A solid and dependable mountain trail shoe that won’t let you down on the toughest terrain. The North Face Men’s Ultra MT weighing in at 295gms and with a Vibram Megagrip outsole has outstanding traction whether your climbing or descending steep terrain. The enclosed but breathable mesh toe box makes sure that your protected from stubbing against rocks whilst not being overly encased.
Out of the box – Key Statistics
- Weight – 295gms each or 590gms pair
- Sizes – available 7-13,14
- Colours – Black Ink Green/Power Orange, TNF Black/TNF Red, Acid Yellow/TNF Black
- Upper – bodymapping layer system enhances support on the medial side, toe cap protection, Ultra Airmesh secures breathability
- Bottom – 8mm drop – heel to forefoot, Vibram Megagrip – full length trail specific outsole
My initial forays with this shoe left me undecided, that was probably because I started to use this shoe on simple non technical trails. It was like taking a four wheel drive on the school run – totally inappropriate, completely over the top but I felt good in it and overly protected. Make no mistakes about this shoe, it is not about easy trails – it’s about tackling tough uncompromising steep technical terrain with the grip, power and protection that you would expect from a top of the range off-road vehicle. But, its no tank either – initially the shoe didn’t feel like it gave me a lot of feel for the ground but as it wore it got better and better or maybe I just became accustomed to what it could offer and just kept pushing it to its limit and there was more in the tank, just my lack of daring to take it further!
Lets talk about the grip – the Vibram Megagrip is full length along the outsole and there are several v-shaped 5mm cleats across the whole sole offering plenty of grip at forefoot, heel and support for the midsole. They feel pretty solid and did not appear to have worn despite several outings – a sign of a long lasting friend. Clearly on less than rough terrain they offer a bumpy ride but over gravelly and rough trail they are exactly what is needed. Charging rapidly downhill, if that is what you would call my descending, I had plenty of grip even in the wet, in fact in wet muddy conditions these were perfect…. and my toes…. they felt very well protected despite deliberately smacking a few rocks to test out the toughness of the toe box.
The upper on these shoes is made with a breathable Ultra Airmesh so your feet don’t get sweaty. There are several medial upper flashes on the outer that provide streamlining and strengthen the Airmesh frame. The tongue slips across the upper foot and provides a soft covering and protection from the durable ripstop mesh outer. At first I found that my socks kept slipping down which was most irritating but that was simply corrected by adjusting the tightness of the lacing. Straight out of the box you need to adjust the cord laces for a slightly tighter but not overly tight fit. Once achieved there was no sock slippage and a comfortable ride. The lacing system allows for two slots further up the ankle, personally I’ve never liked my shoe lacing that far up as I find that it creates friction and tightness across the upper ankle but its an option for those who want that more tighter fit. The cord laces are rock solid matching the overall quality of this shoe and I find that double lacing ensure a secure knot.
This shoe is designed for runners with neutral pronation with a 8mm heel to forefoot offset. Clearly this shoe is not your regular easy trail shoe but if you are running in the mountains on technical gnarly terrain then I have got to say that The North Face Mens Ultra MT, that only weighs 295gms, are strong contenders in my arsenal any time I am running in the mountains, and that is likely to be fairly soon.
All images are copyright – Ian Campbell Photography