Leadville Trail

Posted: September 13, 2014 in Reviews, running
Tags: , , , , ,

Being an internationally famous running ambassador* has got to have its perks, and recently, after making a nuisance of myself and selling my soul to the marketing world a polite email request to the lovely people at gunghoco.com I was sent a fantastic pair of New Balance ‘Leadville 1210‘ trail shoes to review.

*when I was 12 I ran in a fun run during a French exchange trip to… well France… Obviously.

Now as much as I do not wish to shoot myself in the now beautifully adorned foot, I am intrigued by the practice of giving shoes away to lowly bloggers such as myself for review, especially since the last time it happened to me, my review could be summed up by “oooo look – they’re really, really blue!” …well…. They were!
(By the way, this new pair are really, really green!)

I am especially puzzled since a quick Internet search produces some really decent results with proper in-depth reviews from people who actually sound like they know what they are on about. So where is the sense in sending me a pair?

Maybe I appeal to a special, elite, discerning kind of runner…yes…that’s probably it :-/

I can only assume that these marketing people are very, very clever and know what they are doing (or perhaps had a load of size 11s from old stock that needed shifting, I don’t know) so rather than try to pretend that I’m a technological running boffin who has the authority to advise his vast readership on the merits and pitfalls of this shoe, I shall just tell you what I think in my usual ‘random thoughts and running shorts‘ kind of way.

Here goes…

The Leadville 1210 trail shoes are very green (at least, the green-colour ones I was sent are) and they are designed for running on trails.

(I think it’s all going well so far)

They are apparently quite lightweight at under 0.3kg but I’m not sure how accurate that is because when I weighed them, they showed up as being…ahem…over 93kg…


Considering they were apparently designed based on the Leadville 100 ultra-distance event, I have confidence that these lighter-than-I’m-used-to trainers will be able to support my ample frame over the rather more moderate distances I aim at these days.

I am all too aware that if I wear a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses I do not suddenly become a qualified pilot.
If I buy a wetsuit I do not instantly become a great open-water swimmer.
If I go on X-factor, I do not instantly become an attention seeking media whore who has sold their soul to Simon Cowell

Well you get the idea. Basically – I know that a pair of new shoes won’t turn me into an amazing runner.

But for the 10 miles I did in them on their first outing (the day after they arrived), I was certainly a very happy runner 🙂





Here’s my favourite ‘you-have-to-earn-it-to-sit-on-it’ bench which has featured before on this blog…


There’s a heron in this one…just for some added interest…

So, as you can see, not the most challenging of trail runs. Pretty flat. Not at all muddy.
But you know what? – these shoes still felt great. Sometimes trail shoes are so rugged that running on the harder, flatter surfaces actually becomes uncomfortable. Not so here.

Also, they have this little connecting bit of material between the tongue and the lace-hole area (what New Balance call ‘Debris Free’ construction) preventing bits of crud from entering the shoe at the front. Good idea. Doesn’t stop little stones getting in through the heel area unfortunately, but aside from wearing a dog’s flea collar around your ankles as you run I’m not sure what to do about that.

Warning: technical review bit coming up…

I really like the grips.
They jut out in one direction on the forefoot to get good push-off, and in the opposite direction on the heel, preventing (I anticipate) some downhill bum-sliding. Cool.

Spaced far enough apart to easily get rid of any mud post-run, I also don’t anticipate having to stand outside my front door banging the soles of my shoes together, announcing loudly that no guns have actually been fired in the area. Admit it – we’ve all done it (embarrassingly banged shoes together loudly….not fired guns).

That last photo was taken three runs into their lifetime – still looking good 🙂

Technical review bit finished.

I jokingly suggested to Lizzie @ gunghoco.com that if the shoes made me half as speedy as her very efficient email responses, then I’d be laughing…

…well…I’m laughing.
I ran the nearby parkrun on Saturday wearing these shoes and got a five second PB!

Strictly speaking actually, my eight year old son had that time recorded as his own (even though he didn’t run at all) due to the fact that I have laminated a double-sided parkrun barcode so that I always have both of ours to hand. This works well until you are so shattered that you hand it in the wrong way up on a Saturday morning!

Poor little fella would have had to wait 7 years or so to break ‘his’ PB if it wasn’t for the lovely parkrun people adjusting this for us.

So… There we have it, a very non-boffin like shoe review from NotMuchOfaRunner…

Well designed.
Has just the right amount of cushioning.

Just like the Leadville 1210 in fact.


  1. plustenner says:

    that looks like such a great route to run!

    • It most certainly is.
      It occurred to me recently, that long before I lived here, when I was living in Nottingham, I ran these trails in training for my very first marathon in 2000 (which, incidently, still remains as my fastest ever).

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