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Worth looking at for experienced long-distance trail runners
It’s to be hoped that this shoe is the start of a slew of decent offroad footwear from The North Face. The mountain wear giant has long produced superb apparel and been heavily involved in the offroad running scene. The elephant in the room has been its lack of ability to produce credible (or sometimes even any) trail running shoes worthy of the name. However, the brand now says it plans to rectify this and the Flight Vectiv is an ambitious first step in that direction.
First things first: yes, this a white trail running shoe. From a branding point of view we can see how that would make sense. If all your sponsored athletes turn up on a mountainside sporting these it will be immediately apparent whose shoes they have on their feet. The only effect it had on our rather more mortal runners, though, was to elicit uniform derision. White shoes + mud = unhappy mid-packers.
The brand says the Vectiv is suitable for ultra-distance trail races but we’d say that this is unlikely unless you’re already a very experienced long distance trail runner. It’s not hefty, cushioned or reassuring enough for the masses to be able to use it for such a purpose. However, when we checked with the brand they did say that since the shoe is aimed primarily at very experienced runners; and one tester who fits this demographic (think gnarly fells and jam sandwiches for fuel) reported no comfort issues wearing this over a couple of whopping outings. As for the price, we’ll just say that £180 is punchy when you don’t have a heritage of excellence in the sector.
One thing to love about the Vectiv is the alchemy which makes it feel a lot lighter than its actual weight. It feels tough and scrappy enough to see you through most British trail conditions, but it hasn’t done this by loading on heavy protection and we found you can switch up the pace easily in them; they were good for different kinds of sessions and multi-tasked pretty well.

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