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Shoe Review: The North Face Flight Vectiv

Fast technology isn’t only for the track. The North Face brings carbon-fiber speed and trail-tough traction together to form it’s newest—and fastest—trail shoes yet: the Vectiv collection.

Michael Thompson, senior product director at The North Face, says the Vectiv lineup is designed to meet the unique demands of mountain running.

“Coming from The North Face, we’re focused on mountains,” he says. “(We asked), ‘How can we give our athletes a competitive advantage in trail running?’”

The answer is a new trio of shoes with different plates inside to deliver distinct experiences.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Trail shoe.

The North Face Vectiv collection features three high-tech, durable trail shoes to meet a wide range of needs. Featuring carbon-fiber, PEBAX and TPU plates integrated into The North Face’s newly engineered dual-density midsole foam, the Vectiv collection offers support and responsiveness for every runner on any terrain.

Fleet Feet reviewers took the Flight Vectiv for a spin on the trails to see how the reactive carbon-fiber plate and dual-density foam felt underfoot. Here’s what they thought.

Shop the Flight Vectiv

Tech Specs

The North Face Flight Vectiv

Weight

M: 10.05 oz W: 8.6 oz

Drop

6 mm

Category

Trail

Use

Trail running

Surface

Trail

The North Face Flight Vectiv Fit and Materials:

The Flight Vectiv is built to deliver race-day performance and cushioning on technical terrain. The North Face Global Athlete team tested the Flight Vectiv for over 6,000 miles to ensure the best possible fit and performance for users.

While the carbon-fiber plate in the midsole is the headline-grabbing feature of this shoe, there are plenty of other design features that make the Flight Vectiv a unique part of your trail running kit.

Beginning with the upper, The North Face incorporates their unique Matryx mesh that includes Kevlar waterproofing and a reinforced toe cap for enhanced durability and waterproofing. Reviewers noted the snug midfoot fit of the Matryx upper and its excellent durability throughout the run.

Plus, the upper features reflective elements throughout for enhanced visibility on low-light trail runs.

The outsole offers traction across a wide range of conditions. The North Face designed their SURFACECTRL outsole with 3.5mm lugs to offer the most grip possible without slowing you down.

As one reviewer says, the Flight Vectiv “has the best traction of any trail shoe I’ve worn recently.”

The midsole is constructed from a dual-density foam that creates a rocker within the shoe to further propel you forward. Unlike other midsole foams, The North Face uses a foam that is firmer in the rearfoot and softer at the forefoot.

This construction supports your foot through uphill and downhill runs and provides the protection you need to get over rocky trails.

“Out of all of the carbon plated shoes I've had the pleasure to run in and wear, this one is unique in terms of it feeling like it gives you a rocker benefit,” one reviewer says. “Having the exposed carbon material is a nice touch while giving you inherent stability since it feels as if you are sitting in a bucket seat.”

This unique midsole design works with the 3D carbon-fiber plate to wrap your foot in what reviewers call, “A nice balance of cushion and response.”

The North Face Flight Vectiv Ride and Performance:

Incorporating a carbon-fiber plate isn’t as common in trail running shoes as it is in road shoes. Trails are demanding with variation in terrain and incline, leaving the legs to do the hard work of propelling you forward.

“Every step is unique on a trail run, and making sure that the plate is accomodating enough for all those variances is important.” says Thompson.

The carbon-fiber plate in the Flight Vectiv is specially shaped to complement the curve of the midsole rocker to offer responsive support. The plate is designed to provide forward propulsion and stability on the trails.

“I truly felt more lively on the trail,” says one Fleet Feet reviewer. “My legs felt surprisingly fresh. So, while the carbon plate is softer than a carbon-plated shoe made for the road, it adds just the right amount of pop for the trail.”

Our reviewers wore the Flight Vectivs over rocky, technical single-track, packed dirt and mud to test the full effects of the carbon-fiber plate on tough terrain.

“I felt in control and didn't slip off the platform of the shoe in the entire run. The outsole also shed mud really quickly so it didn't weigh down the shoe,” says one reviewer.

Though the Flight Vectiv packs a ton of cutting-edge technology into one shoe, it does not compromise on weight. Coming in at just 10.05 oz (men’s), the Flight Vectiv remains lightweight and responsive.

Reviewers love that the foam and carbon-fiber plate feels responsive and not overly soft. Many commented that the midsole geometry was propulsive, even for reviewers with high arches or wide feet. The ability for the Flight Vectiv to accommodate different foot shapes is unique and opens up this shoe to a wide variety of trail runners looking to push their speeds.

The North Face Vectiv Infinite and Enduris:

While our reviewers focused on the carbon-plated Flight Vectiv, The North Face developed the Vectiv Infinite and Enduris to incorporate additional cushioning and lightweight plate technology to provide propulsive energy return to every runner at any speed on any trail.

The North Face Vectiv Infinite PEBAX plated trail shoe

Vectiv Infinite

The Vective Infinite features a PEBAX plate integrated into The North Face’s dual-density foam to boost each step with lightweight energy return. PEBAX plastic is 20 percent lighter than the industry-standard TPU plastic.

This means the Vectiv Infinite acts as an intermediate between the rigid carbon-fiber plate in the Flight Vectiv and the more flexible plastic TPU plate in the Vectiv Enduris. The Vectiv Infinite delivers balanced propulsion to each stride without feeling heavy or overly cushioned and uses the same Matryx upper to secure your foot and provide durable protection on the trails.

Shop the Vectiv Infinite
The North Face Vectiv Enduris TPU plated trail shoe

Vectiv Enduris

The Vectiv Enduris is the most cushioned model of The North Face Vectiv collection. Sporting a TPU plate in the dual-density foam midsole, the Vectiv Enduris offers a softer flex than the more rigid Infinite and Flight.

But just because it has a softer feel doesn’t mean the Enduris isn’t built for performance. The midsole rocker and aggressive outsole lugging gives the Enduris the responsiveness and grip you need to propel you over technical terrain.

Shop the Vectiv Enduris

Conclusion:

The North Face Vectiv collection incorporates the robust grip of the traditional trail shoe with road-shoe responsive plating technology to deliver high speed performance over technical terrain.

According to The North Face Product Director Michael Thompson, third party testing has revealed that the 3D plate construction, dual-density foam and midsole rocker in the Flight Vectiv (and its sibling models) results in a 10 percent decrease in lower-leg impact.

That means runners feel the energy return from these shoes, which propels them forward and protects their legs from shock-related injuries common to trail running.

The lightweight midsole foam, durable upper and grippy outsole lugging work together to create a high-performing shoe that brings the revolution of carbon-fiber technology to the trails.

By Sarah Moxham. Sarah has run competitively for over 12 years. When she isn't working as the Digital Copywriter for FleetFeet.com, she can be found nerding out over art and listening to True Crime podcasts.

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