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Brooks Addiction Walker Vs New Balance 928 – And The Winner Is …

Let’s be honest, there’s no walking or running shoe that is suitable for every walker and runner. But sometimes one has to go with the majority and cross their fingers they won’t be disappointed.

What’s beautiful is most stores, like Amazon, make it easy for you to test shoes and just ship them back for free if you feel they are not made for your feet.

One of the best walking shoes ever that have hit the shelves are the Brooks Addiction Walker and the New Balance 928And since you googled “Brooks Addiction Walker vs New Balance 928” I know you know that they are one of the best, if not THE best walking shoes.

Let’s talk about what type of person they are for, their features and what makes them great. After that I’ll tell what shoes are closer to my heart.

Brooks Addiction Walker Walking Shoes

brooks addiction walker Today's Price

Available for women and men

Brooks Addiction Walker walking shoes for achilles tendonitis

The Brooks Addiction Walker is one of the best motion control walking shoes in the market today.

The Brooks Addiction is great for you if:

  • you overpronate (your foot rolls inward),
  • you have flat feet, high arches, wide feet,
  • you’re committed to making your 10,000 steps a day,
  • you have bad knees, arthritis (knees, toes and feet), hips and lower back pain, vein problems,
  • you had knee replacement,
  • you have Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs (it’s extremely comfortable and provides instant relief)
  • you have Achilles Tendonitis,
  • you have bunions and hammertoes (the toe box gives your toes enough space to splay)
  • you have Morton’s Neuroma
  • you have peripheral neuropathy
  • you are diabetic

Also great if you:

  • you are on your feet all day (standing on tile, concrete …)
  • you are a heavy person,
  • you do long distance walking.

What makes the Brooks Addiction one of the best walking shoes

Believe me, you will say “these are the best walking shoes I have ever owned”. Recommended by most podiatrists, the Brooks Addiction Walker has a stiff outsole with stabilizers on both sides to control overpronation and balance issues and alleviate any discomfort caused by flat feet. This shoe is extremely comfortable and won’t leave your feet sore, painful or throbbing at the end of the day. For all day comfort for overpronaters, this is your go-to-shoe.

Key features

  • It provides the cushioning found in high-end running shoes.
  • It gives superb arch support that works beautifully with any type of custom insoles. A lot of customers confirmed this walking shoe saved their feet from hard plastic custom orthotics and helped them enjoy the comfort of a great shoe.
  • It has a smooth and supple full-grain leather construction for added protection from the elements.
  • It has a padded tongue and collar
  • The inside is very soft and has a removable insole with a nice deep heel cup
  • The midsole is BioMoGo recyclable midsole and features Hydro Flow Technology (enhanced cushioning, better stability of the foot, excellent shock attenuation)
  • The outsole is designed to absorb shock and stabilize the foot on uneven terrain. It’s very durable and provides excellent slip-resistance on wet surfaces. It also has a high-density carbon heel with flex grooves (maximum motion control and flexibility from heel strike through toe-off)

Caution

The sizing tends to run a bit small.  Go for a half size larger, and one size wider.

New Balance 928 Walking Shoe

New Balance 928 Today's Price

Available for women and men

New Balance 928 Walking Shoe

The New Balance 928 is great for you if:

  • your feet roll inward (overpronation)
  • you have Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs
  • you are diabetic
  • you have Achilles Tendonitis or Morton’s Neuroma
  • you have neuropathy (comfort, protection and added stability)
  • you have arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
  • you have wide and extra wide feet
  • you have fallen arches, high arches, high instep
  • you have bad knees, knee replacement
  • you have bunions and hammertoes (exists in wide widths and allows toes to spread out)
  • you have hips, ankle and lower back pain, lumbar spine issues
  • you have leg length discrepancy
  • you’re committed to making your 10,000 steps a day,

Also great if you:

  • work on concrete floors all day
  • stand on your feet all day
  • are a heavy person (it holds up pretty well)

What makes the 928 one of the best walking shoes

The built-in technology makes the New Balance 928 great walking shoes to correct pronation, overpronation issues, the gait cycle, and keep the foot, ankle, knee and spine lined up so evenly. Even without orthotics, this walker’s mechanics and motion control technology make sure stress, leg and back fatigue, and shock are eliminated allowing you to stand for extended periods, walk farther and more comfortably.

The 928 has generous cushioning, especially in the heel, amazing arch support which promotes a more natural gait. This is why a lot of customers confirmed their Achilles tendons, back and legs feel wonderful at the end of the day and especially first thing in the morning.

Bonus

The 928 is available in sizes and widths that are so difficult to find.

Features

New Balance 928:

  • is very comfortable out of the box
  • is built on an SL-2 last (wide forefoot and narrow heel area)
  • has a rocker sole (makes it easy to transition from heel strike to toe-off)
  • has a surprisingly effective Roll Bar technology (a dual support system that contributes to shock absorption, corrects gait cycle and controls overpronation (rolling inward) and supination (rolling outward)
  • features ABZORB mid-foot cushioning for additional comfort
  • has a deep and generous toe box (great for bunions, hammer toes and custom orthotics)
  • provides full-length support across the entire foot
  • is very supportive and torsionally stiff through the mid-foot
  • has an excellent fit and a comfortable cushioned foot bed
  • has a great built-in arch support which provides terrific stability

Cons

  • Referred to as “old man shoes”
  • Poor traction on ice or snow

So “Brooks Addiction Walker vs New Balance 928” comparison above does confirm that both shoes are great. No one can say that one shoe better than the other because people have different feet and different objectives behind purchasing a certain shoe over the other.

I feel you’re going to ask “since you reviewed both of the shoes, which one would you choose personally?”

Well, I would personally go for the New Balance 928 because I’m a runner and New Balance is the only company I trust most besides Asics.

So if you’re interested in the New Balance 928, I’ve recently reviewed the last version, the 928V3, and it’s awesome. Here we go …

New Balance 928V3

New Balance 928v3 Today's Price

The New Balance 928V3 started hitting store shelves about 4 months ago. The version 3 is an update to the version 2 which predecessed the 928. The 928V2 was short-lived because there was a bit of a choke point right at the throat of the shoe. But New Balanced has addressed that issue with the the 928V3. Other than that, there are no major changes to the shoe. So they’ve opened up that throat a few more millimeters just to give that extra depth and width to the vamp right at the throat.

Now, as we move through the V3, I want to just run down a couple of features about this shoe.

The insole

New Balance have upgraded to the polyurethane insole. Before, they just ran out their standard EVA under the foot and now they have polyurethane. What it does is it just gives us a little more compression resistance, so over duration and time that you’re in this shoe it’s just not going to break down as fast. It also gives a little bit of a squishier feel to it.

The lining

The 928V3 still has the Phantom Lining on the inside of the shoe. What that is essentially is you have a bootie on the inside underneath the leather that just covers up all the seams and bridges between the different panels in the upper and it just gives really smooth transition reducing the risk of shearing, blistering, or just even friction pressure from seams. There’s a number of New Balance shoes that have that technology, but the 928 is kind of the flagship.

