They told me to take a moment to relax when I’m out in nature, but how can I walk slowly when the trails are calling out to me? What I want to do most every time I’m on a trail is to dash through the woods. There is a sense of adventure and freedom in trail running that this city dweller longs for.
To satisfy my hunger for trail running, I need a pair of trail shoes that supports me to run, not just to trek. When I chanced upon The North Face Ultra Vertical and tried them on, my initial response was, “They are so light. Are they really made for the trail?”
High-Performance Trail Running Shoes
The feature that caught my attention first was the unique lug pattern. The 5mm lugs are anatomically oriented for ascending and descending. I brought the shoes to moderately steep trails and The North Face Ultra Vertical certainly impressed me.
At one point, I was descending the trail and it started raining. Thus, the soil became muddy and slippery. Thanks to the wonderful traction by Vibram Megagrip sole, I could keep my usual pace and didn’t have to worry about slipping down the trail. The mud got stuck to the outsole for a while, but it came off easily when I hit solid ground.
Since the shoes are not waterproof, I was pretty confident that my feet would be thoroughly wet due to the rain. Surprisingly, only the portion around my toes was wet. My midfoot and heel were dry. The FlashDry collar lining, together with welded suede tongue minimised rainwater absorption.
I like the shoe’s upper, which is made of open mesh with a tight weave which offers breathability and protection from debris. The soft mesh combined with cable and its TPU housing hold my midfoot securely. The tongue may look hard but it’s actually thin, flexible and not restricting the movement of the foot.
There is a reinforced toe cap that protects the toes from harmful objects. Talking about toes, I like the spacious toe box as I have wide feet.
Let’s talk about the sole. First, the removable OrthoLite footbed offers maximum comfort and breathability. The midsole features Dual-density CRADLE GUIDE for cushioning during ascent and descent. The upper layer of EVA midsole provides stability while the bottom layer provides comfort. The snake plate protects the forefoot from stones and rocks.
- TNF Ultra Vertical shoes weight around 107 oz (305g) are lightweight, making them great for trail running or racing.
- The shoes have impressive traction, even on challenging terrains, dry or wet.
- The open mesh of the upper delivers great ventilation to keep the foot cool and dry, and at the same time protect the foot from debris.
- FlashDry collar lining helps to wick moisture and minimise absorption of light rain or mud.
- The shoes are not waterproof, so be prepared to get wet feet when crossing rivers, running on muddy terrains or under the rain. But do not worry so much, because the water tends to drain out quickly through the highly-ventilated upper.
- The laces are firmly secured through the eyelets, making it difficult to put on or take off the shoes quickly.
- I wouldn’t use it for multiple-day treks at extreme temperatures such as those that involve snow, though.
Being a fan of The North Face since many years ago, I never doubt the quality of The North Face products. TNF Ultra Vertical just proved itself to be a respectable technical trail running shoe. Without a doubt, this is my go-to shoe for trail running and even trail racing.
The North Face Ultra Vertical retails for S$216 at The North Face Paragon, ION, Marina Square and 313@Somerset.