New Balance 1005 Shoe Review
- NDurance outsole durability guarantee
- Questionable cushioning
- Questionable support
- Not durable for toe draggers
New Balance gives us an update to its popular 1000 series with the 1005. Like the previous versions, the 1005 offers New Balance's unique One Year NDurance Outsole Durability Guarantee. The 1005 features the S Curve stability system, designed to provide all-around support for aggressive cutting on court. It also has New Balance's N-ERGY technology for added support and cushioning. Our playtesters felt super light and fast in these low profile shoes. They also really liked the breathability and traction the shoe provides. However, some of our playtesters had issues with the stability, as well as the way the arch support fit their foot. This lent itself to some discomfort for one of our testers, and a lack of confidence when making aggressive movements on court for another. The 1005 felt feather light on court, but received mixed reviews when it came to cushioning and support.
Comfort - Score: 3.5
Most of our playtesters found that there wasn't quite enough cushioning for a comfortable ride on the courts. Chris felt the shoe was mostly comfortable, but not in the midsole. He said, "The supple mesh uppers gave these shoes a very short break-in period. On the first wear I found them to be flexing in all the right places and offering a comfortable ride. The cushioning felt a little insufficient and that feel was backed up as the test wore on. When coming down on tough landings it felt like my foot was going right through the midsole. Harsh landings were especially jarring in the heel area. A couple of times when I came down from overheads the landing left my heels sore for the next day's playtest session. Having always been impressed with the cushioning of New Balance shoes I was surprised by the performance of this one. A shame, too, as the rest of the shoe was so comfortable."
Jason didn't have issues with the comfort until he put them to the test on court. He said, "This was quite a comfortable shoe for walking around in, and I thought they flexed well when I played in them, but the cushioning was lacking. Each hard step felt like my feet were slapping the court. The uppers were nice and soft so they really didn't need a break in. I just wish the cushioning would've been more substantial."
Finding the shoe comfortable, but with a slightly too large toe box, was Troy, who said, "The overall comfort of this shoe was good, and it was evident right out of the box. I found that the midsole cushioning of this shoe was the most squishy of any shoe that I have tried. The only problem I had with comfort was that the toe box was too roomy for me, and when I had to slam on the brakes I was experiencing some rubbing of my toes."
Ventilation - Score: 4.8
We found the ventilation to be one of the strengths of the 1005. Troy was blown away by the breathability and ventilation of this shoe. He said, "Hands down, this is the most ventilated shoe that I have ever played in. The large amount of mesh on this shoe allows it to breathe exceptionally well. I noticed the good breathability of this shoe more when I was on the court than I did when I was wearing them casually. The amount of mesh in this shoe did not affect durability, but it was an issue when it came to support and stability."
Jason also really liked the breathability of this shoe. He said, "I thought the ventilation was above average with this shoe. Even with the all black colorway, my feet seemed to stay cool when I played outside."
Chris agreed with the rest of the team, saying, "Ventilation was excellent. This shoe has mesh almost everywhere and breathes as well as expected. My feet never got too hot, even in the Hawaiian-like conditions created by our indoor warehouse court and California summer."
Arch Support - Score: 2.5
A couple of our playtesters had a real issue with the low arch support of the 1005. Even with his low arches, Jason had a lot of discomfort. He said, "Although I did appreciate how low the arch was, after wearing the shoe for a week I started to notice pains in my arch. I don't think the arch was supportive enough. I had to stop playing in these completely after a few weeks because of the arch pain."
Troy also had problems with the low arch support. He said, "The arch support was mediocre for me. I found the arch to be somewhat on the low side, not quite giving me the support I needed. I also found that there was a bit too much flex in the arch area. A beefier shank is needed to provide more stability."
The one player who did not have issues with the arches was Chris, who said, "While the support was a tad low for my arches, I had no issues in this area of the shoe. The midfoot shank had the shoe flexing in all the right spots and offered ample rigidity to protect my arches. From the midfoot back, the shoe felt nice and stable, with good torsional control."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 2.6
Most of our team had issues with the stability of the 1005, which didn't provide the confidence they needed to make aggressive cuts on the court. Jason found these shoes buckling under the pressure of his aggressive movement on court. He said, "Simply put, this shoe lacks the support and stability to make it a viable option as a serious tennis shoe. The uppers were too soft, and the chassis needed a much firmer shank. I could feel the entire shoe contort and twist when I planted my foot and change direction aggressively. I never felt totally secure and locked in because my feet would slide within the shoe as I tried to stop. I never felt like I could go all out in these shoes because I was never confident in how they'd perform."
The large amount of mesh on the 1005 did not provide the kind of support that Troy wanted. He said, "I found that the support of this shoe was lacking for me. The overall amount of mesh on this shoe allowed it to stretch out too easily, especially in the forefoot area. There were times when I made aggressive lateral stops and I felt that my foot was moving around a lot inside the shoe. Though I never rolled an ankle while playing in these shoes, I never felt confident making aggressive stops, either laterally or moving toward the net."
Unlike the other playtesters, these shoes worked for Chris, who found he had enough support and stability for his speedy game. He said, "With ample flex around my toes and a solid and stable feel toward the heel, I was very impressed by the level of stability in these shoes. The uppers, although soft and comfortable, offered enough support to have me feeling locked in even during aggressive court movement. I wore two pairs of socks to help fill out the D width of my pair and found I could lace the uppers tight enough around my skinny feet to keep me from sliding around inside the shoes too much."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 3.3
Our playtesters had mixed results with the durability of the 1005. As a lighter weight shoe, they surprised Troy with how well they held up. He said, "I was surprised with how well the outsole held up during this test. I found that after about five hitting sessions the forefoot of the outsole was still holding tough, whereas most shoes I use lose their tread by then. By the end of the test the midsole was starting to show, but that's pretty typical of my shoes after about a month's time. I would have to say that they weren't quite as durable as the Head Speed Pro Lite, which is also a lightweight shoe, but were more durable than most lightweight shoes I've tried."
