The North Face Vectiv Trail Running Shoe | First Look - Outdoors Magic

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The North Face Vectiv Trail Running Shoe | First Look

The North Face have brought groundbreaking technology to the trail running market with the all-new Vectiv. We get a first look

The use of carbon fibre is nothing new in the running shoe world. Remember Eliud Kipchoge breaking the sub 2 hour marathon record? He achieved it with some carbon-plated road runners on his feet and since then the tech has been adopted by most of the leading running brands.

Similar to flyweight uppers and cushioned midsoles, it was only really a matter of time before carbon fibre trickled down from the road running world onto the trails, with The North Face one of the first brands to build the technology into an all-terrain shoe. It’s called the Flight Vectiv and it’s already out there and available to buy. 

We first got a glimpse of the Flight Vectiv when Pau Cappell laid down his super fast time of 21:17:18 on a solo run of the UTMB route last August. Since then, a total of 17 trail running records have been smashed by Vectiv-wearing athletes. 

So let’s talk about the carbon fibre in the Flight Vectiv. The 3D Vectiv plate is a layer of lightweight carbon that sits above the cushioning in the midsole to provide stability over uneven trails. When combined with a good deal of rocker, the 3D Vectiv provides a great deal of propulsion, saving much needed energy with each stride.

A lightweight and breathable fabric makes up the forefoot. Photo: Giles Dean
The carbon fibre plate provides stability and propulsion. Photo: Giles Dean
The sole is peppered with multi-directional 3.5mm lugs. Photo: Giles Dean

Sitting below the carbon fibre plate is a cushioned midsole. Similar to the trend of increasingly cushioned road running shoes, this midsole is made up of dual density foam that’s softer in the heel. This provides much needed impact absorption, while still retaining a good level of stability and under foot feeling.

“The Flight Vectiv is able to reduce downhill tibial impact in the shins by 10%”

Taking all the data from the two years of R&D and over 6,000 miles of athlete testing, the North Face claims that the Flight Vectiv is able to reduce downhill tibial impact in the shins by 10%. That might not seem like a huge decrease in impact, but if you imagine it stretched over 7-hours (or more) of uphill and downhill trail pounding, you’ll soon come to be thankful for this boosted cushioning.

Wrapping up the whole shoe is an upper that’s made up from a weave of polyamide and kevlar to help beef up the durability of the shoes. The North Face has also featured a stretchy knit around the forefoot to help boost the comfort and improve airflow.

This all comes in at a weight of 288 grams for a UK 8 and a price of £180. If that’s a little steep for you, or you don’t require the carbon propulsion, then there’s another two styles in the Vectiv  range: the Infinite, carrying a Pebax plate and coming in at £145 and the Enduris, with a TPU plate for £125.

From February 18th all three shoes are available to buy directly from The North Face website

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