5 Minute Review – New Balance RC700

We’re on a reviewing overdrive here at the moment.

The next shoe we’re going to talk about is the New Balance RC700.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
180g for a US 8.5

This pair of shoes probably hasn’t registered on the radars of many athletes out there.  The RC700 is a take-down model from the RC series and is predominantly meant for the Japanese market.  Simply put, this is a lightweight trainer (LT) without all the latest New Balance bells and whistles.

Haven't seen this blown rubber outsole for a while
Haven’t seen this blown rubber outsole for a while

We still see the use of Revlite in the midsole, but it is different version of the cushioning compound that is found on the higher end shoes.  The outsole is largely blown rubber, which should make this shoe a bit more durable and ideal for training.  The addition of the Stability Web will provide a light amount of support and runners will appreciate that as the workouts get a bit longer.  It feels like the heel drop might be about 8mm.  As with many traditional LTs, midfoot strikers might feel the shoe is a bit close to ground but heel strikers are offered a good amount of cushioning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Some retro-stylings on the RC700

The upper of the RC700 takes on a more traditional approach.  No visible heatbonded Fantomfit overlays that you find on many of NB’s newer offerings.  What you get is still a breathable mesh upper with some traditional sewed overlays and a snug heel cup.  With many of the ‘lower tier’ shoes, you often feel that they’ve cut corners and smudged over the details especially when it comes to fit.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the RC700.  The fit is snug in the right places, there didn’t seem to be any excess material where it was not needed and even the extra bit of support in the arch wasn’t obtrusive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Reminiscent of simpler times…

The RC700 feels like a throwback to a time before the different brands starting coming up with all these fancy names for their fancy new technologies.  The RC700 is not super fancy and certainly not cutting edge in it’s use of materials.  It is instead, a well put together workhorse of a lightweight trainer.  Compared to the recently review RC1600v2, the RC700 feels like it lacks a little something and is surely not as responsive, though I’m sure it is not meant to be.  The RC700 will slot into your current shoe line up as a “go to” LT, one that isn’t afraid of getting dirty.  It is simply a shoe that gets the job done.

The New Balance RC700 is in store now and retails for $129.

5 Minute Review – New Balance RC1600v2

We might be nearing the end of the traditional racing season, but that’s no reason not to check out the latest racer that New Balance has to offer.

145g for a US 8.5
145g for a US 8.5

This isn’t a new shoe, it’s actually an update to the RC1600 that was launched a couple of seasons ago.  This version isn’t wildly different, but then again, why change a good thing right?

Outsole remains unchanged in v2
Outsole remains unchanged in V2

For you eagle-eyed runners out there, you would have noticed that the outsole has remained unchanged from the original.  The high traction studs and carbon plate in the outsole are still there, as of course, is the Revlite cushioning compound.  It feels like the heel drop remains at 6mm as well.  The RC1600v2 claims to be a shoe that can take you from a 5k race up to the marathon.  At 145g, this shoe is pretty feather-weight, but I have to say that that might not be an empty claim.  Even after a couple of steps, you feel that this shoe packs more cushioning than it’s thin outsole would have you believe it has.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fantomfit in the upper

The big updates to the RC1600v2 are in the upper.  The upper remains light and breathable with it’s open mesh construction.  The FantomFit upper has been redesigned, improving the level of comfort as well as the fit.  The original RC1600 was already super comfortably, but the v2 goes a step further in locking your foot in without being overbearing.  Inside the shoe, it is virtually seamless so sockless running is definitely an option.

Hard to be missed in a pair of these
Hard to be missed in a pair of these

The RC1600v2 is New Balance’s premium racer and it proves itself well worth of that title.  The use of premium materials in the upper through to the outsole combine to deliver a shoe that ticks all the boxes when it comes to weight, fit, performance and though some might disagree, looks.  The RC1600v2 run true to size and have a spacious toe box that is often sacrificed in many of the other racers out there.  This is still a shoe that might be best suited for distances up to the half marathon for most, but biomechanically efficient runners will be able to take this through to the marathon with little issue.

The women’s Ironman World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae, recently wore the RC1600v2 to a swift course-record breaking 2hr50min marathon in Kona.

The RC1600v2 retails for $199 and is available in store now!

5 Minute Review – adidas adizero Takumi Ren 2

The Takumi series of shoes is designed with direct input from Master Craftsman, Hitoshi Mimura.

The original Takumi Ren boasted the use of premium materials in the upper (a different suede from all other adizero shoes) with adidas’ Torsion & Sprintframe systems blended into an outsole with a (claimed) 4mm heel drop.

205g for a US 8.5
205g for a US 8.5

The new version of the Takumi Ren comes in at the same weight as it’s predecessor.  My size US 8.5 weighed 205g, a little lighter than many of the other lightweight trainers from other brands.  And yes, the Takumi Ren 2 remains the ‘training’ model of the Takumi series.

Similar outsole to the first generation Takumi Ren.  Minor difference in the tread pattern
Similar outsole to the first generation Takumi Ren. Minor difference in the tread pattern

With little to no information on the Takumi Ren (in English, anyway) available, I’m going to guess that they retained the same heel drop for the Ren 2.  I tried both pairs on and it’s hard to tell them apart.  That having been said, it seems that the outsole unit has remained fairly unchanged – the Takumi Ren 2 are close to ground, responsive and lightly cushioned.  While the Ren 2 are no where near as stiff as the adios 2, you get plenty of return from them and you’ll definitely be trotting along with a spring in your step.

Lightweight mesh upper is thinner than on the original
Lightweight mesh upper is thinner than on the original

The biggest difference in the new Takumi Ren seems to be in the upper.  The lightweight mesh is thinner and more breathable than before.  In fact, it is reminiscent of the Takumi Sen.  The upper has taken on a bit more seamless technology especially around the toe box, so leaving your socks at home when you’re running in these will not be a problem.  The more minimalist upper does have a trade off though.  Compared to the original, the Ren 2 feel more comfortable with it’s soft, supple upper.  However, even with what looks like a similar heel cup, the Ren 2 does not lock the foot in as securely.  I experienced a small amount of heel lift in the Ren 2 where there was none before.  This was not a big deal as I appreciated the additional comfort and a simple re-lacing of the shoe got the job done.

IMG_0926
Pretty Sweet.

The Takumi Ren 2 feels like a good update.  Personally, I am glad they went for a slightly more minimalist feel with this one.  It makes the Takumi Ren 2 feel like a faster shoe that you would be happy to race in, but still has a bit more cushioning than a real racing flat.  The Ren 2 is true to size and has a generous amount of space in the toe box.  Experienced runners will like the Ren 2 for their faster sessions and tempo runs especially.

The Takumi Ren 2 retails for $199 and is available now in sizes US 6.5 – 10.5.

This is a limited release so please email us at [email protected] or call 64567868 to reserve a pair.