Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gear Review: New Balance MR1400

These shoes were sort of an emergency buy; and by emergency, I mean I lost one of my other running shoes (yes, just one).  How does a person lose one running shoe? 

My remaining ST4
While I was almost ready to replace my Brooks ST4 Racers, I wasn't exactly in the market quite yet.  But with no right shoe (literally, my "right shoe" was gone) for my Monday morning run, it was easy to explain to my wife that new shoes had become a need not a want.  I headed to one of Miami's best running stores, Footworks, to shop for a new pair. 

I talked with the shoe salesman (think: Al Bundy; wait, no, he was actually a cool guy who knows a lot about running) and he chose a bunch of kicks for me to test out.  After trying on - and testing on the pavement outside, as the store encourages you to do - about 6 or 7 pairs of mostly neutral and minimalist type racing flats I ended up settled in on the first pair I tried on.   I originally liked the New Balance MR1400s for their design and color combo, but it turned out they were a great fit for my feet as well as a perfect match for my style (running and otherwise).

New Balance MR1400

As I mentioned above, my previous shoes were the ST4 Racers. I of course tried on the updated version of the shoe, the ST5.  While they were towards the top of my list, I felt they were a bit sloppy up front, as the toe box is generously sized); my old ST4s were similar and while it didn't seem to be a problem on most runs, it became somewhat uncomfortable on speed intervals and high-tempo runs. What I loved about the ST4s, which are considered racing flats, is that they were extremely light.  Also, while they did have a more traditional heel/toe drop (compared to true minimalist shoes), they were flat enough that with my forefoot running style I never had to worry about the heel getting in the way.  

The 1400s provided all the benefits of the ST4; they are lightweight, have a good (flat) tread, and a reasonable heel/toe drop (these are lower than the ST4s, at about 8mm), with the added bonus of having a snug fit in the midfoot, with just the right amount of space for my toes.  Obviously foot shape is different for all folks, but the shape of the 1400s is perfect for my foot.  The 1400s are extremely lightweight (my size nines weight about 7.2 ounces) and while they do provide adequate cushioning, they don't have much in the way of stability control. This is just how I like my shoes, so another plus. 

My first run in my new treads was a set of hard, all-out interval, with a few minutes of recovery between each sprint.  If not for the blinding yellow sole and laces, I hardly noticed the shoes on my feet.  I felt strong and fast and knew these shoes were going to take me far (and hopefully fast).  

Since purchasing the MR1400s I have logged close to 150 miles and I love them just as much as the day I bought them.  I use them for all my runs: interval, long runs, 5Ks, brick workouts, triathlons, and plan on running a half marathon in them soon. I see no reason (other than that they may wear more quickly) that I can't use them for marathons training, and ultimately a marathon.

I strongly endorse these shoes, but I highly recommend trying them and others on to make sure they are the best fit for you, your feet, and your running style.

Note:  I purchased these shoes on my own and have received no compensation whatsoever for this review.

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