Trail Tested: The North Face VECTIV Enduris
The North Face VECTIV Enduris is a well-cushioned ride with plenty of teeth, a surprisingly fast roll, and a wallet-friendly price.
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TNF VECTIV Enduris Review
This highly-cushioned and rockered trainer eases its way through varied terrain with soft, forward-propelling action and superb traction.
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As the cushioned sibling of the VECTIV family, the Enduris complements the all-new trail shoe line from The North Face. The Enduris is the rounder, softer end of the stick, whereas the much-celebrated Flight VECTIV is hewed more for racing. The dual-density midsole is strongly rockered and features a semi-flexible plastic plate (compared to a more rigid carbon plate in the Flight) — all to efficiently get you quickly to your toes, while remaining incredibly absorptive with a ride that is plush and smooth, even on rocky trails.
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This is the shoe for you if…
You crave impact reduction — almost elimination — and you want a shoe suited for off-road rolling terrain. This maximalist model will suck up the pounding while providing some energy return that keeps them from being marshmallows. While overall more absorbing than rebounding, these rockered shoes produce a flowing roll-through, with the geometry helping to move you to toe-off and the plastic plate providing a nice balance of stability and propulsion. It’s also a good choice if you want most of the qualities of the Flight VECTIV, with a more accommodating ride, for $60 less.
(Photo: 101 Degrees West)
The Enduris is a heel striker’s dream, although the ride works for any stride. The dual-density midsole is slightly firmer in the rearfoot and on the medial side, providing subtle support against an excessive inward roll. TNF’s VECTIV technology is designed to maximize energy efficiency and stability through the combination of rebounding midsole foam, a contoured and curved plastic plate for stability, and a rocker shape that provides forward propulsion and a dynamic, responsive roll uphill and down.
Testers, some of whom have been running in a number of different rockered and plated shoes lately, enjoyed the Enduris’s version. “The Enduris finally provided that very clear, ‘oh my gosh now I finally get it’ moment of natural forward propulsion,” gushed one. “It was undeniable, and a hell of a lotta fun!”
With the substantial stack height, the VECTIV Enduris are more protective than agile, but testers reported the smooth transition through each stride and underfoot shielding compensated for the weight and lack of ground feel. “I was so impressed by the way that the rocker technology sets this shoe apart from others — and really resulted in super cushioning and responsiveness,” said a tester. “I think this is because you are constantly and comfortably being propelled forward — there is a flow state that feels like the shoe is just part of you. It was a really special feeling that I enjoyed immensely.”
The upper fits true to size: The shape provides ample volume, yet the air-mesh is dynamic enough that it stretches, even around odd feet, without being sloppy. Unfortunately, for some of our testers, the soft, padded tongue tended to bunch and rub, while others found it protected them nicely from the laces that are “plastic-y” enough to require double knots to keep them tied.
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The toe box is plenty wide, and the TPU plate wraps up around the edges of the heel and rear half of the shoe, holding the foot firmly in place and providing protection and stability to moderate the soft landing of the almost-mushy midsole. The plush Ortholite X55 footbed features recycled rubber, and Ortholite is working hard to green up the manufacturing process. With substantial support under the arch and the midsole’s rockered roll, these shoes coddle the feet, requiring little from them for stability or propulsion.
One tester said TNF “nailed it” with the grippiness of its Surface Control outsole rubber. All agreed that the 3.5mm lugs provided exceptional traction, even if they did hold on to some dirt and mud. The lugs are low enough they don’t get in the way on firmer, smooth trails, or even on the occasional pavement.
In sum, the Enduris, with its grippy outsole, cushioning and rocker midsole, makes a nice cruiser that rolls comfortably over any terrain and speeds you forward — at a relatively bargain price.
Altra Olympus 4, Asics Trabuco Max, Brooks Caldera 5, HOKA Challenger ATR 6, TNF Flight VECTIV
How We Review Shoes
Each shoe we review is tested by a group of 6–8 experienced runners, who wear them on several runs of different distances, paces and surfaces. Our testers are equally divided between men and women, as well as in age and specialty distance, ranging from 20s to 50s, milers to marathoners to triathletes. All have considerable experience wearing a variety of running shoes, giving them the context to evaluate and compare.
Testers provide subjective opinions on each model, describing her or his experience running in the shoe and explaining why they reached their conclusions. Two editors, Adam Chase and Jonathan Beverly, who have both run in virtually every running shoe made for 20+ years, extrapolate tester information, combine it with their experience running in the shoe, and translate it into advice designed to place the right shoe on the right runner. Brands provide test samples and tech details of each shoe but do not pay for reviews nor influence our evaluation.