Summary

We spent 6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • Those who have tested The North Face Corvara claim that the cushioning system is akin to walking on clouds.
  • Some consumers have taken the time to appreciate the visual aspect of this product, stating that it has modern and eye-catching façade.
  • A handful of people note that the upper unit’s breathability is reliable; they didn’t feel any stuffiness when wearing this shoe for more extended periods.
  • The lightweight configuration of this shoe has gained positive remarks from runners and those who enjoy casual walks.
  • Several purchasers have expressed joy when it comes to the traction capacity of the outsole, noting that their movements on both wet and dry ground remain sure and consistent because of such a feature.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A few individuals counter the claims of reliable breathability; they rebutted that air isn’t able to pass through the foot-chamber effortlessly, resulting in a stuffy in-shoe experience.
  • A few mentions that it fits too large than expected.

Bottom line

The overall response for The North Face Corvara is tremendously positive. People consider this addition to the brand’s roster as worthy and timely. The need for a versatile trail running shoe has determined the creation of products that can adapt to the capacities of individuals. The highlights include the responsive midsole, the lightweight construction, the appealing design, and the dependable traction capability. On the other hand, the feedback for the breathability was split as some felt that the silhouette of this neutral running footwear wasn’t well-ventilated.

Facts

Expert Reviews

88 / 100 based on 5 expert reviews

  • 88 / 100 |

    The North Face Corvara - A great entry-level trail runner

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    The Corvara is a new addition to The North Face’s line of trail shoes. I've always been a little skeptical of companies that try to bridge the gap from outdoor gear to footwear so I was excited to test these shoes out.

    Bearing the namesake of a region in the Italian Alps the Corvara presents an unassuming, simplistic running shoe that hides the subtle characteristics of a more dedicated trail running shoe.

     

     

    My first impression of the Corvara’s fit was a bit on the narrow side. Having neither a super wide nor super slender foot this worked out fine for me. The toe box fits like a traditional running shoe, more on the compact side. The overall feel of the shoe is very comfortable.

    The seamless mesh upper provides a snug fit and the supple construction almost feels broken-in right out of the box. The OrthoLite® foot bed provides a very comfortable carriage for your foot to ride in. Stepping out the door for my first run the shoes felt very natural, light and responsive.

    Stats

    Weight: 9.7 oz

    Stack: 20mm

    Drop: 8mm

    Use: Trail

    Performance

    The North Face Corvara had a noticeably soft and cushioned feel on the first few runs. These runs were shorter (4-6 miles) and on pretty modest trails. The degree of cushion was welcomed and didn't seem to detract from the level of responsiveness I initially noticed in the shoe.

    However, on longer trails with more aggressive obstacles underfoot, I could feel the rocks and roots a bit more than I liked. I worried initially that because the cushioning felt pretty soft from the get-go that it might not last for the long haul, but I didn't experience this on my longer runs in this shoe (9-12 miles). Overall the Fastfoam cushioning seems appropriate for moderately-technical middle-distance trail running.

     

     

    The proprietary ETS™ outsole is a nice blend of grip and traction but not so gnarly that it limits itself to the type of terrain. The Corvara receives high praise from this reviewer in regards to being able to transition between roads and trail without a noticeable change in feel or performance.

    The treads are 3 mm deep and the sole is speckled with a variety of shapes of lugs and positioned in multi-directional ways to enhance the lateral, forward and rear motion grip.

    I ran a variety of surfaces ranging from paved pedestrian paths to pea-gravel and single-track dirt. The shoe seemed very fit for all of those surfaces. I had very little trouble with grip or traction on moderately sloped hills but when things got very steep and a little loose I found myself wanting a more aggressive tread with slightly deeper lugs.

     

     

    With that said I never experienced a ton of slippage or loss of purchase with the trail. Lateral grip on the trail was superb and I found myself flying around the turns of some curvy trails.

    The gusseted tongue really works well at keeping debris out of your shoe and enhances the shoes ability to keep the tongue in place. I’m starting to see this feature more and more on shoes and I’m guessing it will soon be industry standard, at least for trail running shoes.

     

     

    The tongue itself has a well-proportioned amount of girth, just enough to provide comfort under the lace cage but not so much as to hold on to water too much. The upper drain excess water incredibly well, a feature that I really appreciated in spring running conditions.

    I attribute that feature to the angled flashing of mesh in the toe area of the upper. The laminated nylon between the ventilated mesh also helps shed some of that morning dew that can dampen the foot.

