Having run all through college and continuing to do summer track league events, I was excited to receive a racing flat to try. At first look, you can tell that the New Balance 1500 T2 BOA is flashy and lightweight.
A bright, single color shoe with a gritty logo pattern makes them stand out at any gym or race. It's noticeably light at 6.8 oz for a women's size 7 and extremely breathable with a perforated toe box.
It has a snug, sock-like collar but with a sturdy heel counter. Slight variations on the outsole pattern provide a perfect grip for road or track running.
The midsole features the familiar REVlite foam but with "a newly formulated" design different from previous 1500 models. And most prominent of all is the BOA Fit system in place of laces with a dial on the outer quarter.
- A super lightweight flat for racing, speed work, or gym cross-training
- Easy to use BOA strap system allows quick on/off and adjusting
- Though advertised to "support" you up to 26.2, I personally wouldn't recommend this for anyone who's not an experienced minimalist over 10k distance
- The BOA system isn't exactly "truly" customizable," only able to tighten one way and at times is uncomfortable
- This shoe feels extremely different from previous 1500 models, and nobody likes a good thing being changed
BOA Fit System
At first, I loved the BOA straps. As someone that hates tying and untying their shoes, the BOA dial makes it so much quicker and easier to do so.
However, I also tie my shoes tightly from the toe box up to the throat. Because the 1500 T2 only has one BOA dial, they're limited to only tightening one way to a certain amount.
I had also noticed the toe box stays significantly unchanged when tightening the BOA dial leaving some excess material and room.
These two things made it difficult to justify the shoes as being "truly customizable" as described in New Balance's official product details.
That combined with the fact that the 1500 v6 without the BOA weighs .3 oz lighter makes the system 0/2 on security and weight. I honestly would take laces over a single-dial BOA system for sneakers.
The other complaint I have with the BOA system on these is the stiff black eyelets for the BOA wire. Upon tightening the BOA dial, the outermost eyelet closest to the toe box becomes noticeably stressed and rigid.
This created a huge pain point on my outer MTP joint. Nothing enough to make me take the shoes off immediately, but it definitely isn't comfortable enough to run longer than 6 miles in.
One of my grievances with this shoe is that the toe box is almost too breathable. With literal holes in the toe box mesh, it was common to find small pieces of dirt in my shoe after a run.
If there's any amount of precipitation in the air or on the ground, you'll find yourself with wet socks by mile 2. Also, would not recommend running or jumping in the sand with these—they'll weigh a lot more than 6.8 oz if you do so.
One thing I was a big fan of that seemed to fly under the radar at times is the bottom outsole pattern. The pattern is slightly varied with triangle shapes filled in, outlined, or both.
These are broken up with a middle crevice exposing the midsole foam material. I've only had qualms with a couple of shoes having an uncomfortable ride due to the grip pattern, and for such a lightweight running shoe I appreciated the smooth feel of the NB 1500 T2's.
Contrary to negative reviews of the fitted sock collar, I actually appreciated this feature. The collar material includes the tongue creating a seamless bootie that you'll never have to worry about the tongue slipping around at all.
Continuing around the ankles, the collar lining stays put and secure when moving without irritating the skin. Typically, this would help keep out little rocks or dirt, but as stated earlier, they had already gotten in from the toe box mesh.
Differences from previous models - midsole
The final thing that deducted a lot of points from my overall score of this shoe is the differences from its previous models. I remember the first time I tried on a pair of the NB 1550 v4. I wanted to run a 10k in them right then and there.
Right away, the 1500 T2 BOAs have significantly less support and cushion in them. While still using the same REVlite foam material, the "newly formulated midsole" has an astounding effect on the actual feel.
I ended up comparing these more to an early model of the Nike Free 2.0 than any previous 1500 models I've tried. The NB 1500v4 and v5 models have a noticeably more supportive midsole design and even a little bit of arch support.
Although listing the same 23 mm height and 6 mm drop, the 1500 T2s feel much flatter than the v4 and v5. For a shoe that's advertised to race up to the marathon, this doesn't feel quite right.
