The VECTIV range of shoes is a big step forward in the trail running footwear category for The North Face. It’s a totally newly developed offering, designed from the ground up with the assistance of the athlete team. When released, it made immediate impact. With advanced technology and style to boot, the VECTIV range places The North Face ahead of many of its rivals in the space.
There are three options: Flight VECTIV, VECTIV Infinite and VECTIV Enduris. The first of the list are the lightest and most responsive shoe in their elite trail running range, and for me are a go to for racing footwear. But the purpose of this review is to take a look at the latter of the three, the Enduris. This is the most supportive of their ultra-distance trail running range, and while I think the Flight are the best racing kicks around, the Enduris is a workhorse, made for long training runs.
Aesthetically, they’re a great looking pair of kicks, with minimal fuss, modern styling and a few minor cosmetic details to make them stand out. But it’s the combination of extremely good build quality and comfort when spending long days on the trials that makes these a winner. Put simply, the Enduris provides long-lasting comfort and support, from day long jaunts on rocky terrain, to the muddiest of tracks and most technical of trails.
The first thing I noticed was that the rocker system in the midsole aids in pushing you onto your forefoot, increasing efficiency and reducing the loading. On footstrike you don’t feel as though you’re hitting the ground hard and losing all your energy. Instead, there’s an element of bounce to them that gives you the sensation that you’re getting something back off the ground. According to the website “This shoe combines our new VECTIV™ technology that optimizes energy return and delivers forward propulsion…” and it certainly seems as though the marketing spiel is more than just hype.
The Enduris features an internal heel support that creates a snug fit, with just enough space to avoid irritating your Achilles. The upper is made of a flexible, breathable mesh, which offers adequate protection and water resistance, without making them too chunky or restrictive. Some trail shoes turn into sweat boxes and also hold onto water on wet trails or rainy days. These drain freely and let your feet breathe.
The fit of the Enduris sits somewhere in the middle. Not so wide you’re left slipping around, but probably not the best fit for really narrow feet. That said, if you’re doing really long runs, sometimes you need some more space for a bit of spread and swelling, particularly in the toe box. The 6mm toe-to-heel offset (31 mm/25 mm stack height) isn’t huge, however adequate to offload the Achilles and calves a little.
Overall, the VECTIV Enduris is a very comfortable, highly durable shoe that will suit just about anyone looking for a new set of kicks. They’re a big leap forward in shoe tech for the brand, so if you’re in the market for new trail runners, these should be one of the options you try.