The upper

With the upper of this shoe, you’ve still got New Balance’s Full-grain leather upper. All through the shoe you’ve got premium leather that just gives a really nice feel, breaths well, and conforms well to the foot when broken in.

The SL-2 last

New Balance has had this last for years and years, but for those that are not aware, this is the SL-2 fit. SL stands for “straight last” and the “2” for extra depth. What we mean by “straight last” is a nice straight form to the base of the shoe that features New Balance’s Walking Strike Path. The other really tangible benefit for is that you can fit foot orthotics or braces into this shoe with ease as the shoe has 90 degree walls on the side where they meet the board of the shoe. Other shoes just taper in and when we put devices into them they flare out the shoe and totally kind of ruin the fit.

The SL-2 also provides a roomier fit for wider or fleshier feet. So with SL-2 you’re getting a deeper toe box, a relatively medium fit in the midfoot but it is tapering back to the heel. A lot of people need that extra width and depth in the front to accommodate either just a wide foot or things like bunions, hammertoes or even thicker devices like custom orthotics but they don’t necessarily need that width in the heel and that’s where the 928 is really solid.

The heel counter

The heel counter on the 928V3 is extended medially and laterally and it’s nice and stiff so when that heel and ankle sit in there you have a lot of stability and control for the heel and ankle.

The midsole

As we come down the shoe, we get into the midsole which is still a compression molded EVA foam. The CMEVA is awesome because it provides a lot of compression resistance, gives really good ground reaction and also has decent shock absorption quality to that. New Balance does add ABZORB from the midfoot to the toe of the shoe so that’s just going to help to take the cushioning factor to the next level. So if you’re absorbing high levels of impact from aggressive walking or even just standing on your feet for long periods of time, ABZORB can just help to decrease rattling and vibration coming up from the ground from impact.

The rocker forefoot

New Balance’s rocker forefoot is still alive and well with the V3 and really helps to reduce how much dorsiflexion is required to pick that foot up off the ground for that next ride. So if you have mobility issues in that first toe or even mobility Plantar dorsiflexion issues, ankle joint or even metatarsal issues this shoe can help to offset some of the lack of dorsiflexion. The rocker bottom also just provides a smoother gait from that heel off to the toe off phase.

The Rollbar

As we move to the hind foot of the shoe, New Balance’s Rollbar frame, medial and lateral posting are all still alive and well. One tasteful update they did from the graphite Rollbar frame in the first version is the fiberglass system. Basically what Rollbar is going to do is provide really stable ground contact for the lateral and the medial aspect of the shoe. If your foot wants to overpronate or even underpronate, the 928v3 is just going to help to resist that by having that firmer reinforced lateral wall. It also does the same medially and it will control pronation when your foot is in motion and that’s really effective for people that do a lot of standing throughout the day when they’re maybe not moving a whole ton but the physics of that body-weight just kind of sits on the outside of the of their feet – Rollbar does a really good job of controlling that.

The outsole

Moving to the outsole of this shoe, New Balance has had the Ndurance outsole for a really long time, but definitely called it out on the 928 (version 1). It’s a higher compound of rubber that’s specifically designed for high mileage for athletic walking or for just long periods of wear on hard flat surfaces. That’s a battle-tested outsole that people have been having great results with for years and years.

The outsole is nice and flat, broad at the midfoot and has full-ground contact so your foot is very stable and then you’re introduced into that forefoot rocker.

Beveled heel 

One more thing to maybe mention is the outsole is subtle but it’s a tangible benefit. The way that New Balance rolls or bevels that heel does help to provide just a slower sort of guidance into that foot flat phase of your gait. A lot of shoes that come to kind of a 90-degree angle at the heel sometimes give a little bit of a slap slap reaction, but with the beveled heel it just provides a nice smooth transition.

The 928V3 is a legend that comes at a decent price.

 

2

Best Running Shoes For Morton’s Neuroma – No More Painful Running!

Today, we’re going to be looking at the best running shoes for Morton’s Neuroma.

Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects people’s feet. Typically, the person will experience pretty significant pain in their foot and sometimes it will cause shooting, burning or electrical light pain that shoots into their toes – usually the second toe and then possibly the third toe and sometimes even the fourth or fifth toe.

↓Jump to the reviews↓

But where does this pain come from? Your metatarsals are thought to pinch one of the nerves that passes between your foot and supplies your toes. It’s essentially like having sciatica of the toe, and anybody who’s ever had this condition will tell you that’s exactly what it feels like.

Why do people get it in the first place?

The reason why people get it is because those metatarsal bones are squeezing on the nerve and it causes it to inflame and swell. And when that happens, the only way to get rid of it is to take the pressure off the nerve. Much in the same way a chiropractor (foot doctor) would align your back to take pressure off the nerve.

best-running-shoes-for-mortons-neuroma-neuroma-pad-or-a-metatarsal-pad

After getting the foot aligned, it’s important to support the metatarsal area. One of the strategies to do this is to use something called a Neuroma pad or a Metatarsal pad. You place a metatarsal pad exactly where it needs to be as you can see in the picture above. What the goal of the pad to do is provide a lift to the metatarsal bones, and when it lifts the metatarsal bones, it also spreads them taking the pressure off the nerve. This is probably the most effective treatment for Morton’s Neuroma unless of course you want to visit a surgeon and they will just cut the nerve out and you won’t feel your toe anymore.

Best Running Shoes For Morton’s Neuroma

Altra Women’s One2 Performance

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

altra-womens-one2-performance-running-shoes

The one “squarred” is actually one of the best running shoes for Morton’s Neuroma. People with Morton’s Neuroma, bunions, and hammertoes will definitely fall in love with the fantastic foot-shaped toe box. This is actually the signature of Altra giving that natural shape to the toe box instead of a very skinny toe box that other competitors use. This allows the feet and the toes to spread out naturally as it would if you wouldn’t be wearing shoes. It also helps improve your balance and reduce impact on the ground.

You’re looking at an awesome running shoe. Altra have come out with a shoe that has a bunch of features a lot of runners have been addicted to. These shoes have no heel lift (zero drop) and are flat, which prevents runners from heel striking and gives the foot the same elevation at the heel and the forefoot. Also, if you’re on your forefoot and not landing on your heel, you’re much less likely to roll your ankles. It’s also very comfortable if you’re running out on the tarmac.

This is a great lightweight running shoe that is very flexible. It’s a bit more stiff through the midfoot for more support and a lot more flexible in other areas, which gives a more natural bending to the foot.

Asics Gel Cumulus 16

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

asics-gel-cumulus-16-running-shoes

The Cumulus 16 is designed for the neutral runner or the underpronator who needs a high impact, high cushioned shoe. The Cumulus 16 has seen a few updates with the most notable being the FluidRide midsole compound. Though the FluidRide paired with the gel cushioning in the forefoot and in the heel should theoretically provide a little bit more cushioning than previous models, you wouldn’t really notice much of a difference between the 16 and the 15 – both are great and both provide runners with plenty of cushion.

