by Erik Stanley
The New Balance 1210 (aka Leadville) busted in this year as an ultra trail shoe ready to toe the dirt line next to the Brooks Cascadia. With a smooth transition, 8mm offset, and 10.4 oz on the Rogue scale (size 9), I really like this shoe.
The 1210 was designed for ultra running, and named after the Leadville 100 mile trail race. It was created by NB after testing and measuring how runners’ feet respond to Leadville itself. New Balance increased the volume of the upper to allow for foot swelling over longer distances. It also offers a slightly denser foam on the inner heel to provide some stability for tired feet, while the tongue is fairly protective and keeps the laces from adding pressure to the top of your foot.
Over the past few weeks I have spent a lot of time in this shoe as I rebuild my mileage. I logged 75 miles last week, with most of my runs on the Barton Creek Greenbelt and Bull Creek here in Austin,TX.
One run that stands out is my new Wednesday adventure run from the 360 access, The Hump-day Hump Run. This is a run open to the world! We meet at Taco Deli (Spyglass) and run 75 minutes (give or take a few miles) at 7:15 am on the Greenbelt. There are no trail markers or restrictions to where we go: we run, we talk, we eat tacos.
This past Wednesday we headed through the “Sweet 16″ where the trail crosses the creek 16 times within a few miles. This was the morning after more than 2” of rain, so we were having fun! The shoe has a ton of room, and some would say it feels too wide. Being the “Leadville” I would say there is adequate space for 100 miles of foot-swelling mountain running. The shoe did drain really well, even with the multiple creek crossings.
As a lighter “ultra shoe”, I still don’t consider this a minimal running shoe. 8 mm offset is less than the Cascadia for sure, but she still has some girth. The Vibram tread is pretty grippy, as I found on some of the steeper sections, and I didn’t have to be overly cautious. Even on the wet limestone it stuck better than other trail shoes! The tread on the heel is reversed to keep you from slipping while braking on the downhills.There is some rock protection, but I still feel sharper rocks poke through a bit. For the most part, this provides enough protection for me.
I did pick up quite a bit of mud, as the trail was a fresh, soggy mix of mud and clay. No shoe could have kept the mud from sticking! I had to stop and tie my shoe a few times; it’ll take some knot experimentation to find out what works best to keep these laces tied.
I’d been dealing with pain and mild swelling on the top of my right foot since Cactus Rose, and the tongue on the 1210 does a solid job keeping off the pressure on that area. It’s not a fluffy pillow, but more like a Tempur-pedic pad that evenly distributes any pressure.
We hit Travis Country and ran the road for a mile or so, which was fine – I didn’t slip or have any problems on the asphalt. We ended up hitting a few creek crossings on the way back from Rattle Snake, and I had one more shoelace tie to take care of before finishing at Taco Deli.
All in all, the 1210 is a great shoe that everyone should consider as their next trail purchase!
(Next week. You be there. Hump Day Hump Run from Taco Deli. 75min at 7:15am. Come explore!)