Our reviews

95
/100 by , posted on .

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.

 

| Level 3 expert Verified
I'm a running nerd. I watch running/endurance events in my free time and spend hours reading gear reviews. I have completed over 2 dozen running and triathlons. I am solidly in the “mid-pack” group. I enjoy lacing up the shoes and getting a run in whenever I can whether on the road, trail or even the treadmill.

90
/100 by , posted on .

So, The North Face makes running shoes, huh? A lot of you may already have known this, but it came as quite the news flash to me. I have known for some time that TNF has a line of hiking boots, but it was a surprise to me that they also produce sandals and trail runners.

One of these shoes is the Corvara (the shoe I will be breaking down in this review). Now maybe I’m a skeptic, but I wasn’t completely sold on these shoes when I first heard about them.

The North Face is an apparel company. How well do apparel companies usually fare when they expand their product to include shoes? I’m looking at you Levi’s.

 

The North Face Corvara

 

For better or for worse, TNF is famous for their sweaters and jackets (I own a couple myself). And the one thing I can say about their product is that it is exceptionally well made.

The materials used in their products are top notch, and the construction is sturdy and durable. I expect this from TNF products. So, at the very least, I expected the Corvara to live up to this expectation.

What I didn’t expect is for TNF to take their shoes this seriously. Believe me, when I tell you, the Corvara is not a money grab, or a “one-off” gimmick with The North Face logo stamped on it.

It is a real deal trail shoe that takes itself VERY seriously. Very quickly, it became apparent to me that I, myself, had to start taking it seriously as well.

Comfort & fit

I have no gripes with the comfort and fit of the Corvara. As trail shoes go, it is one of the more comfortable and flexible I’ve ever worn. The cushioning system in place in the shoe is surprisingly springy and accommodating.

At first glance, I was actually worried that the shoe would be harsh on my feet. This was mainly because the matte grey finish of the midsole made the shoe look stiff and rigid.

On the contrary, the midsole compresses nicely on impact and makes for a smooth, comfortable ride. The inclusion of a High Rebound OrthoLitefootbed is also a welcome one, as it adds a little extra cushion as it compresses on each foot strike.

Concerning the fit, the Corvara runs true to size, with a nice upper mesh that hugs the foot nicely. The toe-box is a little narrow for my taste, but that’s more a matter of personal preference, as I wasn’t inconvenienced by unwanted friction or irritation.

 

Slightly narrow toe-box

Impact reduction

When it comes to impact reduction, the Corvara performs admirably. I wouldn’t necessarily list impact reduction as one of the shoe’s strengths though.

Utilizing a responsive energy return FastFoam midsole, the shoe concerns itself with speed and responsiveness, instead of impact reduction and comfort. The EVA material underfoot means slightly less padding and more flexibility for the shoe.

This is exactly the way it should be, in my opinion. When running on trails, comfort has to take a backseat to responsiveness and road feel.

Running on uneven terrain can be dangerous without tangible contact with the ground. Often times, this responsiveness comes at the expense of impact reduction.

I will say, however, that the midsole material is plentiful, which leads to a more comfortable ride.

 

FaastFoam midsole

Midsole

The midsole of the Corvara is composed of FastFoam, a midsole technology used in various North Face trail shoes. When it comes to FastFoam, I have to say, I’m pretty impressed.

The material is surprisingly springy, leading to an energetic ride and helping tack on a few extra miles at the end of a run. As I mentioned previously, the FastFoam is also pretty comfortable.

It is adequately cushioned, but what I felt and appreciated the most was the responsiveness of the shoe. The EVA material underfoot also offers excellent springiness and bounce. Furthermore, the midsole is also surprisingly flexible.

 

Flexibility of midsole

Outsole

If I’ve skimmed over the other parts of this shoe, it’s mainly because they are all things I’ve seen before in other shoes.

The midsole feels very similar to other midsoles I’ve run in, and the upper is composed of the same material that virtually every other shoe’s upper is composed of.

The outsole, however, is where this shoe really shines, and what will be getting the bulk of the attention in this review.

