The North Face Flight Vectiv | Hi-Tec Trail Shoe
Maximizes trail speed, energy return & hiking efficiency but hikes like a normal shoe
Weight: 10.5 Oz (285 G) Men’s 9
Trail Use: Excellent
Off Trail Use: Very Good to excellent
Stack Height Heel/Toe: 25mm/19mm (34mm/28mm w removable sock liner)
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6 mm
Fit: True to size to a bit large
What We Like: Hi-Tec, high energy-return, lightweight trail running shoe that prioritizes speed, energy output without sacrificing grip on tricky trails.
The Take Home: The North Face Flight Vectiv Shoes move the key hi-tec, high efficiency components of a top running shoe, carbon-fiber plate and high energy return midsole foam, into a trail shoe that will benefit hikers and runners alike.
Efficiency isn’t just for the pros. New shoe technology, like Nike’s popular Alphafly, is having a tangible impact on how athletes break records and blaze new trails. However, these energy efficient shoes positively impact every wearer, whether you’re a moderate day-hiker, long distance backpacker, or ultra runner. To illustrate, if these shoes take one minute off an athlete’s 5k time, then that can add up to weeks on a long thru-hike such as the Appalachian Trail. We’re extremely excited to see where these shoes take us, and have extra time at the end of the day. The North Face spent over two years perfecting the design of these shoes, and logged over 6,000 miles in the testing process. Furthermore, The North Face attributes 17 different trail records to this brand new model.
These shoes are extremely lightweight, while still providing sufficient traction and breathability. The 6mm drop is a happy medium between high and low drop shoes, which any athlete should be able to transition to comfortably. The 3.5mm lugs on the outsole will grip to any terrain, even when moving quickly. We recommend these shoes for any backpacker, day-hiker, or runner who is used to traveling in lighter hiking shoes and wants to maximize their energy and have time for an extra slice of pizza at the end of the day.
Initial Field Testing Results
We are still in the middle of testing this shoe, but so far we are pleased with its performance. Despite being light and fast the Flight Vectiv is surprisingly comfortable — it just feels like a great shoe that you’d like to hike or run in. The lower stack height on the forefoot and grippy, lugged full rubber outsole give it great trail feel and traction. Fit is neither too snug or too tight — snug enough to be precise on technical terrain, but not so tight that as to be uncomfortable after a long day on the trail. The moderate 6mm drop felt neutral to us and should work well for most folks. And the fully gusseted tongue does a good job of keeping debris out of the shoe even if you aren’t wearing a gaiter.
Our only gripes so far: the only shoe color is predominantly white which means that they are going to get and look dirty in short order. We sincerely hope the shoe comes in a more trail dirt hiding colorway soon! The fully gusseted tongue (now common on hi-tec running and trail running shoes) makes the shoe a little harder to put on vs. a conventional tongue.
Read our complete guide | Best Hiking Shoes
- Engineered for speed, will maximize efficiency and shave time off any trip
- 3.5mm lugs are designed to stick to any surface, whether it’s slippery rocks, mud, or ice
- Extremely lightweight
- 6mm drop is a happy medium between high and low drop shoes
- Brand-new shoe, we do not have a large amount of data about its long-term durability or performance
- More expensive than other similar models
- White is not a great color for a trail shoe!
- Long day-hikes, trail runs, and backpacking trips where you want maximum energy return
- Athletes who want to move quickly over varied terrain
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