This site is created to inspire, motivate and to promote a healthy lifestyle by sharing my passion in cycling and running. Advice, training and product reviews to help you achieve your goal in crossing that finish line.
I’m confident that you’ve heard The North Face brand many times, but have you heard much about their shoes?
…trail shoes to be exact? TNF brands started many years ago but they’re still
not that big (yet) when it comes to trail shoes. It seems that they are being
overshadowed by some other brands like Salomon and Altra. Not sure what the
reasons are, is it the price? Or is it because runners tend to stick to their “favorite” shoes. Nothing wrong with the
latter, but sometimes we need to venture out and you might be surprise that
there is something much better than what you currently have.
I’m a fan of TNF and have
reviewed few of their items in the past:
I’m really pleased with all the
apparels I tested and this is one of the reasons why I love to test their trail
The Ultra MT Gore-Tex is one of TNF’s trail shoes that utilizes the new Vibram “Megagrip”
outsole. It provides a very impressive traction that keeps you close to the
ground. The shoe weighs in at 10.80
ounces (men’s size 9). You might think it’s a bit heavy but don’t be quick
to judge, you have to feel the shoes in action. The heel to toe drop is 8mm (Heel height: 17mm, Fore foot
height: 9mm) which is unnoticeable once you start running on soft ground. It
actually helps you to propel forward which is a big thing when going on most
·The ultimate shoes for the hardest trail-running
·Waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX membrane for all
·Durable overlasted ripstop mesh in forefoot for
·FlashDry collar lining.
·Two-piece midsole for proper heel and forefoot
cushioning and ESS in the forefoot to distribute impact and protect from stone
If you’re new to trail shoes,
the upper construction is one of the things that you need to consider:
First is the toe caps: those little piggies will
surely thank you if you accidentally hit a rock or brush off on some protruding
roots while running. The toe cap of the Ultra MT is very sturdy and provides a
superb protection around the perimeter of your toes.
Second is the toe box: It is made of a breathable overlasted
ripstop that is reinforced with Gore-Tex liner on the inside making it
waterproof and durable. Chances are you’ll be running on some mud or puddles
and there’s nothing more annoying than running on wet feet. Though I prefer a
wider toe box so that I can splay my toes, the toe box of the Ultra MT is not
that wide. But it still offers enough room for my toes to relax and not constricted.
Third is the tongue: It is secured within the shoe so
debris won’t come in. It also provides a better foothold so your foot stays in
place. It comes with some decent padding for added comfort and a FlashDry
technology so sweat coming down from your legs will just dissipates.
Fourth is the heel cap and collar: Similar with
padded tongue, the collar has a FlashDry technology to keep you dry and comfy. The
built of the heel cap is solid, you can definitely feel that your heel is secured,
preventing it from coming out especially when you start to toe off and start
grinding on a steep portion.
Last but not the least is the shoe lace: There’s nothing fancy about
the shoe lace, it’s actually thin and a little rough to the feel. But it works
well in securing my feet from slipping and sliding.
This is the where all the action
is. It is the only layer that separates you from the ground. In trail running
terms, “the sole keeps you upright so
your face is not on the ground” (sorry, no offense though). As I mentioned
on the above, the outsole is made of Vibram technology that provides superior
grip on all types of surfaces. The sole of the Ultra MT has little to no flex
at all and is bonded as a one piece under the shoe. The Vibram’s bottom is rock solid, you don’t have to
worry about sharp rocky terrain or any pointed objects if you accidentally step
on it. The V-shaped lugs are well spaced to give you the aggressive traction
regardless of the surface condition. The heel and midsole area offers a decent
amount of cushion that helps absorb the impact when landing. It has an 8mm heel
to toe offset which is unnoticeable once you step on softer ground.
I tested and raced the Ultra MT straight
out of the box at the Granite
Head Trails and Ales held in Granite Bay, Ca few weeks ago. The course in
my opinion is in mid-range of difficulty and it offers a variety of ground
surfaces like sand, mud, loose soil, stones and granite. I got to be honest, I was
really concerned with the lack of flexibility of the shoes and thought that it
was a bad idea. All my worries disappeared when I started running, it didn’t impede
with my forefoot flex. The shoes felt light, natural and aggressive.
What really makes this shoe
great is the outstanding grip it provided during the race especially on steep
downhill where majority of the runners were slowing down and finding their balance.
I was like a kid with my arms outstretched like an airplane ripping on the
downhill sections. The grip was even more noticeable when we hit the steep
uphill made of granite. That section was a little bit slippery because it
rained the night before the race.
There’s nothing more annoying
than running on wet feet, the Gore-Tex liner provided the shield from water
going thru the inside. The condition of the course was wet and muddy but my
feet felt dry after the race.
The only issue I had was the hot
spot that I felt nearing the finish line. It was on the bottom of my big toe
that felt a bit sensitive, but that was no fault of the shoe. It happened because
I didn’t pull the bottom portion of the lace tight enough to hold my feet even
better. Regarding the plushness of the ride, well I have to say that I wish the
race is even longer, it felt that the shoe was asking for more grounds to
tackle. The heel and midsole cushioning were just absolutely great and it resonated
even more on softer ground, but not on the paved sections where we have to crossed.
The shoes were definitely made for trails…no doubt about that!
The North Face is
definitely a contender when it comes to trail shoes and don’t just take my word
for it. I have to say that after testing and putting the shoes on some
challenging trails, the shoes were built to endure tough and rough conditions. The
traction of the shoe is what makes it so great, it provided an outstanding
traction and it simply grip on any surfaces. The protection is second to none
in my opinion, it definitely made my trail run more memorable.
Overall, the Ultra MT Gore-Tex
is an excellent shoes designed the tackle any rugged terrains. You can purchase
the Ultra MT Gore-Tex directly on their website
for a decent price of $150 or at retail stores
near you. Their footwear holds a limited one-year warranty so you’re pretty
much cover from any manufacture defects.