Men’s size 9 comes in at 11.7oz and the women’s comes in at 9.0oz. There are lighter weight shoes like the Mizuno Wave Rider 17. However, the Cumulus 16 provides the runners with a touch more support and cushioning.

One thing you will really love about the Cumulus 16 is that it has a great step-in feel. This shoe really hugs down on the heel giving you great support that goes through your run. This is something that the previous model didn’t have.

Overall, the Asics Gel Cumulus 16 is a great option for neutral runners that need a touch more cushioning due to the FluidRide midsole and the added gel in the forefoot and heel. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight fast shoe, this might not be for you.

Brooks Ghost 9

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

brooks-ghost-9

With a 12mm heel to toe drop, the Brooks Ghost 9 is a standard daily trainer designed for the neutral runner. Utilizing a BioMogo DNA midsole, along with a Full-length Segmented Crashpad, this daily trainer provides adaptive cushioning with plenty of energy return.

On the outsole, blown rubber provides durable traction and the omega flex grooves offer a flexible ride. Along with a new engineered mesh upper for enhanced breathability and comfort, the Ghost 9 is your go-to daily trainer.

Weighing in at 10.5oz for men and 9.1oz for women, it features mesh material throughout the upper which is really going to allow your feet to breath and stay super cool while you’re out there on your next run.

It has a nice lace-up closure to lock everything into place. It has a smooth and very comfortable lining on the inside so it won’t irritate your foot while you’re wearing it.

The full-length crashpad together with that BioMogo DNA midsole will give you plenty of shock absorption, smooth transitions, and the energy return you really need. It also has a nice groove design throughout to give your feet that flex and bend that you need along with a very sturdy outsole on the bottom. You’ll be so fast people will thing you’re a ghost in the Ghost 9.

New Balance 980 Boracay

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

new-balance-980-boracay

With a 4mm heel to toe offset, the Fresh Foam Boracay is a natural daily trainer designed for the neutral runner. Taking over for the popular New Balance 980, the Boracay continues the use of Fresh Foam technology utilizing a mix of convex and concave hexagons to help enhance the sponginess and firmness in specifically targeted areas of the shoe. On the outsole, larger hexagons are used to create a soft smooth underfoot feel with plenty of flexibility.

In this update the midsole provides a slightly wider platform leading to a more stable feel and improved fit.

Along with a revamped air mesh upper with no-sew application, this trainer will provide a comfortable fit mile after mile. The men’s comes in ar 9.3oz for men and 7.7oz for women.

Altra Running Womens Provisioness 2

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

altra-running-womens-provisioness-2-running-shoes

You’re looking at a shoe that’s built perfectly for the runner that’s looking to improve their form without sacrificing supportive fit and comfort and it just comes in at a lightweight 8 ounces. The upper is made with quick-drying breathable mesh for a fantastic feel next to your skin. There’s also a great lace-up design to provide you with a perfect fit. The lining on the interior is breathable mesh with a removable 5mm foam footbed.

The midsole is a fully-cushioned zero drop platform design, which means that you have zero heel to toe drop so your foot lands at exactly the same distance from the ground at the heel and at the forefoot area to naturally lower shock and align your body posture while helping strengthening your leg muscles too. Combine that with A-Bound cushioning to help absorb impact and wonderful natural stride system component that helps combine metatarsal mapping and the zero platform will be a wonderful experience that helps promote a more natural running stride.

StabiliPod technology helps act like a tripod for your foot increasing stability with each and every step.

The foot-shaped toe box is actually a wider-shaped toe box that allows your toes to splay comfortably allowing for a more powerful toe-off. The FootPod outsole design actually mimics the bones in your foot allowing for a more natural flex.

Altra Torin 2.0

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

altra-torin-2-0-running-shoes

These are high cushioned neutral running shoes. Every Altra shoe comes complete with a wide foot-shaped toe box to offer toe splay and proper foot alignment and the zero drop is even with the ground platform. New for this Torin 2.0 is an improved midsole material which is a little softer and more plush underfoot and the addition of Innerflex technology in the midsole for more flexibility.

It comes with seamless overlays on the upper. The weight comes in at 9.1 ounces for men size 9 and 7.5 ounces for women size 7.

The new Torin is a high cushioned neutral shoe for the everyday runner looking for a shoe to be comparable with the Nike Vomero, the Saucony Triumph, or the Asics Nimbus.

This is light and responsive enough to perform well for a 5k, but it’s cushioned and protective enough for your foot that you can go all the way up to post marathon distance like ultra.

ASICS 33 DFA

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

asics-33-dfa-running-shoes

The 33 DFA sees the introduction of the new Fluid Foam midsole and a new 33 DFA. It’s going to provide really great cushioning but in a very unique way because it has very low density and soft platform. This makes the shoe nice and flexible. Because it’s engineered to be extremely durable, you don’t have to worry about it flattening out even though it’s very soft. Asics has also introduced FluidAxis which is a new anatomical flex groove technology which allows the shoe to move and bend exactly as the way the joints in your feet move, hence the name DFA – Deep FluidAxis.

It features a light midsole that will give you plenty of shock absorption and energy return with every single stride you take. It also features AHAR rubber outsole on the bottom to keep you nice and steady and give you that long lasting wear.

If you look into the upper, it features highly breathable seamless mesh construction throughout with some synthetic overlays to give you some structural integrity and a really unique fitting system that really hugs and secures your foot while the natural 33 last allows the feet to splay and move naturally as you would expect in a 33 shoe. It has a nice lace-up closure so you can always have some nice fit. The 33 DFA has plenty of padding on the inside with a really soft fabric material and good cushioning down there in that footbed.

The 33 is Asics’ lowest to the ground, lightest in their construction, and most flexible model in the 33 collection. The great thing about the it is it’s great for all kinds of distances. It really depends upon the runner and how far they want to run in it. So for some people they might just use it on shorter runs where they just want to mix the signals and add variety to their training regime, but for others they might use it as their everyday trainer because it does have enough protection and the new Fluid Foam that will really help them on their everyday training.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v6

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

new-balance-fresh-foam-1080v6

The New Balance 1080v6 is a premium daily running shoe designed for the neutral runner. I would recommend this shoe for runners who tend to do a lot of road running and like a cushioned shoe. If this is you, you’ll be very happy with the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s. The 1080 fits nicely and runs true to size while its toe box is wide enough that you won’t feel any rubbing or blistering even when breaking them in.

The sixth version of the shoe sees a huge upgrade with the introduction of Fresh Foam cushioning technology which utilizes concave hexagons to help enhance the comfort, sponginess and firmness in specifically targeted areas of the shoe. This is a feature that is definitely most noticed on the very first run in these shoes. This is also one of the features New Balance made improvements upon in this 6th version of the 1080. Along with the paired use of responsive N2 technology, the 1080 provides plenty of cushioning for the long haul.

