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77 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews
Certain trails only: A review of The North Face One Trail running shoeMore photos
I am a 41-year-old runner, about 170 pounds and 6’ 1” tall. I race all distances, from 5ks to Marathons, and spend at least half of my year training for an upcoming marathon.
Hiking is something I don’t regularly do, so I was not sure what to expect from the shoes. However, on the detailed description of the shoe, the website claims that the shoe may be used for “scrambling up hillsides, running forest trails, or going for a long day hike.”
What I found out of the box was a somewhat comfortable shoe, though it was very stiff and bulky.
I ordered the size I normally order for running shoes.
Though the toe box is not excessively wide, for my foot it was wide enough. My toes had no problem splaying as needed.
The back of the heel is comfortable enough, but I noticed the mouth of the shoe is far too wide for my foot and no amount of cinching the shoe laces closed the gaps on either side of my heel.
This proved to be detrimental, especially in debris-rich trails!
Unfortunately, the One Trail does not provide as much arch support as I need in my shoes, though it is a touch better than the Ultra Endurance II.
I have been dealing with a minor plantar fascia tenderness during my testing of the Ultra Endurance II, and unfortunately, the One Trail did not help in its healing.
The upper is a mix of breathable, rigid mesh, and a hard rubber toe guard.
My first thought was that the shoe would let water in through the top, but not let it escape since the toes were wrapped around completely by rubber. The upper, inner lining of the shoe is very plush, almost unreasonably so.
The North Face got the midsole cushioning right with this shoe.
They boast of an XtraFoamTM rim and core, and it provides exceptional comfort on foot strike, especially noticeable on hard, rocky surfaces. This construction far surpasses the comfort provided in the Ultra Endurance II construction.
True to the website’s claimed usage, I used these shoes for 53 miles of “scrambling up hillsides, running forest trails,” and for a long hike.
I even encountered a little North Texas wildlife on one my trail workouts (copperhead snake).
While I was not as eager to get the shoes off my feet as soon as possible, I was thankful when it was time to stop.
The One Trail is heavy, stiff, and clunky. After a particular run, I made the specific notation that this shoe is not for you if you require warm, dry feet at all costs.
Apparently, I had dealt with freezing wet conditions. I also noted that this is not a good shoe if you require any kind of speed.
The traction this shoe’s outsole provides makes it useful for nearly every kind of terrain. However, the potential terrains begin to be eliminated as you move from the bottom of the shoe to the top:
- As you move upward from the bottom, you have to deal with the shoe’s extreme stiffness. This makes the shoe inefficient in terrains where flexibility is required. No nimbleness of foot here.
- Next, the shoe is not waterproof. Not only is it not waterproof, it allows water to enter, but does not allow it to easily escape. If you encounter water, you will have wet feet for the rest of the journey.
- Lastly, at the top of the shoe is a very wide mouth which refuses to cinch closely to my ankle, no matter how tight the laces may be. In terrains with loose sand, or small rocks, twigs, or leaves, I collected all sorts of debris inside my shoes. If you use these shoes, I suggest wearing long pants to cover the opening at the top or a set of gaiters.
Here is a list of terrains for which the One Trail is ideal, from the best to the worst:
With 53 miles on the shoes, I notice very little wear and tear.
My prediction is that my patience with these shoes would wear out before their usefulness would. That said, 500 to 750 miles would be an accurate predicted lifespan of the One Trail.
- Plush inner liner.
- Comfortable midsole cushioning.
- Great traction.
- Wide mouth lets debris into the shoes.
- Too stiff.
- Lets water in, but not out.
- Too heavy.
- Not enough arch support.
- Feel like boots.
This is not my favorite shoe. It is not very comfortable and is not ideally suited for every terrain.
At the end of the day, however, the major reason I will not wear this shoe on trails again is simply that I do not want to deal with debris getting into my shoes. That alone makes it almost useless for me.
The One Trail will receive a little higher score than I gave the Ultra Endurance II mostly because at least The North Face categorizes it correctly, putting it with the “hiking” shoes.
Check out my video review here.
The North Face One Trail: The Gandalf gray shoes!More photos
In the nice printed brown box, I found a pair of shoes with a super interesting design, a well-done pair. Despite the neutral mix of gray/brown color, they look superb.
The shoe name promises to be a dynamic shoe capable of taking trail running and hiking. That is what the shoes from the guys of North Face offer.
Before we continue with this review, let me show you the numbers that have become a standard on the new generation in the shoe industry.
