Willa and Nick Martire have always run. They run on vacation. They run to get away from things. They run to have fun.
And they’ve always wanted to create the perfect trail-running shoe.
Pulling experts together from Italy, Netherlands and China and and putting together their 60 years combined footwear experience they’ve created the norda 001 trail running shoe.
The norda 001 trail running shoe is the first shoe in the world to use a seamless bio-based Dyneema upper to keep the shoe very light and very strong. A Vibram Megagrip outsole and stable SLE midsole give a comfortable ride through any rock, dirt or concrete on your run.
Wait. What’s Dyneema?
Dyneema is one of the worlds strongest materials. 15 stronger by weight than steel. It’s extremely strong and extremely light. Ultralight weight gear like Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpacks and tent are made out of Dyneema.
Norda worked with Dyneema to create a seamless upper on the 001 shoe. It’s fast and lightweight but at the same time extremely strong and durable.
Along with the upper, the laces are also Dyneema and recycled polyester, 4 times stronger than normal laces.
Not only it is it strong and light, it’s sustainable: bio-based and BlueSign approved. Renewable sources supply 75% of the energy used to manufacture the Dyneema. Out of all the other upper materials for shoes Dyneema results in the lowest carbon footprint per unit strength.
The point of using Dyneema is that it let’s norda use the highest performance materials on earth but also be sustainable and kind to the environment. For norda “performance and sustainability always run together.”
Norda x Vibram Formation outsole
The outsole is a custom Formation outsole developed with Vibram. It uses Vibram’s Litebase technology which really boils down to being thinner and lighter compared to previous outsoles while still being as durable and grippy.
The outsole is made with Vibram’s Megagrip rubber which is their grippiest rubber that is still durable over the long run. Some rubbers are very soft but don’t last long, others are durable and hard but aren’t as sticky. Megagrip aims to do both. It grips wet and dry surfaces very well. The recently-reviewed Tecnica Magma trail shoes use Megagrip as well
The pattern with 5mm lugs was inspired by the Canadian Shield, a rock formation that underlies a lot of Canada that is the largest and strongest pre-Cambrian rock formation on earth.
Is all this good? Let’s see.
First all the specs and then we’ll get into what this all gets you on the trail.
All the Specs
- Seamless bio-based BlueSign Dyneema upper
- Dyneema and recycled polyester laces
- Norda x Vibram Formation outsole using Vibram Litebase and Megagrip.
- 5mm lugs
- 360 degree hi-vis sections
- 247 grams (8.71 oz) per shoe with Ortholite insole
- 4mm drop (23mm to 19mm) with Ortholite insole.
- $285 CAD ($288 USD)
What I like
Right out of the box the 001s are comfortable and easy to wear. The midsole provides plenty of cushion.
They’re comfortable to run on the road and enough cushion and spring on the trail. I found they’re were a touch on the narrow side but I have slightly wider feet and prefer wide toeboxes like the Altra’s.
The 001s are nice and sticky on any surface. I found I could easily rely on them going up steep slick rock or dry, dusty dirt. With it being so dry and hot right now in PNW, I haven’t seen much for wet and muddy on my runs. I look forward to jumping on that as soon as the rain comes back.
Strong and Light
That Dyneema is about as strong as you can get for an upper. If it can’t withstand the rigors of trail running over long distances over time, nothing will. At only 247 grams per shoe, they are on the light end of running shoes but not the lightest. I expected it to blow it out of the park and be ultralight but the large cushion in the midsole accounts for a lot of that weight.
norda Lock System
The edges of the tongue and collar around the ankle are very thin. Norda calls this the Lock system to hold your foot in place without adding much to the weight of the shoe. I don’t have any issues with the edges of the collar, it’s quite comfortable. The tongue is a bit thin, not providing a lot of cushion when the laces are done up fairly tight.
Anything made with Dyneema is going to be a bit more expensive. It’s a premium material on a premium product. I think if it extends the life of a trail running by a meaningful amount it will be worth it if you run a lot.
Who is this good for?
If you are looking for a slick design on a trail running shoe that should last for a while, check out the norda 001 trail running shoes. A couple weeks testing certainly won’t show if they will last 5 years of hard use but with Dyneema’s reputation, I’m betting they will. As with all Dyneema outdoor gear, the price isn’t for everyone, but it is for someone. If you’re looking for the highest quality materials on the planet in a trail runner, the norda 001 shoes are one of the few choices.