe that our running shoes weren’t performance shoes if they weren’t, you know, all techied out and @$%#, because of, you know, marketing. But here’s the deal:  Really good design—really good design—doesn’t need all that stuff to be legit. It just doesn’t. We just think it does, maybe because we don’t have faith in ourselves, or know what good design is, I don’t know. But the New Balance 1400 v2 is almost—almost—exactly what you need, and nothing more.”

-John Schrup in his spot-on review of the New Balance 1400 v2

The New Balance MR1400 is a shoe that I’ve been long tempted by, but have resisted trying due to its relatively high heel-forefoot drop (9mm). My general experience is that most shoes over about 8mm drop don’t work well with my stride since I tend to be a midfoot to very mild heel striker. The higher heel can get in the way, and often catches the ground prematurely as I make contact. I had this experience recently with the 10mm drop Mizuno Sayonara – it’s a shoe that a lot of people seem to love, but it just did not work well for me and I gave up on it after a few runs (my friend Brad reviewed the Sayonara for me here).

I finally broke down a few weeks ago when the New Balance MR1400 v2 came out (the women’s version is the WR1400 v2). I had some credit at Running Warehouse from a previous return and the shoe ticked all of my boxes with the exception of the higher-than-preferred drop (note: this was a personal purchase, not a media sample). It also didn’t help that some of my shoe geek friends who share my preferences have been drooling over the 1400v2. I’m glad I took a chance since this is one of the best shoes I’ve run in so far this year!

New Balance 1400

The 1400 is basically a racing flat with a bit of additional soft cushion under the heel. It’s super lightweight (6.4 oz in size 9) and simple in its construction, both of which are features I like in a running shoe. It also costs under $100, which is a huge plus these days.

When I first put the 1400’s on my feet my impression was that the sole was super cushy, particularly under the heel (I like a soft sole). The feel under the heel was somewhat reminiscent of the Newton Energy, which is another of my favorite shoes released this year. I was a bit wary of the heel lift, but it didn’t feel very prominent when I put the shoes on, perhaps because the soft heel allows the foot to sink in a bit more than in a firmer shoe like the Mizuno Sayonara.

New Balance 1400 side

New Balance 1400 medial

A run would be the true test, and the 1400 didn’t disappoint. I’m not sure exactly why, but these shoes don’t feel like they are 9mm drop, even though my own caliper measurements agree with the 24mm heel, 15mm forefoot dimensions reported by Running Warehouse. For some reason this shoe stays out of the way from my stride in a way that the Sayonara did not. Like all perfect footwear matches, it disappears on my feet.

While the heel of the 1400 feels soft while walking, the shoe feels firmer while running since I tend to load from midfoot to forefoot (see my stride video in the shoe below). It’s a responsive shoe that I could easily use from the 5K all the way to the marathon. Though I’ve run a max of only about 7-8 miles in a single run in them, I would have no hesitation running in them for much longer distances (I’m not marathon training right now so no double-digit runs on my schedule). In fact, if I had a marathon on my schedule soon the shoe decision would probably come down to the 1400v2 or the Newton Energy.

As John Schrup so elqoquently puts it in the opening paragraph of this review, the beauty of the NB 1400v2 is its simplicity. The sole is simply a full-contact wedge of foam, and it has decent outsole coverage – plenty of rubber to provide durability. I’ve put my typical 30-40 pre-review miles on these shoes and no major signs of wear to the sole. There does appear to be a plastic shank/plate in the region of the midfoot to add stiffness to the shoe (you can see it through the diamond-shaped hole under the midfoot), and I think this contributes to its responsiveness.

New Balance 1400 sole

The upper of the 1400v2 is a nice, breathable mesh with extensive welded overlays. Again pretty simply but it does the job of securing the foot down quite well. It’s composed of a plasticy kind of mesh that worries me with regard to forefoot tearing with long-term use, but I see no signs of an issue so far (unlike the NB 730 v2, which started to develop small forefoot tears with similar mileage on them). I think there are enough overlays to prevent any major blowouts.

One issue with the upper of the 1400v2 is that internally it’s very rough, almost sandpapery rough. This is not a shoe for sockless running, I didn’t even try it as I would guarantee some serious abrasion and blistering. Despite this, I have had no issues with hotspots or blisters while wearing thin socks.

