Move It Or Lose It

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY: PAIGE PENROSE
IMAGE: KAMIL SUSTIAK, MATT WISEMAN/LE BENT, BOEN FERGUSON

TRAIL RUN MAG WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME THE NORTH FACE ATHLETE PAIGE PENROSE FOR HER CONTRIBUTION PIECE TO TRM49

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

As kids, we learn that ‘movement’ is associated with one of two things – competition or exercise, and we never really good a full understanding about how we can continue to incorporate daily incidental movement into our lives. The North Face athlete Paige Penrose, a trail runner currently studying and racing in cross country and track & field, provides a detailed contribution on the importance of keeping people included in everyday activities because as she writes…‘Unless you’re fortunate to land in a family that incorporates movement without thought into daily life, it quickly becomes dependent on participation in specialised programs that direct you into development pathways and competition structure.’

***

“Sport? Why would I play sport? That’s something kids do.”

Those words have played on my mind ever since my mother uttered them when reflecting on a patient’s response to her suggestion of incorporating daily movement into their lifestyles. At the time, I didn’t think I liked sport; or more to the point, I didn’t think I was good at it. I never considered myself to be one of the ‘sporty kids’. In hindsight, I also went to a very small primary school where at least one kid from each year group was competing at a national level in something. Perhaps not a fair relative baseline from which to assess my abilities.

I didn’t know what to do with those words and despite not allowing myself the label of being a ‘sporty kid’, I remember thinking ‘Well, thank goodness I’m still a kid’.

When I started high school, the incidental movement and games that occupied every morning tea and lunch break in primary school abruptly disappeared in place of small huddles of cross legged conversation. While the school didn’t have space for big fields, we had a basketball court and our back gate opened onto a sizable public reserve. Still, 1200 girls remained seated, enthralled in the often inconsequential topic of the day, or month if it was a particularly salty season of life.

We had sport once a fortnight. When you reached Year 11, things got serious. Perhaps when we needed it most, the designated sports period of our timetables was replaced by class or free periods for study. We were to fully dedicate ourselves to the HSC, which I haven’t thought about since the day I finished it. So much for the grandeurs it was depicted to carry, that my entire schooling was to lead to.

We had sports teams. You could play soccer, netball, hockey, touch football, athletics among others, but were you at a state representative level already to warrant a place on the team? No? Too bad.

Very, very quickly almost all forms of movement came to serve one of two purposes. Competition or exercise. We heard about keeping an active lifestyle and maintaining our wellbeing as school and life became more and more stressful. But how do you do that? What is wellbeing? What does my body say? What do I feed it? How do I move it?  

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY – AND MORE – IN TRAIL RUN MAG #49 (NOV-DEC 2023). 

Shoe Review: The North Face Enduris 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEWER: GILES PENFOLD

THE ENDURIS 3 ENDURES THE TEST OF TIME

IN NEED OF AN EVERYDAY TRAINER THAT GETS THE JOB DONE JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE? Meet the new Vector Enduris 3.

Hot off the press, this shoe is part of The North Face’s latest line-up, a star studded bunch that was tested at UTMB by top athletes and amateurs alike. I haven’t experienced their shoes until now, but given the brand is synonymous with quality outdoor gear, my expectations are high. I still remember how stoked I was about receiving a TNF jumper hand-me down as a kid…and I’m pretty sure my younger cousin now wears it.

According to their website, this third version of the Vectiv Enduris is all about versatility, balanced stability, cushioning and traction. With this in mind, I went out and pounded the pavement, ran some trails, and heck, even dragged them along to the gym a handful of times.

In terms of feel, I’m a sucker for a more minimalist shoe and the Vectiv Enduris are by no means a barefoot shoe. With that said, I gradually warmed to its generous cushioning. The 31mm/25mm stack height feels really supportive and has a springiness that I’m not used to (plus it doesn’t cook your achilles or calves). I also noticed its generous toe box, something that a lot of brands are starting to catch on to, with this model genuinely letting your feet splay and grip the trails when necessary. It took me a few jogs to get used to the Enduris’ high cushion but once acclimated I actually surprised myself, describing them to a friend as ‘damn comfy’. First box: ticked.

‘How are the Enduris performance-wise?’ the same mate asks me. The short answer? Solid. The longer answer? Solid with a caveat. Let me explain.

As the most approachable and beginner-friendly shoes of the TNF line, their purpose isn’t to be flogged or redline on a speed 25k or 50k trial race. Instead, their objective is as an all-rounder, and who doesn’t love an all-rounder? After a few weeks of becoming acquainted, I found myself nonchalantly wearing this pair all over the shop. If you really want to scream ‘I’m a runner!’ to the world, I suggest wearing the neon colourway to your local gym.

Bonus points if you wear skimpy split shorts as well.

Jokes aside, the Enduris 3 held up just fine during my sets of calf raises, Olympic lifts and plyometrics. Side note: If you’re a more experienced runner looking for a high performance shoe, I’d go for something like the Vectiv Sky or Vectiv Pro (both pairs are carbon plated).

