The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe
An incredibly fast and responsive trail shoe that balances performance with comfort perfectly. It has become my new go-to race and technical training shoe.
TPU plate creates a responsive and stable shoe
Excellent grip and lug pattern
Simple to put on and take off (no complex lacing system)
Repels dirt and look cleaner than they should
Too firm to run on sections of road (to and from trails) for any extended period
Carbon Plate would arguably perform better than TPU plate but come at a much higher price tag (therefore, pro and con)

Matt’s been flying across the trails testing his endurance in the newest VECTIV Enduris 3 trail shoes from The North Face, now here’s what he thinks.


The original Flight Vectiv, which featured a 3D carbon fibre plate and midsole rocker wasn’t perfect. Editor Tim ran 160km in them before sharing his thoughts in his long-term review of the Flight VECTIV Trail Runners.

In summary, they were ‘an incredibly fast, responsive and capable shoe’. But durability was an issue, as was the break-in time and stability.

Now two years after Tim’s review, an updated range of Vectiv shoes has touched down in retailers and onto trails around the country. The Vectiv range spans both trail running and hiking footwear, so finding the exact model for you can take some detective work. They’re also going to suit different budgets.

On the trail front, you basically have a choice between top-of-the-line Summit Vectiv Pro Shoes at $420, the ultralight Summit Vectiv Sky Shoes at $350 or the endurance-minded Vectiv Enduris 3 shoes for $250 ($211.95 on Wild Earth currently).

The Vectiv Pro and Vectiv Sky shoes contain the literal ground-breaking Carbon Fibre plate, while the Enduris 3 shoes rely on a similar, albeit cheaper TPU (firm plastic) plate. We haven’t been able to test and compare all three yet, but the TPU plate certainly provided the firmness and lateral stability without the price tag, so we reviewed this pair on behalf of the non-pro average punters out there.

The majority of people are going to be inclined to go with the Enduris 3’s, not least because they’re the most ‘affordable’ of the top-tier trail range, but also considering they’re a shoe designed to provide the most comfort and support for long distances.

If you’re thinking less about FKT’s and more about your knees when pounding the trail – like me – then the Enduris 3’s are going to be for you.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


As someone who owns and has reviewed both the Salomon Ultra Glide Trail Shoe and New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 GTX Trail Shoe, I can especially comment on how the comfort in The North Face’s Enduris compares to the comfort found in its similarly positioned competitors.

To cut a long story short. They’re great. Want a long story? Read on…


Tim’s review put performance above comfort – both in the layout of the article and arguably, in the priorities of the shoe. 

In the Vectiv Enduris 3, I would argue the shoe’s priorities are reversed. 

According to The North Face, these shoes, ‘are the most supportive in our ultra-distance trail running range and provide long-lasting comfort and support, even on the most rugged terrain.’


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


The shoes are a great fit right out of the box. They have an updated ‘last’ (the foot shape that a shoe is modelled on) and so they now accommodate a wider range of feet and widths. 

The tongue wings provide a secure fit around the lower ankles and are easy to step into. There’s no fancy lacing system or cinch mechanism. All you have to know is how to tie your shoelaces and away you go. Underrated.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


Being the ‘most supportive in our ultra-distance trail running range’ you’d expect the Vectiv Enduris 3 to be serious about cushioning, and it is. 

The show keeps a lot of the same cushion profile as its predecessors with a dual-density foam midsole. This lightweight midsole has the effect of softening the TPU plate contained within and providing plenty of rebound with every stride. 


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review

Special mention to The North Face Summit Pacesetter run shorts as well. They’re the lightest and most breathable shorts I’ve run in to date


They come in a 31 mm/25 mm stack height which is 10mm greater than the low-profile Summit Vectiv Sky Shoes and 7mm less than my max-cushioned Salomon Ultra Glide’s.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


The TPU Plate

Having never run with a carbon plate or a TPU plated shoe, I was eager to see (and feel) what all the fuss was about. 

First impressions? The shoes are significantly more solid out of the box than my Salomon Ultra Glides or the supremely soft New Balance’s and I wouldn’t advise slipping on a fresh pair for a race or doing a long run off the bat.

