The North Face has been making running shoes for quite a few years, but I’ve never heard much about them until the VECTIV series. The VECTIV trail shoes have created some buzz and I was curious to try one of the models.
The first thing I noticed when I tried on the VECTIV Enduris was the rocker sole. This felt awkward when I first put them on and walked around. However, when I went running they felt great. I really like the feel of the ride and I prefer this geometry on downhills as I find it prevents me from landing too much on my heel.
There is quite a bit of midsole under the foot—31mm at the heel and 25mm at the toe—that helps keep the legs fresh on long runs while still feeling solid on uneven ground. The full-length TPU plate adds stability and gives the shoe a bit of zip when running fast.
I find most trail shoes that are good on technical trails are annoying to run with on roads. I’d never pick the Enduris for a road exclusive run, but running on the roads to the trails felt good compared to other trail shoes. The 3.5mm lugs will do you well in most conditions—except extreme mud or snow.
The upper of the Enduris is comfortable with no pinch points. My test for pinch points is to test a shoe on a very steep uphill. Most shoes feel comfortable on regular terrain, and you wouldn’t notice a pinch point until you really flex the shoe on a steep uphill. The upper is a good combination of ventilation and protection, and it stays cool while protecting the toes.
If you try this shoe on in a store and aren’t familiar with a rocker sole (like myself), do yourself a favour and run in them to get a real feel for the Enduris. This is a great training shoe in the trails and will do well in long ultra races.