Back in 2020 Tim reviewed the LD 2 trail runner and one word kept popping up: firm. Now a pair of Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3s have come our way and things have… softened a little.

 

Seems like I’m not the only one who copped a bit more cushion for the pushin’ in lockdown. The Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3s have slid onto my feet and they’re definitely feeling a bit more dynamic underfoot.

This isn’t a bad thing, their predecessor was notoriously firm, and it seems like the team at Arc’teryx have listened.

So what’s new?

Firstly, there’s more stack height under the heel and forefoot, basically the shoes are taller, meaning more foam under your pins. I haven’t been able to find the exact specs yet (the shoes are yet to be released in Aus) but I can tell you that the heel toe drop feels pretty standard, and the support is neutral, no big arches here.

There’s a new ‘Infuse’ midsole that gives lightweight shock absorption and feels like a perfect blend between squish and spring, it’s definitely firmer than the ultra squishy New Balance FuelCell, but feels springier than my Salomon Sense Ride 3s. I’ll be interested to see how it holds up on longer runs. The shoes do feel light, and at 265g for a Men’s US 9.5 they’ve only packed on 5 grams per shoe.

There’s also a new ‘last’ (the chassis of the shoe) with a wider forefoot. The LD 2s even felt snug on my narrow feet, so this should help tired toes splay out naturally as you run (granted, it’s still not that wide, so chunky feet should still shop elsewhere).

 

The Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 Trail Runner Has Been Completely Reworked, photo by matt wiseman, trail runners, trail running

First Impressions

The Norvan LD 3s were pretty comfortable pretty quickly. The laser cut and glued upper took a few kilometres to soften up and break in, but since then it’s been smooth sailing. The upper has also been thickened with Aeriaprene cushioning which spreads the lace pressure nicely.

How about the grip? The lugs are unchanged, a simple and grippy pattern of Vibram Megagrip with 4mm lugs. They actually caught me when I slipped a good 30cm on some mud, I didn’t even spill my coffee (testing has been arduous, thanks for asking).

And, possibly most importantly, they look great. The dark blue and gold combined with simple, traditional laces means I can wear these to the shops without looking like Captain Courageous. There is a little ‘lace garage’ if you really need to tuck them away, but unlike quick tightening laces, you don’t feel like you have to. This is good, because the lace garage was pretty annoying to use (but seems to be loosening up).

 

The Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 Trail Runner Has Been Completely Reworked, photo by matt wiseman, trail runners, trail running

Stay Tuned

I’ve got a few solid months of trail running ahead of me with UTA50 on the horizon. I’ll check back in with an in depth review in a few months and let you know how the Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3  has held up. I’m expecting big things!

 

 All photos by @mattwisemanmedia