New Balance 1400 top

In terms of fit, I opted for a 10.5 instead of my usual 10 to allow a bit of room up front since this shoe is not on the roomy Minimus last. I find the fit to be just right – not super roomy, and not tight. I feel no constriction at all, it just fits and stays out of the way. Perfect for a performance shoe.

The insole included with the shoe is thin and flat, and arch support is not obtrusive. The ankle cuff is nicely padded, and there is no real heel counter (though the New Balance logo on the back of the shoe is stiff and keeps the back of the heel from collapsing).

IMG_2737

Summary

Rather than dwelling on additional details, I’ll simply say that this shoe works, and it works very well in a lot of situations. I’ve done intervals in them and they felt great – very responsive when running fast, just enough longitudinal stiffness for speed.

They also feel great on longer, slower runs, and for heel strikers or those who tend to have form breakdowns late in a race the heel cushion is ample. This is the kind of shoe that could be worn by a lot of different runners with very different styles and body types. I’d go so far as to say it’s a great starting shoe for a new runner – light, simple, and plenty of protection (I’m not a big believer in expensive, techy shoes with lots of stuff shoved into the sole). I’d rank it right up there with the Saucony Kinvara in terms of versatility.

If you can’t yet tell that I like this shoe, I’ll just say it flat-out: the New Balance 1400 v2 is everything a running shoe should be. I’m pretty sure it’ll be among my top 3 shoes this year, and it’s one that I highly recommend that you try!

The New Balance 1400 v2 is available for purchase at Running Warehouse, Zappos, and Amazon.com.

Running Warehouse: Great prices on closeout shoes! View men's and women's selections.
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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. patrick voo says:

    great review peter! i still have mine in the box, but am going to make sure to put a run in them before the week is out. i’m a bit concerned about the width, and may try to run in them without the insole to see what that feels like.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I find the width to be fine for me, but I don’t have overly wide feet. The surface under the insole is a bit rough, but worth a shot if you need room

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      • is it wider than kinvara?

        • Pete Larson says:

          Maybe a tad, feels like it has more give than the K4 to me

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          Pete Larson’s Web Links:
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          • If you to absolutely had pick between the 1400s and the Kinvaras, which would you choose? I have a pair of the 1400s (original) and they are my favorite shoes; however, I am a bit surprised you recommend them for marathons (I only run up to 1/2 marathon anyway, but when I do, it is with “more shoe”). These I limit to 10k or less.

            I love the ride on the Kinvara 5s I tested, but I have a narrow foot and it seems like there is a lot of extra material on the top of the shoe, whereas 1400s fit like a literal glove. If I could combine the Kinvara ride with the top of the 1400s, it would be perfect.

            I also own some Saucony Triumphs as a trainer/distance shoe, and they suffer with the same extra material/width.

          • If you have a narrow foot stick with the 1400, you are right that the Kinvara 5 has a wider fit. You could also try the Kinvara 4 if you can find one – it was a bit narrower (too narrow for my taste).

            Marathon shoes are really a personal preference kind of thing – I run mostly in more minimal end shoes so the 1400 and Kinvara have more than enough cushion for me. But if your daily trainer is the Triumph something a bit more might make sense.

  2. Hey Pete, would these shoes be able to accommodate orthotics? Cheers for a great review

    • Pete Larson says:

      Depends on how thick they are, it’s not a super roomy shoe and the included insole is pretty thin.
      Pete

      Sent from my iPad

  3. Christian Eriksson says:

    Pete, I seem to recall that you rather liked the MR10v2′s (besides finding the upper a bit too lose on your feet); apart from the obvious differences between the models, how would you compare them in terms of ‘feel’? I am perfectly content with the 10′s, but it is always good to have other options. Though I am also a bit suspicious of that 9mm drop…

  4. Matt Schrager says:

    Hi Peter, Thanks for the great, if disappointing, review! I’m really sorry to hear of these changes in the 4, as I’ve loved my 3 pairs of 3s.

    Question: RE: sizing…If I’m an 11.5 in the Kinvara 3s, what size would I take in the 1400v2?

