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Shoe Of The Week: New Balance Leadville 1210v2

A good option for your tougher trail runs.

Two words: sturdy, comfort. OK, one more word: protection. This burly, max-cushioned (and surprisingly light) mountain running shoe—inspired by Colorado’s Leadville 100 trail run and some of the athletes who have raced it—offers a good mix of long-wearing comfort (padded tongue, cushy footbed, plush ankle collar) and rugged protection (bomber Vibram outsole and forefoot rock plate). A slightly higher volume interior in the 2015 version allows for foot swelling after long hours on the trail—a few wear-testers noticed the improvement. A new upper helps wrap the foot while a more substantial toe bumper keeps rock-kicking trauma to a minimum. Although this shoe is definitely not a clunker, it’s not extremely nimble either. It’s more cushy bulldozer than ballet shoe on fast, rocky downhills, but that’s OK. It’s reliably sturdy and stable and offers sufficient traction from its low-profile, directional outsole lugs. It doesn’t inspire or encourage quick-cadence running compared to other models, so it’s not an agile speed merchant for shorter, faster races. It’s also probably not a trail shoe that’s ideal for smooth, groomed trails, except perhaps for taller and larger runners who want a lot of cushion and support. Still, our wear-test team liked this shoe a lot for mountain running. “I liked this shoe because it was exactly what I hoped it would be: a nice blend of comfortable and durable for long mountain runs,” said wear-tester Mike Hallberg. Added wear-tester Jenny Wright: “It’s a lot of shoe—maybe too much for some milder trails—but I appreciated all that it offered when running on technical, rocky singletrack.”

This shoe is for you if: You’re looking for a shoe that provides protection, cushioning and support for multi-hour mountain runs on rocky terrain.

Price: $125
Weights: 10.9 oz. (men’s), 8.7 oz. (women’s)
Heel-toe offset: 8mm; 28mm (heel), 20mm (forefoot)
Info: NewBalance.com

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