The outsole of the Corvara is a proprietary EVA material knows as EXTS (Exploration Trax System). The EXTS traction system approaches traction in a few different ways.

First, the placement of the lugs in the outsole is strategically placed to offer maximum traction. The shape of each lug also works in unison with the placement to add extra traction.

Finally, the proprietary rubber itself is just “grippier” than other outsoles available on the market.

 

EXTS outsole

 

When concerning trail shoes, the rubber quality alone impacts the running experience. If a shoe fails to grip sufficiently, then that is going to impact your performance out on the trail.

More importantly, a slippery shoe always has the potential to land you in the hospital. Neither of these outcomes is favorable. In order to eliminate these potential pitfalls, The North Face developed a rubber material that is grippy in wet and dry conditions while still remaining durable.

Something else the conservationist in me is quite fond of is the fact that 42% of the formula comes from renewable, plant-based sources!

 

Rubber quality and lug placement

 

I can personally attest to the durability of this material, and to this day, I have had no problems with slipping on any of the terrains I have attempted to tackle. This isn’t to say the material itself is too sticky though.

It is the combination of the rubber, the shapes of the lugs, and the placement of these lugs that offer excellent grip. This leads to exceptional performance on trails.

My only gripe with the outsole of the Corvara is that the grooves in the shoe are so deep that pebbles can get caught in the cracks. This was never an issue that affected my performance, but it is something that I found worth noting.

 

Pebbles in outsole

Upper

The Corvara’s upper is seamless mesh. Nothing to write home about on that front, but I like the way the upper feels and how it fits. It hugs my foot and makes the shoe feel like it is firmly in place while offering support.

I have no complaints about the construction of the mesh either, as it doesn’t trap heat and is serviceably durable (not heavy duty though). That being said, the upper is NOT waterproof, so be mindful on trails not to get the shoe wet.

 

Mesh and TPU overlay

 

The upper of the Corvara also includes a gusseted tongue, which The North Face reassured me would keep out debris. A lot of that has to do with the type of terrain you’re trying to tackle, so I hesitate to list it as a pro.

I will say that the rolled tongue top and heel collar lining are very comfortable and have remained that way over the last 6 weeks.

In terms of support offered by the upper, the Corvara is lacking. The TPU forefoot and heel overlay offers some stability, but not an impressive amount.

The potential of a rolled ankle is omnipresent on trails, and the Corvara doesn’t do much more than the competition to safeguard against this. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the Corvara is a trail runner after all. Expecting the same amount of stability as a hiking boot is unreasonable.

 

Heel wear and tear

Performance/ride

I believe that the Corvara was designed with the novice trail runner in mind. This is not a shoe designed for technical trails or demanding terrain. I have run in various trail shoes and have to say that the Corvara lands on the “minimalist” side of the trail runner spectrum.

When compared to the Mizuno GTX series or Solomon trail shoes, the Corvara comes up short in the features department. I mean, for one, the shoe isn’t waterproof and barely qualifies as water-repellant.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with a shoe that is geared toward runners who want to run on less technical trails! I reserve my “heavy duty” trail runs for special occasions.

I run trails between 10-20 times a month, and I only really throw on my Solomon’s once a month! That is to say that while I enjoy trail running, I opt for casual trail runs more frequently. For these types of runs, the Corvara is perfect.

It is a nice, light shoe with excellent traction, excellent responsiveness, and a bit of cushion. The shoe even includes a bit of springiness that helps with those last few miles.

I find myself getting less fatigued over the course of the run, and that means more miles for me. Pretty cool right!?

The shoe is actually light and springy enough that I actually found myself using it on MANY of my road runs. For these runs, the shoe performs admirably, if not exceptionally.

 

Light shoe with excellent traction

Aesthetic

In terms of the look of the shoe, I’m not exactly a fan. There are no two ways about it; the shoe is not a handsome one by any stretch of the imagination.

The mesh pattern in the upper is really plain, and if I’m being honest, the matte finish of the midsole makes it look cheap. If not for the “The North Face” logo on the side of the shoe, I would mistake it for a Walmart runner.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Walmart shoes, but most Walmart shoes are not composed of quality materials, and it shows. The TPU overlay running across the entire upper of the shoe looks like plastic, adding to a cheap and uninspired finish.