    Thanks again,
    MS

  5. How does the V2 compare to the previous model? In the last 5 months I’ve run everything from speed work to trails to a marathon PR in the original 1400s. I avoided them for a long time due to the higher drop as well, but they are the best shoes I’ve ever run in. I panicked and bought a couple more pairs when I saw the update coming out, but hopefully they didn’t change much?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I never had the v1 so can’t help there, maybe somebody else will chime in.
      Pete

      Sent from my iPad

    • Brad Williams says:

      Danna,

      I don’t think you’ll notice any difference other than a slightly lighter shoe. Other than that they felt the same to me. Love this shoe.

      I also agree. Not all “drop” is created equal. I just don’t notice it much in this shoe. For the most part 4mm is my sweet spot and this shoe works great for me.

    • The 1400 v1 has been my go-to shoe for the past year or so – they’re a great all-rounder, from speed work to marathons, and I’m on my third pair. The v2 is just as good, from the short time I’ve had a pair (about a month). Maybe a little cushier in the heel, but still with a good snap; lighter, more breathable. The only issue is, as Pete mentions in his review, the inner has a few rough, prickly spots and you really need socks.

      • Yeah, if it had a smoother interior it would be just about perfect. Didn’t even try sockless in these.

        • Hi Pete- I have bought a pair of these, sizing up half size, but still find them a wee bit snug. Otherwise, a really nice, comfortable shoe, I agree.

          Can you recommend a good thin sock suitable for long distances?

          Thanks.
          -JR

          • The socks I wear most often are Champion C9 from Target, cheap and thin :) I also like Injinji’s thin socks, can’t recall the model name but should be easy to find on their site.

  6. Brad Patterson says:

    Pete, how does the room in the toebox on the 1400v2 compare to the Sayonara? One of the things I REALLY like about the Sayonara is the roomy toebox, and I am curious to hear your thoughts on the 1400v2 toebox. Thanks!

  7. Hi Pete. Thanks for a great review. Just purchased the MR1400 v2 and can’t wait for them to deliver for this weekends runs.
    Seemless transition into the new website just like you said. Well done.

  8. I WANT THESE SHOES!!! Great Review, and for sub $100, you just can’t beat that!

  9. Is this shoe appropriate for a larger runner (185 lbs)? Kinvaras have been great for me over the years but i’d like to go even more minimalist if possible. Thanks.

  10. Hi Pete,

    I just ordered a pair of these based on your review, but I didn’t read closely enough–specifically the part where you sized up to 10.5! I also wear a 10 in Kinvara and had initially ordered 10 in the 1400vs. Based on your review–and the fact that I have a neuroma that is bothered by tight toe boxes–I called and changed my order to 10.5.

    Does that seem like a sensible move to you? For some reason, I have this strange aversion to sizing up in shoes!

    Happy New Year!

    mc

  11. Just ordered these through Running Warehouse, on sale AND got 10% with the runblog10 code. $76 shipped but my size won’t be in stock until 3/10. Still a great deal. Thanks Pete.

  12. Hey Peter,

    I sent you an unnecessarily long email, but seeing this post and your discussion of softness in the heel has me interested.

    Do your think this would be a good shoe for someone who wears a 10.5 4E NB with enough support that Andre The Giant wouldn’t pronate in!

    I spend about 80% of my time in home, so I’d be looking at one for indoors and one out, because I wouldn’t think a low correction shoe indoors would do well with an over corrected shoe outdoors… Maybe?

    Thanks in advance!

    Nick

  13. Andrew Butler says:

    Pete,

    What would you say about the 1400v2′s durability? I’ve been running in a pair of Mizuno Wave Levitas and have not found the extensive EVA exposure to be sufficiently durable — I’ve got about 300 miles in them and they’re about ready to bite the dust. I know the 1400v2 has blown rubber on the sole, but it seems pretty thin. Any thoughts in this regard?

    • Tough for me to comment on durability. I have not had issues, but no more than 50 miles on my pair. The tradeoff with reviewing lots of shoes is an inability to put a lot of miles on any one pair.

  14. Pulled the trigger on a pair today from Running Warehouse after finding the upper-limit of what my feet can take in the MR10v2s (10 miles of hills) and officially giving up hope on the Drift2 happening. If the drop is just too much or fit too narrow, I’ll kick them back and wait for the A6.

    • 1400v2 should fit maybe a tad roomier than the A6. Never had a problem with the drop getting in the way.

      • The drop seems fine but the fit is off. Maybe should have gone up a half size as you did, Pete, but still unsure about the width across the toe box. What did you end up thinking about the sizing of the A6? You mentioned that you thought the 10.5 was too big?

