I have a soft spot for ultralight shoes. Of all of the characteristics that I consider when thinking about what I like best in a running shoe, light weight still comes out as preference number one. I was thus pretty excited when I heard that New Balance would be releasing a racing flat called the RC5000, which at 3.1 oz in size 9 would be the lightest road flat on the market.
The New Balance RC5000 is clearly designed to be a direct competitor to the ultralight Mizuno Universe, which I consider to be one of my favorite racing flats. The similarities between the two shoes are striking. The RC5000 weighs 3.1oz, the Universe weighs 3.9oz (both in size 9). The RC5000 has a stack height of 16mm heel, 11mm forefoot (5mm drop), whereas the Universe is 18mm heel, 14mm forefoot. Both shoes have a minimal outsole made of little rubber nubs glued to the bottom of the shoe, and rubber placement is almost identical in the two shoes. Both shoes also have a cutout in the central region under the arch where there is no EVA (presumably to allow drainage and cut down weight. Finally, both shoes have an MSRP of $125 – pricy for so little shoe, I can only assume that it costs more to make a functional shoes that are this lightweight.
I debated for quite awhile whether or not I would purchase the RC5000. First, the $125 price tag seemed excessive for a shoe that might not prove to be very durable (anyone have a lot of miles on these yet?). Second, I often find that flats are too narrow in the forefoot for my taste, and Running Warehouse describes the forefoot as narrow to medium. However, after asking about the shoe on Facebook, I was told by a few people I respect that the forefoot is actually pretty roomy, and I was able to get a pair for a decent price so I took the plunge and bought it (this was a personal purchase, not a media sample).