By now, I’ve hopefully insinuated that the versatility on the Enduris 3 is epic! I tested these on slow road runs and also picked up the pace on non-technical trails. For context, the longest trot I took them on was 22k, and by the end of it I felt like I was gliding on clouds (more on this in tech specs below). The verdict though? They held up considerably better than I’d anticipated and felt easy to run in.

Here’s the low-down on the shoe’s tech specifications. First things first, they’re quite light compared to similarly cushioned shoes from competing brands (Men’s 307g, Women’s 257g). The 6mm drop remains the same as previous models of the Enduris, however notable changes include an extra 2mm of stack with a revised EVA formula and a more comfortable overall design. The rockered midsole is definitely a highlight, ‘delivering forward propulsion’ according to TNF. I was initially sceptical about this feature, but found that once I got in the groove on a run, the rocker genuinely did its job, propelling me forward and making things feel easy (also referred to as ‘gliding on clouds’, patent pending).

The outsole carries 3.5mm lugs which held up well on the trail, although I didn’t wear these through particularly muddy terrain. The upper feels roomy and yet, the foot locks in nicely.

Overall, the Enduris 3 is a great all round trainer and runner that won me over. It’s a no frills, dependable shoe that has a strong combination of cushioning, traction and versatility. It’s also the most affordable pick of the Vectiv range, and comes in two striking colourways. An excellent update from The North Face.

THE LOW DOWN

GREAT FOR: Everyday training, terrain variety
NOT SO GREAT FOR: High performance races
TEST CONDITIONS: Hard-packed dirt, paved road, pea gravel
TESTER: Giles Penfold
TESTER MECHANICS: Neutral

VITALS

RRP: $250 AUD
WEBSITE: thenorthface.com.au / thenorthface.co.nz
CONDITIONS: Shoes provided for testing by The North Face

Shoe Review: The North Face Flight Vectiv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEWER: KATE DZIENIS
IMAGE: SUZANNE POLI

VERDICT ON THE VECTIV

DID SOMEONE SAY CARBON PLATES IN A RACING TRAIL SHOE? Well, yes. Road shoes have utilised carbon-fibre plate technology for a while now, and The North Face was one of, if not the first, brand to put the same tech into a trail shoe – the Flight VECTIV.

Taking a brand new pair out of their box, the Brilliant Coral/TNF White colour came straight at me and I immediately put them on. Instantly I could feel the carbon-fibre plate doing its job, providing almost a spring in my step and ready to protect everything underfoot; I’m guessing that feeling was also due to the rocker shape of the shoe too, propelling me forward…and which took a little getting used to, I must admit.

On the technical side of things, VECTIV is the name of the midsole tech which is a combination of dual-density foam, rocker and full-length carbon plate all working together. The Flight Series™ VECTIV™ range are the lightest and most responsive of The North Face’s elite trail running shoes, specifically made for ultra distances because of their durability thanks to Kevlar®, polyamide and Matryx® fabrics. It’s these materials combined together that make the Flight VECTIV a notable model for trail shoes.

Because of the carbon-plate though, which provides stabilisation and reliability, the shoe is stiff to the touch when brand new. It does take some time to ‘break them in’ so to speak – I’d say about 20km, so in hindsight it’s not too bad. Cushioning is of the medium range and quite comfortable, and I felt very comfortable running in this particular pair. Ability to pick up pace was done easily, and I felt stable enough when hitting the downhills on pea gravel and hard-packed dirt.

Worth noting that because of the rocker, which is specifically designed to propel the body forward, I felt a bit of additional stack. For me, this wasn’t an issue though. The combination of the plate, midsole and high tech fabric in the midfoot means there is plenty of security, whilst the knit upper provides enough wriggle room for toes.

Let’s talk heel lock now, as I love to do with all reviews. There is no extra heel lock eyelet in the Flight VECTIV, so when combined with the loose knit upper in the heel I felt slippage and had to switch to a higher length ankle sock (yes, I carry extra socks with me when testing out shoes) to ensure a decrease in friction against my skin.

What’s interesting with the Flight VECTIV is that the tongue is incorporated into the shoe, meaning it’s not gusseted so there are no gaps between it and the lace cage; the laces are tight and flat, they won’t stretch or become longer. Personally, I love springy, bungee-like laces but they did their job on the Flight VECTIV and didn’t undo themselves.

The outsole features a barrage of directional 3.5mm lugs for traction, which means it’s not necessarily suitable for muddy terrain, however I was still comfortable hitting a bit of pedestrian or bicycle path while wearing them, so going from road to trail or vice versa is no issue.

Please note, this is a fast shoe, and it’s a precision shoe. It’s designed for confident trail runners who are quick and who lead front of the pack; when making comparisons to other shoes on the market, in particular the design-work, they are a vastly differently shoe. Suited for narrow feet in mid and fore foot, the Flight VECTIV is true to size but if you’re prone to foot swelling I’d suggest trying on a half size up to allow for extra space. It has a 6mm drop and a stack height of 25mm at the heel, so a large midsole for your landings.