The Fresh Foam 1080v6 will certainly treat you well right from first wear thanks to the Phantom fit technology used on the upper which provides a lightweight seam-free fit with an even plusher feel. The breathability of the upper would stand out even more on hot road running days.

The heel to toe drop is an 8 mm offset with 30 mm of cushion at the heel and 22 at the forefoot.

All of this being said, if you like running in a more minimalist shoe, there’s not much in terms of feel for the ground and I wouldn’t recommend these shoes for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy a shoe that is more cushioned when striking the ground, you will absolutely love the 1080s.

Pearl Izuma EM Road N2

New Balance 990v3 for Today's Price

pearl-izuma-em-road-n2

The N2 is Pearl’s meat and potatoes high performance neutral training shoe. For a men size 9 it’s just a hair over 9oz. Like all of Pearl Izumi’s shoes, the EM Road N2 features a seamless upper for a seam-free all-day comforting shoe. It features a new Seamless Skin technology on the upper which is a bonded material to a spacer mesh to give you a lot of structure without a lot of weight.

The beauty in the platform is the midsole that features Izumi’s dynamic offset. It’s a really simple intuitive concept where they placed the toe spring back about 25 mm from where it would be under the ball of the foot and that creates a really nice smooth transition from initial ground contact into stance and through toe-off.

Pearl Izumi are talking about Project E: Motion and “E” stands for “efficient” and the Motion is the passion they have for running. The idea being that can they deliver a really smooth fluid efficient running experience for any type of terrain and any type of running whether you’re a heel striker, midfoot runner or what not. The idea is they can take this simple shape across of their shoes and deliver that same performance experience expectation.

What does the “N” stands for in the “N2”? It stands for neutral. The bottom of the shoe has an iconic Flow Line used across all of Izumi’s stability category and their neutral category that really mimics the pressure profiles of a runner in the neutral or stability category from heel strike, stance to the toe-off.

How much can you feel the road with the N2?

The N2 in particular is a really good blend between giving you some ground contact feel with a really nice high performance responsive ride.  

Saucony Kinvara 7 Review – An Extremely Popular Shoe At Its 7th Birthday

Today, we’re going to be going in depth with the new Saucony Kinvara 7.

Saucony Kinvara 7 Review

saucony kinvara 7 Running Shoe Today's Price

First, the Kinvara 7 is a great option for bunions, Hallux Rigidus and Limitus, and top of foot pain.

You know it’s really something when products get into a kind of legacy evolutions of what they are. And for that to happen two things have to take place. Number one, the evolutions of that product have to make sense and have to be something that’s constantly improving or changing for the better. Number two, the loyalists of that product have to really be on board with it. If you just keep changing it for a new audience, you’re not going to have those loyalists around and they’re not going to be the best advocates for your particular product that you’re looking for.

However, with the Saucony Kinvara 7, we see that this thing is giving well into the high numbers. With its 4-mm drop, really good ground feel and a super loyal fan base, this is an extremely popular shoe that is now at its 7th iteration and we can see it coming for a lot of years to come.

Read other runners’ reviews on Amazon.

The upper

The upper is something that has always been one of my favorite sections in the Kinvaras, and the Kinvara 7’s is no exception. Let’s talk first about the design. The shoe’s green fading into black is kind of a nod to the fluorescence of the past seven or eight years fading into the more old school black. So personally, I like the loudness of the shoe.

saucony-kinvara-7-review-upper-

Talking about the support structure of the Kinvara 7, Saucony is using their FLEXFILM system on the upper. On this version of the shoe, Saucony is using FLEXFILM in really great places where the foot might work against the material and try to break it down. Basically, they put an entire almost rand around the shoe that goes all the way around. This is going to keep the material solid if you’re kind of driving forward in the shoe. Again, Saucony have used an overlay (Saucony logo) right where the shoe flexes in the forefoot to really reinforce the mesh underneath and keep everything solid.

saucony-kinvara-7-review-uppers

In the roughly 45 miles of pretty intense stuff sometimes that I’ve got on this shoe, there’s no breakdown of that at all. But if you’re taking it on trail or something like that where you might brush the material on a branch or a stick, something like that might break it down. So when people decide to talk about how a shoe is acting and the material might be breaking down, be sure you’re blaming the material and not just the fact that you’re running and brushing up against a rock all the time.

The mesh on the Kinvara 7 is one of the things that make the shoe stand out. On the front, again, we’ve got a very fine mesh and then a little bit more open mesh around the back half of the foot. Also, this is lined on the inside with something that’s a little more fine to keep out fine debris and dust and things like that. It’s very flexible and flexes nicely over top of the foot and it’s very comfortable.

saucony-kinvara-7-review-mesh

Something else that we’re seeing in this update that has appeared in the Saucony Kinvara 6 is the PROLOCK system. In the Kinvara 5 the PROLOCK system was obvious that you could feel where the system attached underneath the upper. In the 7th version, it’s really disappeared because it’s nicely integrated into the rest of the upper. Saucony have taken a lot of consideration with this and got rid of the feeling of that additional strap down there. But in that case it wasn’t something that stood out to me as being annoying; it was just something that I noticed, but in this update I don’t notice it at all, so Kudos.

saucony kinvara 7 Prolock system

The heel counter in this version is a fairly semi kind of flexible rigid thing, but then about halfway up it goes to being flexible. This is actually not unlike the deconstructed heel counter that we saw in the New Balance Vazee Pace. Then of course, we’ve got my personal pet peeve and that is the foam. The foam around the collar and on the tongue is actually really nice. The collar is coated by the RUNDRY fabric which is going to keep the foot from sweating profusely and it’s going to absorb moisture and wick it away from the skin. This material is nice and keeps everything solid and there’s not too much foam or too less foam.

Overall, the upper of this shoe is really a nice highlight in all Kinvaras. Of course, some people have had some durability issues here and there with the previous iterations, but in this version I think people are going to really be happy. The upper is going to really be a compliment to the speed, durability and endurance that you’re going to find out of this shoe.

The midsole

This is probably one of the places where this shoe has the most actual change, but the kicker is you can’t really see it. The first thing is they’ve gone from using EVA+ foam in the midsole to using SSL EVA. SSL EVA is really meant to be one of those things that enhances the longevity of the shoe, provides for less material breakdown, and really enhances the appearance of the new EVERUN material.

saucony-kinvara-7-review-everun

As a lot of other brands are doing these days, Saucony is really looking to find something that’s going to be more resilient material and still give you that impact and that kind of spring-back without the material bread down super fast. In the Kinvara 7, Saucony actually put the EVERUN material in a place underneath the heel. Again, you can’t really see it.

Why only put EVERUN in the heel and not through the entire midsole?

