Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
Good to know
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
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If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 9.8ozWomen: 8.3oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 6mmWomen: 6mm
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
Heel heightMen: 19mmWomen: 19mm
Forefoot heightMen: 13mmWomen: 13mm
WidthMen: normalWomen: normal
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94 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews
The North Face Ultra TR III - Great Yet Unattractive Trail Shoe
The North Face Ultra TR III reminds me of old 1980’s tennis shoes, simple and plain.
I had the Ashes of Roses Grey color and unfortunately, it did nothing to inspire me. Maybe if you like light colored shoes, then these are for you.
On the upside, I have extremely big feet, women’s size 11, and these did not make it look like I was wearing clown shoes.
The Ultra TR III was surprisingly comfortable. They are lightweight, soft to the touch on the inside and relatively plush. The toe box is very comfortable with plenty of room to splay your toes.
They fit true to size, with just a touch of extra length but not even a half size bigger. When you first put your foot in, it feels good. No weird arch or points that are pinching.
The tongue...the tongue is weird. It’s super thin, almost like a sheet of paper thin.
It has a bit of padding but only in spots and is connected by this stretchy, spandex-like material to the rest of the shoe.
It’s well ventilated and breathes well but it does feel weird to the touch and has an odd shape.
They feel soft and spongy when you first put them on. No break-in time is required.
The cushioning is evident in both the forefoot and the heel. I wore these around the house when I wasn’t running because they were so comfortable.
The Ultra TR III is extremely breathable.
Every facet of this shoe is designed for maximal air flow. The tongue is thin and perforated.
The outsole has plenty of vent holes and even the insole as shown below is ventilated. Your feet will not overheat in these.
This shoe handles a variety of terrain exceedingly well. I used it on ice, slush, gravel and wet dirt roads.
The lugs are of good size and positioned in a way that rocks don’t get stuck between them. I don't have the need to clean out the bottom of the shoe as of yet.
These shoes feature a durable but lightweight Vibram sole.
One caveat, they are not waterproof. In fact, they have so much ventilation that you need to watch where you are walking.
These are not the shoes you want to wear thru snow or slush because your feet will get wet and cold. Similarly, in mud puddles or small streams, your feet will get wet.
While I saw no visible signs of wear on the sole or outside of the shoe, I’m concerned about the area where the stretchy interior liner connects the tongue to the inside of the shoe.
After just a few months of wear and less than 75 miles, the stitching looks like it is fraying.
Aside from a very oddly thin tongue with a bizarre shape, trail running shoe with ample cushioning and traction for a variety of terrain.
I was pleasantly surprised by both the ample cushioning and breathability. Hopefully, The North Face will come up with more inspiring colorways for this trail runner.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
The North Face Ultra TR III: Fast...grippy...awesome
The North Face's Ultra TR III is awesome. This shoe has grip. This shoe has speed. This shoe performs.
As you continue to read, you will come across 3 sections: Why?, Why Not?, and Conclusion.
My review will focus on the reasons the shoe could work for you (Why?), what may not work for you (Why Not?), and some final thoughts (Conclusion).
The North Face has paired with Vibram to create an incredibly grippy outsole. The outsole truly did inspire confidence.The rubber compound works well with the multi-direction lugs.
The Ultra TR III worked well for me in all conditions: wet, dry, dirty, rocks, roots, mud. Really was struggling for grip, searching for different lines, worried about losing track speeding downhill, or powering uphill.
Additionally, I have put nearly a hundred miles on them and the outsole shows no signs of wear. Although, I do have other concerns regarding durability.
My only concern with the outsole is the lugs seem to grab onto mud so well, they don't want to give it up. Even miles later (see picture below) mud was stuck between the lugs.
This didn't seem to affect the grip too much, but the added weight was unnecessary. More space between the lugs may allow the shoes to shed mud more easily and reduce the weight.
2. Ride & Performance
The Ultra TR III rides true to its design. On the trail, it feels lightweight and nibble. The midsole is made from The North Face's FastFoam technology.
The FastFoam provided both comfort over long distances and a snappy responsiveness at faster paces. Even at faster paces on asphalt and gravel, the midsole was responsive.
In my opinion, this rides very similar Nike Kiger trail runner. They both have a similar feel and drop heights.
The Ultra TR III ride was so much better than the Ultra Cardiac II, it makes me wonder why they didn't use the same FastFoam technology in the Ultra Cardiac II. This shoe also has a good amount of flexibility, I find many trail shoes to be overbuilt in the midsole. It was great to run in a shoe that could provide a road like response and snap in a trail shoe.
The Ultra TR III does lack a rock plate. I did not find this to be a problem on rocky or root-filled trails. If you run on more mountainous terrain with jagged rocks, you may want a shoe with more protection. I would rather have the increased flexibility opposed to a rock plate.
