Technological innovation. It’s what’s brought us more comfortable packs, lighter sleeping bags, anti-stink fibres. Research and testing happening behind the scenes, as our outdoor experience improves significantly. No complaints from us. The North Face is one of those brands dedicated to pushing the envelope in innovation. In 2019, it brought to market the new waterproof-breathable technology FUTURELIGHT, and this year it has launched VECTIV – an innovative system in its run and hike footwear.
We dig into the details about this product, and the athletes who have been out testing it in the field around the world – and in our backyard in Australia.
The VECTIV technology
After two years of heavy investment in research and development, more than 9,600 kilometres of athlete testing and proven on-trail success, The North Face launched its new soling architecture, tuned for the demands of running and hiking on technical, mountainous terrain.
The most premium shoe in the line up? The carbon-plated Flight VECTIV. According to studies conducted by third-party research, the Flight VECTIV reduces downhill tibial impact by 10 per cent, allowing runners to comfortably log more miles without compounding impact.
Traditionally reserved for road running footwear, The North Face is the first to bring carbon fibre and composite plate technologies to the trail running and hiking markets.
Positioned beneath an incredibly light, comfortable, and protective mesh upper, VECTIV is a soling architecture comprised of a 3D VECTIV plate against the sole, a finely tuned VECTIV rocker midsole and SurfaceCTRL outsole. This construction delivers superior stability, grip, and shock absorption without compromising energy efficiency.
Since the inception of VECTIV, 10 athletes from The North Face team have set 13 records around the world including: Kaytlyn Gerbin’s 18 hours, 41 minutes, 54 on the Wonderland Trail; Coree Woltering’s 21 days, 13 hours and 35 minutes on the Ice Age Trail; and Pau Capell’s solo UTMB attempt of 21:17:18.
Locally, The North Face athletes Andrius Ramonas, David Byrne, Blake Hose and Victoria Beck have set their own FKTs (fastest known time).
In New Zealand, Andrius set the new FKT around Mt Taranaki at 5:58:56. This rocky and wild terrain on New Zealand’s North Island, had been on his mind for many years. Setting a personal challenge added focus and energy to a period of postponed and cancelled races.
In Australia, The North Face ultra-runners set upon the Snowy Mountains region of NSW with some FKT objectives. David Byrne set the new FKT up the Hannels Spur track to the summit of Kosciuszko at 2:38:42. The Hannels Spur track covers the largest vertical gain in Australia, with nearly 2000m gained across 16km.
Blake Hose set the FKT for The Sentinal – from Charlotte’s Pass to the Sentinal Summit and back covering 14.49km and 838m elevation gain in 1:20:50. Victoria Beck set her FKT for the Thredbo Village to Kosciuszko Summit, covering 8.47km and 837m elevation gain in 1:13:08.
The records are there to be challenged, so it’s time to lace up.
Starting with the most premium shoe, the Flight VECTIV, The North Face will launch seven key styles for trail running and hiking with pricing ranging from $220 to $330 AUD, $240 to $350 NZD.
The Flight VECTIV and VECTIV Infinite are now available for purchase from The North Face and select specialty run and outdoor shops. Additional VECTIV styles will be available online and in-store through The North Face in April 2021.
We’ll be testing out the VECTIV hiking range, and will have an exclusive first look, and then an extensive gear review in the coming weeks.
Explore VECTIV here.