Last year saw the release of the Norvan VT from Arc’teryx, the VT standing for vertical. We rated it highly, regarding it as the perfect shoe for technical trails and even any hiking that might involve some rocky scrambles. What we have here is the follow up item in Arc’teryx’s trail shoe family, the Norvan LD.
LD? That’s for Long Distance. This shoe is for the big days where you need something that will help you last; that’ll provide arch support, minimise shock and let all that hot, moist air escape fast.
For long-distance running, it’s of course the sole that needs the most thought put into it design-wise, and there’s plenty of evidence of that here.
“This shoe is for the big days where you need something that will help you last”
Made from a blend of EVA foam and Polyolefin, the midsole provides just the right amount of cushioning, particularly underneath the heel. There’s a 9mm drop from the heel to the toe which tends to be the common measurement for trail running shoes these days, and there’s a slight bit of rock to it. There’s also an extra 4mm of cushioning from the moulded Ortholite insole which can handily be removed and replaced once they’ve eventually had their day.
While the amount of cushioning is fairly high, it’s still not overdone and won’t compromise too drastically on proprioception which is the awareness of your foot positioning.
The lugs have a mid range depth of 3.5mm which is about average for a trail shoe. This means the outsole is grippy without being overly aggressive and adding too much to the overall weight of the shoe. It’s made from Vibram Megagrip, which has been used on shoes by just about self-respecting trail footwear brand this year. Able to grip on both wet and dry surfaces, it’s a rubber compound that can be relied upon over a variety of terrain.
Onto the construction of the upper. To keep that overall weight down and provide a fair whack of ventilation, Arc’teryx have chosen a single-layer mesh. It’s slightly padded around the ankle but on the walls and on the top of the foot, it’s just a thin layer. There’s a very thin TPU film layer added on in certain areas to protect the mesh and also a very, very slight toe bumper. It’s minimalist stuff – but that’s good, these are made for fast and light long-distance runners after all.