The Leadville 1210 name – and to a degree the shoe – is, of course, inspired by the legendary Leadville event; the 100-mile ‘race across the sky’ through the Colorado Rockies that has been challenging endurance athletes since 1983. The shoe then is designed with the ultra-runner in mind and the 580g weight (pair, UK size 8) is a good start, a little heavier than the Minimus 1010V2 (560g) but light enough to take some of the drag from the additional miles.
Whilst the Minimus sports a 4mm drop for something closer to the barefoot forward motion experience the Leadville 1210 is a far more traditional 8mm with solid construction and a good degree of stability throughout, aided by a higher density EVA foam in the medial post to help prevent over pronation on the trail.
The midsole itself – flat and very close to the ground for traction – uses New Balances REVlite material which is both durable and, say the manufacturers, ‘30% lighter weight than other foams with comparable performance.’ There’s good multi-directional grip, which even extends up the front of the toe guard for when you really need to dig into those hills. Although the lugs are fairly low profile, on test they proved that they could make easy work of the slickest conditions and the grip held well on paved sections too.
Comfort – crucial when chewing up the longer miles and whilst tackling trail – is excellent on the Leadville 1210 although as a word of warning we found that an extra half-size up from our usual was the better option as the fit is relatively narrow and the extra room allowed for feet-swell. As is always the advice: try before you buy if you can.
The debris-free construction and fully gusseted tongue makes sure that nothing (or at least very little) gets inside and the ‘no-sew’ construction and overall build adds to comfort, as does the substantially cushioned heel cuff, Achilles notch and polyurethane insert.
Whilst the more stripped back Minimus 1010V2 would definitely remain our New Balance trail shoe of choice – even for endurance events – the Leadville 1210 has much to recommend to runners who don’t wish to dabble with anything approaching barefoot on the trail.
The New Balance Leadville 1210 retails at £99.99 in blue with red/orange and lime green with blue/orange. Further details at newbalance.co.uk and online purchase from, amongst other places, wiggle.co.uk