Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
Good to know
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 10.3ozWomen: 8.7oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 8mmWomen: 8mm
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
Heel heightMen: 30mmWomen: 29mm
Forefoot heightMen: 22mmWomen: 21mm
WidthMen: normal, wideWomen: normal, wide
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82 / 100 based on 14 expert reviews
New Balance Leadville v3: A hearty shoe that’s built to last
The New Balance Leadville v3 was designed with durability in mind; with a Vibram outsole to withstand the harsh terrain that comes with trail running.
The gusseted tongue provides a secure fit and the front of the shoe has hard plating designed to protect the toes.
The heel is also outfitted with rip-stop mesh for additional protection against the elements. All of this, including a semi weather resistant mesh upper sits on top of a Revlite midsole which provides adequate comfort.
This shoe was designed almost flawlessly to serve its desired purpose. My only gripe would be that the upper is not Goretex, but even that can be offset by the fact that Goretex does not breathe well.
The Leadville v3 runs a bit short, and a half size larger was needed in my case.
It also runs a tad narrow and irritated my pinky toe after wearing them for an extended period of time. Had I ordered them online, I would’ve had to return them due to the sizing issues.
This shoe has a retail price of $170, which is slightly higher than average. However, I believe that this shoe is fairly priced for the technology it provides.
The Vibram sole alone will help make it more durable than trail shoes from other brands. One could easily wear this shoe for ~400km without experiencing much tread loss. Overall, a shoe that justifies its higher than average price point.
I started by wearing these for a short break-in hike. My hike took place mainly on rocky surfaces, with the majority being downhill or uphill. I noticed that due to the Vibram outsole, the Leadville v3 had amazing grip and I never once felt like I was losing my footing on the uneven terrain.
Also, the medial pronation support helped my foot feel stable and helped with my pronation. However, the shoe itself felt very stiff. The heel area felt hard and uncomfortable during the middle of my hike, and I decided to not run in them. In the hope that they would soften up, I wore the Leadvilles another few times in order to break them in sufficiently.
The Midsole or Insole?
As RevLite is usually fairly comfortable when broken in, I was confused as to why the Leadville’s still felt uncomfortable. Upon inspection, the insole in the Leadville is thin and does not offer much cushioning.
This could cause the lack of shock absorption in the Leadville compared to other New Balance models that use the same midsole technology, as those models usually have more cushioned insoles.
The midsole stiffness could be attributed to the harder foam used for pronation support.
Putting them to the test
After the break-in period, I wore these shoes for a long trail run in order to truly test them out. Unfortunately, the Leadville’s were uncomfortable to the point where I had to end my run prematurely. The stiffness in the midsole did not improve at all, and the cushioning, while slightly better, still felt hard.
The forefoot cushioning seemed okay when running uphill, but going downhill allowed me to feel how hard the heel cushioning was. While some may enjoy the firmness, it caused me foot pain preventing me from enjoying this shoe to its full potential.
I suggest that New Balance include a more cushioned insole for the v4, or that buyers purchase a more cushioned insole to put inside the Leadvilles.
The idea and design behind the New Balance Leadville v3 were flawless, but the execution left more to be desired.
The shoe was mildly uncomfortable and did not fit true to size, which I hope is fixed in the next issue of this model.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
There are a lot of things good [about it], but for me, there was nothing excellent about this shoe that really stood out.
The good news (if you like the 1210) and bad news (if you don’t) is that, while it is a full redesign, the general concept and geometries of the shoe are retained.
To reduce the weight for all that climbing, this trail shoe is the lightest back-country-worthy model in this guide.
Updates to New Balance Leadville v3
- New Balance smartly retained the basic features of the shoe and made only very sensible revisions to a very popular and highly-sought ultra-marathon trail shoe in the Leadville v3. Breathability and toe protection get the most visible upgrade in the Leadville v3. The upper is more breathable while a more substantial rand that covers the toe to the heel also acts as a sturdy toe bump. New Balance made the mesh a bit stretchable to really wrap the foot in comfort, especially as the runner is supposed to wear it for miles and hours on end.
- New Balance also raised the stack height just a bit while still maintaining that 8mm drop. The new stack height provides more underfoot protection without taking away precious ground feedback for ultra-long trail runs.
- A new seamless sockliner that greets the foot right out of the box makes comfort a top asset from the first step to the last. It has a very soft and plush fabric that should make the really long miles bearable.
- The outsole still uses Vibram, but not incorporates larger and more numerous opposite facing lugs in the shoe’s perimeter. Right in the middle of the outsole that spans the heel to the forefoot are 4mm multi-directional lugs that really deliver the necessary grip on a variety of trail surfaces.
New Balance Leadville v3 size and fit
The Leadville series is known for its roomy fit to accommodate mid-run swelling during ultra-marathons. New Balance kept this type of fit in the 3rd version of the Leadville. Runners with medium to slightly wider feet will love the adequate real estate in the heel and forefoot with a locked in midfoot. The sizing is quite different though. This one runs a bit larger than usual for New Balance. Getting half a size down is the best option to get a wraparound fit. Available widths are D and B while sizes are from 6 to 15 for the men’s and 4 to 12 for the women’s.
The outsole of the New Balance Leadville v3 features the Sticky Rubber compound for enhanced traction, even on wet surfaces on the trail. It also presents a new set up of prominent opposite facing lugs in the shoe’s perimeter. Located in the central portion of the outsole are multi-directional lugs that should provide reliable and consistent grip, regardless of the surface or conditions. A highly-durable Rock Plate sits between the midsole and the outsole for enduring protection against sharp objects on the trail.
The N2 foam, which is known for its durability and responsiveness, bridges the midsole and the outsole. It is, however, the REVlite foam that occupies the main portion of the midsole as it runs the entire length of the shoe. This is a top of the line midsole foam from New Balance that is extremely lightweight and very responsive. Playing a key role in making the run stable for slight overpronators is a medial post directly below the midfoot. It is made of high-density foam and provides non-intrusive but effective arch support. New Balance uses the medial post to help neutral runners who are likely bound to have a breakdown in form during ultra-marathon trails.
A more flexible and breathable mesh covers almost the entire surface of the Leadville v3. The use of synthetic overlays adds durability, structure, and support to the upper. In this model, New Balance uses a prominent overlay that also acts as a toe bumper. The new seamless sockliner is odor-resistant and provides enhanced step-in comfort and fit.