Would I buy this shoe again? No. The difference in feel from previous models was too much for me. I wanted the cushion and support back!
Despite an overall negative review of the BOA system on the shoe, I am still curious to see if having two dials instead of one would make a difference.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro Boa is the only model with two dials that New Balance currently shows on their website. To me, this shoe felt like New Balance threw on one too many bells and whistles for a racing flat.
The grainy logo design with the toe box punctures is a lot to take in. Sometimes it's even hard to tell that these are a New Balance shoe. I'm glad to still have this in my repertoire for future 5km races and easy days at the gym.
DISCLOSURE: For this review, I'd like to thank New Balance for providing me with a pair of shoes. No additional compensation was provided, and the review process objective throughout a normal life cycle of my daily training shoes.
New Year, New You as they say! And as 2020 begins with some traditional Midwestern snow and cold, dashing through the snow on foot may not be the first thing on everyone's mind.
However, as spring race training season kicks off, many dedicated folks across the country are looking for the shoe they can use to toe the line at that big race or triathlon as well as one to get the most turnover out of their speed sessions required to get that PR we all seek.
In 2019, New Balance released the 1500 T2 Boa model with the express purpose in mind of providing a shoe that is fast to wear.
Not only that, but it should also be fast to don and doff for those looking to shave precious seconds off their transition times between disciplines in their quest for intersport immortality.
The question always is simple: does the shoe deliver enough support while providing a light platform needed for energy conservation over the long haul? As usual, I was thrilled to give a footwear Ferrari a test spin.
Upper & fit
I haven't been in a New Balance racing shoe since the old days before the current 1400 and 1500 series. I was curious to see if the generous width and supple feel to the skin or thin sock were still alive in current iterations.
I found it to be the strongest and most alluring part of the 1500 T2. It is constructed of loosely woven mesh in the top of the toe box and into the midfoot.
Thus, it not only breathes incredibly well with speed work on the track and treadmill, but it also sheds excessive water and other precipitation thrown at it in its maiden voyage through Iowa's first two winter storms this past month.
The heel cup and collar boast unique dual layering with a denser foam on the interior of the shoe and a knit, flexible collar around the top edge.
This collar combines with the lacing system to give the heel and ankle a firm hug without creating excessive friction (even throughout up to a ten-mile run on the treadmill).
The heel counter, much like most racing flats, is present but very flexible and gives just a touch of rearfoot stability that you'd expect from a shoe designed to be raced in up to the marathon distance when biomechanics start to break down in the latter miles.
The best part of the 1500 T2 Boa was the part that I had the most reservations on: the BOA lacing. Having experienced this style of lacing in ski boots, but never running shoes, I was skeptical.
However, from the first time I tried them on, I was blown away by how easy it was to click and dial in the fit of the cross laced straps, which connect to the canopy overlays on top of the midfoot and into a heel locking system in the rear of the shoe.
They never come loose, take seconds to put on, and have a much more even feel than traditional lacing. I almost never want to try anything else after experiencing it.
The fit of the shoe, in general, is narrow due to the racing last used in construction by NB. So, if you have a narrow foot or like a very firm hug of the forefoot and lockdown over the midfoot, the standard D width should be right up your alley.
If you have a wider foot or prefer a more relaxed fit on race day, it is refreshing that (unlike most companies such as Saucony, Adidas, and Nike to name a few) a wide 2E variant is readily available for purchase.
This makes the 1500 T2 Boa a very versatile shoe to fit several different types of feet. In sum, fantastic fit and customization that is comfy well beyond the everyday go-fast flat.
Overall Grade: A+
Insole and midsole cushioning systems
As with most lightweight racers and trainers, the NB 1500 T2 BOA sports a near paper-thin insole with a slick-looking, eagle-crested NB Racing logo in the heel. This combines with micro-perforations in the foam.
