So with the Olympics done and dusted, I’m sure everyone has been inspired to go out and run faster than they ever have. New Balance is doing their part to help out with their new range of racers. The RC1600 is part of their Fall selection that includes the ultra-light RC5000 that weighs an obscene 90g. The RC1600 is a much more practical shoe and is being pitched as a shoe with enough cushioning for you can to do your marathon (PB) in without any worries.
Weighing just 145g for a US8, that makes the RC1600 even lighter than the Saucony Grid Type A5 racer and the Nike Lunarspider R2. Make no mistake, the RC1600 is a shoe built for competition, no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about it. Using the New Balance NBJ racing last, the RC1600 is a standard D width with a reduced volume toe box.
One of the new technologies featured in the RC1600 is New Balance’s FantomFit. The upper for the RC1600 is a light, breathable mesh that is extremely comfortable. The FantomFit process fuses two mesh layers into a very light yet supportive upper, getting rid of those pesky seams that often lead to blisters. The heel counter is fairly snug and covered in a felt-like layer, similar to the RC1400. Add that all together and potentially, you get a shoe that you could run in sockless. I didn’t feel any discomfort when I ran a couple of steps in them on the treadmill, but will personally opt to wear socks with these shoes simply because I have delicate feet.
According to Running Warehouse, the RC1600 has a profile identical to the Nike Lunarspider R2 – 6mm of heel drop and even the forefoot/heel heights are the same. However, the Lunarlon cushioning of the Lunarspider and the full length Revlite RC midsole of the RC1600 make these two shoes feel completely different.
Revlite RC is a higher density version of New Balance’s Revlite cushioning compound (which reduces weight but not level of cushioning) and felt a little stiff initially underfoot. Another feature of the midsole is the shank that provides torsional rigidity, similar to the Torsion system in the adidas adizero range. The Dynaride outsole is a feature found on New Balance’s racing range and gives the RC1600 extremely good traction at a weight saving.
Overall, this looks like the most advanced racer that New Balance has released so far. It is packed full of technology, comfortable, not overly minimalist and hey, doesn’t hurt that it looks good too. The RC1600 will be a good option for any time that you want to go fast. The shoe definitely doesn’t scream “cushioning” but well trained, efficient runners will have no issues using this for a full marathon. While the RC1600’s Revlite RC cushioning might feel slightly stiffer than some other racers, you won’t feel over exposed to impact forces once you get going.
The RC1600 retails for $195 and is available now in men’s and women’s models at The Runner’s Gait.
The women’s model is pictured below.