3. Fit & Comfort
The North Face Ultra TR III is true to size. The size 11.5 that I have fits perfectly.
There are no hot spots where blisters may form. The shoe volume is pretty average throughout. There is plenty of room in the midfoot and toebox is not incredibly spacious either. If you are looking to try these out, you can be confident they are true to size.
In general, the shoe is conformable but not perfect. I never thought to myself, "whoa this is one conformable shoe." However, I never thought the opposite either.
I was able to go for a 2 hour plus trail run and forget they were even on my feet. Any shoes that I forget I am wearing are a winner in my book.
1. The Upper
The upper of the Ultra TR III is just average. With a great outsole and a good ride, the upper is a little disappointing. The upper is about 50% welded overlays which will provide a ton of durability over the life of the shoe.
However, these shoes are not so breathable. Most of the miles I have put on this shoe have been during the winter months, and even on days below freezing, I was wanting something more breathable.
The tongue works, but it could be more comfortable. The tongue is a suede material with no padding. I am sure it was designed this way to sure weight. I think The North Face could have added some padding to the tongue and it would have only added a couple of grams of weight.
The laces are just not good. They were my only real complaint about the shoes. I disliked them so much I replaced them with some elastic quick laces similar to those found on Salomon shoes.
The original laces seemed too wide for the eyelets and this made it hard to adjust the fit quickly. They never came untied, they were just difficult to adjust.
I do have a couple of durability concerns. My biggest concern is the outsole is starting to pull off of the midsole at the toecap.
The outsole itself shows minimal signs of wear, however, it is beginning to peel away from the midsole in several locations.
Although the Ultra TR III does feel light under foot, my size 11.5 came in at 343g or 12.1oz. This is 2 oz. more than the advertised weight.
I found this a little surprising as the Ultra TR III feels more like a 10 oz. shoe as opposed to a 12 oz. shoe. Because the Ultra TR III feels lighter than it measures, the extra weight is not a huge concern for me.
The North Face Ultra TR III blew away my expectations and performed great on a variety of terrain and distances. I do have a few concerns but the performance of the midsole and outsole greatly outweigh these concerns.
This shoe has the ability to tackle a variety of terrain and comfort for ultra distances. I truly believe with a few tweaks this shoe can come compete with some of my favorite trail shoes, Nike's Kiger or Salomon's Speedcross.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Updates to The North Face Ultra TR III
- In the third edition of the Ultra TR series, The North Face gives the market plenty of updates. Although the shoe still aims for and functions on high-mileage runs, users will receive a whole new running experience, thanks to the shoe’s restructured composition, updated materials, and added features. Moreover, the Ultra TR III is now able to take runners to race days.
- From the Ultra TR II’s ripstop-and-suede upper, this version ventures back to the air-mesh-and-TPU combination for a tandem of breathability and support.
- A new midsole is also introduced in this iteration, in the form of the just-released FastFoam™ technology. Conversely, the bottom retains the tried-and-tested Vibram® rubber outsole, this time utilizing the Megagrip™ compound for the ultimate grip on various surfaces.
The North Face Ultra TR III size and fit
The Ultra III employs the running shoe standard in length and sizing measurements. It has an anatomical shape that follows the foot and enables a locked-down fit. Width profiles are in medium for both the men’s and women’s versions. Runners will be able to notice the adequate room for splay in the toe box, as well as the snugness of the midfoot and rearfoot area.
The famous Vibram® Megagrip™ outsole makes its way to The North Face Ultra TR III. This rubber compound is known for its exceptional performance on both wet and dry trails, while also delivering impressive traction on rugged and uneven terrains. The Megagrip™ compound, aside from grip, brings stability and flexibility for ground adaptation.
As an introduction to a new midsole material, the Ultra TR III presents the FastFoam™ technology. This dual-density cushioning compound has the optimal level of stability and responsiveness, thus ensuring energy return for high mileage and speed. The top layer has a resilient perimeter that prevents packing out, while the bottom layer disperses shock for smooth transitions.
Aside from performance, the FastFoam™ midsole also yields outstanding comfort. It is designed to be soft but not mushy, to guarantee a spring in each step.
An OrthoLite® sock liner aids the shoe by presenting additional underfoot cushioning.
The Ultra TR III employs air mesh on the vamp and quarter areas of the upper. The material has a more open structure compared to regular mesh, thus enhancing breathability. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) overlays assist the air mesh for support and structural integrity. They are screen-printed with a stripe pattern for decoration.
The shoe has a gusseted tongue made with suede, which contributes an accurate and comfortable fit as it hugs the top of the foot.
A 3M® reflective printing at the heel side permits visibility while the runner is out in low-light conditions.