However, after about 20 km the shoe softened up and felt more forgiving, albeit still a lot firmer than a regular shoe without an inner plate. By all accounts a carbon plate can take slightly longer to soften up, with Tim admitting his original pair took about 30 km to settle in. But, don’t confuse firmness with hardness. The Enduris 3 is a very comfortable shoe and I attribute some of that comfort to the support offered by the plastic chassis. 

A criticism I might level against my New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 GTX Trail Shoe is that they can actually be too soft and cushy over some terrain. 

It’s hard to strike that balance between cushion and propulsion and I think the Vectiv Enduris are a goldilocks shoe in this respect. 


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review

The blue strip peeking through is the TPU plate coming up for air. It’s buried deep within the shoe, but you can see a glimpse at the forefoot and heel


As noted by Tim, ‘having a firm plate beneath the foot definitely limits the flexibility of the shoe over rough terrain. This is a double-edged sword; pushing off a solid foot placement, you lose minimal power to flex and spring into the next footfall, but place your foot badly … and the shoe is less forgiving and more susceptible to rolling.’ 

Since Tim’s review, The North Face has also introduced the Vectiv 2.0 rockered midsole and the TPU plate is also forked the heel and forefoot which adds lateral stability and should limit any rolling as it’s far more accommodating.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review

Rockered Midsole

This rockered midsole was a winner for Tim and I concur. If you’re used to road running shoes, which tend to have a heap of rocker these days, you’re going to be especially drawn to this shoe.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review

SurfaceCTRL™ grip

One of the most visually distinctive features of a trail shoe, at least compared to a road shoe, is the depth of its sole — not soul, although some shoes seem to have these too. 

Now, grip can make or break a trail shoe and brands tend to plant their proprietary flags deep in the grip and the lugs of their shoes. 


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


The North Face doesn’t harp on about their so-called SurfaceCTRL™ grip but it’s one of the best grip patterns I’ve experienced. It’s very different in appearance from the SurfaceCTRL™ grip pattern that Tim tested a few years ago, but keeps the same 3.5 mm lugs, albeit now in an almost butterfly-looking shape, as opposed to the classic triangles.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


The grip was so effective that I managed to pick up some dog shit running laps around my local park and brought it all the way home with me.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


I’ve now logged 95km in this pair and they look much the same as the first wear – as you would expect from such a top-tier shoe. 

The darker colourway does a good job of not showing dirt – unlike the white pair that Tim reviewed. 

The area of concern that Tim identified in his original pair, around the MATRYX mesh side panels where the toe and forefoot flexed, appears to have been resolved. These don’t have any weak points that I can tell and I expect they’ll last as long as any trail shoe in your arsenal.

The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


These shoes scream ‘I know what I’m doing’ and they also yell, ‘look at me’ thanks to the fluro yellow/green and blue accent.

If you’re a more understated trail runner, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a much more earthy-looking colourway available in the men’s shoe. However, it looks like ladies will have to contend with the fluro yellow/green and purplish hue. 

While making it hard to coordinate a trail outfit – if you’re so inclined – in isolation, the shoes look great.

I was provided with The North Face’s Men’s Summit High Trail Run Tank and while undoubtedly the best and most breathable run top I’ve worn, I did feel like a human highlighter when pairing it with the Vectiv’s. Fortunately, this tank is also available in black. The ‘LED Yellow’ version is now my go-to night running top.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


The main thing is The North Face got the memo with Tim’s white pair and have thankfully made these colourways far more mud-friendly.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review

Final Thoughts

In Tim’s original review of the Flight Vectiv’s he said in summary, ‘the Flight VECTIV is an incredibly good shoe, and with a few tweaks to the materials and laces it’ll be bloody great.’ 

Now I can say, the tweaks Tim was looking for have been made to the latest Vectiv trail running range. 

The resultant shoe is a bloody great shoe by my estimations and you don’t need to drop $420 for the ‘pro’ version either. The Enduris 3 trail shoe does everything you want in a trail shoe, including making you feel and look like a pro.


The North Face Vectiv Enduris 3 Trail Shoe - Review


Matt was sent the VECTIV Enduris 3 trail runners by The North Face and was allowed to keep them afterward, the views are his own.

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