The electronic sub-band structure of InAs/InP/InAs/InP/InAs core-shell nanowire resonant tunneling diodes has been investigated in the effective mass approximation by varying the core radius and the thickness of the InP barriers and InAs shells. A top-hat, double-barrier potential profile and optimal energy configuration are obtained for core radii and surface shells >10 nm, InAs middle shells <10 nm, and 5 nm InP barriers. In this case, two sub-bands exist above the Fermi level in the InAs middle shell which belongs to the m = 0 and m = 1 ladder of states that have similar wave functions and energies. On the other hand, the lowest m = 0 sub-band in the core falls below the Fermi level but the m = 1 states do not contribute to the current transport since they reside energetically well above the Fermi level. We compare the case of GaAs/AlGaAs/GaAs/AlGaAs/GaAs which may conduct current with smaller applied voltages due to the larger effective mass of electrons in GaAs and discuss the need for doping.