New Balance Leadville v3

8.4
8.4 score
[Editors rating (7.9) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.4)/10

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Editor rating: 7.9 / 10
User's rating: based on 3 user ratings
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New Balance Leadville v3 Review Facts
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Having been around for almost a century, popular footwear manufacturers New Balance have certainly proved themselves to be competent designers. Nowadays, they are well known as manufacturers of comfortable and durable footwear for runners with wide feet. The vision of their company is to provide aid for athletes, casual and professional. This is accomplished through the form of apparel, with their intent being to provide runners with the tools needed both to set new records and pursue a healthy active lifestyle. To accommodate this lofty vision, New Balance footwear offers a blend of comfort and functionality, even if it comes at the cost of fashion. The Leadville v3 trail running shoe you takes its name from a legendary trail race; its design is intended to handle the extreme climates that accompany this race and others like it. As a result, the New Balance Leadville v3 provides enough durability to handle long distance races while also providing enough comfort to be used in more casual environments as well.

Pros
  • Highly cushioned
  • Springy and responsive
  • Energy efficient outsole
  • Superior trail protection
  • Excellent comfort
  • Perfect for long distance runs
Cons
  • Disproportionate heel cushioning
  • Loose fit
  • Expensive
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The New Balance Leadville v3 features a Vibram outsole. This is a new design of outsole that involves the use of triangular-shaped lugs in the center and rectangular lugs around the edges. This design provides full coverage of the underfoot in a manner that makes the best possible use of the material and weight involved in the manufacturing. The Vibram rubber used for these lugs work to provide traction and resistance against potential trail hazards such as clay, gravel, or overgrown roots. These outsole lugs even feature a special coating providing extra grip in wetter environments, such as in snow or mud. Finally, a rock plate is sandwiched between the outsole and midsole to provide additional protection from hazardous terrain. These separate elements all combine into a highly functional and durable trail shoe outsole.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole of these trail shoes is composed mainly of REVLite. A proprietary material designed by New Balance, this cushioning compound is very lightweight and is predominantly placed around the forefoot, although it has also been placed around the midfoot and heel. While prior versions of the New Balance Leadville line used N2 cushioning, this new form of cushion has successfully corrected issues with rigidity some runners had noticed. As previously mentioned, a rock plate provides extra protection by providing an extra layer of material in between the outsole and midsole. Thanks to the wide platform, excellent forefoot cushioning, and lighter weight granted by the Leadville v3’s REVLite midsole, runners can enjoy their regular exercise routines with the knowledge that their shoes will maintain a smooth ride even in extreme conditions.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Unlike previous versions of the New Balance Leadville, the tongue on this shoe’s upper is long enough to keep out debris and ensure comfort for the top of your foot. Despite having a great deal of padding, this tongue doesn’t feel bulky. In general, the upper portion of the Leadville v3 is roomy but still secure and supportive. The top laces will stay secure without feeling too tight; no foot sliding will occur, even on inclines. In order to ward off complaints of uncomfortable tightness, the Leadville v3 provides a roomy toebox. Because of this feature, and because of the ample room around the entirety of the shoe’s upper, the New Balance Leadville v3 is perfect for runners who are prone to feet swelling.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The New Balance Leadville v3 weighs around 10 ounces; this is an ordinary weight for most high-end running shoes but is actually very light in terms of trail shoes. This weight classifies these shoes as midweight but experienced trail runners will find these shoes to feel considerably lighter than the standard fare. This is most likely due to the lack of excessive bulky material, which is a large design departure these shoes make in comparison to many other popular trail shoes and hiking boots. This means that runners won’t have as much protection as they would receive from these heavier offerings but it also means that runners transitioning from standard track and road running to trail running can have an easier time with the change.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The material used for the upper portion of the New Balance Leadville v3 is breathable without feeling porous. Simply from looks alone, you can tell that these shoes are meant to handle the long distances and extended stress that comes with distance hiking. While maintaining an adequate amount of ventilation, the laminated overlays added to the upper provide excellent stability and protection. This means that runners can feel comfortable and dry during their runs even with the extra protective padding surrounding their feet.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

One aspect of these New Balance shoes that shine above the rest is their supreme comfort. This is a staple of the brand, so fans of New Balance should already know how accommodating their products are to people with wider feet or foot swelling problems. A roomy forefoot and cushioned heel contribute to this comfortable feeling, although the heel cushion may feel a bit weak when compared to the cushion on other parts of the foot. Customers agree that the Leadville v3 is one of New Balance’s most comfortable neutral shoes. Such an amazing degree of flexibility, traction and protection ensure that these are the perfect shoes for keeping your feet safe during an intense trail run.
Style
Style

