Why We Chose The Arc’teryx Norvan SL GTX: Featherweight, breathable waterproof upper, versatile shoe.
With the new Norvan SL GTX, Arc’teryx have created one of the lightest waterproof trail running shoes available on the market. As with most ultra-lightweight outdoor gear, weight has been stripped off by trimming down the features and focussing on the things that matter, but they’ve also drawn on some very interesting new tech.
Firstly, Arc’teryx have used a lightweight mesh upper which not only shaves a lot of weight but that’s extremely breathable to boot. Once held up to the light, you’re almost able to see through the upper, that’s how thin it is. Therefore, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that this hydrophobic upper has been given the full waterproof treatment with Gore-Tex’s Invisible Fit technology.
“LiteBase allows for a reduction of around 40 – 50% in sole thickness, giving you a 25 – 30% reduction in tread weight.”
This technology is designed to remove the need to choose between either picking up a traditional bulky and sweaty waterproof hiking shoe, or going for a lighter weight but non-waterproof minimalist option. They’ve aimed to get rid of that trade-off, that Catch 22, and the result is impressive.
Not only has weight been cut down from the upper materials and waterproof membrane, but Arc’teryx have also worked with Vibram to shave some weight off the sole unit, using their thin ‘LiteBase’ technology in the outsole.
LiteBase sees a reduction of around 40 – 50% in rubber thickness on the base of the outsole in comparison to standard Vibram soles. This, Vibram say, gives you a 25 – 30% decrease in the overall weight. It’s worth noting here that despite this reduction, the lugs, which use the common Megagrip compound, are completely unaffected by this technology, and therefore there’s no loss of traction and durability. Smart stuff.