Who should buy The North Flight Vectiv

The North Flight Vectiv might benefit you if:

  • A shoe that offers reliable grip to prevent slips and falls on various surfaces is what you are after.
  • You are looking for a trail companion with the ability to assist wearers to perform long-distance running without much trouble.
  • You are into advanced to elite-level trail running.
  • You run any distance up to an ultra marathon.
  • A pair of kicks suitable for mixed terrains, paved surfaces, and rocky hills is what you need. 

The North Face Flight Vectiv Logo1

The North Face Flight Vectiv: the first carbon-plated trail shoe

After two years in the making and testing, the North Face entered 2021 with the cutting-edge Vectiv series. Topping the lineup is the North Face Flight Vectiv, the first-ever off-road shoe with a carbon plate. But what’s so special about it?

The stiff nature of the plate allows it to rebound much faster and return significantly more force than any traditional foam midsole. This not only helps runners to maintain consistent paces on races but also feel less fatigued after ultra marathons. This technology was originally introduced to the world of road racing by Nike in 2018, setting a new benchmark for the other brands to follow. The Flight Vectiv carries this feature over to the trails along with a few more benefits.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Midsole1

Multisurface outsole grip

Even though it has short lugs (3.5 mm), their shapes, positioning, and sticky nature bites a variety of surfaces admirably such as wet, rocky terrain, ice, dirt, and more. On the other hand, the NorthFace Flight Vectiv is not the best choice for mud and boddy slogs. The short lugs get clogged up easily and just don’t have the grip needed for trails like that.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Outsole1

The Flight Vectiv feels almost like a road shoe on harder surfaces but becomes protective and sturdy once you get back on the technical trail.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Outsole2

A platform that propels

All trail runners notice the carbon plate spring from the start. It feels like the shoe “wants to do the work”, helping you pick up the pace and push forward with greater ease. More than a few noticed an up to 60-second improvement per trail mile.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Midsole3

“Buttery smooth,” the Flight Vectiv helps to maintain an easy stride on both light and technical trails. It “rolls like a boss,” with some runners even reporting to feel noticeably fresher after long runs in the shoe.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Midsole4

However, if you have not experienced the ride of carbon-plated shoes, it may feel contradictory to have a soft midsole at the bottom with a stiff, propulsive plate on top of it. The rocker design may also feel off for heel strikers. It may take some time to get used to this feature.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Midsole5

The North Flight Vectiv's upper unit

The sock-like bootie upper hugs the foot from the very step-in. It has a “fast,” “racer fit” to it, which makes you feel secure throughout speedy runs with lots of turning. However, it may be not a good pick for wide footers as the forefoot runs medium to narrow, with very little wiggle room. 

The North Face Flight Vectiv Upper1

The shoe feels much more steady than the famous carbon road racer, Nike Vaporfly. It is attributed to its wider platform, protruding carbon flanges on the heel, and all the supportive overlays on the upper.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Upper2

Trail goers who ran past 150-300 miles in the trainer claim that the pair still “has good life left” in it. The upper is also holding up well thanks to the unbeatable Kevlar fibers woven into it.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Upper3

Cooperation with athletes

  • The North Face collaborated with Kaytlyn Gerbin, Dylan Bowman, and Coree Woltering (all elite trail runners) in the development of the shoe.
  • At least 14 athletes (including the ones mentioned above) have set FKTs wearing different Vectiv prototypes.

The North Face Flight Vectiv Coopereation

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 10.1oz / Women 8.6oz
Drop: Men 6mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: Men 19mm
Heel height: Men 25mm

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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.