Style

The Leadville v3 comes in a variety of color schemes with different options for both men’s and women’s sizes. These color combinations vary from subtle to vivid and cool to warm. New Balance has made great strides toward improving their sense of style in recent years. Truthfully, these shoes don’t look terrible; however, the negative stigma of wearing this brand of footwear remains. The ugly truth is that no one purchases a pair of New Balance shoes to make a fashion statement, no matter how much effort they will put in to make them visually appealing. The primary motivators for runners to purchase a pair of these shoes is function over form.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The Vibram outsole is the most durable part of these trail shoes. In addition to providing a firm grip and excellent traction, customers have remarked that this portion of the shoe has maintained its high level of performance, even after hundreds of miles on the road. In addition to its highly resilient sole, the New Balance Leadville v3 features an upper with outstanding longevity as well, thanks to its seamless mesh design with several layers of protective cushioning. Because of this, runners won’t have to worry about replacing these trail shoes anytime soon.
Protection
Protection

Protection

As you would expect from a competent trail shoe, the New Balance Leadville v3 offers a great deal of full foot protection. From a slip-resistant Vibram rubber outsole to a seamless and moisture-resistant upper, this shoe provides solid armor from top to bottom. Special care has even been taken to address key weak points, such as extra rubber in the front of the shoe to protect the toes. As a result, trail runners can put their mind at ease while engaging in their high intensity, potentially life-threatening exercise of choice.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Despite being a trail shoe, the New Balance Leadville v3 showcases a seriously impressive degree of responsiveness. This is due to the lighter weight and increased flexibility when compared to other trail shoes on the market. Simply by way of emulating standard running shoes, these trail shoes manage to be one of the quickest options around for trail-running speed freaks.
Support
Support

Support

These New Balance trail shoes feature enough support to make a difference during long running sessions but not so much as to be distracting. A medial post on the inside edge provides this extra smidge of subtle support that may otherwise go overlooked to the untrained eye. Aside from this, the Leadville v3 provides the approximate level of foot support expected from the common running shoe. This does mean that it isn’t quite as supportive as some heavy duty trail shoes but that doesn’t disqualify it from being effective in these environments.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Despite having the initial appearance of a running shoe, the fact is that these shoes are designed to handle terrain commonly found when trail running. New Balance’s Leadville series of shoes are known for the speed and responsiveness benefits associated with its unique design. While it may not offer the same amount of protection as a heavy hiking boot, nor will it offer the same level of control and traction on inclined surfaces, the Leadville v3 is right at home on an overgrown, muddy, or rocky trail.
Price
Price

Price

While the current price for these New Balance shoes has been discounted slightly from the original rate, the Leadville v3 still costs about as much as the average high-end running shoe. This does make them a bit more affordable on average than the average trail shoe, but this value evens out once you factor in the limitations of this shoe’s design in comparison.
Traction
Traction

Traction

In addition to a decent degree of flexibility and foot protection, the Leadville v3’s outsole also provides exemplary traction. The Vibram material used for its construction is the key ingredient, as it is sturdy enough to withstand repetitive impacts on a variety of rough surfaces. This rubber material also features a grippy coating, providing extra traction to its multi-directional lugs The result is a superior grip and even weight distribution, facilitating a safe and controlled running experience.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Although the New Balance Leadville v3 is a trail shoe that appears very bulky, the truth is that it offers a surprising amount of flexibility. Don’t be fooled by the extra girth from the wider toebox; as a midweight trail runner, these shoes avoid the common pitfall of heavier trail shoes that feel uncomfortably rigid. While this does come at the cost of protection and durability, the benefits are worth it to many runners. In particular, trail runners who dislike the extra weight and stiffness present in these shoes will appreciate the extra speed granted to them through the use of these trail runners.
Stability
Stability

Stability

While many shoes have to make a difficult choice between focusing more on stability or flexibility, New Balance succeeded in the difficult task of striking a compromise between the two. As a result, a comfortable amount of firmness is present in the Leadville v3 all the way from the top of the shoe to the bottom. As a trail shoe, enough rigidity is present in its design to handle the hazards of hardcore trail running. However, this is slightly lessened in comparison to other brands of trail shoes and hiking boots due to the Leadville v3’s lighter weight.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The New Balance Leadville v3 features a heel drop of 8mm. This is a bit less than the average heel elevation present in standard track and field running shoes, but it is far greater than the sort of heel elevation you would commonly find in a trail shoe. This thicker heel padding has the benefit of increasing comfort and protection for runners who are prone to heel strikes. However, the downside of this design choice is greater difficulty maintaining a consistent stride and grip while running on inclined surfaces.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features


  • Specially sewn gusseted tongue

  • N2 cushioning technology

  • No-sew material application

  • Fantom Fit upper

  • Medial post on inside edge

  • REVlite foam midsole

  • 360-degree mesh with ASYM heel counter

  • Toe Protect reinforced front bumper

Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

While the New Balance Leadville v3 is a costly shoe, they are certainly worth the price of admission. Terrific support, stability, and durability are guaranteed with these shoes, even when running on some of the most dangerous environments. Thanks to a pleasant design aesthetic and excellent comfort, these shoes can also be worn in social settings. For track and field runners looking to break into trail running, or for trail runners looking for a more lightweight option to increase their speed, the Leadville v3 is a terrific addition to their wardrobe.