Gear Review: Arc’teryx Norvan LD Trail Shoe

The Arc’teryx Norvan LD is a ‘long distance’ trail shoe built for all day comfort while still providing top-notch technical performance. My size 12 comes in at a nimble 12.83 oz, which is impressive given the bombproof construction and design of the Norvan LD. The upper on this shoe is simple and effective, the midsole is firm and protective, and the outsole just never seems to fail me. I’ve been wearing the Norvan LD for hiking, backpacking, and trail running over the past few months and will share my experience in this review.

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Upper

Fit and Weight

My size 12 of the Arc’teryx Norvan LD comes in at 12.83 oz. The size 12 fits true to size, as I wear a size 12 in almost all of my other trail shoes. I have quite a few Arc’teryx products in my gear bin, and the Norvan LD is just like the others…incredibly well designed with second-to-none construction quality. Everything about Arc’teryx products scream “premium” as soon as I put them on. Don’t let the minimalist look of these shoes fool you if you’ve become accustomed to trail shoes grabbing your attention with bright colors and flashy design elements. The Norvan LD is purpose built, and my praise in this review starts here with the fit.

Salomon Ultra Pro in that regard.

Salomon SLAB Ultra is the only other shoe I own that provides this much underfoot protection and stability while maintaining a comfortable and dynamic underfoot ride.

The overall feel of the midsole is on the firm side, which is perfect for my daily use. If you’re looking for a marshmallow, stick to Hoka. The Norvan LD is designed for protection and stability on technical terrain, but can still soak up a pounding for longer runs on hardpack and single track. The Norvan LD midsole is torsionally rigid, which makes it a great backpacking shoe as well.

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Outsole

The Norvan LD outsole uses a trapezoidal lug pattern with a 3.5mm lug depth. The full coverage outsole uses a Vibram Megagrip rubber compound, and utilizes three flex points in the forefoot for a natural feeling toe-off. I wrote about my love of the Vibram Megagrip compound in my review of the Scarpa Spin. My thoughts remain unchanged on Megagrip here for the Norvan LD. Vibram Megagrip offers phenomenal traction on smooth, damp, and sandy surfaces, and has proven to be long wearing and durable as the miles add up. I’ve worn the Norvan LD on rocky ridge routes, dusty mountain single track, sandy desert rock slabs, and even a little asphalt. This outsole can do it all.

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Closing Thoughts

At $160.00, the Arc’teryx Norvan LD is a premium shoe at a premium price. The Norvan LD isn’t just a premium performer though, as it’s premium build quality and materials make for a shoe that will outlast many others. On a per-miles basis, the Norvan LD can actually be viewed as a high value purchase. If you’re looking for a bombproof shoe that will provide stability and protection wherever your adventures take you, the Norvan LD should be at the top of your list.

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Author: Drew Robinson

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