This combination helps provide adequate moisture management and wicking away from the foot when the goal is weight shaving and (relative) dryness for short races and moisture shedding for the slog of the last 1-2 miles of your (possibly soggy) spring half marathon.
Together, with a firm and responsive layer of RevLite EVA foam in the midsole, the shoe feels remarkably supportive for only weighing in at 8.8 oz per shoe for a men's size 9.
Also, another reassuring progression from the designers is the absence of any unnecessary T-bar tech or medial posting that has been featured on the 1400 and 1500 series in years past.
The 1500 T2 Boa feels like a fast, neutral and minimally structured shoe, and I would love to see more like it from NB in the near future.
Two things could make future variants more interesting (especially in light of the success of the Nike Vaporfly Next% series).
One is some stiff flex full foot plating system to cater to the performance end of the spectrum and go toe to toe with the current best speed demons on earth. The other is a mild lowering of the (approximate per NB) 6mm heel to toe offset.
As a minimal and low drop fan, I'd love to see a zero-drop offering, and for the average Joe, a variant with an 8-10mm offset would be interesting. The current offset, while not offensive, feels a bit like a, "one size fits nobody" scenario.
Overall Grade: A
Outsole and durability
The peculiar outsole pattern of the 1500 T2 Boa has the look of layered triangles with a cruciform set of midline and coronal flex grooves moderately deep into the midsole. These grooves provide flexibility underfoot to provide a supportive yet compliant ride.
For the last few weeks on the 'Mill, the track and the wintry streets, I generally have been a fan of the overall grip when cornering or quick up and downshifting of speed.
I was not impressed, however, with its performance over icy surfaces where often I had to take very shallow strides to avoid sliding. An ice breaker or winter mileage eater this shoe is not.
In addition, the small indents at the center of the triangular rubber outsole pads also seem to have a rather irritating propensity for catching sand and rock salt particles that can really only be dislodged manually mid-run.
For durability, I see very few equals in the performance category. I have logged just over 79 miles so far in this shoe.
At this point, some outsoles would be starting to show wear patterns. Other uppers (especially as vibrant as shown in this model) would begin to fade, and the true nature of the foam underfoot would start to unravel into either mush or marble-like harness underfoot
However, the NB 1500 T2 is standing the test of time. As of now, I feel like I could comfortably wear this shoe as my speed day trainer and race shoe all season and maybe as a rotational flat for the summer training session beyond.
Where the shoe also shines more than most in its class is as a cross-trainer. I started circuit training again at the start of the year. I wanted to see how well this shoe would hold up with squats, plyometric training, and agility drills in the gym and in the PT clinic in which I practice.
The same Boa lacing and midfoot cradle that does a fantastic job of supporting the run also is well-apportioned for movements in all three dimensions—without chafing or feeling slippery in the heel or underfoot like I've experienced in models such as the Mizuno Wave Hitogami series and the Topo Athletic ST-3.
Small quibbles aside, NB has hit a home run with a flat that doesn't feel or look like one after the first few weeks of wear.
Overall Grade: A-
I am all about flash with my dash, and the folks at New Balance came through with a fantastic colorway on the 1500 T2 Boa.
Everyone from the random gym goer at my local Anytime to my patients in the clinic down to my 6-year-old loved the fluorescence and the logo placement across the toe box. The best part is how well the lacing system its seamlessly into the side of the midfoot.
Also, though I opted for the wider 2E version, the toe box still maintains the look of a more traditional shoe for those more averse to the styling of a Keen, Altra, or wide width offerings from Brooks and Saucony.
As always, one thing I do prefer is variety, and of all the above listed positive attributes this model sports, multiple colorways are lacking in the 1500 T2 Boa.
Even one alternate (maybe similar to the offerings from the Altra commemorating the marathon majors, or Newton with their state flag specific colorways) would be outstanding for variety truly is the spice of life.
