New Balance named the Leadville 1210 trail running shoe after the legendary Leadville Trail 100 Run. If you’re an endurance athlete, you know that’s setting a pretty high precedence for a pink trail running shoe. I thought it was bold, but since it’s a New Balance sponsored race, I put my faith in the name and took these for a double digit run fresh out of the box. I didn’t even try them on first. I used the “Fit Tip” powered by shoefitr on the New Balance site to guesstimate my ideal size based on what I knew about my feet. Sounds reckless but the results were good.
Leadville 1210 Fit & Performance
I have an extremely average foot in terms of size (7.5) , width (standard) and arch (medium), but don’t frequently find a shoe that is a great fit. So when I first laced up the Leadville 1210 I was concerned when the mid-foot felt a little wide. I found myself tightening down as much as I could, but still having that sensation of space around my arch and instep. When I could not dial them in any further, I just had to start moving. I was ecstatic to find that once my feet settled in, they fit so well I didn’t even notice I was wearing them.
After hours on my feet the shoe felt very stable as I transitioned between terrain. Amazingly, I didn’t suffer from a single blister. My only complaint was that the top of a tongue rubbed through my skin on the front of my ankle; an irritation that could have been avoided with a higher sock. The tongue of the Leadville itself actually didn’t move at all thanks to the no-tongue construction (this means the tongue is actually just an extension of the upper).
Leadville 1210 Technology & Features
The Leadville 1210 upper is made of synthetic mesh with an overlay that appears to be a water resistant material. While the mesh lends itself to the shoe’s breathability, the overlay creates structure without suffocating your foot. So far I’ve only been running these in cooler fall temperatures but I’m confident they’d work well in the heat of the summer too. I’d be skeptical to run these in colder temps or in slop without gaiters.
New Balance brands the Leadville 1210 as part of their Stability line and I’ve often found that a stable shoe can be a heavy shoe. Fortunately New Balance’s REVlite midsole technology is actually as light weight as it claims to be without sacrificing function. This shoe weighed in at about 8oz. If I was only going to purchase one trail shoe I’d feel confident choosing the Leadville; it can handle a range of activity from longer weekend runs to getting out on your lunch hour.
Living in Boulder I have a amazing trail system right out my front door, and that’s how most of my runs start and finish. I run from my house and up a foothill which means my shoes touch a range of surfaces (crusher, pavement, technical single track, etc.). The Leadville’s Vibram® outsole has a fairly general lug pattern and neutral 8mm drop which makes those transitions pretty seamless. More importantly, I was really able to dig in on the uphill but grip firmly on the fast downhills. It was only when I hit pavement that I really felt out of my element. It is a TRAIL shoe after all.
Final Thoughts on the Leadville 1210
New Balance did a great job with the construction of the Leadville 1210. It ranks right up there with the top trail running shoes. It’s a great mid-weight trail shoe with enough cushion and durability for longer runs without adding too much bulk. These are a great regardless of how many miles you’re looking to cover. The Leadville 1210 retails for $124.99 and comes in two other pretty rad colors: Black with Silver & Red and Blue with Orange.