On the other hand, Chris didn't get quite as much life out of the outsole as he would have liked. He said, "I was surprised to see the outsole wearing down as quickly as it did in these shoes. In the past I've found New Balance shoes to hold up well, but these showed premature wear under my big toes. I put less hours on them than most test shoes -- simply because the cushioning was inadequate -- and they still wore down more than expected over a month-long test."
Jason didn't feel he got enough wear in these shoes to determine how well the durability would hold up. He said, "I really should've put the score as N/A because I never really tested the shoe enough to give an accurate assessment. I was done testing after a week and a half because my arches hurt so bad. But from what I can tell from the six or seven times I wore them, the rubber held up pretty well."
Toe Durability - Score: 2.0
Our toe-dragging playtesters could have used a heavier-duty toe bumper. Troy wore through the toe after a month of testing. He said, "The toe durability of this shoe was decent for a lightweight shoe, but this is definitely not a shoe I would recommend for a heavy toe-dragger. The long-wear drag tip provides some protection on the toe cap, but right above that is mesh. The heavy toe-dragger will more than likely chew through this area fast. I noticed that after the testing period there was significant wear at the tip of the toe area and the mesh upper was on the brink of tearing."
Agreeing was Chris, who wanted a more sturdy toe bumper. He said, "The uppers are pretty susceptible to toe dragging, as I'm almost through the upper on my left shoe. A more extensive toe bumper is needed to keep me away from quickly blowing through the mesh part of the upper."
Traction - Score: 4.0
Another strength of the 1005 was the traction. Chris felt confident all over the court making quick cuts with the traction that these shoes provided. He said, "I found the level of traction to be impressive in these shoes. The rubber compound seemed to grab even a dusty hard court and allowed me to move aggressively without fear of slipping. I found I could push off or come to a quick stop and the outsoles would do their job very well. I was impressed."
Jason didn't have to worry about losing his footing, either. He offered, "Because I never felt secure or supported with these shoes on, I wasn't able to fully test the traction. From what I did experience, though, these shoes did a good job providing traction. I didn't really have any big slippage issues, and unlike the support and stability, I was confident with this shoe in this category."
Rounding out the consensus was Troy, who found the outsoles to have just the right amount of grab for his aggressive moves. He said, " I found traction to be good on these shoes. The rubber outsole was soft enough to grip the court well. They even had a bit of give to the outsole as well, which enabled me to slide a bit when coming to an abrupt stop. I felt that the amount of grip and court feel the outsole provided was better than average and allowed me to get a good push-off when I was chasing down the ball."
Weight - Score: 4.5
The most noticeable positive aspects of these shoes were their light weight and low profile. The resident Simon Cowell of our team, Jason, was thoroughly impressed by the low profile of the 1005. "I can give credit when and where credit is due, and in this category, the 1005 excelled. It definitely seemed very light weight; I felt like I could be faster than usual in these shoes."
Also feeling speedy was Chris, who said, "On court these shoes felt very light on my feet. They didn't feel as fast feeling as the 851s we previously tested, but they are not far off. I expected this model to feel heavier than it did, and perhaps some additional outsole material would improve the durability without making the shoes feel too bulky."
Troy also found the 1005 to be very light weight but wouldn't have minded a little more weight in exchange for some added stability and support. He said, "I typically play in heavier duty shoes, such as the Nike Air Court Ballistec 4.3, and it was very evident that these shoes provided a speedier feel. I enjoyed how light I felt on my feet with these shoes on, but sacrificing support and durability doesn't make me a believer that lighter is better when it comes to tennis shoes."
Overall - Score: 2.6
Troy - "Lightweight, very breathable and squishy cushioning in the midsole. The black and sliver colorway is sharp looking and will fit in great at a Raiders game."
Chris - "I liked the ventilation, the comfort from the flexible uppers and the high level of traction."
Jason - "The lightweight feel and ventilation."
Troy - "The lack of support, as the upper stretched-out too easily. The toe durability wasn't up to par, either."
Chris - "The cushioning was surprisingly disappointing and the outsoles were not nearly as durable as previous 1000 series New Balance shoes I've worn (the 1000 and 1001 shoes being the last ones I tested)."
Jason - "The lack of arch support and cushioning hurt my arches. The uppers and shanks need to be beefed up significantly to provide the necessary stability for serious movement on court."
Comparing this shoe to others they've worn, our testers said:
Troy - "I found that the soft and squishy cushioning was similar to most Asics Gel shoes I have worn. The lightweight feel was similar to the Head Speed Pro Lite, Nike Zoom Breathe 2k10, and the Adidas ClimaCool Feather."
Chris - "On the first few wears I thought the fit and feel was classic 1000 series New Balance. However, I thought this model lacked the cushioning and durability I previously enjoyed with this brand."
Jason - "There is really only one other shoe that has made me feel this way, as far as the lack of support and stability goes, and that's the Wilson Tour Spin II."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Playtester Foot Types:
Troy - Narrow width / Medium arch
Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch
Jason - Wide width / Low arch
Review date: September 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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