Complicating matters even further is the lack of color options for the shoe. In the men’s version of the Corvara, you have 2 different color schemes available, and neither are particularly thrilling.

You have the choice of either Black/Grey or Grey/Green combinations of the shoe. I’m not really stoked on the aesthetic of either version.

 

Comfortable ride with The North Face Corvara

Value/price

That being said, this shoe is worth the money you pay for it. At $120, the shoe is marked at a very attractive price point, especially considering its durability.

The shoe isn’t a looker, sure, but in terms of its performance, the Corvara earns its price-tag. I still find myself reaching for the Corvara for road/trail hybrid runs, even though I thought I already found a shoe for that (The ON Cloudsurfer).

In my opinion, the shoe is easily worth the money, and if found at around the $100 mark, it is an absolute steal!

Bottom line

The bottom line is, I’m impressed with the Corvara. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when I first started my research on The North Face trail runners, I assumed the finished product would be underwhelming.

TNF is, after all, an apparel company first and foremost, and I’ve seen dedicated shoe companies deliver less than stellar trail shoes. For this reason, I was very skeptical in the beginning.

Fortunately, all of these fears were remedied as soon as I ran my first trail in the Corvara. The shoe is made of quality materials, with an attention to detail that rivals that of committed shoe companies.

The North Face has truly hit a homerun with this shoe, and I have to say that I’m excited to see what they come up within the next version of the Corvara.

The EXTS traction system is relatively new technology for TNF, and they have implemented it admirably. I am, however, curious to see how the material evolves and the company further utilizes it in their shoes.

From what I have experienced of TNF trail runners, I am very impressed and even more excited about the future of The North Face runners.

| Level 3 expert Verified
Hey guys, this is Steve and I've been running for 14 years now, ranging from 7-14 miles on average training days, culminating in 60+ mile weeks. I've run the Magic City half-marathon four times, the Mercedes-Benz marathon twice, and recently finished the California leg of the Pacific Crest Trail. Currently training to get my mile time down in hopes of qualifying for the Boston. Now, let’s get out there and log some miles!

88
/100 by , posted on .

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  

 

| Level 4 expert Verified
My name is Sean Kiffe. I live with my wife and three daughters in Missoula, MT where I teach middle school science. I am primarily a trail runner but also dabble in road events occasionally. Currently, I am working my way into ultra distances and will be doing my first 50K and 100K trail races this season.

84
/100 by , posted on .

The North Face Corvara is a trail running offering from one of the premier outdoor apparel companies on the planet. Spring in the Midwest seems like as good a time as any to review them, as the weather can go from cold & dry, to warm & dry, and back to straight up wintery in a matter of days.

Let’s take a look at how the Corvara stacked up.

 

Design

The Corvara isn’t a bad looking shoe. There’s a balance of speed and rugged utility trying to be struck, and it comes through. The vents in the forefoot overlay definitely give the shoe a speedy look, as they stagger back on an angle, evoking fast movement.

The way the forefoot midsole is molded gives some depth, and color blocking within the insets give the shoe menacing teeth. Given the color dam on the outsole and the overlay placement, there are great opportunities for more colorways of the Corvara.

That being said, the microchip/grey/highlighter colorway is clean without being too flashy.

Feel

Out of the box, the Corvara felt rather firm, but light. That combination can be quite beneficial on the trails, where the ground can be forgivingly soft and rocky within a matter of steps.

 

 

A nimble feel is important, so runners don’t want to be bogged down by too much of a shoe that is unresponsively pillowy and over-protected in the upper. The fit seemed okay, but I’ll get more into that shortly.

Fit

With a basic lacing system, the Corvara isn’t trying anything too fancy on the fastening front. It is, however, the first time I’ve had to use the top rear eyelet to loop a lockdown lacing pattern.

 

 

There was a bit of heel slippage without using the extra eyelet. Width-wise, the shoe fits well and would pair well with trail-specific running socks, though Thorlo Experia socks worked just fine.

