New trail-running shoes Norvan VT, by Arc’teryx

The Canadian brand makes a grand entrance in the mountain race world.

Norvan, the perfect shoes for mountain Racing, are the first big bet by Arc’teryx in the trail-running world, although, considering their high resistance, these could well be called mountain running shoes. They work perfectly off road and they’re quite alpine, but very good for trail, as we said.

Among the innovations, the double sole, produced by Vibram, is the real deal. It is made out of two different materials: Idrogrip at forefoot (in black), and Megagrip at backfoot (in orange).

Idrogrip is softer and enables comfortable climbing. It offers very good traction, especially in hard terrains. It caused us great impression on technical wet areas and snow. It’s also great for paths and tracks, though not so great on mud, as it’s made more for for mountain, with rocky orsnowy terrain.

Megagrip is harder and covers the back area. It offers more resistance and optimal stability on descents. It’s extremely grippy, although on wet granite we’ve noticed slightly less traction.

Three flex points in the forefoot and another one in the middle area result in an extremely flexible and comfortable shoe while climbing. The flex point on the ankle helps cushioning. On flat ground it has a medium reactivity and in some cases this might not be enough.

We really liked the upper part. The material is one of the most resistant that can be found in the market for this kind of shoes. The forefoot is well protected –we’ve already said that these are more mountain running shoes–. The heat sealing offers some hardness, which is well welcome, since it doesn’t affect flexibility, and the nylon entrance gives good breathability.

The shell is excellent and makes an extremely stable shoe on descents. The shoes have amazing cushioning and are very stable when we venture on descents. On flat ground and climbing they’re also very comfortable. And that makes me wonder which kind of races they’d be suitable for. Definitely not for vertical km, as they’re drop and weight make them useless when trying to go as fast as possible. Maybe where these shoes can show their full potential is in medium-distance or I’d even dare to say in long- and ultra-distance for runners under 70 kg.

And another innovation is their lacing system, which enables readjustments during descents with just a single movement: pulling one of the left laces and hooking it into a plastic part on the other side. That way we can adjust our shoes for descending –during climbing no such adjustment is needed. We would suggest, though, making the plastic hook a bit longer so that the lace doesn’t have to be pulled so much.

As it’s the case with the other Arc’teryx shoes, these shoes include an integrated inner sock, which works finely: it prevents sand and rocks from getting in, and what’s more, it helps avoid having to tie your shoes excessively. It’s also plus in terms of comfort and it absolutely prevents abrasion.

Our general assessment of these shoes is pretty good. They meet the expectations on the brand. They offer great traction, especially on hard ground, with good cushioning and flexibility. They may be best on medium-distance or even in ultra for runners under 70 kg. With a 9-mm drop, they may not be the best option for vertical kilometer. And obviously they stand out for their resistance, being ready to cope with any kind of mountain terrain.

Arc'teryx - Norvan VT


Arc'teryx - Norvan VT GTX


Arc'teryx - Norvan VT W


Arc'teryx - Norvan VT GTX W


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