They did extensive wear testing and based on different arrangements both in the heel alone, in the forefoot alone, and under the entire foot, the preference overwhelmingly came out to be that in the heel. When you land on the heel you want that kind of cushion or that spring. Also, when you’re landing on the midfoot or forefoot, ideally you’re letting that heel settle into the ground and this is, again, giving you a little bit of that eccentric muscle action, that feeling and that kind of spring off of the heel after your heel settles secondary to the midfoot or the forefoot. So this was definitely something that they really thought about a lot.

Another thing about the midsole I think shows up really well is that flexibility. There is quite a bit of spring in this shoe and a lot of pop. And one of the interesting things is that when you start to fold it up, it doesn’t fold in half really and maintains a nice curvature which is actually really interesting. In a lot of other shoes, that foam is going to have a quick breakdown, but the Kinvara 7 maintains a nice curvature throughout, flexes front to back and works with the foot very well.

The outsole

Starting with the outsole, this is probably one of the biggest aesthetic updates of nothing else from its original shoe. Usually, we’re used to looking at a bunch of triangles that are around the outsole. But in this version, Saucony has gone with an entirely new setup. Yes, they’re still using IBR+ and XT900 rubber to take care of the different types of abrasion that happens to different areas, but overall, it’s a super huge change.

As we look at the shoe, the green areas up in the forefoot and down in the heel, that’s the XT900 rubber. So, that rubber has been placed in areas which need particularly high-abrasion wear. If you’re someone who lands on the heel of the foot or when you toe-off, these are the areas that get worn down quickly so they need more high-impact rubber.  If you compare this to previous versions of the Kinvara, these are exactly the same place as it was; it’s just the different shape and everything like that. This is definitely a case of not messing with what works while still changing the overall aesthetic.

saucony-kinvara-7-review-outsole

Now the orange rubber that we can see, that is Saucony’s IBR+ which is Saucony’s injection blown rubber plus. This material is not just meant to provide durability in those areas, though not as much as the XT900 rubber, it’s also meant to actually provide a little bit of cushion and enhanced ground feel. Once again, IBR+ is located in the same positions as in the previous Kinvaras, but in this instance, because of the flex grooves that can happen in between the little Chevrons, it adds a good deal of flexibility to that area. It doesn’t subtract from it even though the larger portions of rubber are taking up space where the triangles have kind of a cut through. In this case, this does a good job of keeping the flexibility where it’s been in other iterations of the shoe which is something that a lot of Kinvara users like.

In terms of general wear on this guy, there’s a little bit of accelerated wear in the IBR+ rubber section as opposed to the XT900 rubber because I land very midfoot. It would be great if Saucony extended the XT900 up a little bit to provide more durability in the midfoot. But for a heel striker, it’s not an issue at all.

The ride

This is where that new EVERUN material is going to come in. EVERUN is not as bouncy as in the Adidas Boost Foam. You’re not going to find that amount of spring in this, and that’s not what it’s actually for, either because the application is only in the heel of the shoe and not the full-length thing.

But what did feel like when I was running?  

I’m a pretty solid midfoot, forefoot runner and that’s not different in the Kinvara 7 at all. So the first four miles or so of any run, what I felt like is it was pretty similar to other Kinvaras and I like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love the other Kinvaras. However, it was 4 to 5 miles into these runs where I really started to notice the difference. And again, as Saucony said with their testing, this is what they noticed is that people generally prefer the heel. I’m not saying that I would not love to try a full-length piece of the EVERUN material in the midsole of one of these shoes, but in this case what I felt is that as I let my heels begin to settle more into the ground, I really started to getting that bounce-back and getting that extra help with the eccentric muscle action in that area. And to be honest, it was very comfortable and at the end of the runs my legs did not really feel as gassed as they might otherwise. So, I really like this material, but again, I would love to see a full-length version of EVERUN. I also found that the flexibility in this shoe is really nice but doesn’t sacrifice on that “popiness” and that kind of spring-back that you would expect from Kinvara or a more racy kind of oriented shoe.

The fit

The first thing that I want to say is that my size 11 fits just like all Saucony Kinvaras. I don’t see any reason you go up or down in sizing unless you find that consistently with yourself in Saucony running shoes. Also, the Kinvara 7 in a size 11 comes in at 8.9oz.

Update: some runners say the fot is a bit on the tight side and recommend you order 1/2 size bigger.

Saucony Kinvara Mens / Saucony Kinvara Womens

men's-saucony-kinvara-7-review

I feel like the heel counter is nice and it’s just very subtle and doesn’t really lock down on the foot or anything like that. It forms a nice heel cup internally with that great cup sock liner. Moving into the midfoot, I really like the PROLOCK a lot. It feels good on my foot and I like the way I can cinch things down. The one thing that I do wonder about is if somebody had a wider foot and wanted to wear this guy, I’m not sure how it would fit them because while there’s room in the toes to expand, I’m not sure how the PROLOCK would feel around that and how really it would work because at some point it’s going to be squeezing in instead of wrapping.

saucony-kinvara-7-review-heel-cup

The toe box is just straight up classic Kinvara. For me, it provides tons of room to wiggle and splay very comfortably even on some longer runs. So, way to stick with what works in Saucony.

Conclusion

Newbies to the Kinvara series and old school people are really going to like the Kinvara 7 a lot. It’s a very consistent version with the way that it wears. With the way that it rides you’re going to get that consistent Kinvara feel, but the addition of that EVERUN material is going to get you a little bit more energy especially as you begin to fatigue into the back of the shoe there, which I like a lot.

As far as bang for your buck goes, this is a really great value especially for a really well loved high-end shoe that’s going to be able to take you anywhere from your training days to 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, ultra marathons and whatever you want to run in it. Saucony Kinvara 7 is a super solid shoe and I can’t wait to see what you guys think.

saucony kinvara 7 Running Shoe Today's Price

saucony-kinvara-7-review

Happy running!

New Balance Minimus Zero Trail Review – Get Many A Happy Runs

By Barefoot Mamma

I know I promised this review but after spending an hour shoveling the driveway I was too pooped to pop! My mind was in shut down so I just vegged in front of the T.V. for awhile.  But delay no more!  Here is my New Balance Minimus Zero Trail review. I purchased it on my last shopping trip to the UK.  I was looking for a pair of runners that would be minimal but would still get me through the winter since I won’t be wearing my Vibrams.  And having found them on sale really helped too!  I love a good deal!

new balance minimus trail Shoe Today's Price

Green means GO!!

So this past Saturday I put on my Smartwool socks and my new runners for a 7 km run through the first heavy snowfall of the season.  First I have to mention how long the laces are.  Are we tying up skates here or runners?!  I could have wrapped them around my ankles and still had enough length for a double bow!  I have purchased Lock Laces so I’ll give them a try before I go out again.

The first thing I really like about the NB Minimus Zero Trail is how light they are.  I don’t notice a difference in weight whether they are on or off, which is really nice when trudging through the white stuff (snow, for those of you who don’t get any! LOL).  However, I must have had thicker socks on when I tried them on in the store because they did feel a bit floppy in the toe box.  I like room up there since I want to utilize my whole foot when running but this felt like a bit too much.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.

