I recently put my hands on over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, including both the New Balance 840v5 and the New Balance 1540v3. When I compared the New Balance 840 vs 1540, I found significant differences. This is where you can read a quick summary about the most important differences between these two shoes.
New Balance 840 vs 1540 Explained
Both the New Balance 840v5 and the New Balance 1540v3 are running shoes built for stability and support. Neither of these shoes will feel “squishy” under the foot like many types of neutral running shoes that are built more for comfort.
Yes, the 1540 and 840 are comfortable to wear, but they prioritize stability and support.
However, between the two shoes, the 1540 is the bulkier, more supportive shoe. The 1540 has New Balance’s ROLLBAR technology to help prevent improper rearfoot movement. The 1540 is also made using New Balance’s ENCAP midsole, which is a soft EVA midsole that has a tougher polyurethane bordering rim, which adds stability and extra support.
But because the 1540 is bulkier and has extra support, it does weigh a lot more than the 840.
On thing that does stand out and make the 840 unique is I found it to have a much thicker insole. The 840 uses a dual-layer insole that is part foam and part gel-like material. The 1540 has more of a standard foam insole (see pictures of these insoles).
If you want a lightweight running shoe that also offers some stability and support, the 840 will be the right choice. If you need maximum support and stability, the 1540 will be the better option.
Both shoes provide nice cushioning under the foot. The 840 has New Balance’s ABZORB midsole, which helps reduce impact shock under the heel. If you made me choose, I am giving the slight edge in comfort to the 840.
In the videos below, I tried to capture how much compression these shoes have under my feet.
Even though both of these running shoes are built for support, the 1540 has more support, and because of that, the 840 is a bit more flexible. But it is important to understand that neither of these shoes is as flexible as New Balance neutral running shoes (1080, Rebel, etc).
In the videos below, I test the flexibility of these shoes. As you can see, the ENCAP midsole of the 1540, which has a tougher polyurethane bordering rim, prevents me from twisting the shoe. It will be a great option for max stability.
One thing I really like about the 840v5 is it uses a thicker, dual-layer insole that has a top layer of foam, and a bottom layer of gel-like material.
When comparing the insoles of the New Balance 840 vs 1540, the 840 is the clear winner for me. The 1540 has a more traditional type of insole that isn’t as thick as the 840 insole.
Here is the insole of my 840:
As you can see above, the New Balance 840 insole measures over a quarter inch thick and has the extra layering of gel underneath the foam. It is very comfortable and adds nice cushioning to the shoe.
And here is the insole of my New Balance 1540:
The 1540 has more of a standard, traditional insole that is common to many other types of New Balance shoes. The 1540 insole is not as thick as the 840 insole.
When comparing the breathability of the New Balance 840 vs 1540, although both shoes are breathable, the 840 has the more lightweight, breathable upper. Here is the material on mine (840 first):
New Balance 840 vs 1540 Details
I found the 840 to weigh much less than the 1540. My size 12 men’s 840v5 weighs 0.89 pounds per shoe and my size 12 1540v3 weighs 1.07 pounds per shoe. Here is a look at mine:
Both the New Balance 840v5 shoes have a 12mm heel-to-toe drop and the New Balance 1540v3 shoes have a 10mm heel-to-toe drop.
New Balance 840 vs 1540 Sizing
Both the 840 and the 1540 are built using the SL-2 last, which is designed to create a wider forefoot and deeper toe box area.
It’s important to understand that although the SL-2 last creates a wider fit compared to normal lasts, it won’t be enough to overcome the need for wide sizing. You will likely still need to order wide sizing if you normally order wide sizing in shoes. The SL-2 will feel just a tiny bit wider than standard shoes.
Here’s a look at these shoes on my foot (840 on left):
I found both of these shoes to fit true to size regarding length.
However, I would suggest you visit my sizing guides linked below, where I use side-by-side comparison photos to compare the sizing of these shoes to other popular brands:
The main takeaway is both of these shoes are built for support and stability, however, the 840 will be the more lightweight and breathable option. The 1540 is bulkier, but built for maximum support and stability.