Overall Grade: B+
- Perfectly dialed-in fit with the Boa lacing system and multiple widths available
- A flashy and bold look with an appeal to a variety of demographics
- Speedy, light, and breathable for race day and speed sessions
- Good grip and holds steady for multi-planar fitness activities
- The subpar grip on ice for winter road races
- At MSRP $130, it is moderately spendy for the shoe type
- Limited colorways and special editions are sadly lacking
The New Balance 1500 T2 Boa is a fantastic and versatile go-to for your next (few) races and, given a tweak to the outsole and some sweet colorway variants has the potential to rival any of the big boys!
- Stability racer
- 6mm heel to toe drop
- Weighs 8 oz (size 10)
What I like?
The New Balance 1500T2 Boa is a stability racing shoe meant for road races from the 5k up to the marathon. A feature that I liked was the excellent grip that the shoe had.
The shoe has blown rubber on the outsole in a pattern to provide grip. It wasn’t that good that on an icy track I wouldn’t slip but on regular, dry conditions you could hear the grip of the shoe.
On wet roads I didn’t really notice any slipping which is nice when working out or racing.
Something I appreciated about the shoe is that my feet stayed comfortable through long workouts. The midsole foam is RevLite which isn’t really super cushiony or soft but it’s enough for running.
It feels good enough that I would feel comfortable enough to run a marathon in them. However, the longest session with these shoes is about 3 miles for tempos and intervals. Through those types of workouts, my feet didn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable like it does in other racing flats that fit tighter and are lighter.
The stand out feature is the Boa system that let the fit to be precisely what I wanted it to be. With regular laces sometimes I can over tie or under tie the shoe, making the fit uncomfortable.
The Boa system fixes those problems, and it also allows me to easily adjust the fit during a workout without going through the hassle of retying my shoes.
What I don't like?
The 1500T2 Boa isn’t really as light as what I want a racing shoe to be. It weighs 8 ounces (size 10), which isn’t heavy by any means but there are racing flats out there that are way lighter than 8 ounces.
Especially for a racing flat, I expected a super light shoe to minimize energy spent while running. When running in the shoe for tempos, it didn’t feel heavy, but it didn’t feel as light and nimble as my other racing flats.
Another disappointing thing is that the flats don’t have that responsive feeling when speeding up. The shoe is missing that pop when running fast that I find in other racing flats like the Nike Zoom Streak LT 4s. Even in trainers, like the Pegasus 36, there’s a bit of pop when I start to speed up.
Here in the 1500T2 Boas, it doesn't have a dead feeling when running but it doesn’t have that pop that you expect from a racing flat.
- Boa System provides the exact fit I want
- Really good grip, even in rain
- Comfortable throughout long workouts
- Not as light as other racing flats
- Doesn’t have the pop/responsiveness it should as a racing shoe
The New Balance 1500T2 Boa is a stability racing shoe meant for road races from the 5k up the marathon. I found it adequate for longer type workouts like tempos, longer intervals, etc because it kept my feet comfortable.
Where it stands against other shoes isn’t so good. It’s heavier and less responsive than other racing flats that I’ve tried. For a racing flat, it really should be lighter and be a little stiffer to get that pop. For me personally, I would get a better pair of flats than this one.
I’m a big fan of New Balance. I’ve been wearing their shoes for years. This new lacing system and lightweight racer did not disappoint.
I loved the design of this racer. It’s light, comfortable, and the micro-adjustable dial, in place of shoelaces, provides a fit that is hard to replicate in other shoes.
The upper is a mesh, elastic-like material, with a bootie that conforms around your feet. The lacing system allows you to tighten the bootie with an overall uniformity.
The dial is extremely easy to use. Push it in and turn to tighten.
It’s easy to overtighten because you are not dealing with traditional individual laces. To loosen, you just pull out the dial and loosen to your desired snugness.
The ease of slipping these on and off are also amazing. Because of the elastic upper bootie design, there is no fumbling with shoelaces and adjusting the tongue.
Comfort & durability
Very comfortable right out of the box. My first run was a 15-mile tempo run.
Here is my only con on the shoes. During the run, after several miles in, I felt a slight pinch on my foot, at the front of my ankle. When I took my shoes off, the skin was raw, much like a blister.