        • I almost always go up half size in flats/performance shoes. Haven’t gotten the A6 in size ten yet to compare.

          • hi pete–great review, as usual! re “I almost always go up half size in flats/performance shoes.”: is that because you find most flats too narrow for you, or something about the nature/function of flats, e.g., that you tend to land more toward your forefoot when running fast? my feet are on the narrow side, so i’m wondering whether sizing up will be helpful.
            thanks,
            bruce

          • Yes, because flats tend to be narrower, and sizing up helps give my toes a bit more space. If you have a narrow foot you might be fine.

  15. Hey Pete,

    I’m really close to buying either these or the 890v4. I was hoping you could tell me about the heel counter/heel cup on both models. I tend to need a soft or external heel counter, as this does not irritate by bursitis. Thanks

  16. Hi,
    I would just like to clarify which model is being reviewed here? Is it the RC1400v2 or MR1400v2?

    Its shown as the RC1400v2 here:
    link to believeintherun.com

    Also, can some enlighten me on the differences between MR and RC models? Thanks

  17. Thank you for the review! I tried them out in a size 10 this weekend, and I am wondering, if I should size up a bit. I noticed that the upper is definitely rough. I received two blisters on my little toes on the first 6 mile run. Other than that, the shoes felt great. I did not even noticed the 9mm drop. Would sizing up resolve the blisters issue? I generally wear 9.5 – 10 depending on the brand. 10 have always been great for my Kinvaras. Thank you!

  18. The last pair of running sneakers I bought are the Nike Pegasus, which are on their last legs. I am considering getting a new balance, but not the 1400s, as I am not a marathon runner. I found a very sharp looking new balance M880, it has a 12mm drop. Can you explain a bit what that means?

    • It means that the heel sits 12mm higher than the forefoot (i.e., more cushion under the heel than under the forefoot), so your foot will be slanted forward a bit.

  19. Hi i’m between the new balance 1400v2 and the new balance 1600 what shoes to choose??? The first one is new but the other is 2 year shoes but i have read is a really very very good running shoes

    • The 1400 is a bit more forgiving under the heel, a bit wider through the midfoot. I’d use the 1400 in a marathon, probably not the 1600, but have not yet tried 1600 v2.

  20. Nick Bishop says:

    I bought a pair of the 1400v2s on the strength of your review and have been surprised by how much I enjoy running in them.

    The only disappointment has been the sizing. I’ve had to go up a full size to get a pair that fits well and even these feel snugger than normal. For me that’s a size 12 (UK), versus an 11 (UK) I normally take.

    Versus the Kinvara, the road shoe I’ve worn for the last few years, I can honestly say I think I prefer the 1400v2s. To my feel, there’s nothing in it on weight, and almost nothing on comfort, but the 1400v2 definitely has more bounce. I’m very much enjoying the bounce.

    I’m assuming, like the Kinvara, it won’t wear well. The uppers on all the most recent pairs of Kinvaras I’ve used have torn after roughly 300km (Saucony advised me they should last up 700km). The 1400v2s, as much as I’d like to wear them everyday, I think I’m going to use them only occasionally and for races, the 2014 Chicago marathon being one of these.

    Thanks for the review. Always appreciated.

  21. Hi Pete
    I finally tracked some down in UK and what a shame, the women’s only come in B width and the mens are in D but are really long and £30 more. Pah. Is it the same in USA? Sometimes its cheaper for me to ship over than buy in shops here.

    • Looks like Sportsshoes.com in the UK has both men’s and women’s for same price, not sure on width availability though: link to sportsshoes.com

      Not sure if the shoe comes in wider widths or not.

      • This shoe not manufactured in wider width for less than dainty lady feet. I have sent for half size up womens from USA, still £10 cheaper than UK including postage and taxes. Rip off, NB sell £100 what you pay $100 for. And we never get a choice of widths over here in any shoe, unheard of in european market.

Trackbacks

  1. […] most any shoe over 8mm drop from heel to forefoot. However, a few months ago I bought a pair of New Balance 1400v2′s after hearing positive things about them from friends (damn you John Schrup!). I never tried the […]

  2. […] my safety light and gels, and a front pocket to hold a soft flask. I also oped to race with the New Balance RC1400V2‘s, given that I have been training with it for 2 weeks. But that didn’t turn out so […]

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