Now I know these aren’t meant for Manitoba winters (then again what runner is?) but I would have liked less mesh in the front of the shoe.  When the wind blows you definitely feel it!!  Which is nice once you’ve warmed up, but not so enjoyable at the start.  Again, thanking myself for purchasing Smartwool socks!  Plus, I’ve read a few reviews stating that the mesh can have a tendency to tear or rip over time.  Hopefully this doesn’t happen since I would like to enjoy them on some trails this spring/summer.

As I headed out for my run I noticed immediately how the Vibram soles were gripping the snow. It was awesome! You could really feel the lugs (as I call them) on the sole grabbing the snow and creating great traction. Even on the areas where there was less snow and some ice I felt safe.  A must in my neck of the woods!  Falling on concrete is no walk in the park and can put someone out for days.

Once we were out for about twenty minutes my feet were fully warmed up and enjoying themselves.  But as we went a little farther, around the half way mark, I noticed that the top of my heel was hurting a bit.  It felt like the laces were too snug and therefore pulling the material around my ankle too tight.  I’m hoping it’s a personal error and not how the shoe sits on my foot.  Only time will tell and I’ll try to adjust it tomorrow to see how it feels.

Overall, I’m happy with the NB Minimus Zero Trail and hope to have many a happy run in them.  And if all goes well they will be coming along for the ride at the Hypothermic Half in February!

Get it at Amazon.com.

Salomon Speedcross Pro Review – A Technical Trail Monster

By Randy Garcia

 

salomon speedcross pro

Today we’re going to be looking at the technical trail monster, the Salomon Speedcross Pro. The Salomon Speedcross 3 is a shoe that has been around forever. However, this year Salomon has decided to update the Speedcross line in both the Speedcross 4 which is coming and the Speedcross Pro and the S-Lab Speed.

To give you a little bit of primer on how the Salomon lines work, you’ve got the S-Lab line which is the most technical, most expensive and the lightest most of the time. The next line is the Pro line which is where the Salomon Speedcross Pro falls in, and then you’ve got the regular line. All of these shoes are super high quality most of the time and not the cheapest models in the world either. All of this is to say today we’re taking a look at the 2016 Speedcross Pro, so let’s get in to it.

Salomon Speedcross Pro Trail Shoes

The upper

salomon speedcross pro

The welded overlays basically envelop the entire shoe. Much of this is part of the Sensifit System which does a great job of cradling especially that midfoot giving a nice sense of lockdown. I feel like with these bonded overlays you get an even closer sense of that.

One of the cool things about this is that the overlays on the side wrap fully down over the midsole with the debris protection all the way down. So basically, you don’t really see the midsole in the front two-thirds of the shoe, you can only see it in the back because it’s covered by this material and it does a great job of keeping debris and mud off. It’s also kind of plasticky so it rinses off really well.

For me, the upper has held up extremely well even in places where I would expect it to break down a little bit right where it tends to fold, but there is zero picking at all, zero pulling away of the overlays or anything like that. Apart from a little bit of dust, the Speedcross has come clean pretty well after being so dirty.

One of the things I like about the upper is that integrative feel and again I feel like that’s largely part of the fact that all the overlays which go from the top of the heel counter up into the Ghillie lacing around the Quicklace system all the way down just above over top of the midsole.

Mesh / Quicklace / Endofit / Overlays

The main mesh of the Speedcross Pro is amazing for debris and it’s also water-resistant, not water-proof though. Despite being very tight weave, it has a pretty decent degree of breathability for what it is, but not a ton of breathability. And even a little more debris protection is the tongue cover. It’s kind of a stretch piece that goes underneath the laces but over top of that tongue and helps keep the debris from coming into the foot.

What’s keeping the foot tight down in place is Salomon’s Quicklace system which you can pull up and tighten up. And of course, it features the lace pocket which does a nice job of being able to hold those laces down so you don’t exactly have to worry about the laces going all over the place. These laces run through a Ghillie Lacing setup which keeps them nicely attached to that Sensifit System that ties all the way down throughout the whole shoe.

The interior features the Salomon EndoFit System which is basically a booty kind of construction. It’s not a full booty, but it’s basically right over the midfoot. The EndoFit System is a gentle elastic sleeve that holds your foot nicely in place.

As I alluded to earlier, all the overlays come down and actually integrate directly to the toe cap which is not the hardest thing in the world but it provides you with a great amount of protection and also gives a nice shape to the toe box. This will touch on in the fit a little bit because Salomon tends to be on the narrower side. So to have a well-shaped vertically especially toe box in this shoe is a really big advantage.

The midsole

The midsole of this shoe is using injected EVA foam as well as Salomon LT Muscle that sits back there. Obviously, both of these provide protection but the LT Muscle is meant to provide that protection and cushioning with a bit of flexibility especially in the forefoot. The LT Muscle does stiffen up in the midfoot because there’s a lot of material underfoot. However, this doesn’t really do anything to diminish the ride very much, and we’ll talk about this in the ride section coming up.

The outsole

salomon speedcross pro outsole

There’s not a lot of different arrangements and things that are going on. The outsole looks similar to the Speedcross 3, but there are some pretty key changes. First, let’s talk about the things that have not changed. The lug layout pattern on the Speedcross Pro is pretty much the same in that it’s always been directionally arranged. So the rear of the shoe is optimized for descending and the front of the shoe is optimized for ascending. The lugs are 6 mm deep Chevron shaped lugs. So those things have not changed. And there’s still Contagrip Contagrip on the bottom. Contagrip is a type of rubber that Salomon is using.

What has changed then?

One of the issues people had with the Speedcross 3 is that some of the lugs around the outside of the outsole would get cut in half because it looked like basically they had a sheet of rubber with lugs all over it and they would just cut them at a certain spot. So what you would wind up with is a kind of half lugs on the outside or the medial side. The picture below gives a clear idea of what I’m talking about here.

salomon speedcross pro outsole

Without all that rubber there you can compromise the structural integrity of the lug itself. So this means that if you’re running and there’s not the full structure of the Chevron to support it, you’re going to torque that lug a little bit, and in some cases, it could even shear off. But what’s more than what is going to happen is you’re going to wear those perimeter lugs on those earlier models of shoes a little bit more quickly and this would, in turn, compromise the traction and the overall performance of the shoe.

However, in the 2016 Speedcross Pro as well as the Speedcross 4, this has been really changed a lot. It’s very imperceptible actually looking at it but you can see that all the lugs are the full Chevron shape with nothing being cut off.

Traction

It really sticks especially in some more loose and dirty stuff and actually this is kind of built for mud and some snow and some wet terrain as it does a really great job of not holding on too much mud because of how widely spaced the lugs are while still giving great traction in situations like that.