Women’s Flight VECTIV shoes are available in Brilliant Coral/TNF White and TNF White/TNF Black, whilst for the men they come in Brilliant Coral/TNF White and Chlorophyll Green/Monterey Blue.

A neutral shoe with a specifically designed rocker plate to add stability, The North Face Flight VECTIV is an efficient ride that does best on longer runs. The brand has done well to introduce the technology into trail shoes, and those who run in the Flight VECTIV will not be disappointed.

THE LOW DOWN

GREAT FOR: Long distance, most all terrains
NOT SO GREAT FOR: Muddy or high technicality
TEST CONDITIONS: Hard-packed dirt, limestone, pea gravel
TESTER: Kate Dzienis
TESTER MECHANICS: Severe overpronator with wide feet

VITALS

RRP: $330 AUD / $350 NZD
WEBSITE: thenorthface.com.au / thenorthface.co.nz
CONDITIONS: Shoes provided for testing by The North Face

THE NORTH FACE DOUBLETRACK

Let’s start off with who these shoes are not for: they’re not for minimalists. Too much cushioning, too…squidgy…underfoot. And silver, I mean really. It’s so 1980s Tron. But back to the squidgyness. That’s a technical trail term for cushioning, people. These loafers are comfy. Walking around, damn comfy. On the trail they just make you float. Especially in the heel. Pounding down an incline – if you happen to be the kind of runner that lands on your heel running downhill (the cautious type) – is like being on a jumping castle. Slight overstatement there, but you get the point. Comfy, people, comfy. Lots of give. I wonder with so much movement in the cushion if the cushion will be quick to deteriorate? But that’s something only time will tell. The energy return is great.

The forefoot feels the stones a smidge more but there’s still plenty of protection for most conditions. Overall, however, the last is loose and free up front, allowing a lot of torsional movement – this shoe isn’t dictating to your foot how it’ll go through the motion of heel and toe – your foot is doing what it damn well pleases. Less 80s, more 70s attitude there I guess.

Up back underfoot is much more rigid (in a good way) – it’s as though the designers have gone to town from the midfoot back. Grip is good but not overly aggressive, a reflection of the fact that these were designed to verge on crossover between trail and a little road action (if you can even say that there’s action to be had on road). The name – Doubletrack – suits them for Australian conditions, because it makes me think of fire trails, where there’s two lanes, the ground has in general been flattened by the wheel of a 4WD, and there’s just a little rough stuff to endure, but nothing technical. The North Face’s Doubletrack are perfect for this kind of environment, where grip is less an issue, as is the requirement for constant twisting and turning – it’s more about dealing with some mud, dirt, a stray bit of gravel; a little grip needed for the uphills, and some good cushioning for the longer haul.

Where these shoes really worked for me was in their ‘Terrain Harness’ (dontcha love marketing nomenclature?) – I’ll quote from inside the shoe: “engineered for the medium arched pronator to create stability…”. And it did, for me, thanks to its X-Dome Cradle support with an integrated medial post to correct overpronation. That support, while good through the last, wasn’t as solid in the forward upper – the mostly mesh material on the plus side making this a lightweight shoe that panted well (wicked away watersheds from my sweaty slabs). The heel ‘Dome Cradle’ supplied a positive story at back, holding my heel in snugly and offering some firm support. A great shoe for beginners to intermediates and excellent for more experienced trail runners wanting to use them specifically for those longer runs along bush fire roads. May start to struggle in super duper technical terrain, however.

I’m not the only one to give this shoe the overall thumbs up: US-based adventure rag Outside put it through its paces saying “Just about everybody loved this shoe. It was light and fast enough for high-tempo workouts on pavement. But, thanks in part to a lightweight and flexible rock plate, it was just armored enough to handle rocky and rooty trails.”

In a similar vein to this edition’s Salomon Crossmax and Mizuno Wave tests, the Doubletracks are a great core shoe; the go-to suitable for most trail runs you’ll tackle, and a winner for those who like to feel the cushion beneath.

See The North Face Double-Track in action:

http://tnfvideo.com/video/the-north-face%C2%AE-double-track-shoe/

 

TRAIL BRIEF

Great For>Middleweight single trail, fire roads, packed or gravelly trails and short bursts from trailhead onto the bitumen to the front door. Another good shoe for those just getting into trail running.

Not So Great For> Aggressively technical trail, colder conditions.

Test Conditions>  Mixed single trail and fire-trail, some technical trail with rock conditions, some rock hopping ~55km

Tester> Chris Ord – middleweight (if that) everyman trail runner, completed the Oxfam 100k, a half TNF100, a bush marathon in the Grampians knocking off four highest peaks, and shorter distance trail runs for multisport events. Regular outdoor gear tester for myriad outdoor magazines, including Australian Geographic Outdoor magazine.

Tester mechanics>  Runner’s knees, mild pronation and midfoot strike.

RRP>  AU$219.95 / NZ $269.95
WEB> www.thenorthface.com.au