North Face Flight VECTIV is a brand new carbon fiber-plated trail shoe. Yes, carbon fiber plate. North Face has come out with a few different shoes in their VECTIV line, including the North Face Flight VECTIV, Enduris, and Infinite.
March is going to be a trail shoe review month. For no reason other than I needed new trail shoes. The VECTIV series is designed to meet the demands of mountain running (which I’ve been doing a lot of lately).
North Face Flight VECTIV Quick Stats:
Weight: 8.6 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 6 mm
So what is “VECTIV”?
Like Nike “air” or adidas “boost,” VECTIV is the technology that North Face uses. It features a dual-density midsole foam that features both PEBAX and TPU and is responsive on a variety of terrains. The Flight VECTIV is the carbon-plated version of the VECTIV series. (You might need to drink every time I use the phrase VECTIV).
North Face Flight VECTIV Fit:
I have never run in any North Face shoe. It’s safe to say they’ve redone everything, so even if you’ve run in previous models of North Face shoes, it’s good to find a store that carries the VECTIV series to try them. NJ locals, RunningCo. of Haddonfield does (or anyone who wants to support a local store).
In the upper, North Face uses “Matryx mesh” that also has Kevlar waterproofing. Sounds fancy? It also has a toecap for durability. The fit is snug in the midfoot but has a nice wider toe box. I do wish it wider.
The upper of the North Face Flight VECTIV also includes several reflective pieces to help you be seen in low lighting. Do I anticipate running on trails at night? No, but if you are into ultra running or night running, this would be helpful.
Another thing to note is the soft heel counter. Typically with higher cut shoes, I often have a problem creating blisters or rubbing against my heel. I haven’t had any issues with the higher, sock-like fit of the North Face VECTIV Flight.
The Flight VECTIV fits on the narrow side. Typically in women’s running shoes, I wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide. There is no wide, but the women’s size 11 fits well. I would probably prefer a women’s size 11 wide if that was an option.
North Face Flight VECTIV Ride:
Obviously, this is what I was most interested in. A carbon-plated trail shoe? How would that feel? The outsole of the North Face Flight VECTIV offers traction for multiple different surfaces. It has 3.5 m lugs that offer grip but doesn’t feel clunky or like it weighs you down.
As mentioned above, the midsole of the Flight VECTIV uses a dual-density foam. This creates a rocker feeling, and you feel like you rolled forward. North Face’s difference is that the foam is firmer in the rearfoot and softer in the forefoot. This provides support for your foot in both uphill and downhill. Plus, more support on technical and rocky trails.
So, where is the carbon plate? The carbon plate in the North Face Flight VECTIV is designed to fit into the midsole rocker curve. It kind of sounds familiar to many Hoka models. The plate helps propel you forward like any of the carbon fiber-plated road shoes.
Here is the difference between a carbon fiber plate road vs. a trail shoe: In trails, the terrain is almost always different. You might have technical rocks one mile, flat easy downhill, the next. While a carbon fiber plate can help you run faster, skill is far more important. To negate any carbon fiber plate, you just need to add more rocks.
That being said, the North Face Flight VECTIV is a good shoe, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve run on various trails now, from steep rocky trails, muddy trails to open spaces to smooth grassy trails, and it performs well. You can feel the carbon fiber plate propelling you forward, but you also feel the cushion and traction when you need it most.
North Face Flight VECTIV Conclusion:
At $199.99, the North Face Flight VECTIV is not cheap. That being said, I do appreciate the performance of the shoe, and I like that my legs feel fresher. If you are running and racing ultras or looking for a trail racing shoe, the North Face Flight VECTIV is worth it. I’ve run about 100 miles in the North Face Flight VECTIV now, and unlike carbon fiber plated road shoes, it appears not to be wearing down. You’ll feel the carbon plate the most on grassy and smooth terrain. Rocks and debris on the trail will negate the speed factor of the carbon plate in the Flight VECTIV.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
Easy/Daily Runs Saloman Sonic 3 Balance, Brooks Glycerin 18, Mizuno Rider Waveknit 3, Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo, Brooks Ricochet 3, Nike Pegasus 37, New Balance 1080 v10, Hoka Bondi 7, Asics GlideRide.
Trail Running/Hiking: Hoka Torrent 2, Saucony Peregrine 11, North Face Flight VECTIV
You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.
Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried the North Face Flight VECTIV or any North face running shoes?
What is your favorite trail shoe?