Another big change is the updated Contagrip rubber. This is Salomon’s new mud and snow Contagrip which is specifically made to grip in as you would guess by the name mud and snow. I tried out this new rubber side by side with the earlier model of the Contagrip and I have to tell you that the amount of grip difference on a wet polished granite surface is amazing. I have run in this shoe in muddy and snowy conditions but I certainly ran on trail dry conditions and it does a fantastic job. It’s not the stickiest rubber I’ve ever felt but certainly right up there.

The geometry

First, the Salomon comes in 30 mm in the heel and 20 mm in the forefoot for a net drop of 10 mm. This doesn’t really affect me very much because this is a shoe that if you’re on trail you probably spend much time up on the forefoot or at least the midfoot and so you don’t really feel as affected by that on the trail like you would on the road. If you’re a hardcore heel striker, you may be able to take advantage of that, but for me, I feel like there’s just a lot of material that adds weight back in the heel area. I feel like by shaving a little bit of that material and maybe bringing the drop down a few millimeters you’re going to be able to get a little more kind of enhanced ground feel.

The heel counter

salomon speedcross pro heel counter

At the rear of the shoe, the heel counter is actually quite rigid giving a lot of stability. This does a kind of nice job of countering the fact that you’re sitting up so high and that there’s extra bulk back in the heel. The Speedcross Pro is not only reinforced by the actual rigidity of the heel counter itself, but you’ve also got overlays that fully extend all the way back (pic 9.39).

The fit

Salomon shoes tend to run narrow. If you’ve ever run in these shoes you’ve probably noticed this to some degree. This is not always the case for the most part but it can be a trick to get used to that more “Euro” fit. For me, the Speedcross Pro isn’t narrow. But if you’ve got a wide foot, finding something that’s going to fit you maybe a little bit tricky. Keep in mind that if you’ve got a foot that you are questioning whether it is going to fit in these shoes you can go to your local run shop, or if you prefer to shop online you can do that as a lot of online retailers like Amazon will take back the shoe even if it’s been running. Just remember to definitely check the return policy exchange just to make sure you’re covered.

The ride

With the stack height of 30 mm in the heel and 20 mm in the forefoot I would expect a little more cush and comfort. However, the Speedcross does well and I felt perfectly fine on that but I just expected a little more cushion because this is a technical trail shoe particularly tuned to climbing.

There is no rock plate on the shoe but I felt like between the stack height and the lug a kind of depth keeping the things underfoot at bay. I felt perfectly protected and I didn’t really notice anything. In fact, I felt less protected sometimes in shoes that have a rock plate. The ground feels actually pretty good in this shoe and for the weight of this shoe it certainly felt quite agile and my foot didn’t feel very clunky except for every now and then I noticed there is more material in the rearfoot than needed in my opinion.

The Speedcross Pro comes in at 11.4oz. for men size 9. I should also mention that Salmon could shave about 2 ounces without really sacrificing the structural integrity of the shoe, which is important because that is the key to the shoe. That is what the ride and what the experience is all about. Maybe that’s what they did in the S-Lab Speed, which I haven’t tried yet, but if it is I will certainly let you know.

There’s a good reason why the Speedcross 3 and probably the Speedcross 4 and the Speedcross Pro have been and will continue to be such popular shoes and that’s because of the amazing pedigree and the build quality of these shoes.

Sizing

Some people may try to go up a half size to account for that different fit in there.

Durability

After some miles on trail there’s very very little wear and it’s holding up extraordinarily well.

The price

This is not the cheapest thing in the world, but that’s really not bad for a technical trail shoe of this quality. Again, this is a really solid shoe for the money.

Now here’s my question for you and that is: since Speedcross 3 has been around for so long, have you tried it, and what did you think of it, and what could make you go to the Speedcross 4 or the Speedcross Pro? Please leave your answers down in the comment section below.

New Balance Leadville 1210v2 Full Review – Comfortable, Durable And Versatile

Leadville Colorado

Today we’re going to be reviewing the New Balance Leadville 1210v2 running shoes. If you’re not familiar with the Town of Leadville Colorado, you should probably pick up a copy of Born To Run. Leadville is the site of one of the most famous ultra-marathons in the United States, and that book by Christopher McDougal really highlighted the race.

These days the race itself has become a kind of a mecca and it’s actually now presented by New Balance. So since their name is laying on the label for this race, they thought that it would probably be a great idea to come out with a shoe that can withstand the rigors and the challenges of such an amazing ultra-marathon, and now they’re in version 2 of the Leadville 1210.

New Balance Leadville 1210v2

The outsole

new-balance-leadville-1210v2-running-shoes-outsole

As always, the first thing we’re going to take a look at is the outsole of this shoe. As you can see there are a set of 19 triangular lugs right in the middle. They’re about 3.5mm in depth and they’re surrounded with a green area consisting of 18 directional lugs. The ones in the front are oriented pointing backward while the ones at the rear of the shoe are oriented pointing forward. This obviously is going to account for when you’re going uphill it’s going to grip and when you’re coming downhill it’s going to grip depending on the type of terrain and the direction you’re headed. The rubber itself on the outsole is a Full-contact Vibram rubber (yellow Vibram label) with no specific cutaways except for the spaces in between the lugs that you can see there.

The trail that I like to test my shoes quite often is a place called Rabbit Mountain here in Colorado, and the great part about that trail is the wide variety of terrain that it offers. It offers groomed single tracks, but it also offers things like pebbles and a little bit of sand and some open space that’s just grass and totally no trail at all. I really put these shoes through a lot of terrains because we’re in the spring right now.

The New Balance Leadville 1210v2 did quite well on snow but no so much on ice. Unless you’re running on a studded shoe, nothing is going to really handle spectacularly on ice. Once that snow started to melt and I was on a little bit of muddy terrain, that was one of the places where I was really curious to see what would happen.

A lot of times, you’ll see that mud just sticks to a shoe especially with shoes that have deeper lugs because the mud would get stuck in between those. Since the 1210v2 doesn’t have the deepest lugs in the world that mud really shed very well and the shoe is actually quite flexible, so I was not really carrying around a ton of mud, and when I did pick up some mud, I could just whack my foot on a rock and it cleared out very easily.

Now once that snow melted and dried out and everything was kind of back to its normal Colorado trail type of feel, this shoe really did exceptionally well on that groomed type of trail that is not super technical. These lugs are not the deepest thing in the world, so when you get in to looser terrain or steep and loose terrain, sure on the descent it’s fine, but going uphill you’re not really going to grab quite as well as something else might do with a longer lug.

Durability

From a durability standpoint, I really expect the outsole to do quite well. What I would expect to see first is the rear lugs wearing down a little more quickly than the rest of it. That said, I don’t think that the triangular sections on the forefoot are going to wear particularly quickly and I think you’re going to get a good amount of miles on this shoe especially since it’s considered to be a trail shoe.

