Why We Chose It: Long-distance comfort, innovative design, good breathability
At a glance The North Face’s Exploris might just look like, well, a fairly normal pair of walking shoes with a snazzy design. Dig down into the tech that’s gone into them, however, and you’ll realise that there’s a lot of impressive innovation on show here.
First up, there’s the Futurelight waterproof membrane, then there’s the Vectiv carbon plate. These are both big innovations that have really been turning heads within the outdoor world. We’ve tested them both in a number of different products from The North Face over the last couple of years and we can confirm that they’re very impressive.
What’s particularly impressed us about the Futurelight membrane is its breathability. It’s made through a process of nano-spinning which, in short, is where thousands of tiny nozzles spray a liquid PU onto a sheet, creating a thin layer of millions of microscopic fibres with spaces between them that air can pass through but water can’t. The resulting fabric has a super high moisture vapour transmission rate and is more eco-friendly than other membrane fabrics (at least the ePFTE ones anyway).
“They are durable and have a brilliant grip.”
The Vectiv carbon plate, which was originally unveiled in The North Face’s Vectiv trail shoe collection, brings a number of benefits, the most notable one being increased energy return with each stride. Basically, it propels your feet forward, ultimately helping you to go for longer. On top of that it also provides a decent amount of protection from sharp roots and rocks.