I realize that it was probably stupid to wear these on a 15 miler right out of the box. However, I was curious how they would perform.
That being said, it’s entirely possible that I tightened them too much, and because of the bootie fit, I did not realize until it was too late.
My feet healed up, and I took these back out on the road a week later, with no issues at all. Just fair warning, play around with the lacing system to make sure you don’t make the same mistake.
The outsole has some hardy treads for great traction. Many of my runs are along the bike path on the beach. The loose sand always inhibits my paces because I end up sliding along when I should be barreling down the path.
The traction on the NB 1500 T2s was fantastic. I was able to keep on pace with little to no slippage.
The cushioning is minimal. It’s a low-drop, so there is not a whole lot of foam for comfort. The foam feels a little denser than other foams I have worn, but that may just add some additional stability to the shoe.
I’ve since put over 75 miles on these racers, and the wear and tear is minimal.
As I mentioned in my video review, I loved the performance of these shoes! Light, responsive, and comfortable. They performed really well at a variety of different paces, but much better at the faster paces.
They are not heavily cushioned shoes being a low-drop shoe, but my feet felt great in them, and they did not feel fatigued. I look forward to intervals and tempo runs in these as I know they will meet my expectations.
I would use these shoes anywhere from 5Ks to marathons, but faster-paced runs and races. For more lengthy recovery runs, I would prefer more midsole cushioning for the longer hauls.
Overall, the New Balance 1500T2 Boa is a great racer/trainer. If you are looking for a shoe that performs well at faster paces, this is a definite choice.
Sleek and comfortable, you will feel liberated without flapping shoelaces. It’s a very cool design that not only looks good on your feet but makes ‘em fast as well.
The outsole traction is a huge plus as well, that extra grip really helps keep you on pace.
Good to know
- Bringing a fresh new look to the classic series of mild stability running shoes, the New Balance 1500 T2 Boa features a race-day inspired design. Just like the New Balance 1500 T2, this new version also incorporates the Boa® System for a fast and effortless precision fit.
- This New Balance running shoe also utilizes the REVlite midsole for long-lasting comfort. RevLite technology is an innovative foam material, which offers a combination of responsiveness and durability.
- The New Balance 1500 T2 Boa uses the blown rubber material for an aggressive grip. This lightweight outsole material protects the shoe against tear and wear, and it enhances the shoe’s cushioning performance.
- Engineered knit is used in the upper of this lightweight running shoe for premium comfort and breathability.
The New Balance 1500 T2 Boa follows the standard measurement when it comes to sizing. Consumers can expect a good fit in their usual sizing preferences. However, it is recommended to fit the shoe in-store before making a purchase decision for a pleasant in-shoe fit. Consumers may also check the general feedback about sizing.
The technical components that affect the fit of the shoe include the Boa® System, which offers a customized fit. Other elements include the knit upper and fabric liner for a sock-like fit.
The outsole of the New Balance 1500 T2 Boa utilizes a blown rubber material. This highly durable rubber offers a secure grip on both wet and dry surfaces. This component also protects the foot and the rest of the platform from sharp objects and other abrasive elements.
The outsole and midsole materials are working together to provide a more responsive and durable platform.
The New Balance 1500T2 Boa integrates REVlite technology. This cushioning material is 30% lighter compared to the traditional midsole foams with comparable performance. It delivers a high level of responsiveness and durability, allowing for a more efficient ride.
The New Balance 1500 T2 Boa uses a bootie construction for a softer feel around the foot. The upper unit of the shoe is made out of an engineered knit fabric. This element provides stretch and support where it is needed. It offers exceptional breathability to keep the foot dry and cool throughout the day.
The knit upper is coupled with a fabric liner. The structure of the liner is designed to give a comfortable in-shoe wrap and irritation-free fit.
Providing a secure fit is the Boa® System. This closure system incorporates a heel wrap and midfoot canopy for a personalized fit that locks the foot in place while walking or running.
How 1500 T2 BOA compares
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