The midsole

new-balance-leadville-1210v2-running-shoes-midsole

 

The midsole of the New Balance 1210v2 is constructed primarily of New Balance’s RevLite Foam which is a much lighter foam but still has a lot of resilience. It’s essentially just a modification of EVA compound. Another thing that New Balance has used in this shoe is the N2 technology and that is actually a different kind of foam. The yellow part on th eoutsole is the N2 technology and it’s actually part of the rock plate system and what New Balance have done is they put a more resilient but little more kind of impact resistant foam in that area. This is going to block out the rocks and that is effectively acting as a forefoot rock plate.

Another thing on the midsole that’s kind of interesting is the lighter gray section which is a little bit of rearfoot medial posting. Well, some wearers of this shoe refer to it as a “stability” shoe and I’m not so sure I agree with that. The reason I’m saying this is because I don’t run in stability shoes and whenever I do I can tell immediately that I’m going to get in trouble as my knee starts to bother me. So in this shoe, what the gray section in the midsole is going to address is some early stage pronation. So if you are landing on your heel and really crashing that ankle inward, that might be what that addresses. For me, I tend to be a very forefoot midfoot runner and I didn’t really notice any impact of this little feature at all.

Ultra-marathon shoe?

Something that I like to bring up with this shoe is that it’s considered to be an ultra-marathon shoe. But to be honest, I don’t necessarily think it’s an ultra-marathon shoe, and I think calling it that is a little limiting to some people. I guess a part of the reason it’s considered an ultra running shoe is because there’s a little more stack height with 28mm in the heel and 20mm in the forefoot for a net drop of 8mm. I don’t really feel that that drop really adds a whole lot to it except for maybe deadening the ground feel a little bit, which if you’re running a particularly technical and rocky terrain it might actually help not bust your feet up so badly. A lot of people like myself like to fall under that 6mm drop area, but this shoe doesn’t really feel like that.

One of the other things I really like about the 1210v2 is it’s very very comfortable for just walking around. This is a really comfortable walking around shoe. So, if you’re in a race where you’re going to be probably doing some walking like the Leadville 100, this is a very comfortable shoe for that. It’s not like you’re feeling propelled like a running shoe, so that’s actually a really good thing.

The upper

new-balance-leadville-1210v2-running-shoes-uppers

As with the outsole, the midsole and everything, you’ve got to have a durable shoe put together for something it’s named after the Leadville Trail 100, and the upper of this shoe really holds up to that. The mesh itself is a dual-layered mesh which is kind of open on top to add a pretty amount of breathability. On the inside, there’s a finer mesh that actually moves with the foot quite a bit. This is a nice little feature that a lot of shoes are adding these days because it’s going to cut down on friction and hot spots in key areas. New Balance is referring to this as their debris-free construction.

As for the support structure, New Balance has used their Phantom Fit which is a series of welded or bonded overlays that are laid out on top of the shoe. There’s actually a kind of really thick webbing that goes over the shoe, which I really like as a lot of times you’ll see a kind of minimal structure, but in this they’re really not joking around. Every thing in the midfoot from the lacing all the way back to midsole is very locked in with this webbing of support. The heel counter you can see kind of a lot heavier TPU overlays that are bonded as well. These are going to be much more structure into the rearfoot and keeping everything nice and solid.

Also, the tongue of the shoe (this is a weird thing to love but I do really love it) is gusseted to about two-thirds the way up. It’s also wonderfully padded but not overly padded and feels really great on the foot. Also, you don’t feel the laces digging in your foot at all even over longer more technical runs.

Great toe bumper

new-balance-leadville-1210v2-running-shoes-upper

Rounding out the upper is a great toe bumper which is kind of a rubberized pleather material that goes all the way from the first metatarsal head to the fifth metatarsal head. This toe bumper is really fantastic as I have kicked stuff like crazy with it and it doesn’t really even show a scratch – pretty impressive.

Moving around to the rear of the shoe there’s quite a bit of foam through the Achilles insert area in the back side of the collar. The collar is a little bit overly stuffed for my taste but that’s not a huge deal breaker. The shoe features a really robust heel counter that forms a nice solid heel cup that’s going to be really able to respond to a lot of more agility.

Lace-up system

new-balance-leadville-1210v2-running-shoes-lacing

The last thing I’ll mention about the upper is the New Balance’s Sure Laces which are like sausage links. These are kind of like that bubble tech where the lace is going to lock into one another really tight. I don’t like to double knot my shoes just in case you get burrs and things in there and it becomes that much harder to get them undone. So this helps with that and not once did they come untied.

The fit

One of the interesting things about this shoe is that if you look at some of New Balance shoes in the past 12 months you’ll see that they were having a bit of an issue with “pointy toe syndrome”. With these pointy toes the shoes would really come to a point and if you’re running downhill for instance your toes really get crammed. In the Leadville 1210v2, New Balance seems to have eradicated that and it is awesome. The toe box fits very well and offers plenty of rooms for toe splay making it a great option for Morton’s Neuroma sufferers.

2E and 4E width

Moving back into the midfoot, because of those gussets there’s a lot of play for the shoe to get wider and things like that. This shoe does come in 2E and 4E width which is really tough to find. So if you’re a trail runner or an aspiring trail runner who’s got a 4E width foot, this is definitely going to be something you’re going to want to check out.

Moving into the rear of the shoe, like I said the heel cup is really nice and very rigid, but I do wish again the foam is a little less thick.

new-balance-leadville-1210v2-running-shoes-heel-cup

Sizing

As far as sizing goes, these are size 11 which is what I always wear and they fit spot-on.

The ride

One of the things I was concerned about was that stack height. The higher a trail shoe gets off the ground the less stable it can be in certain situations. Fortunately, this was really great. It played well for me and I didn’t have any problems and I think that’s largely because the midsole and the outsole extend well beyond the frame of the upper, so that’s kept things nice and stable.

The other thing I was interested to see is the ground feel. Because this does not have a huge amount of stack and features that N2 technology I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to feel anything, and that’s kind of a “yes” and a “no”. I was very aware of what’s was going on under my foot in terms of the camber and angle of the terrain. However, I did feel I was a little bit protected and shielded from feeling finer things like rocks and stuff like that, which is actually quite good for me as I like to feel the ground a lot.

I felt myself extremely comfortable running in this shoe especially over more rocky and technical flat terrain where those rocks would normally be poking into the foot quite a bit. But, if you really want to be shielded from the finer points of the ground this is going to be a really a great step into that.

Also in the ride, this is actually a pretty peppy shoe as it has a decent amount of flexibility from the midfoot forward. The rear isn’t so flexible which is a good thing as it offers good support in the midfoot area.

The price

This is a reasonably priced shoe. One of the things I would say to that is consider how durable it is and how versatile.

Conclusion

I think it’s a mistake to call this an ultra-marathon shoe and leave it at that. This is a shoe that’s comfortable on very short runs and in fact the longest run I did was maybe 8 miles. I was actually very comfortable as I didn’t feel like I was overly pushy or heavy.

This is all I can say about the New Balance 1210v2. I hope I was successful enough in my review. Feel free to leave any comments below.

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