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The North Face Ultra Cardiac Trail-Running Shoe (Spring 2015)

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9.7 oz | 8mm drop | $110

 

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The Dirt: Testers described the Ultra Cardiac as a solid “middle-of-the-road” (or trail) shoe: firm, but not too firm, in the midsole; cushioned, but not to the max; and a secure, but not rigid, fit that will accommodate most runners.

The grippy Vibram outsole can handle rock, light mud and packed snow, and an aggressive rocker makes the midsole’s relative lack of flex a nonissue. One Florida-based tester especially appreciated the quick-drying FlashDry fabric of the plush upper; despite humid, 80-degree weather, his feet didn’t overheat.

Best For: Moderately long runs to ultras on varied, technical terrain.

Fit: The heel and midfoot fit snugly but don’t feel constricted. The toebox is somewhat narrow.

>More spring 2015 trail-running shoes


Tester Raves

“I loved the support of the upper; it almost felt like I was wearing high tops, and it gave me a sense of security on uneven terrain.”

—Rich Parker, St. Cloud, FL

“On muddy days, the shoes kept my feet dry and warm, and my socks did not get soggy.”

—Emilee Goldberg, Larkspur, CA

 

Testers on Fit

“The shoe was way too narrow [in the toebox], and I developed a blister on my big toe.”

—Rich Parker, St. Cloud, FL

“The Ultra Cardiac fit snugly, which kept my foot from sliding around—though if I were running longer distances in the shoe, I would want to size up a half size to allow room for the feet to swell.”

—Serena Wilcox, Williston, VT

 

Testers on Tread

“Great on soft, slightly muddy days.”

—Emilee Goldberg, Larkspur, CA

“The Ultra Cardiac had good tread to grip the muddy trails and the snow; I was not slipping much when wearing the shoe.”

—Serena Wilcox, Williston, VT

 

Testers on Downsides

“When I transitioned from road to trail, I initially thought they were too stiff—but after I got on the trail and started running, I liked having that stiffness for stability.”

—Rich Parker, St. Cloud, FL

“This shoe is great for the shorter trail runs I do on soft terrain, but I need more cushion in my shoes for longer miles.”

—Serena Wilcox, Williston, VT

>More spring 2015 trail-running shoes

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