Even if you started running with no ambitions other than getting a little fitter or losing some weight, the odds are good that you’ll get hooked. When that happens your thoughts will start to turn to entering some races, even if that just means your local parkrun, and setting then beating some personal records. When that happens, you may well want to support your efforts by investing in a lightweight racing shoe. A shoe like the incredibly speedy New Balance 1400v6.
I couldn’t pull on the 1400 without experiencing a surge of adrenaline, partly because I knew I was about to go out and try to run fast, but mainly because of the magnificent flame red colourway and the words “Silent Hunter’, which are emblazoned on the insole. “I am the silent hunter,” I’d think to myself as I flew past people sedately walking their dogs on the local canal.
The REVlite midsole is firm and responsive, delivering the snappy ride that you want in a racer. The transition from heel-to-toe is fluid and feels smoother the faster you run. It’s not as hard a ride as in other racing shoes I’ve tried, with enough cushioning to allow you to tackle races up to a marathon – although that will depend on the individual. I’d wear something a little more cushioned for anything longer than a half marathon, but there will be many lighter and more efficient runners who’d fancy the 1400 to do the business for the full 42.2km.
Fair warning: it should be kept in reserve for for faster efforts. I took it out on an easy 10K and it was a tad firm and uncomfortable by the end. Furthermore, given that racing shoes tend to have a shorter shelf life than more cushioned running shoes, it is worth having another shoe in your locker for easy days and saving the 1400 for track, interval sessions and races.
The fit of the 1400 is decidedly narrow around the midfoot, but the toe box opens up to allow a decent amount of room. For me this meant a comfortable and secure fit, ideal for faster running, but if you have especially wide feet it might be a little tight in the middle.
I was impressed with the level of grip on the outsole, since many racing shoes offer next to nothing in the way of lugs. The 1400 is clearly not a shoe for muddy trails, but it has great grip for a racer and it’s an ideal option for fast running on light tracks. I used it for a race around the light trails of Trent Park in London (light in summer, anyway – the mud in winter would be a different matter) and it was excellent: still smooth and responsive but without any cornering concerns on loose ground. If you want a shoe to carry you to a parkrun PB, the extra grip of the 1400 makes it an appealing pick.
As with many racing shoes, you’ll want to go a size up with the 1400. I wore a ten compared with a nine in other New Balance shoes.
The 1400v6 has an RRP of £85, which is very reasonable compared to other shoes of its type, but bear in mind that it might not last you as many kilometres as a chunkier, cushioned shoe.
If you’re a casual runner you might not consider a racing shoe worth the outlay, and there are many great all-rounder shoes that can cover all your racing and training needs. If you do fancy the idea of a race-day shoe, however, the 1400v6 is an excellent choice. After all, you are the silent hunter.