The microfiber gussets on the tongue weren’t felt at any point, and they did a good job of keeping pebbles and debris out.

 

 

Regarding the insole, The North Face utilizes an Ortholite footbed, which is as good as any non-specialized insert out there.

Adding a different insert wouldn’t be an issue, as it’s not glued down.

 

Performance

To get off-road, I have to run for a bit on the sidewalk and street. Unlike some trail shoes that I’ve owned, the Corvara isn’t something that I’d consider a hybrid, like the NB Gobi or Brooks Caldera.

It’s runnable on concrete, but not for very long. The EXTS traction wasn’t an issue, but the FastFoam cushioning just wasn’t made for it. However, once on gravel and packed dirt, the shoe felt much more at home.

The cushioning balanced out as the ground softened, so the impact wasn’t as jarring as it was on concrete. Surprisingly, the traction on wet and muddy routes wasn’t half bad. The lugs were spaced far enough apart so that mud didn’t have a chance to settle into the outsole.

Doing speed intervals up a grass hill was a bit of a test for the Corvara, but after a few sets, I could tell that the tread is just ample enough for the climb. It’s definitely better than a lot of road shoes out there for that purpose.

On dry limestone faces, the traction didn’t slip at all. Not having a whole lot of gnarly and root-ridden trails open in the Midwest yet had me at a disadvantage, because I have a feeling that would determine the true capabilities of a trail running shoe.

 

 

As firm as the cushioning was, the flexibility of the Corvara was adequate. The 4mm deep flex grooves play a major role in this, along with the 2mm die-cut cutouts in the outsole. On average, the traction lugs were roughly 10mm apart, which played well for flexibility and the aforementioned mud-releasing feature.

The upper of the shoe is very well ventilated. The cold weather didn’t necessarily welcome this feature, but it did make me want to quicken my pace a bit. On a hot trail, the ventilation would be perfect.

The multi-layered sandwich mesh keeps the air flowing but the sand and dust on the trail where they belong. The heat fused overlay on the upper offers a bit of protection against some puddles and slush, but being that the Corvara is well ventilated, that only goes so far.

Abrasion resistance likely isn’t a key component here, but normal wear and tear shouldn’t be an issue for 10-20 miles per week on light trails.

 

Overall

The Corvara is a capable trail shoe for someone who likes a firm and fast ride. True to its category, the shoe is best suited on the trails. An average fit and underfoot feel is made up for in top-notch breathability, solid traction, and lightweight construction.

| Level 3 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Stephen, a recreational runner since 2012 from the Greater Milwaukee area. I run from 15-20 miles per week on average and I’ve participated in several 5K and 10K races over the past several years, including the Marquette Half Marathon in Marquette Michigan in 2018. Starting this past spring, I’ve been running to raise money for a brain tumor center that was started by my brain surgeon. It becomes a central tenant and further motivation to participate in more fund-races in the future.

85
/100 by , posted on .

The North Face is known for its durable (and expensive) clothing line, however, within the past couple of years, North Face has been attempting to put out quality trail running shoes. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to test these shoes.

The North Face released many new shoes to their trail lineup, most notably, the Corvara, which I was fortunate enough to test out.

 

Specifications

  • Weight: 7oz or 274 grams
  • Heel Height: 20mm
  • Forefront height: 12mm
  • Heel to toe drop: 8mm
  • Proprietary ETS™ outsole traction system

Overview

North face released four new trail shoes to the market: the Corvara, Flight Trinity, Ampezzo, and Rovereto which are all names of Italian mountain range towns.

These shoes are designed to provide optimum comfort for long mountain adventures while providing excellent traction on any surface.

First impressions

When I first tried on the Corvara, I immediately noticed how comfortable it was, but also how thin the upper is. This left me questioning its durability in the beginning.

I also was intrigued by the outsole lug configuration. I had never seen one designed this way and was eager to see how it would hold up on the trails. My initial impression was that it would be good for hard ground trails and transitioning on and off the road.

Plain and simple were the words that first came to mind when I received this shoe.

