New Balance 1500v3

8.5
8.5 score
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New Balance 1500v3 Review Facts
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If you’re not well-acquainted with New Balance, here’s a quick rundown- they’re a popular shoe manufacturer that focuses mainly on functional and comfortable footwear rather than making a bold fashion statement. With the third version of their 1500 line of running shoes, New Balance has made a lot of interesting design choices that reflect these values. Some of these choices are great for particular kinds of runners, while other changes are bound to infuriate others. To find out whether the 1500v3’s will thrill you or irritate you, check out our in-depth review!

Pros
  • Highly flexible
  • Accommodates wider feet
  • Excellent medial support
  • Decent heel support
  • Amazing traction
Cons
  • Diminished stability
  • Awkward style
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

A combination of hard rubber and blown rubber is used for the construction of the 1500v3’s outsole, with the harder material in the rear and the softer material in the front. This works to provide support for heel striking while increasing handling on the forefoot, all without weighing the shoe down. In addition, the pointed design of the outsole is similar to the lugs found on most trail shoes, offering a level of traction that is excellent for some of these environments. With all of these features considered, the outsole of these New Balance shoes is extremely impressive.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The New Balance 1500v3 has a few interesting features in its midsole that you’d have a tough time finding anywhere else. The Revlite EVA foam is similar to other midsole materials but manages to provide a comparable amount of cushion with a lower total weight. In addition, an emphasis on medial foot protection helps to provide a greater degree of arch support to many competing brands. One unfortunate downside about the 1500v3’s midsole construction is that the foam used for it isn’t as durable as more heavier foam. This means that these shoes won’t work well when running over long distances such as marathons, and should mostly be used in 5K’s or half marathons instead.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Using New Balance’s Fantomfit design for the construction of the 1500v3’s upper, most of the seams and other uncomfortable protuberances that compose the majority of standard running shoes uppers are eliminated in this model. This results in a much more comfortable fit that doesn’t sacrifice any positive features, such as a high degree of breathability and a low weight. There is an inner sleeve placed in the upper that provides a snug fit, but one confusing design choice made with these shoes is to attach this sleeve to the tongue. This results in a tougher time securing the tongue in one position, which can detract from this shoe’s overall comfort.
Weight
Weight

Weight

Weighing in at just under 8 ounces, these shoes will feel very light on your feet. This is made possible with the use of lighter materials to construct these shoes, such as the Revlite EVA material used for the midsole and the Fantomfit upper material. What’s even more impressive is that these shoes manage to have such a low weight while still offering a significant amount of traction with its outsole. This makes these shoes perfect for individuals looking to transition from track running to trail running since these shoes serve as a perfect stepping stone from standard running shoes to heavier trail shoes.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

In order to provide a high degree of breathability, these running shoes are predominantly composed of a highly ventilated mesh material in the upper portion. This helps to facilitate airflow throughout the entirety of your foot while nestled in the shoe, but the addition of an inner sleeve can counteract some of these benefits. However, the use of mesh material is much greater in the New Balance 1500v3’s than in most other running shoes on the market, which helps to compensate for this tradeoff. Furthermore, the overall light weight of these shoes helps to prevent the accumulation of sweat due to the decreased amount of effort needed for running in them.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

One thing that New Balance is renowned for is it’s accommodations for runners with wider feet. These 1500v3’s offer this same benefit, offering special sizes that feature a wider sole for this very purpose. This level of comfort is appealing to these special cases, but unfortunately lost on runners with narrower feet. An insole with medial foot cushioning offers some more comfort, but it also detracts from the shallow heel drop. Finally, the lighter and more flexible midsole helps to facilitate minimalist-style running, but doesn’t capitalize on this with any additional features. The result is a shoe that offers a little bit for every different style of running, but nothing cohesive.
Style
Style

Style

New Balance is notorious for their style. Being designed more for pure functionality than any fashion statement, these shoes tend to look bulky and old-fashioned. When compared to popular running shoes from brands like Asics and Nike, they look outdated and garish, garnering the common title of ‘dad shoes.’ However, the multiple fluorescent color schemes help to offset this unfortunate design with a bit of flair. Regardless, you shouldn’t expect any style points when running in these shoes or any other shoes from this brand.
Durability
Durability

Durability

With a greater amount of protection on the outsole than many competing brands of running shoe, the 1500v3’s a level of durability in this regard that is difficult to find in other shoes of its kind. However, this durability still pales in comparison to the level of endurance present in heavier trail shoes that are meant for inclines and rough weather. Furthermore, the use of lighter material in the midsole detracts slightly from the overall durability of these New Balance shoes, making them better suited for half marathons than a full one. The result is a durability that is passable, but not perfect.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The outsoles on these running shoes offer a superb level of protection for the bottoms of your feet against the ground you are running on. In fact, the New Balance 1500v3 features outsoles that are protective enough to be used on terrain otherwise inhospitable to many other standard running shoes, such as rocky paths or hard dirt. Another protective measure implemented in this shoe’s build is their Fantomfit upper, which has a seamless construction. This lack of seams or tags helps to maintain a high level of protection from the elements while still maintaining protection from chafes and blisters.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

