Why We Chose The Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 Trail Running Shoe: Lightweight, responsive, comfortable
As has been the case in the road running world, since the birth of Nike’s heavily-cushioned ‘Next%’ range, we’re seeing trail running shoes make use of a highly cushioned, and highly responsive, midsole for distance running. They may be the Marmite of the running world, but it certainly looks like they’re here to stay, and this, the Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 is the Vancouver-based brand’s take on this latest trend.
The ‘LD’ naming gives away what this shoe is designed towards – Long Distance. The Norvan LD 3 has been designed to provide comfort over long miles on the trail thanks to a few clever design features. Let’s take a look at those.
Starting with the upper, the Norvan LD 3 features lightweight and breathable fabrics that make use of a combination of mesh and toughened plastic to provide a blend of comfort and support. The inside of the upper has been designed as a two-layer system, where a second internal layer helps to reduce any friction that could, potentially, lead to day-ruining blisters when you find yourself miles into a route.
“That ideal blend of minimal weight and high cushioning.”
Perhaps the most interesting bit of any long distance trail shoe is the midsole. Get it too squidgy and you lose a lot of responsiveness and on-trail feel, yet if it’s too firm then you’re left with a pair of runners that you’ll want to pull off only minutes into a run. Arc’teryx has called on the expertise of midsole manufacturers, Dow, to produce an ‘InFuse’ midsole. This is essentially an EVA midsole that’s been designed to cushion the foot from repeated stresses while providing a quick and snappy response following a foot strike.
Looking at the toe box, it’s been sized up to accommodate splay as your foot swells during longer distances, while a traditional lacing system allows you to vary the tightness of the shoe over your instep. Handily, there’s a little stretch mesh pocket on the tongue to stow away any excess lacing to keep it out of the way.
The sole unit is typical of previous Arc’teryx trail running shoes, with Vibram Litebase rubber and pretty aggressive 4mm lugs peppering the sole to help provide grip and security on loose ground. The thinner material found on Vibram’s lightest sole construction helps to keep the weight to a minimum.
Coming in at a weight of 265 grams per shoe, the Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 strikes that ideal blend of minimal weight and high cushioning to create a shoe that’s capable of pushing you through on high mileage routes, all while keeping your feet as comfortable as they can be.