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As a runner, my most valued assets are my feet. If I could put them on a pedestal to worship them, I probably would. My feet have carried me over desert landscapes, through canyons and over mountain peaks. There are far too many miles to count over the duration of my running career.
Needless to say, a good pair of trail running shoes are a valuable attribute to the success of training, adventuring and racing. I have been lucky enough to have the constant support of the team at Wild Earth backing me for the past few years. When I was approached about reviewing the brand new The North Face Vectiv trail shoe I was hesitant at first to change my shoe, then after running in the shoe I quickly changed my mind.
On unpacking the shoes from the box my first thoughts were, the shoe is white. Who makes a white trail shoe? This shoe was not going to stay white for very long on a cattle station. The sole of the shoe was quite rigid and stiff. And the shoe is a one-piece knitted upper shoe with no tongue designed to fit like a glove. The Vectiv has a nice and light feel about it with a 3D VECTIV underplate. The sole has a rocker shape designed to propel forward and take advantage of the foot strike. The Vectiv has a high traction sole which provides stability and comfort on technical terrain to smooth dirt roads.
My first run in the shoes I didn’t venture too far. I was concerned to change up my shoes so far into a training block and so close to a race. I have never run in a shoe with a plate before either, so I wanted to give my feet the opportunity to adjust before attempting to run longer in the Vectiv. I’m also used to a really wide toe box on my shoes with quite a cushioned sole. When I put the shoes on, they are quite a firm fit around the arch of the foot, although I think this is due to the one piece fit and lack of the tongue on the shoe. The shoe felt really rigid which is also different for me as I usually run in quite a cushioned soft soled shoe. This resulted in my first run feeling slightly uncomfortable due to the change in extremes in shoes. However, I have run around 250km in these shoes since the first run and I have changed my perspective greatly.
I really enjoy the fit of the shoe, the one-piece upper fits my foot perfectly after a few runs and it is a super comfortable fit for me. I find it to be a really fast paced shoe providing the stability and comfort for long runs but also the comfort for the shorter faster paced runs. The Vectiv handles like a dream whilst running on technical terrain downhill. The lugs on the outer sole of the shoe provide the grip to run even the steepest terrain without the fear of sliding or slipping over. I was concerned that the size of the lugs would make me feel apprehensive about running on slippery rocks but they handled the change underfoot really well and felt secure. When it comes to running offroad but on flat surfaces you can really get some speed out of these shoes.
Overall, the Vectiv is an asset in the trail shoe department and I’m stoked that I was offered the opportunity to test the shoe for Wild Earth. I would definitely recommend the shoe to fellow trail runners.