These New Balance shoes are highly responsive due to the snug fit from the upper’s foot sleeve and the overall light weight of the entire shoe. Because of these features, the 1500v3’s feel extremely responsive to even the smallest of movements made by your feet and won’t result in any wasted energy. One area in which responsiveness may suffer, however, is in the midsole. Due to the lightweight EVA foam used for this midsole and the lack of a full rock plate, a level of stiffness that is common to running shoes is absent here, resulting in a bit less stability that can result in inefficient movements.
Support
Support

Support

This is an aspect of shoe design that New Balance does best. Many runners specifically choose New Balance shoes over other brands because of the high level of support offered by them. This is especially true for runners who suffer from overpronation and runners with wider feet, as the wider sizes can provide the necessary support for their specific needs. In addition to having these wider sizes, the 1500v3’s offer hard rubber on the heel and an arch-supporting insole. The result is a shoe that provides terrific support for the heel and arch, no matter how wide or narrow your feet may be.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

For running shoes, the types of terrain that are accommodated by these New Balance shoes is very impressive. The light weight and flexibility offered by the 1500v3’s make them ideal for running on standard track and field surfaces, such as grass and Olympic running track. However, the outsole design mimics the design of most trail shoe outsoles, making these shoes excellent at handling some more uneven terrain such as hard dirt or rocky trails. The lack of stability makes it a bad idea to try using them in more severe environments, such as on an incline or during heavy rain, but the end result is a running shoe that is able to handle some tougher terrain than what is standard.
Price
Price

Price

The price tag that these running shoes commonly come with isn’t the least expensive in the world of running shoes, but it is far from the most expensive. In fact, the average price of the New Balance 1500v3’s fall on the lower end of the average, making them some of the more affordable offerings. What adds to the overall value of these shoes is the fact that they can handle some of the needs of trail shoes, which come at a significantly higher price point on average. When compared to running shoes, the price is a bit below the average, but in comparison to trail shoes the difference is enormous.
Traction
Traction

Traction

A few design choices are present in these running shoes that aid their overall traction. These include a sleeve to provide a snug fit and small lugs on the outsole to provide grip on rougher terrain. However, there are some features that take away from the shoes’ traction as well, such as the greater degree of flexibility from the lighter midsole that takes away from its overall stability. This can make certain styles of foot striking more difficult, allowing less control for runners who like to emphasize heel striking. However, for runners who appreciate a lightweight and tight-fitting shoe when running on tracks or flat trails, the traction offered by the New Balance 1500v3 will service their needs adequately.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

In order to keep the total weight for these shoes low, the lighter midsole cushioning offers a greater amount of give. This results in a running shoe that is more flexible than the vast majority of running shoes on the market, which can be seen as both a positive and a negative. The positive aspects of this is that runners looking for a highly bendable shoe, such as those looking to transition into running shoes from a barefoot or minimalist running style, will appreciate this feature. However, the lack of stability that comes about as a result of this high flexibility will turn off runners looking for great comfort and a more efficient stride.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Something rather unfortunate about these New Balance shoes is that their particular design, while excellent in regards to support and flexibility, is lacking in terms of stability. These shoes can provide some stability through the impressive traction on its outsole and the tight-fitting sleeve in its upper, but the midsole is where this instability is made manifest. In order to create a lightweight and flexible running shoe, New Balance’s Revlite EVA foam is far too flexible to provide a satisfying level of stability. The addition of a plastic half-shank offsets this to a degree, but it’s too little to make a real difference.
Drop
Drop

Drop

There is a 6 mm difference in elevation from the heels of these shoes to the forefoot. This is a relatively minor drop when compared to other common running shoes, and it is further dampened by the inclusion of a midsole that accentuates the medial foot. While this may feel a bit awkward for heel strikers, this design choice offers a terrific compromise between heel support and arch support. The aforementioned difficulty in heel striking can also be remedied if the included insoles are replaced with a neutral insole or a heel pad, so the difference is negotiable.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features


  • Revlite EVA foam used in the midsole

  • Fantomfit seamless upper design

  • 6 mm heel drop

  • Outsole lugs that improve traction on difficult terrain

  • Insole with extra medial support

Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Something that is abundantly clear when looking at the New Balance 1500v3 is that these shoes are not for everyone. Some questionable design choices, such as the lack of proper stability in the midsole and a garish style, are sure to dissuade a significant portion of runners looking for their next article of footwear. However, if you have wider feet, like running on flat trails, and don’t mind looking a bit silly, these are some reliable and comfortable shoes that are perfect for your next 5K.