     

     

    From the top of the lace cage on either side of the shoe, a band of the more rigid upper material extends from the upper eyelets toward the heel cup.

    This creates a nice “seatbelt” effect that snug’s the foot into the shoe when you fasten the laces.

     

    Durability

    The toe features a strategically placed section of thicker material aimed at keeping the sharp edge of your toenail from lacerating the upper part of the shoe.

    I’ve had this issue with some other shoes and liked this protective feature. This area is also coated with reflective coloring that adds to the safety of your running experience.

     

     

    The ETS™ outsole is made out of what seems to be a very resilient compound.

    After a little over 70 miles in these shoes on mixed terrain the sole material is holding up very well. Most of my runs include a good stretch of pavement before joining the trail systems and the Corvara is handling that well.

     

     

    While some trail specific shoes have a rubber compound that is softer for more grip on the softer substrate the Corvara seems to strike a healthy balance between hard and soft, consequently not wearing down prematurely.

    Overall

    The North Face Corvara is a nice addition to The North Face family of products. It definitely holds its own in the realm of mixed and light-terrain trail running shoes. I feel the shoe is best suited on multiple-use trails and lighter single-track.

    The shoe transitions from the road to trail nicely and weighing in at 9.7 oz have a light and airy feel to them. The sole pattern is well thought out and the upper material drains and ventilates well. I was disappointed that the shoe is only available in two modest colors but that’s a relatively minor thing.

    At an MSRP of $120.00 The North Face Corvara is a great trail shoe for someone who has just decided to get into trail running or for a seasoned runner who wants a less aggressive shoe for lighter days on fast trails.

     

                  PROS                CONS
         Light and responsive    Limited color choices
         Sheds water well    Not great for super aggressive terrain
         Great grip and tread pattern  

     

  • 95 / 100 |

    The North Face Corvara - Versatile and comfy

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    I have been running in the Corvara for a few months now. Since my first run in the shoe, I have been pleasantly surprised by it. 

    I have never run in any of The North Face shoes before. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know The North Face brand made running shoes. 

     

     

    Given the brand’s reputation as an outdoor/mountaineering/climbing brand, my expectations for the shoe was going to be a trail-specific shoe meant for those that eat 14ers for breakfast: grippy, rugged and not that comfortable. 

    Once I got them on my feet, it was apparent that my expectations were woefully inaccurate. 

    Design

    When I first got the shoe, it looked like most other trail shoes that I have owned before: utilitarian (like a Jeep). Lots of overlays for protection, and a full-length grippy rubber outsole for all of your trail needs.

    The most surprising thing when I took it out of the box was how soft the midsole was. Just pressing on the midsole, I was impressed with the sponginess of it. 

    I love a soft, but responsive ride and the initial “poke at the midsole as if that will tell you how soft it is” test went quite well.

     

     

    The laces are pretty standard synthetic laces. The tongue is heavily padded, so you can lock down the shoe well without creating extra pressure on the top of your foot.

    That being said, the shoe fits wide, and if you have a narrow foot, it might be difficult to make the shoe feel secure. 

     

     

    Even though there are a lot of overlays on the shoe for protection, the upper doesn’t get too hot since the synthetic mesh upper provides some ventilation on the shoe. 

    Performance

    Based on my first run (50+ miles), I have been pleased with the performance of the shoe. The step-in comfort was nothing like anything that I have experienced in a trail running shoe.   

     

     

    The padding in the upper cradles your foot while the cushioned midsole reduces the impact of your stride. The cushioning was especially helpful on downhills or when I was running on pavement.

    I did notice that the shoe felt a little sloppy when going down steep terrain, but most of the time, it was fine. I had to balance that and not to lace my shoes too tight to avoid cutting off circulation to my feet. 

    The upper was padded and provided a lot of protection when running. Similarly, the overlays on the upper provided a lot of protection from small rocks and kept out some of the debris that you pick up along the trails.  

    I found that the cushion and flexibility of the midsole allowed me to comfortably wear this on a lot of my treadmill and road runs. The lugs were not significant, so I didn’t feel them too much when I took these shoes on the roads. 

    Durability

    I have had this shoe for several months and taken it on trails, roads, treadmills, and sidewalks, and it still looks the same the first day I got them.

    I have washed them several times, and they always clean up nicely. I have seen some wear along the collar and the outsole as well. 