 

Upper

The upper of this shoe is very breathable and extremely light. It is comprised of a seamless mesh that has proven to be very comfortable. Due to this shoe being so light in the upper, it drains water faster than most shoes.

My initial problem with the upper was how thin it felt. It essentially feels like wearing a plastic sock. I am concerned that one rocky trail could slice this shoe open easily. However, I could be wrong with this assumption, as the upper has remained intact after about 60 miles.

 

 

I live on the island of Oahu, so I enjoy the breathability of the shoe in the hot weather. However, this may not bode well for winter running in wet and cold conditions.

One feature I particularly like with this shoe is the lacing system. An aspect that many companies have been overcomplicating lately.

Standard tie laces have proven to be the most effective method for many years, but many companies have tried to improve the system with technologies like speed laces. However, North Face has kept it simple and stuck with what works.

 

 

The tongue of this shoe is excellent, as it stays in place and keeps debris out. The tongue also has a decent amount of padding for optimum comfort. However, I don’t think a padded tongue has too much importance on a shoe.

Midsole

The midsole is where this shoe shines. This shoe incorporates The North Face's Fastfoam technology, that while comfortable, is still very firm and responsive.

I believe every major shoe company is jumping on the “energy return” hype train for the midsole in shoes and The North Face is no different.

 

 

While I firmly believe no shoe is going to reduce your running cost and make you run significantly faster, I do find the midsole to be comfortable and durable. Which is exactly what I need in a shoe.

North face also claims the Corvara has high rebound OrthoLite technology that offers excellent comfort. I will have to agree with North Face on this claim because the shoe is very comfortable and has a springy feel while running.

 

Outsole

The Corvara uses an ETS rubber compound, which can best be described as a sticky rubber that offers decent grip on wet and dry surfaces.

The depth of these Y-configured lugs are quite shallow and not designed for muddy conditions. There are also mini triangular lugs for extra grip. However, the triangles are very tiny and I can’t help but wonder how much they actually help.

I found this shoe to excel on rocky terrain. If the conditions are wet I would shy away from this shoe and go for something with more aggressive lugs.

 

 

One big problem I have with the Corvara is the lack of protection for my toes.

There is a toe cap that offers some protection but is very small and thin. The fabric surrounding this toe cap offers almost zero protection for your toes.

 

 

Several times while wearing this shoe, I have unfortunately kicked a rock on the trails. More protection should be required especially since this shoe is designed for rocky terrain.

Durability

While I still have my doubts about the durability of the Corvara, I can honestly say it has held up surprisingly well after 60+ miles. However, only time will tell.

 

 

I truly believe the midsole of this shoe is built to last and the Ortholite Fast Foam technology is a game-changer when it comes to cushioning. Well done, North Face.

The outsole of this shoe has held up very well and does not show signs of wear, but this could change due to how shallow the lugs are and given the rubber is not ideal for all situations.

Pros

  • Cushioning
  • Breathability
  • Drainage
  • Lacing system

Cons

  • Almost no toe protection
  • Very thin upper
  • Non-aggressive lugs

Do I recommend this shoe?

If you decide to purchase this shoe you will get a comfortable lightweight shoe that is good for hard-packed trails. Just don’t go kicking any rocks with it.

I would recommend this shoe if you like lightweight, non-aggressive trail shoes and you primarily run in dry and rocky terrain. If you are looking for a shoe that can excel in wet and muddy conditions, the Corvara might not be for you.

| Level 3 expert Verified
Hello there! I've been running all my life, but in the last 5 years, I have gotten more serious about it. I love racing all types of distances but primarily stick to trail races and obstacle course racing, averaging at 40 miles a week. I am periodically running more ultra events and have plans to complete my first Spartan Ultra-Beast in the coming months. My favorite running shoe brands are Salomon, Scott, New-balance, Mizuno, and Inov-8.

Notable elements of the The North Face Corvara

- 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.

Size and fit

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.

Outsole

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.

Midsole

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.

Upper

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.

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 9.7oz / Women 7.8oz
Drop: 9mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 12mm
Heel height: 20mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation

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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.