New Balance has turned some heads this last year with the release of its popular Minimus line, widely successful trail line, and the 890 (neutral), 1190 (stability) and 1400 (racing flat) featuring New Balance’s Revlite cushioning which could be the most responsive cushioning on the market. These aforementioned models feature great cushioning, low to moderate stability, and all weigh in under 10 oz.
It was a difficulty transition for me to adjust to the NB 1260, their high dollar motion control shoe with all of the bells and whistles thrown in. Given their recent advances in great cushioning technology and lightweight shoes I would expect New Balance to combine these aspects into a lightweight and more flexible stability shoe with more cushioning than the 1190.
New Balance 1260 First Impressions
What I first noticed when putting on the 1260s was the odd New Balance fit that I haven’t encountered in any of their recent models. I refer to it as the wide heel, narrow toe fit which tends to cause my heel to pop in and out of the shoe. In past models, especially the 763 and 910 trail shoe, I hoped that it would go away as I the shoe broke in a bit. Unfortunately this heel slipping is only exacerbated by how stiff the 1260 is due to overbearing motion control features throughout the midsole of the shoe.
New Balance 1260 Upper
The 1260s upper features a breathable mesh and very durable construction expected from New Balance. The lacing system is straightforward with standard oval laces and the tongue is well cushioning. The interior of the 1260 is plush, especially the heel collar, and the fit is snug throughout the mid-foot. Overlays are rampant throughout the shoe and some feel extraneous and simply for looks. The heel cup of the 1260 features molded plastic which further increases the overall rigidity of the shoe.
New Balance 1260 Midsole
During my first few runs in the 1260 my feet felt encumbered by the rigid Stabilicore post, “A stiff thermoplastic unit running from the mid-foot to the heel of the shoe to provide a smooth transition”. As a slight overpronator I didn’t feel corrected so much as I felt controlled. Added to this motion control feature is plastic stability web located in the mid-foot of the shoe which adds an even more rigid feel. My feet seemed to slap the ground at times due to the lack of flexibility in this shoe and the transition never felt smooth.
The heel drop of the 1260 is a standard 12mm and the myriad of cushioning features in the midsole, including gel in the heel and various kinds EVA foam throughout the length of the shoe, were overshadowed by the motion control overkill.
New Balance 1260 Outsole
A fairly standard blown rubber runs the length of the outsole with a cutout in the heel to save weight. However, at 12.6 ounces, this is by no means a light shoe.
New Balance 1260 Performance and Overall Impressions
I always try to make a concerted effort to find the positive aspects of running shoes and write to the crowd of runner for which the shoe was intended. But, with so many more appealing stability/ motion control shoes on the market I would not recommend the 1260 due to high weight, fit issues, and clunky features.
I managed just over 20 miles over the course of three runs in the 1260 before I felt my feet cramping up due to lack of flexibility in the mid foot and forefoot. I will also point out that I am in no way a minimalist runner and I run in a wide array of shoes on a weekly basis from stability trainers to neutral trainers to racing flats.
I would encourage any runner to try many of the new models in the New Balance line but this shoe missed the mark for me.
Please comment with your own suggestions regarding the NB 1260. We are always open to differing opinions!
We thank the nice people at New Balance for sending us this shoe for testing. This did not influence our review of the shoes, written after running 30 miles in it