Summiting Mount Sneffels in the new North Face Vectiv Trail Shoes - One Large Step Forward for Trail Runners
I christened my new Vectiv Exploris trail running shoes by summiting Mount Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains of Western Colorado.
My first impression can be summed up in two words: light and comfy! They're so light, at only 10.5 oz., I could have sworn I was wearing sandals. Second, they felt like they were designed to fit my feet and mine alone! The North Face's latest trail runner, the Vectiv Exploris has propelled the industry standard to a higher level with a slip-on feel while providing 3D-Contouring over the instep and laces to maximize the cozy lockdown in the heel box. In addition, the tongue is connected at the top, so no overlap of material.
The altitude was already kicking my butt. Then there was the trail – 7 miles to the summit with an elevation gain of 5000+ feet, unrelenting in its vertical pitch. Add to that a five-hour storm, complete with lightning, thunder, and rain that turned into sleet. A formidable trek indeed, but through it all, I plodded on.
There I was, struggling up a steep slope, the sleet thumping my poncho. I was negotiating my next step, trying to avoid what seemed like a lake sized puddle covering the trail. As I stretched out my right foot, a crack of thunder broke my focus and instead of landing on solid ground my foot found a wet pine root. Down I went, right into the puddle! The freezing mud cushioned my outstretched arms and muddy water dripped from my face, but the fall left me no worse for wear. Soon, I was back on track but now there was a gully wash-out up ahead which meant I could go no further. With a stubborn determination not to go back to the trailhead, I used my frozen hands to set up camp where the only water source available was the sleet.
The next morning, much to my pleasant surprise, my Vectiv Exploris shoes were amazingly dry! I slipped my clean socks on and slid my feet in with ease. That's because The North Face ingeniously made the Vectiv using hydrophobic materials – no water retention, nothing to ring out, and best of all, no wrinkled toes. My feet were comfortable right from the start.
As the hours ticked away, my muscles cried out for oxygen and my brain started to tire but my foot plants were sure and strong. The Vectivs’ 3D carbon-fiber mid-plate provides multi-directional stability, and along with rocker midsole geometry, both create non-exhaustive forward propulsion. During the hike, I never felt unsure, these hikers never slipped once.
My Vectivs performed beautifully while on this trip. To propel, to cushion, to correct. I have always been a man who was going to wear out his mids on the trail, but the Vectiv has changed that. This is my new hiking shoe and I’m going to wear it out.