- Upper TecTuff® toeguard and mudguard for durable protection
- Sling Fit™ lace system secures feet in the proper position (they can’t stay in place)
- Breathable mesh upper (nice and cool upper by the way)
- OrthoLite® footbed for long-lasting comfort
- Forefoot inner-sock construction and gusset for a secure fit and comfort
- Sole: Midsole constructed with an XtraFoam™ rim and core for superior comfort
- TPU CRADLE™ heel-stability technology
- UltrATAC™ rubber outsole with toe wrap for ultimate traction and forefoot protection
The drop of the shoe as a first impression looks like a high drop shoe. But once you get into them, you will notice something different and turns out I was wrong. They may seem like a high drop shoe, but they are the normal 4-5mm.
The actual drop is like almost all the trail shoes between 5-6mm, which is good. The drop feels much lower than other North Face shoes or brands.
Let's take a run
Wow, when I started to walk on these shoes, they felt like an easy going puppy. The outsole shape seems to me as a fast shape design ideal for gravel or some solid ground. I like the shape of the outsole a lot - the orange “Xtrafoam” line crossing in the middle of the shoes shaping a stretched S and the tread moving forward can give you an idea of a fast trail shoe!
When I started to run with them rather than walking on a sidewalk or hiking, I thought they are fast. You cannot feel that mood of slowness on your legs while you run on the asphalt or gravel. The only black spot for me is they have loose laces that in every 2 or 3 km's I have to stop to relace them.
No matter how hard I tighten them, they lose the grip again. Even on simple walks, the laces are not keeping in place. I'm not sure if it's the material or the shape, but if I compare the laces from the North Face Ultra Endurance II, those are very different, and they stay in place no matter what.
The upper is very flexible (very comfortable), with a very well protected front with a brown rubber lip connecting to the outsole. If you hit a root or rock your toes, it will be protected with this shoe. It's a sign that this design works!
Marked with 334 grams, it's always an issue with any trail shoes. There is no light thing on trail shoes, nor in hiking shoes. With that concept in mind, I care more about the comfort and cushion rather than their weight.
This may not be the lightest, but they are a comfortable pair. I ran/hiked a very rocky trail route one day (8 hours) with no hot spots, no blisters, no pressure on my feet.
It has a nice shape designed for a fast run on a gravel road or any hard surfaces. This pair shine like crazy!
But due to the flexible upper, when you twist a tight turn, your foot goes out of place. They can't hold your foot in this kind of situation. For me, this is critical to keep it on track to avoid injuries.
They are oriented for easy trail run or hiking for a long period. I am not sure what they thought when they design the One Trail shoe, but if the idea was to cover hiking with a short trail run at the same time, then they reached their goal.
- Superb grip outsole
- Excellent toe protection
- Very light upper
- Nice for long hiking rides
- A lot of room for toes
- Limited colorways
- Laces too lose they never stay in place
- Not a racing shoe
- The North Face Men's One Trail is the all-around running shoe that runners need in hitting the ground. The shoe features a breathable mesh upper. This component of the shoe encourages proper ventilation in the foot chamber.
- It uses the Dual-density XtraFoam midsole. The goal of which is to deliver exceptional underfoot comfort.
- Integrated into the footwear is the UltrATAC rubber outsole. This material focuses on providing the right amount of traction needed on a wide variety of surfaces.
The North Face One Trail is a durable trail running shoe that is crafted for those who need additional support. When it comes to size, the standard measurements are followed. Its breathable mesh upper is sure to keep the foot comfortable for long hours of walking, hiking, running, biking activities. The available widths are D - Medium for the men's version and B - Medium for the women's version.
The UltrATAC rubber outsole is integrated into The North Face One Trail. This component of the footwear aims to provide excellent grip on a wide range of surfaces. This traction is important in tackling the trails effectively and efficiently.
Underfoot comfort is offered by the Dual-density XtraFoam midsole. This material is focused on providing the runner with a more comfortable and hassle-free ride.
The midsole is created with the CRADLE technology. The purpose of which is to encourage a correct stride. It also aims to absorb impact in a natural way. This technology is a stability system that is strategically-designed to support the heel area. This is essential in keeping the foot in place.
With the goal of providing underfoot stability and comfort, the Ortholite footbed is added as a feature of the shoe. This is significant in experiencing a smoother and softer feel underneath the foot.
The breathable mesh upper is integrated into The North Face One Trail. This component of the shoe provides proper ventilation throughout the running session. This material is significant in keeping the interior environment cool, fresh and dry.
Added comfort and a secure fit are offered by the Gusset tongue. This tongue unit is responsible for preventing dirt, rocks and other hazardous materials from entering the platform.
To keep the foot secure, the Sling Fit lace system is utilized. This technology ensures that possible shoe removal during the run is prevented. As a result, a snugger fit is experienced by the user.
Additional protection is encouraged by the TecTuff toe guard and mudguard. This material will make the runner feel confident to tackle the trails without worrying about any possible injury in the toes.
With the utilization of the breathable textile lining, a healthier and fresher foot environment is offered.