Arc'teryx Norvan LD Trail Shoe | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Trail and Scramble Shoes

Arc’teryx Norvan LD Trail Shoe | Review

A pair for taking on some serious mileage...

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.

There’s a little stretchy pocket on the top of the tongue for tucking the lacing inside and out of the way. Photo: Chris Johnson.

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.

A Vibram sole with aggressive lugs. Photo: Chris Johnson.
It's a sleek, minimalist look, and we like it. Photo: Chris Johnson.
A PU overlay adds just enough protection around the toes. Photo: Chris Johnson.

This lightweight approach by the designers is also reflected in the shoe’s tongue which is only lightly padded (but padded enough). There’s a useful little stretchy pocket on this to stow away the laces as well, which is a nice touch.

Interestingly, on the inside of the shoe your foot is hugged on either side by elastic mesh that links the tongue to the sole. For some reason (ventilation maybe?) this doesn’t extend right down to the bottom of the laces, so this means there are gaps for very small debris to potentially get in.

Two final things to mention: it comes in four different colours including an eye catching luminous yellow; and there’s also a Gore-Tex version that’s been released.

Tester’s Verdict

“This caught my eye a year before its release when I spotted it on the feet of Adam Campbell, one of Arc’teryx’s trail running athletes who was giving the model a check and run down as part of its development. It’s been very good to get my hands on a pair myself and to take them out on some long runs. What can you expect? Loads of shock absorption, a comfortable fit and a decent weight – not the lightest but light enough for me.” – Will Renwick, OM Editor

Price: £140

Weight: 620g (pair)

More info: arcteryx.com

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