New Balance Leadville 1210 Shoe Review

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New Balance keeps pushing the limits on trail shoe design.  The New Balance Leadville 1210 (MT1210) trail shoe (Women’s Version is the WT1210) is a focus on the “traditional” trail shoe named after the air-sucking race called Leadville Trail 100.


My understanding is that New Balance researched the foot expansion of ultrarunners which led to the design of the Leadville 1210 allowing expansion – top of the foot.  Additionally, they included a small medial post in the shoe to assist with falling arches (which they also discovered in their research).

The Leadville 1210 fit true to size (come in wider widths). When lacing up the shoe, it felt like I could not cinch the shoe tightly.  I noticed the thicker tongue which did not allow me to cinch the shoe too tight (allows the top of the feet to expand). I had no slipping issue and the shoe fit very nicely.

The Leadville 1210 upper incorporates New Balance’s Fantom Fit construction found in some of their other  line of shoes (e.g., RC5000, RC1600 and the soon coming Minimus Hi-Rez).

The Vibram outsole contains well-designed lugs to provide great traction. The shoe has a forefoot rock plate and a fully gusseted tongue (welded with no stitching).

The Leadville 1210 comes in at approximately 10.5 oz and has a 8mm differential.













The Leadville 1210 was tested in wet, muddy and dry conditions on technical and non-technical trails.  The shoe drained well during stream crossings. Mud was shed in some of the muddiest conditions. The shoe felt very good on the feet over the most rocky and technical terrain. I can’t think of any design suggestions on the new Leadville 1210. The end result – great design and fit.


  • Forefoot Height -12 mm
  • Heel Height – 20 mm
  • Drop – 8 mm
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Stability  Shoe
  • Rock Plate (forefoot)
  • Midsole – EVA
  • Upper – Synthetic
  • Made In – China
  • Women’s Version – WT1210

Weight Breakdown

weight table


Wow, l loved running in the Leadville 1210.  Although designed as a stability shoe (due to the medial post), I would say that it felt like a neutral shoe.  I loved the overall fit and attention to the details for the ultrarunner – foot expansion design, fit, etc.).  Can you have more than one favorite shoe? Yes! The Leadville 1210 is one of my favorites for 2013.

Join the discussion

  • Good review, but your review template lacks an element that’s important to me: Is it available in Men’s sizes, Women’s sizes, or both? (Yes, I know most new shoe models are introduced in Men’s only, but please add to your template anyway, for those rare shoes that are available in both.)

  • Nice review, James. I live in a very rocky area and have found that the New Balance MT1210 provides the perfect amount of cushioning. I have also been rotating the Hoka Stinson Evo into my runs and have found that there’s sometimes too much cushion — and the tread leaves a lot to be desired. Hoka could learn a little from New Balance when it comes to tread patterns. I’m interested to hear your impression of the MT1210 after putting 300-500 miles on them.

    • Hi Marc,

      I have put approximately 250 miles on them, and they seem to be holding up very well. My terrain is mixed with less rocky sections than what you may be running on, thus, most likely a longer tread/outsole life. I generally can put a lot of miles on one pair of shoes beyond the suggested 500 mile turnover – this depends on the upper and outsole contruction. In summary, so far so good and the MT1210 has been a solid performer.

      Thanks for sharing your comments.


  • How do you think these leadville’s would do for a distance walk?? I’m looking for shoes to do the Camino(500 miles in 30 days)…women’s..Thanks!!

    • Hi Elezli,

      Congrats on gearing up for the Camino. It looks like a great trip. I think the Leadvilles would do great. However, it would depend on your pack load. I’m assuming you will go light. I often fastpack (carry light loads) and use trail running shoes instead of hiking boots/shoes. Let us know how your adventure goes.


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