     

    Pros

    • The outsole is durable, and the outsole is also “sticky” enough for wet rocks
    • The midsole provides a lot of cushion, especially for a trail shoe
    • It’s a good transition shoe that can be used on the road or trail
    • The price point is great for a well-built shoe
    • The shoe is flexible and allows your foot to move around corners and trails

    Cons

    • Lugs are not well suited for muddy conditions
    • The room in the toe box can get a little sloppy during downhill running
    • The shoe fits a little wide

    Overall thoughts

    This is a moderately cushioned trail/all-purpose shoe that is a good addition to your shoe rotation.

     

Become an expert

- The Corvara from The North Face is a running shoe that’s optimized for the trails. It is comprised of technologies that entice confidence over the unpredictable terrains while enabling the natural movement capacity of the foot. An abrasion-resistant rubber serves as the outsole unit of this product. This sturdy yet malleable sheet protects against the damaging nature of trail debris, as well as the paths. The brand touts that it takes a long time for this material to wear off. It even has structurally aggressive yet merely semi-prominent gripping lugs to further its off-road versatility.

- A full-length foam carries the foot throughout the running session, keeping it safe from impact shock and rough surfaces. This piece is also advertised as lightweight and long-lasting.

- The upper unit utilizes a seamless fabric application, with multilayered mesh working with printed overlays and smooth linings to ensure a comfortable in-shoe hug. A traditional lacing system connects to a gusseted tongue unit. The security given by these elements bolsters the quality of the performance and helps in alleviating the threat of debris infiltration.

The Corvara running shoe from The North Face was crafted to be true to size. Runners are welcome to try on a pair with their typical sizing choices in mind. However, having a grasp of the actual length profile of the shoe is essential for the attainment of agreeable coverage. So potential purchasers are encouraged to wear the shoe first or look at testaments from other online users.

When it comes to the width, consumers are treated to the regular options, namely D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women. Those who have medium foot dimensions are the ones who are welcome in the foot-chamber of this shoe.

The semi-curved shape of the shoe-last allows the natural curvature of the human foot to relax within the confines of this product.

The Exploration Trax System or ETS™ is an outdoor-optimized technology which aims to enhance the capacity of the foot to explore the various topographies. Abrasion-resistant rubber covers the entire underside of the cushioning system, shielding it from the damaging trait of the trails.

Bolstering the rubber exterior are various gripping lugs. These moderately prominent protrusions are tasked with heightening the surface grip, particularly on tricky paths. Two shapes govern such a design: three-pointed stars for lateral movements and arrowheads for traversing inclines.

Flex grooves line the forefoot and heel of The North Face Corvara. These shallow trenches are meant to encourage natural foot flexibility by permitting the platform to bend in conjunction with the mechanical motion of transitioning from the heel to the toe.

The midsole unit of the Corvara is composed of FastFoam®, a full-length cushioning system that is responsible for maintaining a comfortable underfoot experience. While the forefoot part is soft and reactive to the energy needs of the push-off phase, the heel part has a slight firmness that benefits the landing. Moreover, this feature is light, flexible and resistant to sagging.

A high-rebound OrthoLite® footbed is placed right above the primary midsole piece. This add-on is tasked with providing extra oomph to the perception of comfort and plushness. Furthermore, it has an antibacterial and anti-moisture coating which prevents odor-causing germs from affecting the health and cleanliness of the foot.

The upper unit of The North Face Corvara is made up of a seamless yet multilayered mesh. The goal of this external cover system is to wrap the foot in a secure yet form-fitting embrace. The multiple layers are meant to stave off small rocks from entering the foot-chamber through the myriad breathing holes that blotch its entire veneer.

Supporting the external mesh is a thin overlay made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). This layer maintains the strength of the façade while also helping with the security of the foot. Its connection to the lacing system ensures its capacity to go along with the manipulation of the tightness or looseness of the fit.

A thick version of the printed TPU overlay is fashioned on the heel part of this North Face running companion. The same foot-holding purpose governs the use of such an accoutrement, but its dense characteristic increases in-shoe steadiness.

The rolled tongue fabric and soft collar lining are designed to hug the foot snuggly without causing any chaffing. Also, the evenness of the placement of these textiles staves off bunching or wrinkling, events which may lead to hot spots and blistering.

The tongue unit has been gusseted to maintain its position at the center of the instep. Such a configuration is also a means for the inner part of the shoe to be safe from debris infiltration.

The padding within the collar cushions the ankles and the Achilles tendon. It also helps the fabrics and overlays when it comes to locking the foot in place and averting accidental shoe removals.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com