Facts

  • Terrain
    Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support
    Arch support

    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

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use
    Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
    Price
    $110
  • Weight
    Weight
    Men: 9.8oz
    Women: 8.3oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Heel to toe drop
    Men: 6mm
    Women: 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 height
    Heel height
    Men: 19mm
    Women: 19mm
  • Forefoot height
    Forefoot height
    Men: 13mm
    Women: 13mm
  • Width
    Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Release date
    Unknown
Show more facts

Summary

We spent 6.9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • The shoe provided a locked-down and solid fit, a commenter wrote.
  • The cushioning was ample in the areas that needed it most, according to a reviewer.
  • The Ultra TR III was lighter and softer compared to other trail running shoes, stated a runner.
  • One user said that the FastFoam™ midsole felt “springy and cushiony.” Another mentioned it was plush yet responsive.
  • A wearer was pleased that the upper was lightweight and supple.
  • The outsole offered both grip on trails and ground contact on roads, making the Ultra TR III versatile shoe, a user claimed.
  • The shoe excelled in mountain trail running, including a snow-covered glacier pass, a runner experienced.

2 reasons not to buy

  • One user was dismayed with the shoe’s performance on muddy
  • Some runners described the tongue as paper-thin, with its minimal padding that did not allow enough protection. Others said that it “looked and felt weird.”

Bottom line

The North Face Ultra TR III was a consumer favorite, as proven through the praises it obtained regarding fit, cushioning, and weight. Few criticisms were relayed towards design elements, but these were not significant to the shoe’s overall account. With how users described its performance and efficiency, the Ultra TR III has shown that it was a worthy investment and a pleasant running gear.

Rankings

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

88 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews

  • 92 / 100 | Kory Mueller

    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.

    The North Face set out to design a lightweight race day trail runner capable of ultra distances, and they nailed it. The Ultra TR III can compete with some of the best trail shoes on the market.

    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).

     

    Why?

    1. Outsole

    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.

     

    Why not?

    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.

     

    2. Laces

    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.

     

    3. Durability

    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.

     

    4. Weight

    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.

     

    Conclusion

    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.

    Kory Mueller

    Level 3 expert (6-14 reviews)

    Two of my passions in life are teaching and living an active lifestyle. As a middle school science teacher and cross country coach, I express both passions on a daily basis. I'm passionate about being active and the outdoors, which usually involves running both on the road or hitting the trails. In fact, over the past several years I have participated in 5k road races, as well as trail and road marathons.

    10 reviews - average score 85/100

  • 80 / 100 | Andrew Dillow

    The North Face One Trail, Cinderella has found her shoes

    I admit that when I found out that I was going to be testing The North Face shoes I had serious doubts that the shoes would be worth the time that I like to put into testing. I am an avid hiker and have spent many nights under the stars and thus put a ton of abuse into my hiking/camping gear.

    Twenty years ago, The Northface equipment was worth the price and held up well. Then things changed in my experience with their hiking gear.

    The prices went up and the quality started to fail with every bit of Northface equipment that I had. The only reason that I saw to have any of their equipment was to fit in with the yuppy crowd.

    I have to eat my words on Northface running shoes because the two pair that I received performed well beyond my expectations and better than almost every other shoe that I have worn in the past 2-3 years.

    I hate to eat my own words but it happened with both the One Trail and the Ultra Cardiac II.

     

     

    When the shoes arrived, I opened the box to look at a shoe that was mostly black and wasn’t too impressed with them. My initial thought was that these shoes would be great if I had to use them as work shoes in the food industry.

    While there was nothing to write about with their looks, I was immediately impressed with the fit.

    I am a very picky person when it comes to shoe fit and it was as if I were Cinderella and the slipper had been placed on my foot. No kidding the shoe felt like it had been made for me.

    Functionality

    This spring has been unseasonably warm which has allowed for more road running and muddy snowmelt trails.

    Because the roads have been easier to get to and safer to run on, it took me a little longer to get enough miles on the shoe to feel that I could give a good evaluation of the shoe. Finally, I have been able to log a touch over 100 miles of trail runs in the shoe. 

    This grips as well as any other on the trail without lifting rocks out of the ground (which I have had happen in other shoes). Through the mud, this shoe handles with confidence, only slipping once the traction is fully packed with mud.

    Also, in the center of the midsole is a what they refer to as “Xtrafoam” which allows for the shoe to flex horizontally. I found that this was a nice feature when running on the rocks, it allows for the metatarsals to move better with the shoe.

     

     

    The shoe has a wonderful toe guard that has saved me a few toenails since I have a tendency to kick every rock on the trail, especially once I get tired. 

     

     

    The shoes have holes in the tongue and all throughout the upper.

    This allows for lots of air to move through the shoe keeping your feet cool. The holes also allow for water to escape from the shoe quickly and then the airflow will help to dry out the shoe.

     

     

    I did put in some road miles during a speed workout and this shoe is not fast doesn’t feel light and wasn’t designed to do so either.

    The only issue that I had with functionality was with the shoelaces. The sling fit, at the top lace, allows for too much movement that over time allows the laces to pull loose.

    Quality

    The shoes show little to no wear after 100 miles of trail running.

    The soles have what I would consider little to average amount of wear considering the terrain. I expect these shoes to give me 500 miles of trails without issue.

    Pros

    • Great fitting
    • Breathable trail shoe

    Cons

    • Laces have a tendency to loosen up

     

    Buy these shoes if you want a trail shoe with good grip, breathes well and has plenty of toe protection.

    Avoid these shoes if you rarely run on trails or need a fast feeling shoe.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

    Andrew Dillow

    Level 3 expert (6-14 reviews)

    I’m an avid runner, continually training for marathons and ultra-marathons, typically covering 50-140 miles per week. I ran my first 10K at 6 years old, ran NCAA Division I in college, and later ran for a shoe store. I now run for the fun of it but I still try to push myself to average 6 min/miles through marathons.

    10 reviews - average score 69/100

  • 95 / 100 | Nicole Pritikin

    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.

     

    Fit, Comfort

    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.

     

    Cushioning

    The North Face has done an exceptional job of putting ample cushioning into this very lightweight shoe

    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.

    Breathability

    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.

     

    Traction

    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.

    Durability

    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.

     

    Overall

    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.

    Nicole Pritikin

    Level 2 expert (3-5 reviews)

    Hi, I'm Nicole! I've been an avid runner for about 6 years now. I currently train on the backroads (dirt and pavement) in Southern Vermont and run about 25-35 miles a week. In 2017, I decided to try a few local races- running my first 5k, 10k and half marathon all in one year. Then in 2018, I ran my first marathon, the Vermont City Marathon in 4:43:09. When I'm not running, I teach Nutrition, Hygiene and Internet Safety courses online.

    5 reviews - average score 80/100

  • First look / Unboxing | Shop Zappos

    Richard

    This YouTube channel has only first look videos - no reviews

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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.

Outsole

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.

Midsole

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.

Upper

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.