Overview:
The Norvan VT is arc’teryx’s first attempt at a trail running shoe. They intend the shoe to be used in technical alpine terrain and have designed some unique elements to enhance the shoe in this terrain. The lacing system allows you to “lock” your forefoot in for better edging on steep, rocky cliffs and the Adaptive Fit liner helps provide a secure, comfortable shoe.
Suitable for technical alpine trail
Use for mountain excursions
High drop – 9 mm
Narrow fit
Moderate cushion – 26 mm
Weight – 300 g (US M 9.5)

Fit:

The Norvan ST does not conform to our idea of fit. It is on the narrow side and that is immediately evident slipping the shoe on. The VT also has significant “toe spring” which unweights and elevates your toes. This is uncomfortable for those used to lower drop shoes and more accommodating forefoot fit. The shoe is secure feeling and for those rock climbers that are accustomed to snug shoes this might work well out scrambling on less vertical terrain. The fact that they made this shoe with a 9mm heel to toe rise means we can’t stock it in our stores anyway.

Function:

The Norvan VT does deliver on it’s promises. It has amazing rubber with both Vibram’s super tacky Idrogrip up front and Megagrip out back. The quality is typical arc’teryx…the best. The lacing system is unique and may work for some people. They built the shoe they thought their customers would want and they very well might have but it probably isn’t the shoe our customers want.

Quirks:

The lacing system didn’t work for me as I couldn’t use the cool feature to snug my forefoot without completely loosening the shoe off. The round laces made the shoe uncomfortable when lacing the shoe up snuggly as the Adaptive Fit bootie is thin and doesn’t cushion against the lace. Their original samples had round laces at the forefoot for the quick adjust loop but transitioned to flat up top. This would have been better for the fit but apparently it wasn’t able to be produced to their quality standards.

Impression:

When I heard about this shoe I was excited. Arc’teryx makes awesome gear and the Norvan VT is no exception…it just isn’t right for me or our customers. The pair I received was a first run sample so the shoe may get a tweak or two before it hits the stores. The shoe fits me in length as I would want but the low volume and narrow toe box are limiting. The shoe as I mentioned is snug, in fact so snug I had difficulty wearing the shoe for the few short runs I ran in it. The toe spring in particular was forcing my toes to be disengaged from my running gait and put more pressure on my metatarsals and arch. There will be more to come from arc’teryx and I look forward to some lower drop options with more accommodating fits.

Dave Cressman
Dave CressmanDistance Runwear - Owner - Head Coach
Dave is the owner of Distance Runwear, the first Certified Road Running Instructor in Canada and a former Collegiate Cross Country Champion. Dave has been running track, cross country, road and trail ultra marathons since he was 11 years old. He has also competed nationally in Road, Cyclocross and Mountain biking, Paragliding, Telemark skiing, Orienteering, Nordic skiing and more.